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Sending Your Child Far from Home

12:57 PMHeather

51 days, but who's counting.

I am, of course!

Look, this isn't my first rodeo when it comes to launching a son from the nest. Two years ago at about this time of year, we took our oldest son to college. 

I'm not going to lie. For his entire senior year, I felt a melancholy deep down. It was like watching my life pass me before me when he walked the stage to get his high school diploma. My mind raced back through his infancy, toddlerhood, and school years.

To be honest, much of my angst his senior year was the glaring truth of what was to come. His leaving was the first domino, and I knew that quickly, I would be sending his younger siblings off as well. It felt like the beginning of an end.

Yet, I have learned one important thing since Collin left for college.

When our children leave our nest, it's actually a beginning. It's the beginning of the rest of our lives when we can enjoy our adult children.  Not only does he still seek my advice and need my help, but he does it on his own bidding now. 

Yes, I had to move from coaching to consultant. But the relationship we are building is far more than I could have imagined.

I’ve tucked these unexpected “wins” into my mama’s heart to embolden me as my second son prepares to leave the nest. We’ve known from the day he was born, barely requiring one push to enter the world, that this was a child with such an independence that parenting would require a new skill set.

I knew early on that he loved adventures and has deep emotions, big dreams, and incredible initiative. God so sweetly has prepared me with a certainty that I would have to release Cooper to the enormity and distance of wherever he felt led to go. It wasn’t a surprise when he only applied to out-of-state colleges.

But, in 51 days I will drive him to the airport, hug his neck, and summon the courage to tell him he has what it takes, and I can’t wait to watch him soar. Then, he will be gone for five months with Youth With A Mission, from Hawaii to a medical ship all over the Pacific. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

It’s a different releasing than a son who is an easy drive from home.

With this reality upon me, I found myself reading the familiar story of David and Goliath. Seeing new treasure, I found what my soul needed, right there in 1 Samuel 17, verses 17 – 20. 

…See how your brothers are and bring some
assurance from them. They are with Saul
and all the men of Israel in the Valley of
Elah, fighting against the Philistines.
Early the next morning David left the flock
with a shepherd, loaded up and set out,
as Jesse had directed.
1 Samuel 17:18b – 20a

I had never realized what had to come before David could be divinely positioned to obey the Lord’s call.

Being used by the Almighty God to accomplish big things required that David be released far from home.  

My geeky mind began to ask questions, so I did some research to more fully understand what this releasing entailed.

Scholars believe that David was 15 – 17 years of age when he killed Goliath, based on calculating the ages of his older brothers. Additionally, the route from David’s hometown of Bethlehem to the Valley of Elah, where the Israeli army was camped, is approximately 42.75 miles. 

Consider this journey on foot in ancient times, with no highways, by a teenager. Would you tell your youngest child to go walk 42.75 miles into a battleground, through rough terrain, to check on his siblings and then come back home with a report of good news?

Jesse, motivated by concern for his other sons, never could have fathomed that David would come back with news of victory in a battle he himself fought using a slingshot against a giant with a sword.

But, before the historic victory, before the divinely appointed call for obedience, before the enemies were silenced and the giant was killed, a parent had to send his son from home, releasing him to whatever might come.

These are the facts where I will tether myself over the next 51 days, and thereafter.

I will remember that God has a bigger plan and he is the Father who loves him even more than I do. He is the Almighty One who will use my son for providential purposes that I cannot even begin to dream of, and it requires me to send him off.

This is what we mothers do. We love till it hurts, care for them until we are exhausted, cheer them on endlessly, and then we love them by releasing them to whatever faraway places they feel called to go.

After the launching, we sit back and prayerfully watch, waiting as a distant spectator to see what giants our children might slay on the paths that their Heavenly Father has for them.

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