It happens so slowly. Slow motion changes in time. Faded blips on the radar. A beginning of the freefall into letting go.
It looks like a baby’s first step, then a first word, and eventually your child is walking into Kindergarten. The beginning is a gentle tug of war between parents and child. A pulling away toward independence, but a stronger pull back by the parents. The journey of letting go, from here to there, happens so subtly that one day you wake up and the tug of war has now shifted in favor of your child.
While my sons were growing up, day to day routines consumed me. Their growing independence was lost on me as I worked to manage the necessities. I was lost in my life to the point that the growth from here to there was like jumping into a pool at the beginning of summer – feelings of shock, disbelief and a desire to get out as quick as I jumped in, assaulted me on all sides. Letting go of my sons had me kicking and screaming.
I wish I could reassure you young parents that you won’t wake up one day and see that your life has gone from zero to fifty in the blink of an eye. I want to tell you to enjoy each phase your child experiences from baby to adulthood. I look at my own journey and act surprised that my toddlers are now grown men. If I pause and let the snapshots of my sons flash through my mind, I can see the change on an intellectual level. But my heart is still waiting to catch up to what I know to be true of letting go.
[Tweet “Letting go is normal, forward progress. The release takes us to a place of accepting our future.”]
I am learning that letting go is a normal part of moving forward. It does not happen over night and is a lifelong process. I want to stop you all here, because inside I am saying “but what about my heart?” God has the answer. As I try to analyze this shift from young sons to grown men, God gently leans in and says “I am still here. Let me walk this new normal with you.”
How will we recognize we are not in this alone? When the shock of letting go begins to wear off, what helps us to move forward?
This reminds me of the story from Luke 24- the road to Emmaus. It begins like this…
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
It took until dinner that night when they arrived in the village and invited the stranger to eat with them, that recognition finally came. Along the way, the two apostles were discussing the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection not realizing that the stranger accompanying them was Jesus. The blinders covered their eyes because their hearts were not open to receiving the gift that was right by their side.
This story illustrates my own story of letting go. Until I take off the blinders and open my heart to the journey God is taking me on, I am standing still while everyone else is moving. God is calling me to move forward. Remaining stagnant and oblivious is a choice that keeps the blinders on.
I have a lot of catching up to do. My little boys embraced a life of moving forward. As I watch them take flight, I can learn a thing or two.
- Letting go is an amazing chance to embrace new beginnings.
- It is hard for the moment, but the release takes us to a place of accepting God’s future.
- And letting go is normal, forward progress that we all experience.
Let us each walk our road to Emmaus with our eyes wide open and our hearts open and inviting. May God fill us with peace for the journey, hope for the future and grace to let go even when it is hard.
Click here to catch up on part one of the mini series on letting go.
Journeying with you all from here to there,
Linking up with these beautiful ladies!
and Dawn for Grace Moments
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After so many years of loving, disciplining, caring, actually pouring our whole life into them it feels like the ripping of flesh we have to part with them. All those years of raising them only to see them take on life without us…yep, ,ripping of flesh. I am remembering those the anxiety times when my kids were little and they were afraid to not have me in their sight. But we coach them into not fearing, wanting them to be brave and confident we will always be there for them. Soon they take off and you can see it in their little eyes, independence..yes, I can explore, do things for myself, test my courage. Then they leave home, and our courage is tested to let go….we must act upon all we have taught them through their growing up so they will want to still be around us when we are old. I loved my mother but she was so fear oriented that she still wanted to control me as I faced my own adult life. I find myself falling into that trap sometimes. This parenting business holds so many lesson on so many different levels and in every season of it. Learning to trust on a daily bases is not an age related issue, it’s a heart issue and we face it at every turn of events. This was a great post, encouraged my heart.
You encouraged me with your wisdom and understanding. Letting go is a heart issue for me more than anything else. I wear my emotions on my sleeve too often. God is always teaching me in this area. I have a sense of peace in the process of letting go because I have God and he is amazing at keeping me grounded. I just find that even though I know my sons are ready and have been prepared well, it causes me to face new beginnings that I am not sure I am ready for. Thank you for reassuring me, for understanding and walking this journey with me. Your presence here blessed me today.
I love the picture of your sons. It is scary how quickly time seems to pass. Great reminder that God is with us on the journey, even when it’s difficult or not as we hoped, or it feels like things are just changing too fast. I love that he walks alongside us, but we do have to take the blinders off sometimes in order to recognise that.
My sons are cuties for sure!!! I am reminding myself that this journey is never without God even when we have difficulty seeing past whatever is overwhelming us at the moment. I pray we both are able to focus clearly on God and trust that His ways are always good. Thank you for being here, Carly! I love the insight you add to the conversation.
I don’t have children, but I can only believe that there are blessings that come with each change, each new stage of life – even in the letting go. I believe the purpose of the emptying is largely due to God’s desire to fill us with something new, something better. Usually something as simple and wonderful as Himself. Blessings to you, my friend!
You always bring such wisdom to my space. Thank you for grounding me and pointing me back to WHO really matters. I am agreeing with you that God has a desire to bring me something new and better. Blessings as we approach the weekend.
Beautifully writing. I read the other day that a heart breaking is also a heart opening, otherwise it is closed. We may place things on our heart, yet it is in the breaking that it opens and takes in what has been placed upon it. Maybe in the process of letting go that can also be a grieving time, heart-breaking time, also can open our heart to experience fully all that God has for us. I write this me too!
There is nothing like a “me too” moment. I am experiencing letting go as a time of loss and in that there is grief. But I also know letting go makes space for the next steps that God has planned. Thank you for your insight and for walking along this path with me.
Well, Mary, you know that I relate and resonate with this season of life that you are going through and especially with your grieving over how fast our sons have grown into young men. But I also think there are at least two other exciting adventures waiting for us in this season–our branching out into ministries from our God-given passions and, of course, grandmotherhood! That’s going to be the best! I hope you know I’m praying for you in this changing season. But I’m saying this to you and to me–the best is yet to be! 😉
I love how you pointed out the blessings we have to look forward to-ministry and grandmotherhood. I cannot wait! I love how our lives are similar. You get me and I get you. I am also praying for you in the transition and standing with you knowing the best is yet to be.
Beautiful letting go encouragement! The more we let go, the more we are able to let both hands hold on to God! Blessings to you! Love your wisdom!
YES! In the letting go we make room to grab hold of all the beginnings God has planned for us. Thank you for being here and encouraging me.
My “baby” starts high school this fall, and I love Linda’s word: “seismic”
Thanks for putting all these thoughts and emotions out there, Mary.
Michele-with your baby starting high school, you are achieving quite a milestone. There is always a sense of recognition with the first of things but the same thing dawns bright when it is the last. Evidently my emotions are a bit obvious but with the purpose that others will stop by and be able to say “me too”. Hope your week has been blessed.
Mary, I just drove by our elementary school and realized yet again that this year, I will no longer be driving there every day. In a few weeks, one daughter will be starting middle school and the other will begin high school. I’m nowhere near letting go completely, but the process is ramping up to a new level this year, that’s for sure. After reading your words, I’m reminded that I need to pray for God to open my eyes to He’s doing in and around me. Time is short, and I don’t want to miss a thing!
Amen to praying for clear vision. The passage and transition of our kids from one school to another does hint at what is to come, but the busyness we embrace can keep us from absorbing fully what the next life stage will look like. Your girls are beginning pivotal years in school and I am praying for you as they reach out for independence. May you trust God in each phase to guard your heart and allow you to set them free. Blessings!
Oh, Mary! This is the hardest phase of life I have encountered! And there have been plenty of difficulties in my life and sorrows. But few have torn at the fiber of my being as strongly as letting go of my sons. With God’s grace, lots of prayers from others and their support, I am finding my way toward that path marked “new normal.”
I am so glad that you said it doesn’t happen overnight nor quickly or smoothly for us Moms. It is a gradual process for us while our sons take flight quickly to their new lives, wondering what’s wrong with their mothers. They can’t figure out why we haven’t moved into this new phase of their lives as quickly as they have.
Thank you for this piece that encourages us mothers so we know we aren’t the only ones experiencing this dramatic change in our lives.
Janis- hearing your heart and knowing you are right there with me in the letting go process is reassuring. It does seem like our children take flight and while they are flying away, we are still scratching our heads as to where they went.
I pray we feel encouraged by each other and the journey that we share as moms. Thank you for being here and blessing me with your own encouragement.
Beautiful!! I don’t adapt well to change. It seems strange, foreign, unnatural even, but like you said, God is simply bringing us to our new “normal”. Like a manual transmission…just when we get comfortable going in first gear, the engine revs up and we have to shift into second gear in order for the car to keep traveling forward. Again, and again, we have to keep shifting gears in order to keep the car going forward. Just when we reach “normal” in that gear, it’s time to shift again. I’ve seen this pattern for the 55 years I’ve been on this earth and I get the distinct feeling that God will keep us shifting, changing, and moving forward. So glad to have others, like you, to travel this road with me!!
Your manual transmission analogy is perfect for me. When I first learned to drive a manual car, my dad had the honor of teaching me. It was not pretty! 😉 The lurching, grinding and rolling backward of the manual transmission mirror the same that is happening in my life. I am beyond thrilled to know you are understanding this journey and are right by my side. Blessings!
I’m with you, friend. I’ve found letting go to be a huge challenge, not just in this season, but throughout life. Good-byes, changes, transitions, shifts in daily rhythms tend to leave me disoriented, sad, and strangely unsettled.
Thanks for going there today. Trusting God will recalibrate and recenter you as only He can …
And writing helps. It’s one thing that we take with us, no matter what seismic shifts occur.
Writing is always part of the process as I journey through the unknown or the place where I find healing in the hard. As much as I would like to say I like change and can handle it, I am learning that I am only center in this area when I invite God into the middle.
May we both trust God to recalibrate and recenter as we transition and find our new normal. Sending you hugs!