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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Letting Your Child Go

When I create a new project I love seeing it on display.  My chalkboard drawings, freshly sewn curtains, a seasonal wreath or a homemade loaf of bread...it doesn't matter.  It's fun seeing it fulfill the purpose for which it was made.  I'd never dream of taking my new chalkboard and sliding it under the coach!  It sits on my fireplace mantle so it can embellish the rest of the living room!



If you're a parent you have probably heard many, many times about the necessity to train your child. You're creating a life that God wants to save and then use.  You must train them in God's ways; you need to bring them up in with a biblical view.  There's also the importance of teaching them how to act, respond and speak.  They need guidance about relationships, table manners, common courtesies, and decorum.  Decision-making is also huge.  Every single day as a parent you're molding this life for the purpose for which they were created.

But you know what?

I think most Christian parents who attend a sound Bible-preaching church understand what they must be doing right now.

I believe the problem often comes when it's time to release them and let them go.  Parents want to hang on...and on...and on.  Rather than letting them go and seeing them "on display," if you will, for God's glory, they're full of fear and so they do all they can to keep them close.

Sadly, many mothers, especially, hang on.  I hear many moms mourning the loss of their "babies" (now in their 20's or better).  I hear them talk more about their children than they do their husband.  I see them keeping the circle very tight, now allowing their grown adult children to soar into new adventures.   The reasons?  Perhaps...

  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of not being needed
  • Fear of being neglected as an important person in the child's  life
  • Fear of being replaced
  • Fear that the child isn't ready
  • Fear of change in this new season of life
  • Fear of the reality of her marriage
We are doing our children a great disservice when we don't take our grip off of them and allow them to follow God's leading in their lives.  We can still direct and guide them in their decision-making, but they need to be encouraged to go.  If we hang onto them we will only pass along our fears into their hearts and hinder them from watching God change them as they trust Him for their life.

Let's think about the blessing of some biblical mothers who let their children go:
There's Moses' mother, Jochebed, who had to let Moses go to Egypt so that his life would be protected and God could raise him up as a leader of Israel.  Hannah released Samuel to serve in the temple when he was a young lad.  David, the shepherd boy was allowed to work in the field and had to do manly tasks - including fighting a giant!  The three Hebrew boys who were thrown into the fiery furnace were separated from their parents and knew how to respond.  These are just a few mothers who give us good examples to remind us that we can trust our children into God's hands, and I doubt that any of us will have to make the kind of early sacrifice many of them had to make!

Now then, how can we prepare ourselves for letting go?
  1. Create a daily on-going time of prayer for your child and commit them to God's care.  As you learn to trust a sovereign God, you will be more apt to let go.
  2. Begin to let go when your child is growing up - allow them to:
    1. Go to church activities for their age - Sunday school parties, youth group outings, etc.
    2. Send them to a great Christian camp in the summer.  Some camps even have a little weekend camp for junior campers.  This gets them warmed up to the idea of being away in the summertime without Mom and Dad!
    3. Allow your teen to work a job. Chick-Fil-A is a great place for teens to work.  There's a high work ethic, and high standards and responsibility  are expected!  Perhaps they could clean houses or babysit for people with whom you are familiar.
    4. Get your children involved in public outings like story-time at the library when they're little, running a 5K, volunteering at the hospital.
  3. Be sure to stay connected with your husband and build a great marriage while your children are home.  Give yourself something to look forward to when the children are gone.  The Empty Nest should be something to look forward to, not dread!
Can I lovingly encourage you to pray daily that the Lord will help you know when it's time to let your child go?  He has a great plan for them!  Build into their heart an excitement to go do whatever God has called them to do!  Then take your hands off and trust them in the greater hands of a Sovereign Creator Who can do more for them than even their mother could!

With love,


4 comments:

Christa Threlfall said...

These are really helpful tips. Thanks for stressing the importance of trusting God with our kids at all stages of their/our lives, not just magically expecting it to happen when they turn 18. If I'm not trusting Him now, chances are I won't be trusting Him in the future.

Denise said...

You hit it right on the head, Christa! It needs to happen all through the child's life.

Dianne said...

Great post, Denise.

Denise said...

Thanks, Dianne.