Learning To Let Your Children Go
“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” – (Ps.127:3).
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” – (Pro.22:6).
Although we often view our children as
possessions, they are not. Children are a gift from God – they are His reward
and what a precious gift they are. “Every
good gift and every perfect gift is
from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” – (Jam.1:17).The Lord
gave me this verse the day of my daughter’s wedding in May 1981 and I was in
turmoil. It seemed on that day I was losing her to Bobby. I felt like pulling
her back into my nest. I wondered if it was right to bring her out here to
She was an adult now, my parenting days were over and I thought about (Jam.1:17). The Lord Jesus taught me about this precious gift of a daughter he had given me 23 years before. This child of my seed was a gift from God, but the child was now an adult and I had to let her go, so that she could be used for His glory and according to His purpose. It wasn’t easy the day of the wedding, but I let her go when I gave her to Bobby as his wife and I’ve never regretted it because Bobby was chosen by God to be her husband. She was totally out of the nest now.
Lord, how do I treat her now, I’m confused, what do I do? And God spoke to my heart “Treat her as an adult, not as a child. You’re still her father but you must adapt to the change in the relationship. She’s an adult, treat her as such. You’ll always be her father, but she doesn’t need you to be her parent any longer.”
I want to preach on child training , on the end result of it. We hear preaching on rearing children but never on “Letting them go” – helping them leave the nest so they can fly on their own and be responsible, Godly adults making a nest of their own and rearing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Letting them go is a part of child training. Holding on to your children and keeping them home will cripple them. It’s cutting the bonds that bothers us the most, the letting go process gets all mixed up with the holding on instincts. Learning to let go means releasing our children and allowing them to become responsible adults. They still need us, but not like when they were children. This is one of the greatest challenges parents face. If you don’t learn to let them go, you’ll have a strained and unloving relationship with them the rest of your lives. One report claimed that 89 % of children claim they suffer from long-term relationships with their parents.
Christian parents seem to have the most difficulty in letting them go because we take our parental responsibility seriously and love our children with the love of Christ and care so deeply about the kind of people our children become. Even Christian parents of grown children refuse to release the reins and recognize that their parenting days are over – they are holding on when they should be letting go – amen. Are you listening today? Don’t close your ears to this truth.
Letting them go is more that a physical act. It’s a complicated emotional challenge that tugs at the very foundation of our family ties. You let them go but you don’t shove them out of the nest – you help them grow up properly so they just naturally leave the nest and fly away on their own – (at about the age of 20, the age of an adult in the Bible). Don’t fight this truth because your children will have to fight with you in order to leave home and they don’t want to do that. Make it easy on them and you and help them leave the nest.
More and more children are staying home at older ages than ever before because they are not capable of facing responsibility on there own as responsible adults. They are closer to 30 than 20 before they can fly on their own and many are so crippled that they never can leave home. Many mothers don’t want them to leave because they don’t want to be alone or they want someone to do the work at home. Some sons are kept at home in bondage to a smother mother who is keeping him as a surrogate husband, to do the man’s work and keep her company because she has no husband, because of divorce or death. They fight against their children finding a mate and wash their clothes and cook their food and continue to treat them as children long after they’re grown up.
Children are an heritage of the Lord. God’s plan includes the raising of children. He has loaned these children temporarily to parents to love, nurture, train and finally release them so that they may seek God’s will for their lives apart from us. That is God’s purpose, don’t frustrate the wisdom of God by refusing to let them go. Parenting is only a temporary job description – father and mother is forever, but not parenting. There is a great difference. But father and mother still have power and influence in children’s lives after they are grown and gone, if you release them properly and not damage the relationship. Our responsibility is to equip and prepare them for life without us – first by separating them from our house and finally by our death.
It is written in (Gen.2:24) and (Mt.19:5) “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.” God gave Adam and Eve this first prophecy in the Bible for all future generations and families on earth and God gave this truth both for parents and children. Young man, leave your parents, that’s the first part. The second part is to cleave to your wife – leave and cleave. First leave home and make it on your own as a man, earning a living for yourself and paying the bills and learning the responsibly of adulthood. And when you can take care of yourself, then you can get married and take care of a wife and children. It comes step by step as you mature as a man. Don’t cleave to your mama and be a mama’s boy.
And mom and dad need to recognize the importance of this very special verse and be ready to let your children go in order to fulfill God’s Word – and don’t be disobedient. In order to have strong Christian families, we must follow the Word of God and not the world. Help your children have a strong Christian family of their own. Don’t be selfish and try to keep them with you and cripple them and bring hatred between you – do it God’s way. Let them go and be obedient to God and don’t control their lives. Give your children “roots and wings.” Love them, protect them, and nurture them in God’s Word and make them strong and let them fly away to live on their own and build their own nest.
Why is letting go so difficult? Why do so many get so tangled up in apron strings? Why can’t we help them leave the nest as easily as birds? I know it’s painful, but it’s necessary. We intensely love our children. The birth of a child and bringing a new soul into the world is a dramatic event. The bonding in the years following tie parents to children. No wonder then that the slow severing of the bonds is a painful process. We must raise our children to leave us – it’s God’s way. But it hurts when they go – but it can hurt far less if we recognize it and deal with it over the 20 years of child training. It’s not a single event that happens the day the child leaves for college, an apartment, marriage, or a job. Rather it’s a slow process that starts the moment the umbilical cord is cut at birth and continues in bits and pieces as the child grows –he’s growing up to leave home. Parents must prepare the child slowly each year for independence and life from their parents. We want them to become dependent on their heavenly Father and not us.
In the beginning, we have 100% control of their lives. By the time they leave home they must have 100% control of their own lives. In between these 20 years, we transfer the control in a logical, orderly process. For instance, when you put your 5 year old on the school bus for the first time - that’s a great step in his life to grow up. He has cut a thread in the cord that binds you together – let him go. Starting learning to let go when he’s 5 and it won’t hurt so much when he’s 20. Many little hurts through the years is easier to handle than one big hurt. Don’t go to his school everyday as a volunteer to watch over him and be a smother mother – let him go. All of God’s creatures train their young in this manner so they can make it on their own – it’s life or death.
Give your child roots and wings. Roots go deep and help children grow strong. They gaurd them against the wicked assaults of the world and stabilize them. We get them rooted and grounded in God’s Word of truth and getting saved and loving the Lord Jesus. Wings help them fly on their own. This comes from letting them go in our heart, cutting the ties and gently pushing them off. We give them both roots and wings so they can rear up other nests of responsible, Godly adults. To release your children does not mean to abandon them, but to give them back to God and in so doing to take your own hands off them – to release the controls and let them fly. As they grow up, we loosen not tighten the reins.
And never, never allow your children to become more important than your spouse. Parenting is a temporary job, our children will come and go, make sure your spouse stays. If you don’t know this truth it will be a very dangerous time in your marriage when the nest empties. Many times the husband and wife are now alone and they can’t communicate with each other anymore because they had been communicating through their children. The best thing you can give your children is to love your spouse and stay together.
But the highest function of parent’s love is fulfilled when your love is strong enough to cut the apron strings and let the adult child move off into his own life. They will always need you as father and mother but not as parents. If you handle this properly, you can be a real blessing as a grandparent. You can help both your children and your children’s children in a wise and Godly way. Otherwise a gulf comes between you and all you have is a lousy relationship.
Christian parents often have difficulty letting go because we fear the temptation they will face in a wicked world beyond our home and whether they will go bad and live for the devil or not. We are not to make our home a monastery and keep our children home always so they won’t have to face the world. We fear letting them go and allowing them to make their own decisions because what they do reflects upon us. Children are our reports cards of parenting.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” – (I Cor.13:11). You only have 20 years to teach your child God’s Word, so use these years wisely. But our children will not give up their childish ways unless they sever their bonds of dependency on us. They can’t grow up correctly unless we withdraw our control from their lives to allow them to grow independently. Picture Mary standing at the foot of the cross witnessing the agonizing death of her son. The child she bore and held in her arms was being torn from her in death. What pain she must have felt, yet it was the Father’s will that He die on the cross – she had to let go – this was God’s child more than her own. God had a plan for His life. And God has a plan for our children also. We must learn to let go.
We let them go not only for their good but for ours. We get tired more as we grow older and are not as capable to care for children. If we don’t train them properly they’ll come back home with a family and wear you out. More and more grandparents are raising grandchildren today. Their children bring their children back home for grandparents to raise. These children are called ‘nesters’, they can’t make their own nest, they bring them back to their parent’s nest.
Moms and dads can get parent burn-out. Being a parent is a lot like teaching a child to ride a bicycle. You have to know when to hold on and when to let go. If you lack the courage to let go you’ll get very tired of running along beside. Children can’t grow without taking risks. Toddlers can’t walk without falling down. And our children can’t enter adulthood until we release them from our protective custody. When our birds leave the nest and they fall, then of course we help them but not by bringing them home, we help them to fly way.
“Children are an heritage of the Lord” – we are the nurturers, temporarily entrusted with the responsibility of training them up God’s way. Then, because they belong to the Lord, we let them go. Letting go involves two goals: weaning the child from the parents and weaning the parents from the child. We prepare them for life outside of our home as we prepare ourselves for life without them in the house. Learn to let your child go. When children are grown, stop being a parent and start being their best friend – adult to adult. Be a good father and mother and help them by being good grandparents.
It was hard when you went away
For how was I to know the serendipity of letting go
Would be seeing you in your home again and meeting in
A new way – woman to woman – friend to friend – Amen.
Your adult son or daughter can be your best friend. Do it God’s way – learn to let go. Make sure you and your children are saved and born again so you both have conquered death and so you can spend eternity together with Christ. If you and your children are born again children of God, then you have a spiritual relationship with God the Father through his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus. This relationship through the Holy Spirit will bind you together no matter the distance between you – you are part of the family of God. Your mutual love of God and his beloved Son will bind you together in love for eternity and makes the parting of death only temporary. Eternal life is our hope and faith “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us” – (Rom.5:5).
If you’re not born again, repent of your sins and by faith believe on Christ in your heart for forgiveness and remission of sins. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, in truth, shall be saved.
Learn to let your children go God’s way and you will truly be together.
Pastor Mike Storti
5000 N. LaCholla-
Would love to hear from you!