It’s a push/pull, this mothering thing. Holding and at the same time, letting go.
We have these babies, these tiny, soft, helpless babies, and we vow to hold them close, keep them safe, and never let the world and all it’s fears and worries and heartaches get too close. We become mama-fierce, like protective she-lions, ready to devour any who try to harm.
And all along, we approve each move toward independence. “She lifted her head!” “He rolled over!” “She sat up!” “Look at him walking-such a big boy!” They grow and each day, each year, we teach them how to do it themselves. We remind her, “You’re a big girl now.” And we hug and hold them close the first time they ride the school bus as we wipe away our mama-tears. And we let them ride. We let them grow.
The seasons and years spin fast and we keep letting go. Letting them do it alone. Letting them make mistakes. Letting them fall and letting them fail. Our hearts want to protect and shield but if we hold too tight, we’ll stunt their growth and hold them back.
If we’re doing it right, we’re raising them to leave. We’re training them to live on their own, cheering them on from the sidelines when they go. And that’s the hardest part.
Because they do go. Because mothering is a journey of letting go.
A holy release made possible only by holding on to the One that matters most.
And you cry and worry and pray as you realize that parenting is only a part of your journey, it’s not your whole life.
As they make their lives, they will like different things.They used to like everything you liked. And they wanted to be just like you. But now, off they go and they are different and their tastes are different. And that’s okay but it’s weird and takes some getting used to. “She used to think this was so cool.” “He used to love doing this.” “Who is this kid???”
If we are doing it right, we raise to release. We love to let go. We let them be who they were created to be.
We send them out into the world and marvel and applaud as they find their way and discover their own lives. We are the foundation and they start there but become so much more as our ceiling becomes their floor.
Like little slippery fish, we catch them, hold them for a moment as the sun glints on their strange, silvery skin, and then we throw them back. If we hold on, they’ll gasp for air, suffocate and stink up our boat. Because they weren’t created to breathe our air, they have to breathe their own.
God gives us these beautiful fish, these shimmering, silver-skinned lives to hold and mold for a season. Then He expects us to give His fish back. To catch and release. To let Him do with their lives what He will.
It’s the toughest part of parenting, this holy, hard giving back. This sacred release into God’s mysterious purpose. We are ‘fishers of men’ in more ways than one.
And we cling to the One who called us. We thank Him for the gift of raising slippery fish as our hands get ready to let them go into all the world, the deep ocean of His purpose.
And we breathe. And we pray.
And we release…..