Week One is in the books.
Actually, it’s been longer than a week since Micah Man flew off to Australia to begin his one-year discipleship experience with Pais Oceania. I’ve been receiving a ton of love and support from friends and family who have either walked this child-releasing road or who are sympathizing with me as John, Jake, Caleb, and I live this new, but good life without the presence of our eldest son and big brother.
Thank you, Friends. I appreciate your love, care, and encouragement. A lot.
My adjustment is coming along. However, I confess that although Micah has only been away for a week or so, it feels like forever since he boarded his first plane to Australia.
Why is that?
Well, in some ways, I believe it’s because the family and mission life we live in southern Africa is so full, full, full. A ton of life has been lived in just twelve days. In addition, Micah is involved with his discipleship training with his Pais Oceania team and his days are just as full, if not fuller. We miss our son and his day-to-day presence. However, I realize that we are all moving forward and leaning into this new season with strong, purposeful conviction.
I shared with a friend this week that releasing our kids into the world – whether their new home is just a few minutes down the road or whether their new home is across the oceans and continents – requires courage. It doesn’t matter much about the distance. Our kids are flying, driving, and being ferried off to new, transformational destinations. They are meeting and interacting with people we may never meet. And they are diving into experiences that will introduce them to new and different life trajectories that will impact their lives forever. We are beyond excited for them. We beam with joyful pride at these amazing opportunities. Really. We do. However, our lives are sorely affected by our children’s absence of personality, spirit, and blessing.
Because it’s true, isn’t it? Our kids bless us with who they are and offer a beautiful sense of meaning, assurance, and love to our lives. I know for myself that I love being Mom to Micah, Jake and Caleb. I wouldn’t trade this rewarding position in life for anything.
However, there is no doubt in my mind that freeing our children to live their lives demands courage. Courage is defined as a mental, moral and emotional strength to venture into a difficult, fear-inducing, and faith-stretching situation and persevere. Courage is demanded because releasing our children into adulthood is an imperious and insistent aspect of life. It is an act of heroism and sacrifice.
This is a great definition for the season of adult-child release.
I will persevere – despite the various adjustments and challenges associated with launching an adult child – because this is the right thing to do for my son.
My love for Micah runs deep enough, wide enough, and long enough to discover and fully experience the joy of contentment in this season.
How is this possible?
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I find this answer in Hebrews:
“…be content with what you have, because God has said:
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So, we say with confidence:
“The LORD is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
New International Version, Hebrews 13: 5-6
I am smiling when I read the last bit of these verses as I interject my own situation:
The LORD is my Helper. What can Micah’s absence do to me?
Because as I listen to Micah describe his introductory experiences in Australia, I am so delighted for him. In just over a week, Micah has dipped his toes into the Coral Sea, had his first taste of sushi, washed and hung up his own clothes, made new friends, learned deep and meaningful Scriptural truths, assessed his own behavior, considered some financial decisions, and begun learning about Australia-rules football. What amazing and confidence-building experiences so far – and he’s done it – all with the help and care of his God, His Heavenly Father, His Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
My contentment grows and strengthens upon hearing how well Micah is adjusting to his life Down Under. And my contentment grows as I trust my God for all that I have here in southern Africa – knowing my God will never leave me or forsake me or my family as we move forward with courage.
What mind, heart, and spirit steadying and strengthening words of exhortation!
So, what can Micah’s absence do to me?
It can grow my maturity.
It can develop my perseverance.
It can enhance my contentment.
It can increase my empathy.
It can deepen my love.
All pretty good things, don’t you think?
Friends, I am choosing to process, write, and record my thoughts in my child-releasing season and as I do I discover that though this time isn’t easy, it’s so, so, so good. I’m learning and growing. And most importantly, my God is with me each step of the way.
So, you may be wondering, what if Micah has a difficulty or what if something happens that causes him or you some concern, will you still be camped in this space of contentment? Well, honestly, when my kids struggle, I feel their struggles, too. Yet, I know from experience, that when Micah has had his own set of trials, he’s found his God to be there for him. My hope and my prayer for Micah Man is that when hardships come, and they will at some point, Micah will draw upon the strength and power of his Lord and Savior. I pray that Micah will trust that His Lord is with him and that His Lord will never leave him or forsake him. After all, because the Lord is Micah’s helper, Micah doesn’t need to fear.
What can this-that-or-any-other-person-or-thing do to him?
Micah can grow in maturity during his challenges.
Micah can develop perseverance in spite of his difficulties.
Micah can broaden his level of contentment as he views his blessings with gratitude.
Micah’s heart can expand with empathy as he understands the pains of life.
Micah can deepen in the love he has for others and for his Savior.
All pretty good things, don’t you think?
So, there you go. Whether there are joys or struggles ahead of us – because there will be – we will trust in our God and find our help and strength in Him.
This is what I am thinking and learning about twelve days into this child-releasing season with Micah Man.
All pretty good stuff, don’t you think?
If you are releasing your own child soon, or have recently, I’d love you to share with me what you are learning, too!