This post is going to be a real look inside my head and heart. In fact, I probably won't post it right after it's written, but I need to get these words on the page.
I have been learning a huge lesson about letting go this year. I don't know why I didn't think about how Daniel's entire senior year would be a gradual letting go process, but that's how it has been this year. I've had to start letting him grow up and be more independent, which is exactly what is supposed to happen. He got a car back in July and that gave him a new level of independence. Then in February he started his part time job at the Lifeway Christian Store downtown, giving him another step in his growing up experience. In less than two months, Daniel will graduate from high school and then in July will turn 18 and get to go on his first international mission trip to Honduras. And then in August . . . off to college!
I am really OK with how Daniel is growing up and becoming a man. That's been the goal since he was a baby and I'm thankful that he has grown and matured and am confident that he will be able to take good care of himself when he's living on his own. He might eat PB and J sandwiches for every meal, but at least it's protein! :-)
I've also realized along the way that I have to let go of my own plans, hopes and dreams for Daniel's life. Yes, I am in full support of his plan to become a professional musician and am proud of the hard work he puts into becoming a better drummer. But God is in control of all things, including Daniel's life and my own. I've had to surrender the whole college decision process to God over and over again because I keep trying to take hold of the reins.
The biggest thing I've had to let go of over the past couple of months is the (my) dream of Daniel attending Belmont University. I think it was his dream for a long time, too, which is why I latched onto it. But after we found out that he was not going to receive any scholarship money from Belmont, Daniel told me that he had already been letting go of that dream, especially since he had such a good experience learning about the music program at University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
What I came to realize is that Daniel's dream is to play the drums professionally and if he can get the education he needs at UT-K and doesn't have to come out of college carrying a huge load of debt, that is what he wants to do. He was offered both academic and music scholarships at UT, which is made the decision even easier in his mind. And I'll be proudly wearing a big orange T on my shirt come August!
At Daniel's baby dedication, we chose two life verses for him. Proverbs 3:5-6 was our encouragement to him to trust in the Lord with all of his heart and to lean not on his own understanding and to acknowledge the Lord in all his ways and see how the Lord directed his path. The other passage was Colossians 1:9-14 and was our prayer for him:
"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
We also shared a song performed by Christian recording artist, Clay Crosse, called, "Give Him Roots." From the day Daniel was born, his dad and I knew that it was our job to give him a strong foundation in the Lord while at the same time help him to spread his wings. These words are still my prayer almost 18 years later:
"Give him roots, and give him wings
And he'll grow up to do great things
Let him know the joy that he brings
Teach him the value of the truth
Oh you gotta give him roots, give him wings."
I will continue learning the lesson of letting go. It will be (and has been) heart-wrenching at times and it will continue to be my challenge as we walk through the next few months. Thankfully, Daniel and I have a good relationship and I know in my heart that we will always have a special bond. It is my prayer that just as my parents gave me "roots and wings," that Daniel will someday continue that legacy of raising his children to be who the Lord plans for them to be.