The past two weeks have brought two milestones to our family. First, our oldest grandchild got his LEARNER’S PERMIT to DRIVE—that’s huge!!! My, oh my, where has the time gone? I can remember– in PERFECT detail– picking him up—him being first born grandchild, John Luke— from Mother’s Day Out and purposely taking the back roads so he could sit in my lap and “drive” us home. He had such good driving skills then. He could turn the car on a dime. Backing out—no problem; parking—a breeze; right turn, left turn—easy! Propped up tall and straight, I trusted him completely. Yeah, right! What I trusted was my ability to control his little hands, making sure we stayed safely between the oncoming cars and the ditch that could potentially harm us. With me in control, I knew we would be safe. It’s a different story now. He begs to drive everywhere we go and I reluctantly say yes. I told him the other day that I’m just nervous because I can’t sit right beside him or with him in my lap. He smiled his sweet smile and patiently listened to me give him driving tips and say slow down a few hundred times.
Milestone number two. This same grandchild, John Luke, came over last night to reveal a smile so bright it could melt an iceberg. Well, if the iceberg were his grandmother (trust me, if you’re not a grandma yet, it doesn’t take much). He had just gotten his braces off. Most of you either went through the braces ordeal personally or with your children, so you know the excitement of getting them off. Remember that slick, smooth feeling your teeth now seemed to have? After my FOUR years of braces, I loved to run my tongue over my smooth teeth. What a great, freeing feeling that was!. Those poor teeth had been “controlled” for months. But would they stay that way? Could they handle their newfound freedom or would they ease back into their original crookedness?
Oddly enough, these two milestones have so much in common. You may be ahead of me and have figured it out on your own. Both of these milestones have to do with control and freedom. John Luke has reached the next stage in his life, just as his teeth have. With the twist of a wire or a well placed tiny rubber band, the orthodontist had the power to make John Luke’s teeth straight or crooked. And, as I held John Luke’s tiny hands tightly in my own, I had the power to make our car go straight or crooked.
Just as it is for John Luke, it is for each of us and for our children. Letting go is never easy, but the alternative isn’t welcome either. There isn’t a parent alive who would wish their child to stay in a state of childishness. Oh, we all cry from time to time at the swift passing of years. We sometimes look at pictures with a sense of melancholy, thinking it would be fun to hold our teens as a baby just one more time. But, in reality, no one wants their children to stay children. It’s not natural. But, it’s not easy giving over the control we once had and letting them make decisions—decisions that could determine whether their path stays straight or becomes jagged.
To keep teeth straight, the orthodontist fits us with a retainer. I’m sure you remember that as well. A retainer is important as it’s job is to keep newly straightened teeth in place. It helps “control” shifting. Obviously, no two retainers are alike and the length of time needed will vary because every mouth is different. Hummm….that’s a little like the learner’s permit, don’t you think? For a length of time, an adult will still have a little control. The newly trained driver cannot go out alone–yet. But, it’s not permanent. A learner’s permit and a retainer are only for a short time. Ultimately, our teeth and our children will be TOTALLY on their own.
That could be very scary EXCEPT, as Christian moms, we know that our children are never totally alone and niether are we. We have a loving Father who stands ready and is capable of holding our hands while we drive and acts as our “spiritual retainer” to guide our steps and keep us going in the right direction. I love how the Message says Psalms 54:4: “Oh, look! God’s right here helping! God’s on my side, Evil is looping back on my enemies. Don’t let up! Finish them off!” Don’t you love it?
God is right here, right now, right there for YOU and YOUR children!
Have a great week, leaning on the awesome God who loves to sit right beside YOU and “drive” YOU to Godly greatness.