I’m not sure a mother’s heart ever lets go of her child, neither through age nor death. That mother’s love is tangled up with that child from the moment she realizes she’s pregnant, or at least, very quickly thereafter, and it seems to remain a tangled mess for the rest of her life!
Now, I know, I speak as a mom who deeply loves and adores her children. Some moms are just too wounded to see past their pain, and others are so angry, they can’t see beyond the rage to the tender hearts within their grasp. Still others, they have become so narcissistic, they cannot see anything but their own ambitions and desires; so, please, know that my reference in this post has nothing to do with those types of mothers. Those moms need some desperate help before they destroy the precious seed which they have been given to nurture and provide sweet tender care for the next 18-20 years of their life. No, I’ll be referring to the moms out there, who, regardless of their human faults and failures, seek to do right by their child and work hard to imagine for, provide for and propel that child into greatness beyond what she, personally, might have been.
When you’re this kind of mother, you just want to hug them and hold them forever. You want to shelter that little heart from ever feeling any brokenness, pain and even disappointment. You want to protect that small mind from any wayward thought, evil deed or malice intent. You want to shield those tiny little eyes from all the sin, violence and everything not pleasant. You want to provide a refuge, a safe haven in which they can rest for the entirety of their life.
Yet, just as an eagle will cripple her eaglet if she refuses to start pulling the feathers from the nest, each of us will fatally cripple our children if we refuse to let them grow, learn, and yes, even experience pain and disappointment from time to time. We must allow them to spread their wings and learn to fly, or they will remain paralyzed in that nest for the rest of their lives, only to crawl to a miserable death, a death of dreams, opportunities, potential and life itself. We must allow them to fly!
Flight can be such a scary thing, especially when they are so young, so inexperienced, so fragile. Flight can challenge them to dream, to push beyond the limits, to test their own abilities. Have you ever watched a baby barnacle goose learn to fly? If not, you should look it up sometime (you can click hereto watch). …well, maybe, if you have the heart for it. I almost didn’t.
[*please note: this is a very intense, heart-wrenching, yet, very real, short film.]
The first time I saw this video, I almost busted into tears! The tiny, downy-feathered gosling was far up in the nest, high above the rocky cliffs below. It was several hundred feet up, I’m sure. He climbs out of the nest and begins to fall. I almost stuck my hands out, trying to catch him, before I remembered it was simply a video, and there was nothing I could do. The baby keeps falling and falling, crying out the whole time; then, he “bumps” the rocks on his way down. Then he bumps it again and again. Then he smacks the rocks at the very bottom. I was sure the little precious thing was dead! After he laid there a few seconds, I felt certain he was a goner.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as, I truly believed, I had just witnessed the death of this barnacle gosling. I began to wonder what idiot had made this video with no prior warning for viewers like me! To my surprise and relief, the parents waddled over to where the baby was and waited patiently as the little guy slowly lifted his head and waddled up to them for comfort and moral support. I could not believe he had made it!
Has parenting ever felt like this? If you haven’t experienced this type of worry, frustration and fear, just hold on, and keep on living. The time may come when your little one jumps out of that nest and “plummets” to the bottom of the ravine! You may have to watch them as they “free fall” through their temptations and vices, seeming to race to certain death. If you will cover them in sincere prayer, now and throughout it all, God will hear your cry. If you will train them up now in the faith of God, they will make it!
Depending on their personal venture, their own response to it, and their surrender to God throughout it, they may come through with a few bumps, bruises and , yes, maybe even scars, but they will survive. If they don’t have the grace of God to cushion their fall, the sharp and jagged rock of life will surely damage them beyond repair. Yet, if they have the Word of truth, the sword of the Spirit, and the shield of faith, they can face whatever may come, and God will protect them. He is the best covering they can have!
As a protective mother, I’d prefer they never had to make that leap. As loving moms, we’d prefer that child to just stay safe and secure within our grasps so that no harm or danger ever come near them. Yet, we know if we continue to shelter them through the hardships of life, it doesn’t make them stronger. It only weakens them for the journey that, one day, they will be traveling apart from us.
They need the challenge. They need the flight training, and they need the faith to soar. It is our job to instill within them the knowledge and understanding of that faith. It is our responsibility to help them see the great big world before them and know the pitfalls that will try to trap them. It is our commission to pray endlessly for their journey and for their flight. It is our right to shelter, protect, love and support them until the time comes that they must fly, but fly they must. If they don’t, they will die. Their dreams will die, and their destiny will be lost.
So, go ahead, momma. Hold that baby tight. Strengthen his wings and help him to stand. Deepen her faith and teach her to flap those wings, preparing for flight. When the time is right, they will soar to new heights. They will fly to distant lands, and they will take a part of you with them as you stand there holding a piece of their heart within your hands.