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


20 thoughts on “The Push/Pull {of letting go}”

  1. Laura, I love your heart for Jesus and your heart for your family! Keep writing, keep sharing your pearls of wisdom! Sometimes I can actually hear you laughing while reading! You have a special place in my heart, sweet lady.

    1. Well, aren’t you just the sweetest thing? Thank you, Julie. My feelings are the same toward you. Love you dearly my friend. xoxo

  2. This was wonderful. Thank you for sharing! I have a 3 year old daughter, and although we are years away from this, I try to practice giving her to God – because it’s so HARD. I want to clinch tightly. Thank you for your insight.

    1. Thank you Trisha! You are a wise mom — it takes a lot of practice ahead of time. We give them to God in the little things early on so we can give them over in the big things later. xoxo

  3. Love this statement, what a great reminder!
    “To do so, might cause them to be more concerned with my will for their lives instead of focusing on God’s will.”

    thank you, you are a wonderful mom!

  4. Laura,
    After your comment on my blog about Pittsburgh being “The Motherland”, I just had to pop by your place. My “kids” are both grown. My oldest will be 28 soon (hard to fathom). I think every stage of parenting has its challenges, but parenting adult children comes with it’s own complications. It is so hard for me not to over step my bounds. I think we want to save them from having to make mistakes in life. It’s hard to stand by and watch them walk down a road you know is not good for them. God is teaching me, though, that He will use those experiences to build their personal testimony. Would I have liked to prevent the pain – you betcha – but I’m seeing how God is ABLE to use it all. Right there with you sister in this stage.
    Blessings and ((hugs)),

    1. Bev — thank you so much for coming over and commenting. We are learning a lot int he season of life –aren’t we? Refiners fire — He is growing us up to look more and more like His son. Many Blessings! xo

  5. Beautifully written as we enjoyed your full week of tears and rejoicing. Yes, there does come a time when we as parents can no longer “rescue” our children as they often launch themselves into life. Prayer is our weapon when our words are not wanted or needed. I too have a problem of speaking out when I should be quiet. You have a blessed family and your training and parenting have produced strong faithful adults. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

    1. Thank you, Hazel. I appreciate the opportunity to share my story with you and your readers. You are absolutely right — prayer is our weapon. It’s the first line of help when we do not know what to do. Thank you for the encouragement. Many Blessings! xoxo

  6. Hello! I’m actually writing a book about exactly this same thing. I love what you said, “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.” What a beautiful insight and wisdom! Thank you for sharing! And, happy, almost, um, 40th birthday? 🙂

    1. Leah — Thanks for the birthday wishes –Lol! 🙂 I spent a lot of years trying to please others and be in “their will” instead of God’s. It wasn’t until I figured that out, I was able to prioritize HIS will for me. We can do that to our kids if we are not careful. Thanks for stopping by and I wish you all the best with your book! xo

  7. Laura,
    This spoke to my soul so deeply! It has been one of those tough parenting weeks. A non-stop blaze of push/pull questions roaring through my mind. I could highlight so many of your phrases here and give a hearty AMEN! Thank you for this encouragement.For this hope. And thank you for sharing this beautiful message of hope with us at Moments of Hope! Now I’m running off to share this everywhere ‘cuz lots of Mamas just gotta here this! 🙂

    Blessings and smiles,

    1. Lori- Thank you. I appreciate your generosity — really. Sharing is the highest compliment. Thank you so very much. God is good–He connects our hearts over the miles and we discover we are not alone! 🙂 God Bless you and your ministry! I am now a subscriber! xo

  8. Thank you for sharing your heart for God, and your children, and reminding us that children don’t come with an instruction manual; that we’re human…God forgives, our children, however painful…either learn, forget or themselves forgive, and that they too, one day, will realize that we did our best under the circumstances

    1. Cindy, thank you. I have forgotten many times that most of the times I was closest to God when I was a yong person was after I had “messed up” and realized the lesson He was trying to teach me. He draws in close when we are sorry and His grace is what brings us back to Him.

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