“There are a thousand ways to humbly let go” Ann Voskamp ~ One Thousand Gifts
It begins the moment you see your newborn with the soft downy fuzz substitute for hair, the baby soft skin, the red marks showing the struggle of the birth process on their faces, and that new-born cry that only the mom and dad can soothe. You are vulnerable. You have begun on the path of vulnerability that is parenting. From now on people will have a weapon against you that was previously unavailable: that weapon of your children.
Insults to me? These may hurt, but insults to my children? Those wound. Criticism to me? I’ll think about it and weigh the merits. Criticism of my children? That’s crossed a line – unless I’m the one criticizing. Yes, children are an extreme weapon.
And yet the path of parenting is one that demands that I “humbly let go”. I am called to humbly let go of the control I so badly want and think I need. The control of their lives from what they will eat, to where they will go to college, to who they will marry. I am to humbly let go of the desire to make everything ok for them, set their paths straight. I am to humbly let go of the hurts that make me want to stalk their friends and scream at them “Be Kind!” I am to humbly forgive and let go of the times when these fruits of my womb hurt me.
There are a thousand ways to humbly let go – but it’s still so hard. How do you let go with humility and peace? This role of parenting is not a role that can accommodate big egos and selfishness. It’s a role that demands that I “humbly let go”.
How is parenting going for you? Where have you struggled to let go? This mom needs you today!
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16 thoughts on ““Humbly Letting Go””
I believe, as we raise our children, we want the control because whatever they do is reflective of their parent’s ability to RAISE the child. Isn’t that why we get so excited when they excel; we see it as a part of our good parenting. If our child was found to be a bully, our fear lies in “what will people think” …not necessarly of them but of me. This conitues throughout their lives (and ours). Who they married, how they are raising our grandchildren and how successful (or unsuccessful) are they in their professions and careers.
Hi Chris – thanks for this comment. I think we make it reflective but I don’t think that’s necessarily the way it is supposed to be. So part of the relinquishing control means that we will recognize that there are all kinds of factors that go into parenting – as someone said “we shouldn’t be asking if we are successful parents, but rather if we are faithful parents” – thanks again and sorry it took me so long to respond!
When one is in their 70’s and their chldren are reaching 50 I think it is past the time to get out of the helicopter and enjoy and accpet (and humbly let go). I continue seeing Mom and/or Dad having a negative impact on entire families because they never let go. The children are warned once again, to BEHAVE, the reading of the will becomes closer and closer as we all age. College tuitions are sometimes paid by the grandparent, so, not only does their child need to BEHAVE but the grandchild better do the same.
I believe so much of this occurs because we have a difficult time living in the present…so much of our life is based on our past and future. We can plan and set goals and then humbly stand back. We can learn from the past but living in it prevents acceptance of the present…which is all we have.
Parenting sure is one rugged road … with such beautiful scenes on the sides. leading and guiding them gently through all hurdles, all obstacls and all the beautiful moments.
seeing the kids growing … falling and learning … exploring … experiencing … all those adorable moments and all excrutiating times … we patiently stand by their side … and yet one day we will have to step aside and make ourselves invisible … to let them lead their own way on the rugged road hoping it will give them beautiful sceneries all the way.
we will have to humbly let them go and keep our opinion to ourselves :)
my teenager is almost crossing over the border … it terrifies me to bits. I’ve a say now but soon it will be his decision … his way of life … his and only his …
but that’s life isn’t it? :)
Amira – thanks for your honesty – that’s exactly how I sometimes feel ‘terrified’! But our parents did it right?! Keeping opinions to ourselves is a huge challenge!
goodness, so many wise words in both post and comments! For me, the most painful by far is, as you mentioned Marilyn, having to standby while others could hurt or bully them, the unkind words/actions, the ‘dobbing’ and the cold shouldering. Teaching them how to love the unlovely and respond with kindness to those who are unkind to them, to forgive when I don’t want to forgive myself, by far the hardest.
To all you much younger parents, letting go of the children is only the beginning. Maybe it’s practice for all the things we have to humble ourselves to let go of as we grow older, and finally really old – if the Lord allows us live to a ripe old age. Two lovely ladies in our church, dear friends, lost their husbands just about a year ago. Two dear friends who only wanted to be able to take care of their husbands had to put them in nursing homes because they were physically no longer able to do it. That leads me to the slow deterioration of our physical abilities. Somehow in my 60s and early 70s I thought it wouldn’t happen to us! Other people would need joint replacements, lose their eyesight to Macular Degeneration need hearing aids – but surely not us! Well, the joke is on us, and it’s a good one since it’s better to laugh than cry. I tell people that I have one good eye, one good ear, one good shoulder and one good knee. And Ralph reminds me that I still have one good husband. And my good Lord reminds me how blessed I am to wake up each morning to see the sun shining, or not, to hear the voices of children playing on the swings behind our apartment building, to taste and smell, to be able to walk, although more slowly than I’d like. Whatever I lose in the days ahead, I have so many amazing memories of sights and sounds and people and places. I continually ask for grace to humbly let go of whatever is taken from me in the future.
This is such a good comment. And when you think about it from the day we begin to be able to reason, we begin to be taught to let go. Thanks for modelling wisdom and grace.
I have a book called “Bible Bird Stories” which my mother had as a prize for Bible Knowledge in ,wait for it 1912. There is a lovely story referring to the mother eagle in Deutoronomy, who stirs up her nest so that her chicks fall out, have to fly, but are then caught up on her wings.
I have read it many times to children and spoken of it to adults – in our relationship to God too we need to grow up and sometimes need a kick more than cuddle!
I love that “Sometimes we need a kick more than a cuddle” So hard but so true. Thanks Wilma.
Sometimes I not only want to let go… I want to walk away. Sometimes I feel done! Sometimes I wonder if you can suffer PTSD from encounters with your teenagers? Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who can’t wait for that lovely phenomenon called The Empty Nest. But it does sort of give me hope in my present moment parenting to read of the angst of letting go. Eventually it might be hard to see them leave… there’s promise in that!
I do have to let go of their pain, even now. I can’t track down these “friends” of theirs who hurt them and tell them to “be kind” (as you so graciously said…. it’s not necessarily what I want to tell them!). I do have to let go of their choice of clothes, time management, friends. That’s not easy.
Maybe it’ll be harder than I think to finally let them go…
Oh no…I didn’t mean the physical letting go…I’m right there with you! Love the order that happens! Love the sheer quiet. (Until I don’t love it!) ….it’s the emotional piece, the control piece if you will. You said it well in your comment – the cringing internally at what they’re wearing and the choice of hair style right up to the friends or no friends and ultimately humbly letting go of their pain that I have mistakenly taken on as a burden. Does that make sense?
Oh… I’m sorry. I missed the point…. I get it now… humbly letting go, Parenting with Love and Logic, as the Marine’s father wrote, raising adults not children! Relinquishing control now… letting life be their main teacher…. not fixing their problems nor rescuing them from their pain….
God the Father parents us in similar ways, I think….although His mercy is new every morning….!
Yes Robynn – so well put! Letting life be their main teacher…..struggling with this.
Somewhere in her reading when we were young(er) parents Christine found out that mother eagles would add thorns and rocks to the nest to make it uncomfortable for older chicks when it was time for them to go out on their own. With that type of advice in mind we made an effort to “raise adults” rather than “raise children”. To a greater or lesser extent that’s what we worked toward and it made letting go easier on both us and them when the time came.
Not that it’s ever really easy.
This is a really good illustration Bruce – thank you. And I appreciate the postscript validation!