Shooting out an Arrow
A year ago I was a hot mess. I mean, more than my usual hot mess. I was getting ready for my baby boy, my first-born, to graduate from high school. It didn’t even seem possible that this child, who let me practice being a mom on him, was old enough to fly out of our nest. I doubted every parenting decision I had made. I wondered if we taught him all he needed to know to be shrewd and wise, but also be kind and compassionate. I begged God for more time, or at the very least, redeem the time I screwed up parenting my son. I dreaded the day on the calendar when my baby boy walked the stage; and to make it worse, I physically felt ill every time I saw the date on a calendar of when he would
leave me move into his dorm.
Guess what? The dates arrived. I survived. You will too (look at me with my rhyming skilz…this would be the point in our face to face conversation where I would try to make a rap up and do some kind of dance and then there would be awkward silence. It’s okay, I’ve come to accept blank stares as part of my everyday life).
I’ve learned much this past year regarding this aspect of parenting. I’ve learned that the days I dreaded were every bit as painful as I expected, but what surprised me was God’s presence with me in every step of the journey. His comfort and peace were (and are) regular companions. His quiet assurance reminding me that He’s filling in the gaps of my lackluster parenting. Not only is His presence with me, but also with Kaden. I witnessed my son experience God in ways He never did or could under our roof.
I watched a boy become a man. I watched him walk through stress, sickness, heartache, money management (when he actually had funds to manage), conflict, and all the circumstances of our lives that grow our roots deep or break us. I can’t help but wonder if I would have gotten in the way of God’s plan to grow Kaden’s roots deeper into Him if Kaden was still living at home.
(Although I would not hate it if Kaden came home to visit more. But, whatever, God’s using him…blah, blah, blah…)
I miss him terribly. I miss the dynamic he brings to our family. I miss him doing impressions of people. I miss his fake laugh. I miss his humor. I miss listening to him counsel his siblings and encourage them in ways parents can’t. I miss hearing the moment to moment events of his life and, now, only hearing the highlight reel.
But, I would miss out on seeing God craft a young man into His image if Kaden were still at home. I don’t want to miss out on that.
Stefan and I joke that our quiver is full…our little quiver of arrows. But, arrows are meant to be shot out (haven’t you seen the hunger games?). What good is an arrow if it’s not used? It will miss the mark SO MANY TIMES, but so do we. God’s grace is sufficient. I can tell you this, it is a privilege to watch God chisel a child into His image. It’s excruciating at times. It’s exhilarating at times. But, it is always a privilege.
I have several friends who are in the throes of the ugly cry. Sistah, I get it. Whether your child is graduating from kindergarten or high school, our hearts hurt. You can ugly cry all you want! It’s painful. It’s difficult. But, let Him surprise you with His presence in the midst of the pain. He hasn’t forgotten you. And, REST ASSURED He won’t forget your child either.
It’s OKAY if you are standing with one foot in grief and one foot in hope as you draw your bow back and shoot out one of your deeply loved arrows. But, let go and watch that arrow fly.
Then, curl up on the couch with copious amounts of swedish fish and milk duds and let our sweet Savior whisper in your ear, “Well done, Mama. Well done.”
The Message (MSG)
3-5 Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!