I looked out the kitchen window and noticed how big the little oak tree had grown. It suddenly towered over the house, as if it had always been stretching its arms up that high. It had grown tall, like my son. It was a gift in honor of his birth, and it had been growing for nearly 16 years.
The little oak had been played under and climbed in, its branches shading our children as their little legs pumped the swings on the wooden play set that was built for them by their dad and grandfather. Those swings were long gone now, and I couldn’t even find the two dips in the ground where their precious little feet had pushed the dirt high in the air as they giggled and played and swung to their hearts’ content.
I sighed as I wondered where all the time had gone. It seemed just a few days ago that my toddler son was riding up and down the porch on his scooter, the little plastic tires clunking away on the wooden floorboards. It sounded like a distant rumble of thunder as I listened from the kitchen.
His older sister’s quiet ways echoed to me from a past that seemed so recent. She had filled her days with drawing and reading and painting outside on the easel. The days of play dough and peanut butter sandwiches had turned into a rush of classwork, recitals, scout trips, and college applications in just the blink of an eye. My heart felt wistful and sad.
Life was moving me into a new season. Today the letting go was hard and seemed to grow bigger.
But I remembered . . . I had already been letting go for a long time.
Every day had held a little letting go as I watched my children grow older and move a little bit further into becoming the persons God was growing them to be. Each step they took was another move toward independence. It was supposed to be that way. I’d let go of friends, too, as we’d moved in and out of each others’ lives while navigating changing seasons of our own. And one Christmas Day my mother, my sister, and I sat next to each other in a hospital room. We held my father’s hands and, for just the briefest of moments, all four of us had touched eternity together as he quietly drifted away.
I wonder, in the letting go, can we stand tall, like the little oak tree, silent and strong, all grown up, with arms lifted high? Can we let go of our own ideas of how we think things ought to be and learn to trust God instead? Can we treasure the past instead of only missing it?
May we let go of what we are holding on to so tightly and find the courage to look forward to what God has in store!
These changing seasons of life are full of heartache and joy, laughter and tears, all wrapped up together in a bittersweet sort of way. You and I, we’ve made it through many such seasons and we’ve come out of them braver and stronger. None of us knows what the future holds, but when we raise our hands high in the letting go, we’ll find ourselves looking upward to Jesus.
He’s the One who is able to lead us through the heartaches and triumphs of the living, the loving, and the letting go.
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We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)