It is exciting to see my daughter starting Kindergarten. And my middle child entering Middle School. My oldest has but two more years of High School! Time keeps ticking away, and I only hope that my grip was strong enough to leave a long lasting mark, while I let go a bit more each day. Letting go...
I remember when I couldn't bare to see a bump on my firstborn's knees or arms. I remember how I went out of my way to protect him from the most minor scratch. Actually, I can remember back to the first time I brought him to church with me after he was born. I went into my Sunday School class with him in his baby carrier. He was sleeping. But I remember not wanting to take him to the nursery, even though it was highly recommended. I finally did make my way into the dreaded nursery room.... welcoming ladies, baby still sleeping, tears running down mommy's cheeks, as I walked away. I didn't want to let go. I couldn't trust anyone else with him. It sounds silly now, of course after all of these years. Especially after the many trips to the doctor's office. The allergy issues. The eczema. The immunizations. The stitches. Oh and with Kristian, the trip to the ER for stitches have been more than I want to remember. So much so that I'm looking to write a new version of the "Butterfly Kisses" song. My title will be "Butterfly Stitches", and it will be dedicated to Kristian.
Okay, I realize I'm getting off track. But you know how it is with our kids. We can go on and on sharing the stories... the stories that keep us alive.
It's hard to let go at times. I am learning, though, that whether I realize it or not, I can't always be there. And I can't always be the one to care for them. And I won't always be the one to influence them. In fact, the world and its big "neon signs" do a really nice job at influencing our kids. Wouldn't you agree? I mean everywhere they look, they see the signs. And what exactly do the signs read?.... POPULARITY----SEXUALITY----PROFANITY---SOCIAL---DARING----APPEARANCE----MONEY----BIGGER----BETTER----THINNER----BETTER
And so on and so on. The signs appear from every angle. And it seems these things cut in on what you've been trying to teach them. Sometimes so overtly, that they actually keep them from the things you believe God has for them.
Peers have such great influence on them, as well. It's a natural thing. And acceptance becomes so important. Inner struggles take place and internal questions begin to arise.
And the influences voice their opinions. And our kids are left with tough decisions to make. Which way do I go? What friends do I choose? What do I believe? What do I stand for? Do I even have someting to stand for? Or do I simply go along with the crowd? Were mom and dad's lessons true? Was the Sunday School teacher telling the truth?
Still the word of God says in Galatians 5:7, "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?"
And I want to just tell my kids, "this (your walk with God) is too awesome a thing for you to let anyone or anything trip you up"! I want to protect them. But I have to let go.
I was encouraging my younger son today, after his soccer practice. He was so proud to tell me that he scored 3 goals. And as I patted his back, I said, "That's right, son. Don't hold back. You give it all you got." In other words, "Don't let anyone cut in on you. Stay focused, son."
With tears in my eyes, as I write this now, I think, "if only I could engrain that into his head with everything in life." But I know I can't.
And it's easy to use this verse as a reference of guidance for my kids. I can easily counsel them about not letting anyone or anything get in the way of their walk with God. But the truth of the matter is that I too have been lead astray many times by the influences. In fact, there are times when even our closest friends, brothers and sisters in Christ even, can become a negative influence in our lives. Yes, I said it. Even brothers and sisters in Christ. Indeed, if we are not careful we will allow our walk or race to be interrupted--sidetracked--and/or even destroyed. To the point, that we may find ourselves far away from where we once were with God.
And still God challenges us by saying, "who cut in and kept you from obeying the truth?" ..."who kept you from me?"
As I let go of my kids this fall, and watch them emerge (change), I pray that I may be focused enough in my own race, that I will not allow for any outside influence to hinder my steps. You know why? Because ultimately, I believe my steps will leave imprints for they who follow in my footsteps.
2Cor. 7:1b, "let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."
Hebrews 12:1b, "let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Hebrews 12:13a, "make level paths for your feet..."