The Push/Pull {of letting go}

I made it!

If you read my post last week, you may remember that I was struggling a bit. We had a whole bunch of life events that were hitting at once and I was feeling very conflicted about all the changes. My emotions were all over the map and I was anticipating a very joyful, yet bittersweet, week ahead.

Well, I am very happy to report to you that I made it through all of the celebrations with my sanity intact! After graduation, I saw Grant off to Europe and Mathew off to California. Both sons have arrived safely and have begun their adventures far from home. I am so excited for both of them!

I also survived Patrick’s 30th birthday without feeling too ancient, although I still can’t believe I’m the mother of a 30-year-old! It’s still pretty shocking, but I’ll accept it – eventually. 🙂

To add insult to injury, Grant turns 27 today. I jokingly reminded him that in only three years he will be 30 – that’s when he reminded ME that I was 30 when I gave birth to him! In other words, in three years I will be…well, you do the math. The joke is on me.Talk about feeling conflicted about changes! Ugh!

So much of motherhood is experienced with some level of inner conflict. It’s just the way it is. Don’t you agree? It seems that there is an internal push/pull from the moment our children are born. When they grow past the baby stage, the push/pull includes questions like these:

When do I speak and when do I remain silent?

When do I parent and when do I coach?

When should I step in and when should I stay out?

When should I rescue and when do consequences need to be experienced?

When do I hold on and how on earth do I let go?

I could go on. Depending on our personalities and those of our children, some of these questions are harder to discern than others.

It isn’t easy navigating through all the changes as our children become adults.  It’s hard to know how much to pull back and give them the space to find their own way. It’s difficult to move to the side, when you have been responsible for them since day one.

But this is important — we don’t move away. We only move aside. We stand on the sidelines to cheer them on.

I have to admit that I don’t always do it well, but I am committed to giving them my blessing as they discover the life that God has for them – even if it conflicts with what I wish for.

Even when it seems it takes forever for them to find it.

And even when it takes them far from home.

At a certain point I’ve had to realize that I cannot control the path they take. To do so, might cause them to be more concerned with my will for their lives instead of focusing on God’s will.

Ultimately, I don’t want their eyes looking back at me. I want their eyes looking forward to Him.

Truth be told, sometimes I tend to get God’s plan mixed up with my plan. Sometimes I bite my tongue when I should have spoken and sometimes I’ve spoken when I should have bitten my tongue. I am still learning as I go along.

Thank God for forgiveness and grace. 

Another thing that I have learned is that, most of the time, my boys need to make their own mistakes and experience their own life lessons along the way. Kids rarely learn from our missteps – but they do learn from their own.

And when they take a wrong step, my first response should always be grace – before any truth is spoken.

I struggle with that too.

My mom was the first to admit she did not ‘let go’ well. I have often joked that I launched my own self! To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend it and, neither would she. It was a hard road for both of us. So quite naturally, as a result of my own experience, these push/pull questions have been very important to me.

When I was in my 20’s I was completely paralyzed by the fear of failure. I held on to false beliefs about myself and my ability to make something out of my life. As a result, I would not and could not follow my dreams, let alone God’s plan. It wasn’t until years later that things changed for me.

Our God is truly a Redeemer of broken thinking, broken hearts, and broken dreams. Because of His mercy, we do not have to pass our failures on to our kids. Hallelujah!

Last Friday evening we attended Mathew’s Baccalaureate service – or, as we moms call it, ‘Cry Night’. It was a beautiful, moving, service full of praise, worship, and gratitude for the past four years. There were tears of joy and sadness all at the same time. At the end, we lit candles, and all 665 graduates were commissioned to live as servant leaders and take God’s light out into the world.

In the end, this is what moms who are followers of Jesus have been doing for generations. We wrestle with the push/pull questions. We seek His guidance as we let them go. We give our conflicted hearts to Him and pray that our children will do as they have been taught – to discover the path God has for them and, once on it, take His light out into the world.

Sending love,

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters {and mothers} , stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. — 1 Corinthians 15:58


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