When I think of creating art, words like messy, beautiful, creative, frustrating, expectation, intentional and unique come to mind.
If you were creating a piece of art, what would you think of? What would your process look like?
This is how I am beginning to view my duty of letting my adult children go well (I want to do this so well). It’s a process that began as early as their elementary school years. But, we are rounding the final corner of this journey here at our home.
We’ve all heard it before, even if you’re not a believer. “Love your neighbor as yourself“.
This passage of scripture is one of the most quoted pieces of the Bible. Ponder it.
Now, step back and filter your children through these words.
“Love (child’s name) as yourself.”
Just like creating a piece of art requires purposeful thinking, letting our children go requires intentional planning.
I love my children fiercely. Achingly. Desperately Blisteringly.
I love them with firmness. Decisiveness. Determination. Purposefully.
If we are loving our neighbors, our children, as ourselves, won’t we love them like this?
With desperation, determination and with purpose. Fiercely and firmly.
It’s a choice we all have to make.
Don’t you want to be loved like that?
Just like creating a piece of art requires constant motion, letting our children go requires continual plodding.
If we love our children with fierceness and firmness can we still give them the freedom to fly or fall?
I say yes.
But this is also a choice. A verb.
To give them the freedom that is.
And it is necessary to their development.
If they fly, they will own it like a rock star! “Look at me! Look what I did!” The self-esteem and confidence that comes with that flying can’t be taken from them. Ever.
If they fall, they will learn. They will self-examine. They will re-examine. They will know next time, and they will OWN the success that comes when they choose differently down the road.
This is how they learn. This is how they mature.
Just like creating a piece of art stirs emotions from deep down in our souls, letting our children go will wreck us with a passion words cannot even describe.
Here is just a glimpse of what I’m learning in this season…
I’m learning how to view my children as adults.
I’m learning that although they respect me, they will make their own decisions.
I’m learning that if they don’t take my advice, it doesn’t mean they’re making a wrong choice.
I’m learning that they need to come to terms with their own faith in God.
I’m learning that that is a process.
I’m learning that although it’s scary to watch, I would rather they own their own faith than to piggy back off of mine.
I’m learning that although I was once physically exhausted from running our household and raising these children, it is sometimes just as mentally exhausting now.
I’m learning that my mom must have kept her mouth shut A LOT when I was a young adult!
I’m learning when to keep my own mouth shut.
I’m learning to be ready to break their fall but still let them feel some of the effects when they trip.
I’m learning if I shelter them or assume responsibility for their negative consequences, they’ll never learn or mature.
I’m learning they were listening even when I didn’t think they were.
I’m learning to encourage and take a step back.
So. Much. Learning.
“Love your neighbor as yourself“
Matthew 22.39b NIV
We can love our children with fierceness and firmness and still give them the freedom to fly or fall.
It’s in the flying that we feel the kiss and approval of our Heavenly Father.
It’s in the falling that we feel His forgiveness, His unconditional love and His grace.
Oh, His beautiful grace…
I want my children to experience that. I want it to be personal for them.
Most importantly, if I love my children as myself, I am going to pray for them. Fiercely and firmly. Daily. Hourly. With passion.
Don’t you want to be prayed for in this way? To have your name called out and laid down at the Father’s feet like this? I sure do.
“Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.”
Moving through this season of life can be hard. Messy. Sometimes stressful. It’s also satisfying. Joyful. A privilege not all are afforded.
It involves purposeful planning, constant plodding, and explosive passion.
I still have a lot to learn. At times I will fly. At times I will fall. That simply means I’ll have even more in common with my children.
It’s all good.
And God is good.
He will guide, teach, comfort, encourage…He honors our efforts to do this well. He loves our children more than we do, so stick close to Him. Gather with friends who are walking through this season. Encourage one another. Share wisdom with one another. Pray for one another.
Like an artist working on a masterpiece, make yourself step back frequently, stand still, and admire what God has already done in the lives of your children.
And thank Him.
He loves that stuff 🙂
Reflect & Respond:
**Have you ever viewed your children as your neighbor? How does it motivate you to let go of them well?
**Ask the Lord to show you how to apply this scripture, the second most important command, into your daily life. He will be faithful to do it.