Thursday, October 25, 2012

Letting Go

WARNING: You might want to read today's post with Kleenex box in hand.  On Monday, Helene posted a profile of the Gentile woman whose daughter was demon-possessed, and tomorrow Melissa will put up an article about Hannah letting Samuel go.  We wanted to include a real life example of a woman letting her children go.  Today's guest post is by Anna, a woman whom the three of us have known and loved for many years.   She is well acquainted with the pain associated with saying goodbye to one's children, but also with the comfort found in our Savior's arms during such difficult times.  Anna's life demonstrates various ways in which women are called on to let go of their children.  Many of you will probably be able to relate to one or more of her illustrations.   We hope you not only enjoy this guest post but are reminded who those precious little ones really belong to.  ~ Helene, Jane, and Melissa

When I was first approached about submitting some words to this blog, I immediately found half a dozen good reasons not to do it.  I've read the articles by Melissa and Helene.  While they are much younger than I am, they are so eloquent with their words.  They are more in touch with the needs of modern mothers, homemakers, and women in the work force.  What could I possibly say that would give encouragement or guidance to women in their daily walk with the Lord? It was suggested that maybe I could share some thoughts on letting go of our children.  I went to bed and said, "This is not for me."  I didn't let go of my children, they just left.  After lying in bed for several minutes, I recalled the words of Khahil Gibran in The Prophet.  He says, "Your children are not your children... They came through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you."

As parents we are often asked, "How many children do you have."  People ask this question in the same way they ask "How many cars do you have?"  We had three children and we also had two cars. When our second child was dying from cancer we realized he was not ours, that he did not belong to us.  We also found we had very little control over the situation and there were limited things we could do for him.  We could love our son; we could teach him about God; we could help him prepare to return to God, and we could prepare ourselves for the loss we were going to experience. He taught us to live in the day and not be anxious for tomorrow.  He also taught us the wonder of a "delicious" bologna sandwich and how good it felt to mix a meatloaf with your hands.   The more we shared with him about God and heaven, the more heaven and death became a reality to me.

When he died, heaven seemed so near, as if I could almost reach out and touch it.  I often commented on how blessed I felt that I was privileged to be his mother.  He was placed in our family for us to teach him, and also for what he taught us.  After his death people would ask me how I came though that time.  I would tell them, "I don't remember having a choice." A scripture that became so precious to me at that time and which I continue to draw strength from is Isaiah 53:4 "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried."  Not only did Christ die for my sins, He also died for my heartaches.  And I was comforted.

When our youngest child told me she wanted to go half way around the world to be a missionary, I again wept.  I was not prepared to let another child go.  I cried and prayed and cried and prayed.  Not only was I going to miss my daughter, but I was also very concerned for her safety.  A single woman on her own, in a strange country, surrounded by people whose language she did not speak or understand.  I again realized she was not ours and that she did not belong to us.

The first time we went to visit her, I wondered why she wanted to be in this place.  I went out on the street and saw the throngs of people.  I knew these are God's people, and they do not even know God loves them and sent His Son to die for their sins as well as mine.  I asked for forgiveness and again I cried and prayed.    Not only did Christ die for my sins, He also died for my heartaches.  And I was comforted.

When we part, we always make sure we have said what needs to be said.  She tells me I have been a good momma, and I let her know how proud I am of her. We have the assurance that if we do not see each other again in this lifetime, we will meet in heaven. We are truly blessed!

My oldest child has strayed from God.  This is without a doubt the biggest heartache and the most difficult situation a Christian parent has to confront.   Again I cry and pray and cry and pray.  I was not able to put  this burden down until I realized that if I didn't trust God to change his heart, how did I think I was going to do it?  I have tried to keep the lines of communication open with him, which has not always been easy.  I continue to remind him that God loves him and that God is the answer to his problems and that I pray for him every day.  And I remind myself that not only did Christ die for my sins, He also died for my heartaches.  Once again I am comforted.

Why some parents are able to keep their children closer to them and some parents must let their children go, I don't know.  Why I do not have any of my children close to me I don't know.  One thing is certain, though, I am not as smart as God.  He knows what I need and what is best for me.   There are many scriptures that tell us about God's wisdom.  Roman 11:33-36 "Oh, the depth of the riches' of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?  Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?  For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever!  Amen."  Isaiah 55:8, 9.  "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts.  Neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."  I Corinthians 1:25 "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength."  1 John 3:19-20 "This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us.  For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything."

God knows what we need.  We can see this truth throughout all the affairs of mankind.  He knows what I need to become the person He wants me to be.  He knows what is best for me, and in trusting Him I can know with assurance that I have the promise of Proverbs 3:24 "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet."  If God loves me and cares for me, I know He also loves and cares for my children.

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