I am a mom. Moms worry. We protect. We nurture. It’s just what we do. From the moment you know there is a baby inside of you, or you get word your baby is coming to you, your heart begins to grow. When you see those eyes for the first time, and hear that first cry your heart explodes with love. You cannot stop it. The expansion is more than you could believe just moments before. It is the most beautiful moment. Words do not do it justice. With each child I thought my heart cannot possibly love more, but then the capacity of my heart grew and more love flooded me. With the love comes a passionate desire to protect this baby at all costs. Instantly, you know you would die for this infant. Whatever it took, you would do it to assure that the child is protected. Without hesitation. Step in front of a bullet, or a moving vehicle…no matter what danger it involved, you would do it. The bond is that powerful.
So now, my kids are grown and I am supposed to just throw that to the side and let them go. Let them make their own choices, and let them expose themselves to dangers both seen and unseen. I can tell you I am struggling with this. My instinct is to shield them from pain and danger. I want to run in and throw myself between them and the storms of life. I realize this is not possible, and that it is even not appropriate at their ages. I have wrestled with this a significant amount…trying to cut my heart free from protect and rescue mode.
There is a Typhoon headed to India, where a significant part of my heart is currently living. What I have determined, as I once again wrestle with the urge to somehow single handedly stop this storm, is that I cannot cut myself off from my mom’s heart. It is not possible to just let it go and be fine with the fact my child is in danger. This time, I am beginning to understand that I am attempting to cut off something that God has created within me…that he built into my heart as a mother. This is a revelation for me.
As I have been trying and struggling to let my children go, people say ‘they’ll be fine, don’t worry.’ Or ‘you just have to put them in God’s hands’ as if I am not putting them in his hands. I have found that having kids is to learn what faith in God is. Those little infants expose your weaknesses and fears. Parenthood demands that you look somewhere for help and guidance, because from the very first day you feel inadequate. Having children increased my dependence on God and taught me what intercession is…now that they are grown that has only increased. Yet for some reason, that I do not understand, I feel like I am wrong to be concerned for them. Like now that they are grown I am expected to just be okay with whatever comes their way, and deal with it quietly…or better yet not to care at all. Do you feel that way? Kind of guilty that you can’t seem to let them go completely?
I do NOT want to be a helicopter mom who hovers never allowing breathing room for her children. But I find that I am unable to stop caring about the details of their lives. This has been an unspoken dilemma for me and I have found myself asking God to help me cut the ties to my kids. (Mainly because it hurts my heart so much.) What he has showed me these past few hours of storm watching is that he placed those ties there and that they are not wrong. On the contrary, they are created by him and to cut them is to destroy his design. Instead what he has done is let me SEE the purpose for the strong attachment he gives every mom of grown children and why he has not answered my prayers to cut them.
What I SEE is this: As my parental role has changed, in my heart I have tried to hold on to what it was when my kids were younger. They needed me more, and I had to be involved in the day to day details of living. When they grew I learned to let them go more and more…and though I was not always good at it, I did realize that it had to happen. I opened my hand and let them go. It is the fact that my heart is still holding on that I cannot seem to shake. I miss the simple days of knowing what to do. Feed them. Bathe them. Read to them. Say your prayers and tuck them in. Now it is a whole different ballgame in which I find that I do not know the rules because they are constantly changing. But here’s the thing, my heart doesn’t have to let go of them, it has to change its role just as the rest of me did. Instead of worry it can choose confidence. Instead of fear it can choose hope. It is the focus of my heart that needs altering not the love that grows within it.
Watching the storm bearing down on India caused me anxiety and I tried to banish it, but it is built into me. So rather than wrestle something away that God has designed, I decided to work with it. What I mean is that when I saw the storm, instead of thinking the worst I chose to let my heart think the best. That my child is there for a reason. That this storm will place her in a unique position to minister both leading up to and after it hits. That her love of people of other countries would compel her to help in whatever way she can. That the heartache after the storm will increase the compassion in her already large heart. That her capacity to love will grow. I found when I allowed my worry to focus my heart towards the truth of the situation that my heart shifted. The fear dissolved. Trust rose up. Such an amazing experience really…and freeing to know that my care and concerns for my kids could actually be a tool in my own heart. I had to share this because even though it is a subtle shift, it is freedom from feeling I am somehow wrong to care so much. I am not saying that worry is good…I am saying that when it comes instead of trying unsuccessfully to divorce myself from it, I am going to use it as a tool to focus my heart in a positive direction.