A Time To Let Go - A Pine Valley UMC Ministry Story about transitions at back-to-school time

I can still remember the day Mom and Dad drove me to college.  I remember to this day the feeling I had when we turned into the campus.  I could not talk for the huge lump in my throat.  I was so excited but scared too.  Mom was riding with me and she was very quiet.  I thought a lot about this when my girls were growing up.  I remember Dad telling me how he prayed for me every day and throughout the day asking God to watch over me and keep me safe.  Mom sent me a copy of a devotional she had had for years about letting your kids go off to college.  I know it was her faith that gave her the courage to walk away that day.  As I watched my daughter pull out of the driveway to go to graduate school 3000 miles away, my heart broke.  I cried and my emotions were all over the place.  Not all sad tears, just momma tears that my little girl was growing up and this was a new season of life.  I was excited for her and this new season of her life but the anxiety and concerns over her safety and her future crept in.  I was going to have to trust God with one of my most precious commodities - my child! 

God brought to mind two things.  Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6, “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:...A right time to hold on and another to let go,...” (MSG)  Really, my dreams had come true.  My child had left home and began a life for which God prepared for them.  It is life’s natural order for childhood to end and Mike and I had prepared her for this time.  It is easier to see some of God’s plan now - two years out - we see that she really needed to be in that place at this time.  I can now see God’s plans of taking care of her.  Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

While my daughter was excited for her transition, I, too, had to transition.  I think God gives us these times so we will cling to Him.  He needs for us to be in His presence so it will rub off on us.  When the house was extra quiet, her room did not look lived in, or she was not at the table when everyone got together. I had to cling to God.  When she visits and leaves, I have to cling to Him.  I had to remember Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  If God cares for that tiny sparrow I know He cares and loves my daughter so much more.  I needed to spend as much time entrusting her into God’s care as I had spent worrying.  

The other thing God brought to mind was Jochebed’s faith.  Jochebed was a Biblical mother who literally put her baby in a basket and entrusted him into God’s care.  She knew Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had ordered all Hebrew baby boys be killed.  (He feared the Israelites would soon outnumber and overpower the Egyptians.)  Instead of letting her healthy baby be murdered she decided to put her baby in a basket in the waters of the Nile River.  Hebrews 11:23, “By an act of faith, Moses’ parents hid him away for three months after his birth. They saw the child’s beauty, and they braved the king’s decree.”  Exodus 2:3, “But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.”

I cannot imagine how Jochebed must have felt.  The Bible does not mention her thoughts or feelings as she watched her precious baby float down the river in a basket.  Was she thinking of every worst-case scenario possible?  Her tiny baby was in a hippo, rhino, snake and crocodile infested river!  At this same time, God orchestrated Pharaoh’s daughter, the princess, to be bathing further up the Nile.  When she noticed the basket we are told in Exodus 2:5, “Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it.”  The princess was drawn to the baby.  Jochebed had sent Moses sister, Miriam, to hide and watch what would happen. Bravely, Miriam approached Pharaoh’s daughter and offered to get a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby.  The princess accepted and Miriam fetched her mother, Jochebed -- who was also the baby's mother -- and brought her back.  Jochebed was paid to nurse and care for the boy, her own son until he grew.  God perfectly timed everything!  

God had a plan and a purpose for Moses.  He gave Jochebed the courage to step away from the basket.  God orchestrated Pharaoh’s daughter to bathe in the river at the perfect time.  He even orchestrated Pharaoh’s daughter to hire Jochebed to nurse him until he was older.  Baby Moses grew up to become of the heroes of the Bible - the one who freed the Hebrew people from slavery and lead them to the edge of the promised land.  Jochebed’s appearance is short and we do not know much about her but one trait stands out and that is her trust in God.  She knew God loved her child more than she did.  And she must have realized that more and more as she saw God’s incredible plans fall into place.  

Whether your child is starting kindergarten, middle school, high school or college, we can trust God and believe He has good plans for our children's lives.  God will bring us comfort and peace as we acknowledge that He is always in control and ever present in our children’s lives….even when we cannot be.  The world is a scary place and we are afraid of our children being swept into dangerous waters but we have to let go so God can pull them from the waters for His great purpose.  He called us to be their parents, but they belonged to Him first. You can entrust your child to the same one Jochebed entrusted her baby to.  Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

Have you been asked to let God have something in your life?