Why Raising Children Is Really About Letting Go

May 3, 2013 | Faith, Parenting

Today I’m posting an article at Not Alone Mom on the process of releasing our children.  Last year at this time, I wrote the following post as my daughter came home from college only to turn around to leave for Guatemala for the summer. I knew in my heart it would be a life-changing experience for her.  A deal-maker or a deal-breaker for this girl who told me since she was 17 that she was called to be a missionary.

releasing and letting goKaylee went on a mission trip to Mexico her Junior year in high school.  She spent Christmas Day of 2008 in an orphanage. In scholarship applications she wrote her senior year, she explained her passion to work with children in orphanages.  She devoured biographies of missionaries, beginning with Jim Elliot, who impacted her life.

Much to my dismay, I realized she was serious, God was serious, and I needed to let go of the plans I had for my firstborn, because He has a call on her life.

I’ve asked her to share her experience in my Inspiring Stories series I will post this weekend. I knew when I put my girl on the plane last May, she wouldn’t return the same. It’s true.  She returned to Zacapa in Decemeber and more than likely will be returning for three months next spring for her internship.  Please join me tomorrow morning as I post her story, “Loving the Kids.” 

In the meantime, here’s my story from last May, from a mom’s perspective, reposted from my former blog.

Good-bye is a Four Letter Word

Just in time to say good-bye.  

That’s how much time we’ll have, my daughter and I, as she returns from college this week only to turn back around to leave for Guatemala for the summer.

I’m ready to come home but not ready to say good-bye” she said in a conversation last week.  Those words have weight in them.  She doesn’t like good-byes. Making the good-bye transition with children is a process that never ends. I’m learning, though, when we keep our hands too tightly on our children, we don’t allow them to grow in the ways God desires.

God began teaching me this two years ago when my daughter was considering going to a college three states away.  “Seriously?” I thought.  She has been accepted to a good school here in Indiana. “You don’t know what you’re talking about” is what her wise mom thought.  And just as audible as I could hear, the Lord said to my spirit, “I want to work in her life, but you’re standing in the way.  Back off.In that moment, I knew God was speaking to my daughter, and she was hearing Him. I also knew if she was called to the mission field like she’d been suggesting, going to a school far away would be a stepping stone for her and us.

Why does God have to plan so good?

So, our heart-wrenching-good-bye at the school over the mountain where she knew no one was just a stepping step, the first step, in releasing her to the life God has called her to.

releasing and letting go of childrenStep two of saying good-bye as she’s going to the mountains of Guatemala is equally as challenging. This time, good-bye is another step in a longer good-bye that may, someday, be for good.

With each good-bye, as I watch my child’s faith grow, my own faith has been immeasurably stretched.

How can I argue with a child who’s allowed the King to capture her heart? How can I argue with God about His will for my daughter?

Releasing to let go.  Not easy, but essential.

Yet being mindful of my cousin who lost her own daughter serving in full-time ministry.  The Lord called her home at age 34 just a few months ago. A good-bye never expected.

“I’m ready to come home, but not ready to leave.”

That just about sums up this thing called Life. Longing to be with him, but not quite ready to leave her.

Whatever your good-byes may be this week, may we all rest in the comfort of our Lord and Savior.  Clinging to the good, releasing the rest for His glory.

Please find out the rest of the story, Kaylee’s inspiring story, tomorrow, here at Life Beyond the Picket Fence








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  1. jillberan

    Just read Kaylee’s story and now the tears continue to fall as I read yours! My son is only 10 but he already has a passion for mission work and loves all those books as well! Praying God will prepare me as well and keep me out of the way! Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom!!

  2. Lynette

    Sounds like you are both listening. I hope when my kids get older to make decisions I can listen and offer such encouragement to them.

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