I remember the stage well. The constant chants of “I want to do it by myself!” From brushing teeth to tying shoes, my kids all reached the age when they were ready to handle things alone. Some milestones were celebrated (potty training) others were mourned (kindergarten). I remember when Hannah was turning 9 and heading to children’s camp. I begged her to allow me to chaperone, as alternatives I offered to send her aunt or grandmother. Hannah was determined. She calmly looked at me and said, “Mom, I need to do this by myself.” I knew I had to let her go.
Life lesson: Love lets go
I had discipleship group tonight and we discussed the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. I was taken back by the love of the father explained by Greg Ogden in Discipleship Essentials. Then, I began to ponder the demonstrations of love by the father. He gave his son the inheritance even when it meant the son viewed the father as dead, he watched faithfully for the son to return, and he received the wayward son with a celebration and immediate restoration. Tonight, another great act of the father’s love came to light. He let him go! When the son requested his inheritance, the father could have beaten the son into submission. He could have denied the request for the inheritance. He could have disowned the son for making such a selfish request. Instead, the father willingly endured the rejection, worry, and separation. He must have endured enormous pain and loneliness. He watched all the while. He knew the son would return. Dismissal of the father’s plan always leads to pain and pain has its own powerful way of producing change. The father loved the son enough to let him leave and hit rock bottom. I came to understand that sometimes the only way back to the father is hitting rock-bottom. Rock bottom is the turning point. When you are at your lowest, you either give up and die or you get up and turn! The father loved his son enough to allow him to go the only way that would produce the turn! He loved his son with a selfless love and he let him go.
Isn’t God’s love so beautifully multi-faceted? He lets us go and choose our own plan. All the while He waits and watches. He knows we will be back. He knows rock bottom is turning point.