Monday, August 24, 2015


OK, to be totally honest, my sons are not kids anymore.

At 32 and 28, they are men.

But, as any parent knows, your kids are your kids are your kids…

They certainly grow up, but your heart still holds on tight.

Ya know?!

I have found that the journey of parenthood is a series of *letting go* moments.  From the moment a child is born, we learn to negotiate the stages of their development and growth into independence.

Most of the time, it's an exciting journey.

Sometimes it's the hardest thing a person will ever have to do.

It is really hard to love so intensely.  

It is really hard watching your children make their own decisions, especially when you feel like they could be potentially wrong decisions.  It is really hard to watch them go through painful circumstances, and to see them feel sad or discouraged or upset.  It is awful to watch them when they're sick or injured.

And, the older they get, the less and less you feel like you can do anything about any of it.

It's ironic to me in some ways that we work so hard to raise our children to leave us one day.  That our primary goal is to bring these little ones into mature adulthood, and that independence is a character trait to be nurtured and instilled.

I don't know about you, but some part of me had to work hard at this.

Because the truth of the matter was that there was a part of me that never wanted my boys to hurt.  I never wanted them to be sad.  I didn't want them to struggle, to make mistakes, to find out how tough life can really be sometimes.  And, truth be told, there was a part of me that never wanted them to leave.

I did, but I didn't.

And this is the tug/pull hanging on, and the push/prod spurring on that summarizes the bittersweet dance of parenting.

Let me tell you, I am very close to my two sons, a blessing for which I am very grateful.

But it's still so hard to watch them when they go through difficult things.  I have always been known as a helicopter mom.  (Definition: a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children).  In fact, my sons have occasionally been known to call me "Whoop, Whoop" (insert sound of rotor blades here).

I try hard not to meddle, to give advice only when asked, to be a support and not a nag, to release them to their own lives.

But that is the hardest thing for me, really – to release them into their own stories, their own journeys, and their own walks with the Lord.

Years ago, my old church had a wonderful Good Friday service.  Maybe some of you have had this experience, but it was totally new to me.  At the end of the message, everyone was asked to write down something that we wanted to give up, to hand over to the Lord.

I wrote down the names of my sons.

Then we walked down the aisle, picked up a hammer, and nailed that symbolic piece of paper to the cross.

In retrospect I think perhaps I must have only used a thumbtackmaybe even a post-it note.  Because I still find it nearly impossible to yield those boys to the Lord, and I just keep *taking them back*.

I have long struggled with the story of Hannah in the Bible.  Hannah, who was so desperate for a child, who agonizingly prayed to the Lord for this gift of life, who promised that if she gave birth to a baby she would give that child back to the Lord.

Well, you know what happened.  

God did indeed give her a child, Samuel.  And Hannah stayed true to her promise.  When Samuel became a certain age, Hannah brought him to the temple and handed him over to Eli, the priest, to be trained in the ways of the Lord.

True confession?

I'm uncomfortable with Hannah's story.  

While I completely admire her for her dedication, her selfless character, her unswerving commitment to honor the Lord with this most precious gift – there's my *mother's heart* that just agonizes over her decision.

I picture that day when she kissed Samuel and said good-bye.


I'm not sure that I could have done that.

But, there's the rub.

And by rub, I mean the Holy Spirit convicting me!

Rubbing up against my earthly flesh, rubbing off the rough edges, rubbing to polish the parts that don't reflect the Lord so well.

Because whatever is nearest and dearest to your heart, whatever is your passion, whatever you treasure most – THAT is what God is going to ask you to surrender to Him.

Jesus counseled His disciples to count the cost of following Him.  And then He told them that if they truly wanted to follow Him, they'd have to pick up a cross.

Cross-carrying is not for the faint of heart.  It is a courageously painful journey of surrender that does NOT come naturally to our self-serving ways.


Because, after all, dying to self is excruciating.

(Did you know that the root word for excruciating comes from the Latin word, excrucitus, which is equivalent to ex + cruciāre  - meaning to torment, crucify – a derivative of crux = cross)

And just as sure as I am that God will ask us to surrender the most hard-to-yield things (or people), I also know that the enemy of our souls will tempt and taunt and poke and pester us in this area more than anywhere else, because this is where we're most vulnerable.

Yes, the enemy will go after the things that we love.

He'll make surrendering feel like losing control.

I know this because it happens to me all the time.

The harder I try to give my kids over to the Lord, the more the devil entices me to tighten my grip.  The harder I try to relinquish them to their Father's care, the more the enemy increases my reluctance to let them go.

It's a foolish, yet viciously tenacious battle.

In the end, the thing that I don't like hearing from people – that my sons belong to the Lord, and they are only loaned to me – in the end, that is Truth.

And, no matter how much I love those boys, my heavenly Father loves them more.

So, what is God speaking to your heart today?

What is He calling you to surrender?

Maybe you're like me.  

Maybe the hardest thing to give over to Him is your kids.  Maybe you struggle with their burgeoning independence, and the ability to make choices and decisions that could be oh-so-wrong.  Maybe you ache over their pain and suffering.  Maybe you wish you could keep them from all the hard stuff of life.

Maybe you wish you could spend your life "whoop-whooping" over them.

Hovering, protecting, guarding.

But, God is calling…

Calling you to surrender them into His care.

It's OK.  He knows how hard it is.  He understands.

For He gave His only Son – the Son that He loved perfectly – He gave that precious Son over to death.  And if He loved us enough to do THAT, He'll surely take care of us all the days of our lives.

And that includes my two sons, whom I adore.

And because I adore them, I will continue to surrender them to the One who loves them more…

Lord, give me the courage to relinquish my sons to You.  To let You do Your work in their lives, no matter where their journey takes them.  Help me to not be afraid, and to trust in Your perfect love for them.  Give me wisdom in my relationships with each of them.  Enable me to be a good counselor when advice is asked for.  And to keep my words to myself when I am tempted to be meddlesome.  Teach them to follow You in all their ways.  Thank You for bringing them into my life, and for the great joy they bring me.  And yet, I also ask that You empower me to surrender them, to let go, to relinquish my control, and to trust YOU with every moment of their lives.

Thank You that You love them more than I do…and thank You for loving me.

Please tell me that you notice
the "helicopter rotor blade" arm
that I have wrapped
around the shoulders of my sons!

Whoop, whoop!! 

"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD..." (Psalm 127:3, NASB)

"I asked the LORD to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.  Now I am giving him to the LORD, and he will belong to the LORD his whole life." 
(1 Samuel 1:27-28, NLT)

"'Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?  Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?  If you then...know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give...?'" 
(Luke 11:11, NASB)

"'Can a mother forget her nursing child?  Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?  But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!'" 
(Isaiah 49:15, NLT)

"'[Jesus] said to them, 'Let the children come to me.  Don't stop them!'" 
(Mark 10:14, NLT)

"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.'" (1 Peter 5:7, AMP)

"'I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.'" 
(John 10:28-29, ESV)

What, or whom, is God asking you to surrender to Him today?

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BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. What precious picture of you and your two boys! Sharon, I could have written this post because I am the poster child for a mother who keeps taking her boys back...well, at least one of them. My two are 36 and 33 and the #1 son has had a hard, hard life. Wrong choices starting way back when he was a teen, becoming a unwed father at 19 and then again at 21 (same mom), substance abuse, life threatening injuries that nearly took his life in 2001 and 2009...I could go on and on. Son #2 lives his life in complete 180...a wonderful Christian family man...a JOY to be around. This mama has reliquished her #1 son over...and over...only to take him back over many years. I still do this to an extent but I am getting better at it...only because of the Lord. I love my two boys as much as any mother could love their children...but I have to love them in completely different ways. God made us moms with a love that only HE and other moms can understand...fathers don't even understand it. And you are right, turning them over to Him is the HARDEST thing we will ever do in our lives. I'll pray for you and you pray for me, OK? :) Thank you for these wise words, dear friend.

  2. my girls are 40 & 36. I released them long ago to a better Father than I could ever be. The youngest I released to another man as well. I love my girls but also know I cannot hover or demand.

  3. Oh Sharon, What a precious photo and such handsome sons!!! I can understand your struggle with not wanting to let them go and what a beautiful portrayal you have posted of this angst. How much more our dear heavenly Father must go through this every time we're prone to wander or be independent of Him. I really thought you were going to compare letting go of your sons with our Father and us. However, as always, you came up with a good spiritual connection anyways {just not the one I had in mind} ... since my 2-36 year olds were not mine to begin with, this has been a heart issue since becoming their adopted mom (and never really feeling they were mine though in my heart they were). I love the story of Hannah (in contrast to you) and keeping her word to God with Samuel. No better place to place our kids than in the arms of our Father! What a wonderful, wonderful heart filled and felt writing of a mom's heart for her boys and our Father's love for us! A keepsake post of wisdom and much love! Your sons will always be a part of you. What a beautiful prayer ... and keepsake of your love and God's! And I plead the 5th, in answering your question of surrender. So much I need to surrender still. (sigh) So much to learn. So much to let go.

    Sending love, prayers and blessings to you Sharon (((hugs)))~Peggy

  4. Oh, I'm so with you on this one, friend. This post really hit home. I've missed you. One thing I have surrendered is my blog and so far He isn't asking me to take it back up again. And I'm really okay with that other than less writing has resulted in less blog reading and I miss my dear friends. My boys on the other hand, still learning and growing in trusting in Him. Much love. xoxo

  5. It is a bittersweet dance isn't it? It's always hard. My son lives probably over 1000 miles away working at his job. Even though he isn't near me, I still think and worry about him often. I have a vivid imagination and boy I could let it go wild if I let it. I try not to let it, but trust that God has His hand on my son. He is taking care of him.

  6. What a great picture of you and your sons, Sharon! It is neat too that you have a close relationship with them! I release my son and take him back sometimes the same day, LOL, but I am getting better about it and I need to keep remembering that he is 26 years old and I need to stop hovering about too. I do admire Hannah in that she was willing to give Samuel so freely, indeed what a blessing she got in so many other ways, but that initial giving had to happen first I do believe.


  7. I can so relate to this. I believe I'm in a season where God is calling me to surrender my time to him and my abilities. What I though the had gifted me in and what I thought he wanted to use me in this year is totally not what he is putting before me. I'm a bit confused by it but yet see his hand in it. So I guess surrendering my plans and ideas is part of that too. Love the helicopter arm!!! Ha!!! Too funny

  8. I think all Moms go through the agony of releasing their adult kids; I know I have. For me it's almost a daily releasing them to God who I know made them and knows best. It certainly not easy though....This is a wonderful picture of a beautiful mom and her two handsome men. I know it's a treasured photo...

  9. Oh how I needed this post at this very moment in my life. We just dropped my son off for his Sophomore year of college and within moments of leaving, I felt panic. I have been working on letting him go- little by little with each year and feel as though I am failing miserably. Your post was a blessing to my day and encourages me to continue to keep trying and to take each step slowly. Thank you!

  10. I get this. My kids are in high school but I still hammer that piece of paper to the cross often and then take it back and then give them up again. It is hard and I know it is not going to get any easier the older they get. Thanks for your words of wisdom as one who is a few steps ahead of me. Blessings! Love, Rachael @ Inking the Heart.

  11. such an awesome family, love you.

  12. Oh, boy!! What a subject that pricked my heart! I love reading what you write, because you always seem to be able to relate to me in so many ways. You are such a precious gift to this blogging THE world, in general, sweet friend. Loved seeing the wonderful picture of you and your two boys! Now, I have faces to put with the names I am praying for! God bless each one of you and hold you close always. Love and appreciate you!

  13. I totally understand! When I wrote my book "9 Traits of a Life-Giving Mom" I had tears running down my cheeks -- launching children into adulthood. Bittersweet.

  14. Beautiful children, Sharon! Oh how I can relate to the "hard to digest" story of Hannah! That letting, so very hard! Loved getting to stop by and visit today from UNITE! Have missed your writings! Lots of love and blessings, Jen @

  15. One thing comes to mind as I read this today:...
    God has no grandchildren!
    That's what I have to keep reminding myself of whenever I get tempted to hover too much...or as I heard just a day or so ago, some of us are more like submarine parents...we lurk just beneath the surface and then pop up when least expected! (That's more my style) lol!

  16. Beautiful family and beautiful post! Glad to visit with you this morning! Peace and many blessings to you, Love! :-)

  17. The mommy war rages in all of us. I'm not sure why it feels so much more natural to hang on to my kids and tug with all my might than simply opening my hands and releasing them to God. I am learning that if I must release my kids into His hands so they can witness the act of surrender. Thank you for sharing.

  18. I am with you, but my boys are only 5 and 7...if you can do it and do it again, so can I. Thank for your truthful and encouraging words.

  19. Oh me !! Caught me right there !! I planned to attend college and become a school teacher. I have taught Sun School and Bible studies - so teacher I am. However, I do love to teach (offer opinion) and most of my children do not mind (or don't pay attention). All three our ours left and came back for a season. Even our Foster daughter came back (with her husband) until they could get moved into their apartment. When our son was making a very bad decision and told me his plans - - I said, "Well you are over 21 and have the right to make your own decisions, but I must tell you that I do not approve of your choice." Then he went ahead and did as he pleased and suffered. Praise God that when we thing we are too big for our britches, God is always there to correct us and if we fail to listen, He is willing to say come on back home. Thank you Sharon for your sweet post and for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

  20. I don't have kids...but I can relate. This is a great, heartfelt essay.

    Here from Thought-Provoking Thursday; I'm your neighbour this week.

  21. You don't look old enough to be the mother of those handsome men!

    My gosh, I love the bit about using a thumbtack or perhaps a post-it note. This way you can more easily take it back. That's brilliant. Not the act itself, of course...the writing, the thought---you know. It is so hard to relinquish adult children, especially in today's society when they don't ever truly leave, like we did and like our parents did. I work for my son, so while I'm an employee (which in itself is very strange-I'm still, after 3 years, trying to get used to getting a paycheck from my child)--I don't always agree with some of his methods--but it's his business-literally-and I have to trust that he knows better than I do--and with the exception of certain things, he really does. And every time I go to my daughter's apartment I make a choice not to comment about her housekeeping (or lack thereof). Staying out of their personal business makes for a better relationship. I understand your pain, my friend.

  22. Hi,
    Great story, thanks for sharing. I've come to realize that once our children reach a certain age they no longer belong to us, but being a mom they will always be your children not matter what. Have a great day!

  23. Excellent lesson and prayer. I think all of us struggle with this to one degree or another, especially mothers. Having all daughters I get this struggle and the stress that can be overwhelming when we try to take over the role of our Father.

    Thanks for the reminder. How about that root word of excruciating? Wow. That'll preach, sister!

  24. Got a 40 year old daughter who lives hundreds of miles from us so I hardly get to see her but we talk at least twice a week. Our son, 35 lives 10 minutes from us and we see him and family a lot. I trade my mother heart daily for the heavenly Father heart when I communicate with my children. He knows so much more about what they need then I do. Besides He still working on me...

  25. A hellicopter Mum and Grandma, is me also. It certainly isn't easy.

  26. Loosening our grip on anything -- or anyone! -- who matters is hard. But that's where the work of faith happens. So grateful for your encouragement.

  27. Yes, I see the arm, LOL! But I also see that you are aware of your whoop-whoop status and sometimes that makes all the difference. Thought-provoking and gracious post, as always, my friend!

  28. Dear Sharon,

    I love how you painted this vivid picture with your words in a way I can truly understand. I love reading your words of encouragement. My children are still little, and still rely on me so much, so I have not gotten to that season yet, but thinking about it makes me nervous. I pray God gives me what I need to hack it when that season arrives. Thank u so much for sharing with TGI Saturdays.


  29. Love the picture of you and your boys.
    I'm just on the front end of the "letting go" with two out of the next and two still in school, so I'm in the land of in-between where I have to trust God for all of them, but in different ways. Your words have been a "OH -- you too?" moment this morning, which, by C.S. Lewis's definition, makes us friends!
    Blessings on your weekend!

  30. I am so with you on this sister, it is so hard and you are right God loves them more than us, he created them and gave them life and is looking after them. Blessings to you and thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays.
    PS great photo of you and your sons, just lovely.

  31. Oh, Sharon - this went straight to the heart - it must be a mother of sons only thing. I remember when my 2nd was born and I realized I could give him to the Lord - and I did - I gave all my sons to the Lord - but there's so much more to it than saying it - isn't there?! I love how you say I need to release them to their own story - I can visualize that, wrap my brain around that. I love the story of Hannah, too - do you know one of my very favorite parts is that when Samuel was grown up, after every work he did for God, he returned to his town where he was born. Because Hannah gave him away - he came back! It's like a hug! Thank you for sharing your heart - and your encouragement to more fully let go!

  32. Love seeing the picture of you and your 2 handsome boys, Sharon. A little bit of Helicopter is a good thing, in my opinion. Surrender is so hard! Hugs

  33. Sweet photo of you and your sons! Thanks for linking on my weekend linky on Amanda's Books and More!

  34. Whoop! Whoop! Yep, I see that "blade"...

    And my 2 sons...
    Kyle is already dancing with Jesus
    And Matt--please pray for him to come to know the Lord as his Savior. I'm giving Matt to God, trusting that God is THE best parent for this son of mine. He is struggling believing there is a God since he lost his baby brother. And that hurts this momma to the very core.

    BUT GOD...wants him saved and I entrust Matt to Him.

  35. I can relate, Sharon. It doesn't get any easier to let go, does it? My sons are 30 and 35 but I still find myself hovering over them like you do. Although my husband has noted that I've taken to mothering him (unnecessarily) instead! And I've also been gently convicted by your words:"Because whatever is nearest and dearest to your heart, whatever is your passion, whatever you treasure most – THAT is what God is going to ask you to surrender to Him". Ouch!! I think I may be in danger of turning my passion of penning words into an idol because of the mental energy and time it consumes in a life already greatly limited by having M.E. Much food for thought here! Thank you. Visiting from Weekend Whispers. It's good to read your words. :)

  36. Love your photo and your boys are so handsome! I liked this post. I find it hard to let go of my children. They are 36 and 34. Even harder with our daughter living here. Hard not to want to help when you see the mistakes right under your eyes. I am definitely a helicopter mom, always have been and always will be!

  37. I remember the night after my daughters wedding I found myself staying up late "waiting for her to come through the door". I couldn't settle into the fact that she wasn't coming back home to live here. It is hard to let go, and trusting God with our children is a daily faith walk. He's a good Daddy!

  38. Sharon, I definitely understand. I don't have any kids grown and out of the house yet, but thinking about it happening in just a few short years is a little terrifying. I know and tell myself that He loves them even more than I do, but it's still hard to hang on. Grace to you! And grace to me. :) Thanks Sharon.

  39. Thanks for sharing! I really needed the reminder.

  40. Thank you so much for this! My kiddos are so small... but I just stopped home schooling and sent them to school for the first time. It was a big lesson in 'letting go'. I'm enjoying their smallness SO much, but I agree, its all a process of learning to let go. I enjoyed this, thank you for your encouragement, especially to us young Moms!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)