Is there anybody who is more idealistic than the parent of a newborn child? Those eyes were fixed on that infant for hours on end. We were overwhelmed with emotion both of joy and fear: delight at the wonder of life and this creation that we held in our arms and fear at the responsibility of bringing this child to adulthood. We made a vow to that child and to ourselves at some time during this whirlwind of emotions that we would be perfect or at the very least close to ideal parents since this child deserved nothing less.
This child would inherit all of the values that were essential to us as parents. For Christian parents, this included teaching them about the Kingdom of God. At the time, we thought that when our children reached adulthood, our parental responsibilities would be fulfilled. We would get our due rewards, and in return, we would receive the respect and adoration of our family and friends, which we would accept with humble thanks.
As a mom, on the other hand, I have had a different experience. I became acutely aware of my own flaws and limitations and the distinct personality of my child very quickly. Instead of seeing the fulfillment of the aspirations and ambitions I previously had, I am now faced with a difficult situation. Despite my best efforts and faith-filled waiting period, I find myself in a position that I never imagined. Is it possible that you’ve been here with your child or that you’re now there, heartbroken?
Allowing Oneself to Be Released
The phrase “let go!” is often used when parents are faced with an adult child who has chosen to go on a different path than they had planned.
But what are you letting go of? The relationship? Hopes? Guilt? Embarrassment? Anger? Feelings of failure? Disappointment? Resentment? Everything?
As a parent who has survived my child’s adolescence, I am well aware of how little influence parents have over adult children. While we may still have a lingering need for control, the majority of us are ready to move into an adult relationship with the person in whom we have invested so much. We will never be able to remove the memories. The hopes are still alive. The desire for a close connection continues to exist. Hope and love continue to live in the face of all logic.
So, what do you think about letting go?
Because we have been responsible for our child for many years, the desire to exert control may remain a matter of habit. Letting go is not tricky when our adult child is mature, well established, and living the Kingdom principles taught to them while having time to honor us properly.
Relinquishing control when a situation is in our viewpoint, intolerable is a different issue. Are you reacting out of feelings of guilt, anger, or parental pride? Is it conceivable that we feel the need to retain control because we really don’t trust God? Unfortunately, our mere conviction that we must be in the director’s seat may contribute to the issue. On the surface, we understand that parenting is the mission of weaning a child to self-sufficiency on all levels: physical, psychological, and spiritual. However, there comes a moment when we must wean ourselves not just from our urge to exert control but also from feelings of responsibility stemming from shame and embarrassment and resentment and anger, among other things.
We did the best we could with the resources we had available at the time. We adore our children and have always wished to be a good parent; we were and continue to be in this regard! As a result, we are not abandoning parenting. Instead, our parenting has progressed to a new phase that is just as important as all the other stages. Our actions serve as a model for our children, and our actions perpetuate our parenting. We continue to serve as a model of God’s love, trust in God, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit for our children.
We must let go of aspirations that are ours but not those of our children. There is no need for any of us to be bound by the ties of memory or wishful thinking, no matter how loving those connections or how commendable those ideas are in their own right. As I have no other option, “I give my child over to you, God, because I don’t know what else to do!” Even if the circumstance hasn’t changed, I have! I’m crying out from the depths of my soul with a ripping heart scream. Even if I don’t understand God’s methods, I believe in the miraculous working power of God!
Author: Kim Petitt
Kim Petitt holds a graduate degree in psychology. She holds a bachelors in communication and a associates degree in business administration with a concentration in office management. She is the mother of a twenty + year old male.
The journey of motherhood for Kim is quite unique being that she was a teen mom and living with a physical disability. The challenges she faced caused her emotional pain and loneliness, but because of her faith and relationship with God she didn’t give up and continues to overcome through Christ. Her heart’s desire is to reach out to teenage girls and young moms and women from all walks of life to teach them how to overcome their own personal challenges that keep them from loving God and themselves.
You can connect with kim by visiting her blog @kimpetitt09