Thursday, September 6, 2012

Letting Go

This past weekend, we went to stay with our only child and her new husband, and take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to have some good quality time with them. It is always so completely enjoyable to be in their home--watching the precious daughter you raised function as a capable adult in the workings of her own home and life is extremely fulfilling.  It was also quite a hoot to observe her and her man with their casual, comfortable love for one another, and to see them just enjoying their life with such humor and grace.  They seem to have already found an easy groove in which to reside, thrive, and abide together in their new life.  I found myself praising God for this and thanking Him, yet again, for bringing a Godly man, who loves our little girl more than himself, into her life.  These are things you can pray for as a mother, but over which you really have little to no control.

I faithfully prayed for Allie to find the right husband with which to spend her life from her ripe old age of two until she got married last November.  I vividly recall beginning a lengthy, detailed (if you can imagine that) prayer journal for her at that time.  Allie had just begun her young "career" as a flower girl for various friends' and family members' weddings, and due to that, she would play "dress up bride" on nearly a daily basis. In fact, sewing her new bridal gowns, veils, and buying those cheap, silk floral bouquets was a common item on my motherly "do list" for nearly a decade.  Having had her right before we went to college (not a recommended path in life, but do-able if you are committed and rely on God daily), Allie was really the only little girl in both our families, as well as amongst our group of college friends, for obvious reasons.  So she was the favored choice for the role of, "flower girl" and, "junior bridesmaid" from ages two to ten.  In fact, she served in that role nine times.  Since she had attended and been a part of so many weddings, she was overly fascinated with the idea of being a bride and finding her own perfect groom one day.  She would talk about it incessantly, wanted to be a bride every year for Halloween (which we cruelly only allowed one time in hopes of getting her off the obsession), and was planning her wedding at age five (and I mean, she was PLANNING it--sketching beautifully detailed weddings gowns that looked like she could have worked at Vogue Pattern Co., and literally lining out every detail)!  As an exceptionally bright child (yes, I am bias, but she actually was--she gets that from her "gifted" father), and having been mostly around adults her entire life, Allie was a rather mature little girl at even age five.  Her vocabulary and reading skills were off the chart, and this intelligence carried over into her role playing as, "wedding planner."  As I reminisce about her skills at listing and discussing the details of a wedding at age five, I smile.  It is pretty hilarious to hear a forty pound, quite opinionated five-year old, say, "Actually, my bridesmaids will wear gowns that are as beautiful as mine--I just don't believe in making bridesmaids look less pretty than the bride, because that is mean and selfish, right Mom?"  I remember thinking this was exceptionally adorable (and quite wise)!  But in all our discussions about weddings, I also recall having some fear and trepidation that my daughter was going to be obsessed with getting married and "having to have a man in her life."  Perhaps that wouldn't work out for her or even be in God's plan, and I worried that her little fairy tale dreams would come crashing down one day.  So I began to pray fervently for my little, "dress-up bride."  I prayed specifically that God would give her the Godly man she would need in her life and that her wedding day would be a compilation of all she ever dreamed (and that we would be able to afford all the big ideas she had at such a young age)!  But seriously, I was concerned.  Though it was genuinely precious that she adamantly assumed at age two that she would find a man "just like daddy" to marry someday, I was fearful that it might not happen.  When fear takes over you as a mother, you begin to pray.  Fear can be a good catalyst for prayer, though we are told repeatedly by Christ to never be fearful.  But as long as we turn it for good, it can be an effective motivator for sure.

So I prayed.  I even prayed specifically that the family raising this young man would love Allie as if she were their own blood.  I prayed for God's protection over Allie and her future little man--that God would shelter them both from loose, seductive people, and would give them each a heart to live a pure, devoted life for Christ and for their future spouses (because what parent desires STDs for their darling daughter?)!  I even prayed that God would create a special bond for us with our future son and his family--that we would all be unified in Christ and feel totally comfortable with one another, as if we were one family.  I also prayed that Allie's future husband would be all that she isn't--so that they could compensate for one another's weak areas (as Matt and I do so well, praise God).  I prayed she would find someone like her daddy, as she would constantly declare she wanted (she even asked once if she could marry her daddy someday--sadly, I had to tell her, "no," that I'd kind of beat her to it)!  I had to agree with her desire for it though--he is wonderful!  Even at age two, I concurred that she needed to find a carbon copy (sharp cookie, she was).

Nothing pleases me more than to say that God is so faithful when we pray ceaselessly about something.  I lifted up to Him my sincere concerns and wishes for my little girl, and He was faithful to answer the call on EVERY SINGLE SPECIFIC PRAYER ITEM that I prayed for her.   He not only provided Allie with her dream wedding (which she verbatim told us it was, and for which she thanked us numerous times on her wedding day), but he blessed her with a man who is pretty much just like her daddy--maybe even better for her (sorry, honey)!  God didn't stop there.  We not only have a special bond with our son-in-law, but we absolutely adore his family and spending time with them.  They are truly delightful people--just so genuinely easy and enjoyable with whom to spend time.  They are a wonderful Christian family to boot, and his mother and I have so very much in common--we even both had kiddos very young in life.  I seriously cannot think of one area in which God didn't provide and answer this fearful mother's prayers.  In reading back through that old prayer journal of mine, it is seriously amazing how completely lavish God was in His response to my concerns.  Allie will always be our little girl--and I have new prayer items for her in my current prayer journal.  I will always have a list for God with regard to my little girl's life.  But she has turned into a woman of God and is a great wife for her adoring husband, Kale.  God is so good.  He hears our prayers and He loves our kids more than we do.  When we ask Him things that are in line with His character and wishes, He responds.

Spending the weekend in my daughter's home reminded me of the person she is, all on her own, in Christ.  It reminded me of all I had to let go.  First, I had to let go of my early fears that Allie's dreams for her life wouldn't come true or would go up in flames.  I had to let go of the worry that she wouldn't find the right person for her life or that she would end up with a loser husband who would break her heart.  I had to let go of the anxiety that maybe Matt and I weren't smart enough to know how to raise her properly so that she would make the right choices in her life.  Last, I had to let her go.  It is a hard thing to do, but once you give it all over to God, and realize you really have no control over any of it anyway, there is a freedom and a trust there unlike any other.  God is trustworthy.  We are really just stewards of our kids--in actuality, they belong to God, the Father of us all.  They are on loan to us.  When we do our best daily for them, all the while placing them in His hands, only then are we putting our beloved children in a sound spot.  He is the best, ultimate guardian for them and their lives, period.

So my verses for today's topic are these:  1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."  And, Psalms 55:22, "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you;  He will never let the righteous fall."  Essentially, these verses are commanding us to do one thing--PRAY.  Besides seeking and working to do my best for my daughter, prayer is really the only source of strength and power I had as a mom.  Just as the old saying goes, "Let go and let God."