Handing Over the Keys

6:27 PMHeather

Monday night, I couldn't sleep.  At all.  For hours.  And hours.  So my usual tendency on my children's birthdays to replay all the events surrounding their births was on overdrive, in the quiet and still of a very long night.

And I have been rather conflicted this week.  As my first born turned 16 yesterday.  I am ecstatic and elated and thankful for the years of being his mom and the gift he has been to us.  I am proud of the young man he has become.  I am humbled at my obsessive first mom self who tended to overanalyze and honestly freak out at things that now have no bearing.  I am awed by God's faithfulness to us, through this guy. And I am sad and confused about how we got here, in the blink of an eye.

It's like his whole life flashed before me Monday night.  And then, as the night dragged along, my own life went on rewind.

I was remembering my own sixteenth birthday.  Honestly, it was one of the most fabulous ones ever.  My parents surprised me with a television for my room.  Woo hoo!  Hours of music videos on MTV, baby.  And my dad baked my birthday cake and decorated it for me.  After gifts and cards and seeing the cake and getting ready for school, I walked outside. I was shocked to see the 1983 Ford EXP that my dad had gone to look at for me.  We didn't have a lot of money.  But somehow, my parents had pulled it off.  I can vividly remember driving with my dad to school in that two-seater car, eager to show it to all my friends.  Dad allowed me time to let my friends fawn over it before he drove it on to work. And later that day, I got my driver's license.

It feels as though it just happened.  So how is it that my own son passed his driving test this morning?

I've told many of you that when I drive with Collin behind the wheel, it's like that scene from Father of the Bride where Steve Martin sees his daughter as a very young girl while she announces her engagement. 

THIS is my guy.  This tiny, itty bitty baby boy.



So, his tall man-size self with a deep voice still unnerves me a little bit.  But handing him keys to a car feels like nearly too much for me.

I like to be in control.  I've wrestled against the loss of control in parenting since day one.  I'd like to think I've improved somewhat on this over the years.  But allowing my child to drive somewhere without me and without any other adult feels like it might push me over the edge. 

Because God is telling me to trust Him.  To surrender my child to him, yet again.  And to relinquish control.  


But how?  I mean, I was the one who paced the floor with a sick little baby running a high fever.  I was the one who fed and changed and cared for his every need.  See?  He needs me.  I was the one who has prayed and prayed and prayed over various concerns and issues and asked the Lord to pave Collin's way and to help him be a Godly influence and to hunger for God and to choose his narrow way.


And I am the one who is now being called to take a step back.  To trust, not my own parenting attempts, but God's faithfulness.  To loosen the cord and give him space to spread his wings and fly.  To allow him to possibly fall a bit and to soar a lot.  

It's one the most brutiful things I've been called to do.  

To know that God had a plan before time began for my guy.  That just as I painted on his nursery walls, the days for Collin were written in God's book before one of them came to be.  God is not bound by time...he knows what lies ahead.  And he promises to go before Collin and to hem him in from behind. He promises that he has a plan for Collin's future, for his good and to give him a hope. A future for his college and his career and his future spouse and children.  All the big things and all the little things are under God's control.

And just taking God at his word and surrendering my children to him is terribly hard to do.
Yet, there is no better alternative. 

I don't see another way to press on here.  Because my own tendency to worry can take me a million places.  None of them good.  And God says to just hand it over.

To release.  To stand firmly on God's provision not just for me but for my children.

And as I hand my Collin the keys to freedom and independence, I do so knowing that I am handing Collin to God.

And I think God is tenderly reminding me today to recall all the ways that he has shown up.  To remember and take count of all that he has done in these first 16 years.

The first week home when his projectile reflux kicked in and I freaked out.  The first very high fever and illness. The dozens of times when I fretted over his toddler behavior or his eating habits. The playground politics and bullies who punched him.  The venture into school and sports and teams.  The call to advocate for my son and trust my mothering intuition.  The transitions from one elementary school to another and then middle school and high school.  The disappointments that I feared would crush Collin but instead made him stronger.  The efforts put into grades and friendships.  The journeys of release, first to public school and then to things like sleepovers with trusted friends and overnight camps.

All of it.  In every season, in every moment, a million times over, I must admit that God had it well in hand.

Not to say that it's all been easy.  But to remember that nothing can take Collin out of God's reach. 

So tonight when my sons pulled out of the driveway to head to youth group--alone, with no parentals-- I felt stunned. I am happy and sad and elated and grieved and overcome.

And called, beyond the shadow of a doubt, to remember that as I hand the keys over to Collin, I am handing Collin over to God. 

I am taking all my crazy mama worries once again to my Heavenly Father and saying, this child is yours first.  Help me trust and obey. No matter what. Help me remember the millions of ways you've been faithful and the millions of ways you will continue to do so. 

Help me to see this new season not as a sad one for me, but as an exciting one instead.  That I am doing just what I intended to do from day one...working myself out of a job.  Having given the task my best, in all my failed attempts and my successes, to be a mom who shows love and concern and trains and coaches my children. And to always ask God to fill in the gaps.

When my husband and I were earnestly praying for a baby, having suffered a miscarriage, God led me to 1 Samuel 1:20.

So in the course of time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son.

That has been the promise I've stood on since the time Collin was just a dream in our minds.  God is such a God of details.  Because not only was Collin's due date 1/20 (like the verse), but he was born on 1/20.

Today, as I enter a new world of parenting, I think again to Hannah.  Who surrendered and committed her first born son to God's service.

And I know I must follow suit.  

Lord, help me do so.  I do believe, help my unbelief!  Give me strength to let go and wisdom to know when to hold on. And as I give Collin the keys to hit the road alone, may I remember that he is never alone.

Because you go where I can't.




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