Eight years ago, my then 11-year-old daughter, who was tormented with anxiety and depression, looked at me with blackness in her eyes and said, “Momma, death would be better than this.”
She was diagnosed with social and separation anxiety, and the years between now and then were filled with many black days, much prayer over her, and a season of medication, as she was completely emotionally and spiritually dependent upon us; especially me, her mother. We put in a lot of hard work teaching her to trust Christ, and giving her the practical tools for living with a predisposition toward mental illness.
My now 19-year-old daughter, Haley, has recovered beautifully and has completed two years of college. She is also pursuing becoming an Au Pair in France for a year, and that makes me nervous. I worry about her safety and well-being: Will her French family take good care of her? I worry about her spiritually: Will she find a good church? I worry about the separation: Will she relapse into anxiety and depression? Should we really let her go?
Praying A Mom’s Fears
As a Christian mom, I take this laundry list of worries to my Heavenly Father. He lovingly points my heart to Ephesians 2:10. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He has prepared in advance that we should walk in them.” His words silence the worries and speak the truth that Haley is His; she belongs to Him through her personal faith in Christ.
But then I catch my breath as understanding sinks in to what He’s really saying; what He’s saying to me as her mother. This is a turning point in how I relate to her as my daughter. She is on the brink of adulthood. No longer is she obligated to the verse, “children obey your parents as unto the Lord.” As a believing young woman, she is now obligated to follow Christ wherever He takes her, to do the work He has created her for, and prepared for her to do. And I, as a believing mother, am obligated to let her go. My daughter’s life is no longer a part of our living out the gospel as a family. It is solely about the Kingdom of God and His work.
Trusting God With My Daughter
Instead of leading her, I stand back and watch Haley take responsibility for this journey. I see her seeking God and Him guiding her in the choices she makes to prepare herself physically, emotionally and spiritually for France. And what I find interesting is even though some of her choices are not what I would choose, I see God’s leading and working in those choices. She has an excitement for God and has been challenged in her faith by others in a way that I have not been able to.
God has been gracious to this mother’s heart in allowing me to be an observer of His work in my daughter’s life. There’s a silent awe as I see God spiritually and emotionally weaning her from me and see her trust Him to be her all.
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