I have been letting my first born go from the moment I knew she was to "be" and learning to leave her in the loving and ever present hands of God. And yet, as she has physically gone away to college, I find myself having to place her on the altar again and I am faced with a very real physical and emotional pain that sends me to my knees trusting her to God's perfect and loving care.
It isn't a matter of worry for her safety or even her walk with the Lord, but a matter of cutting the very heart strings, the "Umbilical Cord", that we have shared through daily living and loving and learning together. Nothing can really prepare a mom for the amputation that occurs as she watches her child learn to fly. There is an actual cutting that takes place and the blood and tears she thought she once shed for her child seems to be a mere paper cut in comparison to the surgical procedure that occurs when that child becomes all grown up. Just as it hurts to birth a baby, the leaving the nest is also a birthing process and the labor pains are difficult at times. Only this time, instead of having a precious newborn lying in her arms, she is left emptied armed and watching as the newborn walks away as an adult, never to return again as she once was.
It is part of life, and yet, as with all things, the joy of childhood is balanced with the pain of growing up and never returning to Neverland. A corner is turned, and though that little girl looks more and more like you did at that age, she will show small glimmers of what was and the sweetness of her girlhood, yet she will never really be that person again. She will become a woman, molded by her childhood and reflecting her parents, but she will be her own person, her own "masterpiece" created before hand to do good works for God.
This is really what we strive for as parents, our children following in the footsteps of the Savior, as their feet turn away from home. Yet the pride we have in seeing this come to fruition does not dull the pain much in the letting go and again we find ourselves following the footsteps of the Savior, trying to lean on Him through this transition period. I wonder as I watch my daughter leave home and the pain of separation, knowing it is only miles and days, not eternity, what must God the Father have felt as He let His Son walk out the door and become a baby with a death sentence on His head. Did Abba also feel this type of pain? He spoke as a proud daddy over His Son while Jesus walked on earth, but was there also a sense of pride, watching Him leave His heavenly home, knowing the path that this Son was about to live and fulfill. I think God the Father must have felt a little of what I am feeling now. I know that the future is in God's hands and that my girl is also under His protective wing; so as I weep, missing my friend, I trust God with my heart as well, to care for it, as He cares for my girl.
Nothing can prepare one's heart for the labor pains that come with a child leaving home except to continually go to the Father and trust Him with His Daughter, His workmanship: my daughter, my child, my pride and joy.