Have you ever tried letting go of something but at the same time all you wanted was to hold on? I think back to high school and the times I visited the local amusement park, which had a few daunting roller coasters. At that time, I would ride several of the coasters, but you would never classify me as a thrill seeker. I remember vividly that when riding this one particular wooden coaster, the brave riders would always raise their hands as the coaster flew down the hills. I also remember I wanted to be one of those brave riders. I wanted to feel safe and hold on, but at the same time reach for the sky as we flew down the hills. Eventually, I learned the twists and turns of the coaster and bravely raised my arms up high knowing that in a split second I could grab hold of the bar if needed. Holding on and letting go need each other, but the two do not get along at the same time.
Being in a season of letting go has come with its ups and downs much like the ride on a roller coaster. Lessons are learned the hard way and sometimes with much kicking and screaming (at least on the inside). As much as I want to let go, I watch the passing of time fly by and something kicks in that has me holding on instead.
Letting go shouldn’t be so hard, should it?
Letting go of an aging parent
Letting go when a child graduates from college and then graduates with his Masters
Letting go of a son when he gets married
Letting go of a season of working full time to a time of retirement
Each one closes the chapter on a gift of time, a blessing of love, a season of challenges and the unfolding of God’s good and perfect plan. Letting go is God’s way of keeping our feet on the path that He has chosen for us. It is the gift of knowing that with each step forward we are closer to where He wants us to be. Choosing to hold on interrupts the natural flow of our lives and detours our path into areas unknown.
This weekend as I watch my son graduate again – this time with his Masters in Biblical Studies – all I want is to pause time and grab the little boy’s hand who stole my heart so long ago. But instead I look on proudly knowing that his heart for God will take him on a new path that is moving forward. I can choose to move forward with him or stay behind. I know that letting go moves me closer to my goal and allows him to take steps toward his own.
[Tweet “We can choose to move forward or stay behind-hold on or let go-which will you do?”]
Striving for Christ requires us to listen well, open our hearts to His love and then set it free so others may experience it too. What will your choice be?
I pray the truth in these words from Philippians blesses you as much as me whether you are in a season of letting go or one that requires you to hold on tight.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14
Blessings of grace along the way!
Linking with Lisha @Give Me Grace
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Mary, I can so identify with your words and with the pain of letting go. Life can seem like a series of loosing, can’t it? Yet each time we let go our tight grip on a loved one or a situation, God steps in and holds them all so lovingly and openly. Everything becomes free to become all He intended it to be. I hear your heart and ache for you. But I also pray that any perceived gap will be filled to overflowing as you watch and see what God will do in the releasing.
You reminded me of a poem I wrote when my youngest son left home to go to university for the first time. I hope you don’t mind me including it here:
“Love held him tight
as hand clasped hand;
I would not let him go
I was the voice of reason, wisdom,
watching my seed grow
Yet time marched on
and loosed the bond,
slowly gathering pace
He strained for independence,
to run in his own race
Now, still the rock
on which he leans
Crumbling, yet holding fast;
my son grows wise
for future years,
while I cling to the past”
Now he’s a mature married man with a beautiful family and a wonderful job helping to educate young lives. Good things come to those who walk before God with open hands and receptive hearts. Stay in hope, friend. May God give you peace as you rest in Him. Xx <3
What a beautiful poem. I don’t mind at all that you shared it. Thank you for understanding. Your words bring me comfort and peace. I imagine in the process of letting go that not only will my son and wife grow as God intended but I will too.
Your words never fail to encourage. Thank you for the gift of your friendship.
Mary, I’m so sorry there is so much letting go in your life lately. Not just the letting go of your sons but of the teaching lifestyle you had for so many years. And then you have the stress of being a caregiver of your dad, too. I pray the Lord will give you strength and guidance. This part of the verse especially touches me – “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Christ took hold of us and He will never let us go. He has your sons, your dad, and your life in His hands, too.
That doesn’t mean it will be easy though, right? I watched another granddaughter graduate from high school yesterday. There are such mixed feelings. I’m so proud of her, but I feel so nostalgic of those little girl days. And fear is mixed in, too, as I think of her in the college world. I have to beg God every day to please watch over my children and grandchildren. It’s so hard sometimes to let go and let God, to release our loved ones and all our lives into His hands. Blessings and hugs to you, Mary!
I know you truly understand what letting go feels like and I am so grateful for you. Sometimes we feel a recurring theme in our lives and right now it seems to be letting go. I know how hard it is but also look forward to the future and what God has in store for all those I am letting go of right now. Your wisdom and encouragement brings me comfort and peace. Thank you for being such a blessing in my life.
I was just thinking of this passage this morning in the context of having to let go of the past so we can reach forward to what God has for us! I am at your stage of life, where letting go seems to become a frequent necessity, yet God still has a future and hope for us to reach toward!
As hard as it is to let go, I realize that what is on the other side will be amazing. I believe there is so much more but even still it doesn’t make the letting go any easier. Thank you for being here Elizabeth.
Mary, I’ve had to let go of control, and a dream or two. Never easy. But in the letting go I gained great contentment with much joy. God always has a plan and sometimes we have to be free from any hindrance in order to obey. Yes, Lord!
I am nodding my head in agreement with you Susan! I need to release everything to God to make space for dreams He has already dreamed for me. Letting go is hard but I know that it will reap rich rewards. Blessed by your wisdom!
Letting go is so hard! But you’re right…it is so much a part of life.
Life changes as our seasons change but it doesn’t make it any easier. Praying we all can learn to let go to make room for all God has planned next.
So much to think about today, Mary, and I’m walking a tightrope in the hang on/let go universe. You’re there too. We so need wisdom to know how protective to be of parents who are diminishing while being more hands-off with sons who are needing more independence and freedom to make their own mistakes.
Thanks be to God for His loving discernment and the truth of Paul’s words that you shared.
I have heard it described that we are in the sandwich generation and it is true. But as I am looking ahead to what’s next it is still difficult to let go of what was so familiar as my kids were growing up. My identity as a mom, daughter and friend has changed and most of it dramatically in the last year. I will be praying for you as we walk this familiar yet unfamiliar path in our lives.
I’m thinking of another Mary who had to let go of her beloved Jesus. “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended.” I’m so thankful that the now ascended King will never say those words to us. We can cling to Him, and remain in Him, while navigating the difficult processes of letting go in this lifetime. Dear Mary, you’ve been letting go of many things lately. I pray that the blessings that come from letting go will fill the empty places left behind. Blessings, my friend.
Thank you for knowing me and hearing my heart. Letting go has been a recurring theme and one that I am not always sure what to think of. Your reference to Mary the mother of Jesus is very comforting. Through it all she never once lost the presence of her son in her life. He is always there for us too. Your words truly blessed me today. Thank you friend!
It is well friend. Letting go doesn’t mean you are losing the person ?I like what you said…you have a choice to move forward with your son…
May God grant you all the grace and strength need in Jesus Name.
God bless you
Your sweet words bless me today, Ifeoma. Experiencing all of these life changes has really brought all the things I am letting go to the forefront. You are right that I am not letting go of who I am or supposed to be but instead my life is being reframed into the plan that God has already mapped out for me. Thank you for being here and praying for me.
Interesting that you posted about letting go of the past and pressing on forward (which we all need to do), and I wrote about how looking back can propel us forward…just kind of interesting. Regardless, all the “faith steps” we’ve taken in the past and all the ones we will take in the future require letting go of our firm grip on what we know. Stepping into the unknown takes real courage and faith. Praying you forward, sweet friend, as you walk patiently through what God has in store…
Blessings and ((hugs)),
Moving forward does require courage even when the letting go of the familiar is so hard. I imagine that I need to read your words because God has more for me to learn. That is usually what happens. I am praying you forward too friend. We are in a season of learning to look ahead but not sure we want to let go of the past.