Last spring my oldest graduated from high school. Six months ago I was just beginning the ride on the “transition roller coaster” and learning to navigate this new kind of transition: parenting an adult TCK. It was unknown territory. I’ve been in the land of unknowns before – finding homes, adjusting to new countries, learning to parent a child with special needs – but this one felt different. It wasn’t my life that had all the unknowns – it was his.
As his mom, I wanted to step in and find all the answers. Let me be real, I wanted control. If I had control, then I’d know who would be traveling to the US with him (thank you pandemic), what insurance to get, who his friends were going to be, what his Christmas break plans would be….you get the picture. I really just wanted to know that he would be okay.
I was reminded of a hike I took with my son a few weeks before graduation day. It was on a mountain path that was near his campus and overlooked the city. On our way down, he seemed to leap and skip down the steps. He’d disappear around bends. At one of those bends I heard God whisper to me, “Let him go. I know you can’t see him, but I’ve got him.” (and let’s be honest, what 18 year old boy wants his mom controlling his life?)
And that is what the last half year has been for me – practicing and actually trying to do what God asked me to do on that mountain – Let him go.
The photo above is a very simple illustration of my heart. It is dragging a bulging suitcase full of heavy rocks that I have packed and stuffed diligently. (One perk of living overseas is the ability to pack a suitcase well, right?) The rocks represent everything that I want to control because it isn’t just things in his life that I want to control. I’d like to control everything in my sphere of influence. Wouldn’t we all?
Some are small.
- Meal plans
- Math lessons for my youngest
- Regular health checkups for me and the kids
Some are big and heavy and honestly, cumbersome.
- Oldest in isolation last month
- What will my daughter with special needs do after high school?
- Feeding tube incision leaking…needs surgery?
These are just a few of the “rocks” in my suitcase. Collectively, these rocks are heavy. Too heavy for me to be dragging around with me from place to place, day to day, year to year.
When we believe that having control is the answer, we miss out on peace.
Looking back, time allowed answers to unfold to some of the unknowns. Yet, now there are new unknowns.
Isn’t that like us though? Replace the old with the new? I mean we replace old clothes with new. We replace old batteries with new. So, why wouldn’t we replace old worries with new – or even better just become a Hoarder and add to our already collection of worries.
I guess that would be called a Worry Hoarder?
I want to propose something though.
Look at where the eyes of my heart are. They are on the suitcase that I’m dragging. My focus is on those rocks that represent worries and anxieties that I want to control.
What if, I shifted my eyes to the mountains. Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
That simple shift of realizing who is really in control and then trusting God to be all that He says he is is monumental is stepping towards peace. It is simple, but I will not say it’s easy. It is choosing to trust and believe.
I’m sure that if you live overseas, have lived overseas or are parenting TCKs (children or adults) you have your own “rocks” that you’ve been lugging around as well. And with this year of so many unexpected surprises and unknowns, I’m sure your suitcase is bulging, too.
I bought this painting last weekend at a local artist market in Taiwan. It is where I want to be. Sitting on that bridge with my legs dangling over the side looking up at the mountains.
So, my question this week is this…
Do you want to be a Worry Hoarder or would you rather be sitting next me.
So, here’s to parenting more on my knees before God.