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Motherhood is Learning to Let Go

Family Features



Motherhood is a series of letting goes.

Mother and child—our lives together begin with a fragile strand linking one human heart to another, buried deep. But there is a knowing.

God places babies between our arms and beneath our hearts, and we cradle them safely there. We feel every movement, every stretch, every hiccup; it is sweet, this mystical, symbiotic relationship. As they draw life from us, the circle comes around, and we draw life from them.

But soon the space binds, the nourishment wanes, and the letting go begins.

After birth, we cradle her still between our arms and beneath our hearts, but now we must share her. Sharing is good, for joy is meant to be given away; it multiplies as the love grows. Father’s arms cradle her. Grandmothers and grandfathers share the hug for the first time.

Motherhood is a series of letting goes.

As she learns to walk, she walks away and not toward, for our arms release her to explore new places and new people. But she always returns, and we cradle her, sometimes only in sleep because she is busy, busy.

In quiet moments we whisper prayers over her, fold her little hands to pray, and tell stories of a giant-slaying, earth-shaking, miracle-working God, and we watch her eyes widen at the thought of someone larger than those she sees. She begins to grasp and then believe in a Father even bigger, kinder, wiser, and more wonderful than her earthly father—one who holds her between His arms and beneath His heart. And we release her soul to Him, trusting that He, in the fullness of time, will draw her to Himself.

Motherhood is a series of letting goes.

For a while, everything she needs to know, we know, but she is smart, and we are limited. Soon we guide her to other wise teachers, and we release her again.

Motherhood is a series of letting goes.

Then the day arrives when all that we have prayed for and pointed her toward is no longer on the horizon but is today. And we know, and she knows, that it is time. The future has become the present, and to hold her any longer would be to hinder her.

Motherhood is a series of letting goes.

We hold her between our arms and beneath our heart, and we whisper prayers over her to a giant-slaying, earth-shaking, miracle-working God. We remind her of her calling as an image-bearer of Christ, to let her light shine before men that they may see her good works and glorify her Father who is in heaven. And we commit her to God.

She may drive away just as she has done other times. We know she’ll be back, but this time it is different. It’s not a weekend. It’s not a mission trip. It’s not a semester. It’s a life—a good life—that we prayed for and anticipated. It is an exclamation point at the end of many mothering years.

And we cry, because,

Motherhood is a series of letting goes.

Originally published in Homeschooling Today magazine online, August 6, 2012. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker. She shares an empty nest in Columbia, South Carolina, with her ministry and marriage partner, David, and her freckle-faced, four-footed boy, Winston. A homeschool mom for 17 years, she’s the author of the devotional book, Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God...Starving for Time.

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