No one ever tells us the whole scoop on motherhood. Or they do, but we are so starry eyed from the new life in front of us that we just don’t pay any attention to what’s being said. We look forward to all of the good things; the love and hugs and kisses, playing games of peek-a-boo behind a soft pink blanket, eating ice cream cones on the pier down by the lake. We even expect some of the bad; sleepless nights, messy diapers, temper tantrums in the middle of Walmart.
But growing up? Making their own decisions and following their own path? When was that ever a part of the deal? I don’t remember signing up for that one! They were supposed to stay my little girls forever, right?
Now, I was a teenage girl at one point in my life and I do remember what it looked like. All you see is this bright shining light of freedom beckoning you from the horizon. And you just want to get there as fast as you can. However, looking at it from the other end of the spectrum, from the parent’s point of view, it looks completely different. That light and freedom looks downright scary! All I want is to hold her back, tell her to slow down and take her time. There’s no rush to grow up!
But grow up they must. And we have no choice but to learn to let them all go at some point.
Mid-January, around 10:30 p.m., (you know, when the roads are slick from the drizzle of sleeting rain) my 18 year old daughter sent me this text message:
My initial reaction was the same as any mother’s would be, I’m sure. I bolted out of bed and rushed out my bedroom door to catch my daughter before she left so I could at least talk to her. But looking out the living room window…her Jeep was already gone. She made the decision without me. Ouch!
At this point I had two choices. I could get really mad over the fact that I’m not in charge anymore and take all of that anger out on my daughter. Or I could come to terms with the fact that my daughter is growing up and making her own choices. She’s learning to listen to the voice inside of herself (yep, the Holy Spirit), and to follow where He’s telling her to go. Even when it does cross paths with those you love. As difficult as it was for me, I knew what the right choice was.
As much as I want to hold her and keep her safe, that’s not the path that God wants for my daughter, or your daughter or son. Though the path I lead her on would keep her safe and warm with lots of hot chocolate and floating marshmallows, there’s not much life on that path. Now, the path the Holy Spirit leads her on may be dangerous, it may lead her to some dark places that have little hope. But isn’t that why He sends us there in the first place? Because they are so dark and they do so desperately need His light, and that is exactly what we bring to that darkness! That’s what my daughter is bringing to the darkness, what your daughter and your son is called into the darkness for.
A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched. – John 1:5
And that is the path that will lead her to Life. I just need to learn to let go and let her find that path. I can’t lead her there, only the Holy Spirit can lead her to the right path for her. But, I can find peace in knowing that He is the one leading her and the hands that are holding her now are much safer than any mother’s hands could ever be.††