One of my favorite songs by Matt Redman is “You Never Let Go.” The chorus goes this way:
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me
I am so glad that He never lets go of me! But I am also glad that He never lets go of my children! Yesterday morning I left my 15 year old at his Civil Air Patrol unit, where he would be traveling with cadets from his unit and other units to Ripley, Minnesota. He is going to be spending eight days there, on an active military base.
My son has never been away from home for more than a couple of days. And even then, it was only by his cousin’s house. Still, I would find myself really missing him when he was gone for even a couple of days. I knew letting him go to this encampment was going to be very difficult for me.
For those who know my family well, you also know the history of my son and the many struggles and challenges we went through with him. At 7 years old he was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. The next few years proved to be very difficult as he battled with this condition and in turn, a sleeping disturbance that eventually required medication. The result of his sleeping disturbance was anxiety and irrational behavior. Throughout those years I homeschooled him and it wasn’t until he entered the 5th grade that I put him into public school.
By the time he entered his middle school years, the tics had disappeared, the sleeping problems ended, he was off medication and his behavior began to calm down. From that point on, I watched a brand new child and now, young man emerge.
Civil Air Patrol has been the best thing that could ever happen to him. He has always been very patriotic (at 9 years old one Memorial Day he walked along the gravesites of veterans at the cemetery brushing dirt off every single little flag he passed), a WWII enthusiast, and intent on having a career in aviation. This has been since he was in the 1st grade. His love for the military has only grown.
It has been a pleasure and joy to see him take part in this program. When he earned his first promotion and I had the privilege to take part in the ceremony by placing his pins on his uniform, it made me so thankful for how far he has come.
To leave him yesterday morning was to leave behind a part of him in a way. I know he cannot possibly come back the same after an experience like he will have. He is going to participate in drills, classes, tank simulators, helicopter simulators, small-arms marksmanship simulators, land navigation courses, orientation flights, marching everywhere he goes, living in the barracks, and the list goes on.
He is really growing up! I cannot believe this is the same young man who at one time would sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” over and over and over again (smile).
Leaving him yesterday wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I knew crying would do him no good. It would only embarrass him. When we got there, the cadets who had already arrived were lined up in formation. My son suddenly looked very serious and I knew this was not the place to bemoan the fact that I was going to miss him very, very much.
It wasn’t until later in the day, toward evening when I began to feel sad. I missed him. I wondered if he was going to be able to sleep. I wondered if he had regretted going or thought it was the best thing in the whole world. No cell phones, so no way to contact him. All I have is the hope that he actually uses the calling card I provided him whenever he gets free time. So it took a while for me to fall asleep.
When I woke up this morning, I wondered what he was doing. I knew he was up at the crack of dawn and had probably already accomplished more than I could even imagine. The sadness set in again.
Letting go is very hard. No matter what stage of life or what event in your child’s life, it can be very difficult to let go. I am so thankful that even as I face those times of letting go, I can know that at the same time, I am also letting God. I am letting God have his way in my child’s life. I am letting God take control. I am letting God work and move and form and shape my child’s life. I don’t have to fear (although that can be a battle) for if my God is for him, than who can be against him?
For me, at this moment in time, I am letting go to not only the experience my son is going through but to the possibility that this could turn into a career move for him. He could end up joining the Air Force. That both excites and frightens me. But I have never, nor will I ever, stand in the way of my child’s dreams if they are what God has for him.
I don’t know what you are facing today. You may be a young mom who is watching your baby suddenly emerge into a more independent toddler. It can be hard to let go of the baby stage. It may be your child is starting middle or high school for the first time. This is a brand new and sometimes worrisome time for parents. It could be that your child is making some choices that you don’t agree with or know are bad for your child. Wow…that is really hard to let go of!
No matter your situation or circumstance, remember that as you let go, you also need to let God work. Loosening the reigns, entrusting your children entirely into His plans, watching your child change…it is all part of letting go. But remember that as you let go, God has His hold on your child. And as Matt Redman reminds us, He will never let go!