Letting go is both a beautiful and a bittersweet process . I still haven’t quite got the hang of it, and my gut tells me I never will.
Today my daughter and I noticed she had outgrown her size 6T shoes. We went through all her shoes and tried them on, and to her delight, and my demise, her foot had grown a full size in what seems to me like a week.
She was quite tickled because she now fits into a pair of bedazzled Skechers she has been dying to wear since the moment I bought them at Goodwill for $3.99. I, on the other hand, sat with my legs folded on her bedroom floor looking at her adorable soft pink Velcro-strapped Converse I felt like she wore a handful of times.
One of the internal struggles I have as a Momma is worry. My husband, on the other hand, does not operate as much out of this poor parenting perspective. He wants to see Lil capable. While I wince as she runs all wild-like on cement, he is hooting at her to “Keep at it, baby!” When she falls, he is there immediately to tell her how proud he was of her to take a chance. My heart aches and a part of me just wants to protect her from pain.
Even though I know it isn’t good for her.
I call it the “art” of letting go, because I believe there is no formula for the sorrow and joy that comes with watching our little ones grow up into such a big, often scary, world. There is nothing that truly numbs the process… one day the children we love will be adults. I never want to look back and see myself actively hold my daughter back, cling to her for my own selfish needs, or avoid the daunting task of parenting altogether by not being there for her in the important moments of life.
Being a Momma is a blessing. I learn so many things through Lillian. My heart is stretched and pulled in ways I never imagined. I get angry, often, and need to ask God for patience. Or exhaustion sets in, and I just want a break. My mind wanders to a giant bed in a quiet hotel room and a full eight hours of sleep in which NO ONE will kick me in the head or ask for a glass of water. I understand why so many moms give up or struggle. It is not easy, even with all the resources I have. But the blessing of my daughter outweighs any burden. Her laughter as she drops her head back in excitement as we tickle her. Holding her tight as she gets a shot at the doctor office, and wiping her tears from her eyes. It is painfully wonderful.
Psalms 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Being a Momma takes responsibility. It is my great task to raise my daughter to go into the world, live a healthy and hopefully long life, and make good choices. Not an easy task! I know I cannot guarantee how she turns out, but I should strive to do my best to guide her into life and not hold her back. Operating out of fear to protect her from disappointments or failures will hurt her more than help her.
Ultimately, my deepest desire is that Lil would believe in Jesus. He redeemed my heart and found a really lost and pitiful sheep. I wish I could have walked more of my days knowing God, but I also know that this was his perfect plan and journey for me. As I turn more to God for my comfort and joy, through his Word, I see that his grace is not given in the “things of this world”, but in knowing him and doing his will.
Matthew 18:12-14 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
I find comfort in letting go of Lil to this world because I truly believe God loves her more than me, and is even more interested in her soul than I am, although that feels completely unnatural. I find great comfort and joy in the hope that God would reach into her life and cause her heart to see beyond the temporal things of this world and to bigger things and needs, first, her own need for Jesus.
Psalms 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
She’s been weaned, and has taken her first steps. She has mastered using a fork and a spoon. She sleeps in her own bed. She can talk. Soon she will be riding a bike, writing, reading, and will have no problem leaving Mom and Dad. She will have her first sleepover, perhaps make her first team sport or get cut from the team, and get her first crush. She will drive, someday, get her first job, have her first date, and even maybe take her first steps as a new wife. I am sure I will spend many nights waiting up for her, wondering if she is ok, praying she gets home safe. I hope to be there for each moment, even if through tears, encouraging her to go even if all I want to do is hold on a little more. I hope she sees a Mom that is smiling, proud, and hopeful for her. I hope she feels loving strength from me and knows that I will always be there if she needs me, but I also hope she learns to trust and depend on God more than me. She needs me to gently guide her into the life God has willed for her. I trust his will is perfect, and the journey he has for her is exactly what she needs. Woe to me if I try and get in the way of that.
I just love her so much and have such a hard time letting go sometimes. Am I the only one? How do you other Mom’s stay encouraged?