Wednesday, May 2, 2012
It's the year I've been dreading for awhile now! I didn't know when it would come! I planned to be excited about it and yet I knew it would be hard. It's that year both of the girls are no longer in school. The year they both make the decision to set up an apartment and establish their own 'homes'!
But this hasn't been how I envisioned it. Perhaps I've been too ideal about it all along. Perhaps I believed they would do it like we did it- though I never really thought they would. They are both their own woman- raised by us- but transformed by their own take on life and on God. Nothing they have done to this point is as we had done it. We had our own choices, they are making theirs.
Maybe it's that it is all happening together- within the same month.
Maybe it's because I never anticipated some of their choices.
Maybe it's because I felt like we had worked through the most difficult things in life already.
Maybe it's because I thought that by the time I got to this point in my own life, that I would have 'figured things out'.
Instead I feel less sure of everything in my life. I feel passionate and yet have little energy to push through it like I used to. Some things are worth fighting for - worth dying for if necessary. Other things I wonder if I hold too tightly. There are things that I used to believe were so important- that I see little value in now, if any. Yet there are things that are important; that are worthy of the time, energy, emotions, heart, soul, mind and strength that it takes to face.
Having lived life, having walked with many people through their crises- let alone experienced my lifetime of my own- has taught me much. But knowing when it's the right time to fight and when it's better to wait- that is still a concept I don't know. And invariably I'm putting on my boxing gloves when I should be kicking off my shoes and sitting for a spell.
And when you are a parent-watching those most precious to you grow and mature and fly on their own- those boundaries get even more confusing and often more intense. When the girls were little, I was overwhelmed with the depth of emotion I felt toward them and the responsibilities of caring for them, raising them, loving them all uniquely. An older couple shared with us that this was the easy stage. "When it comes to letting go so they can take wing, that's when it gets really hard." I understand now.
Don't get me wrong! I want them to soar and thrive in their lives. I pray every day for the professions they might choose and the impact they will have. I pray for the young men in their lives - for their faithful, loving, supportive role they will play for our girls. I pray that their journey in knowing God- who He truly is -would be life changing.
But it is hard to quit parenting in the way we did when they were children. It's a challenge to 'not speak' when everything in you wants to say, 'oh be careful, you're going to fall, stay away from that- it will hurt you!"
So hear I am Lord! Parent me once again on how to parent in this new role that we are in. One of prayer and love, not as teachers or even advisors in many ways, but of support, encouragement, example, listeners. Challengers when we feel we must speak, but even then knowing that it is only that- a challenge. A way of saying, "have you thought about" instead of "do this"! Forgive me for not trusting you to do your work in their lives. Forgive me for not wanting to let them to live and learn and grow as I had to live and learn and grow. For being afraid of the hurt they might feel, or the baggage they might have to carry with them.
Because they will also experience your bigness at times when they least expect it or when they need it most, your forgiveness when they fail and your strength when they feel weak. They must learn to know you in their own stories- not the one I dreamed up for them.
I gave them to you on the day they were born! I gave them to you most everyday since.
I give them to you once again! On the day they officially learn to fly!
Help me let go with grace!