Let Them Fly

Eagles are known for their keen vision, their aggression towards their enemies, and their strength. But what is more astonishing about the eagle is their ability to nurture their young. Research has shown that they are the most gentle and attentive to their young than any other bird.

When the mother eagle sees that it’s time for her to teach her eaglet to fly, she gathers the little one onto her back, and spreading her wings, flies high. Suddenly, she quickly swoops out from under her eaglet and allows it to fall. While falling quickly towards the ground below, it soon learns what its wings are for until the mother comes to its rescue. The mother eagle will repeat the process until the eaglet learns to fly. If the eaglet is slow to learn the mother will take it to the nest. She will then begin to tear the nest apart until there is nothing left for the eaglet to cling to. Then she nudges her little one off the cliff.

As mothers we carry our little ones inside of us for nine months…sometimes longer in our hearts…as we wait for their arrival. We spend the next 18 years training, nurturing, and praying that somehow, through all of our mistakes, they realize how much they are truly loved.

Then, just like that, they are ready to leave the nest. We may deny it, but we sense it. We only hope that we have prepared them to go out into the big world. Like the mother eagle, we have to teach them to fly alone. They will fall sometimes…fail miserably. But true love will nudge them out of the nest to become all God has planned for them.

And just like that you are moving your “little girl” into a college dorm, with complete strangers, and walking away. I had always thought that I would be happy when my kids went off to college. But I soon realized that I had a million things that I wanted to tell them.

I wanted them to know that I believed that they could do anything they put their mind to in this big world. I wanted to tell them to be courageous and strong, always be kind, and always do their best.

I desperately needed them to know that in life there are simply no do-overs….so do it right the first time. I prayed that they would know how their family loved them and to remember to stay in touch with their siblings and grandparents. That it’s alright to fail so take chances and they could make this world a better place.

I hoped that they would remember all that we taught them-not the math and science lessons but life’s lesson. About the love of God and country…and that family sticks together no matter what. That no matter how big the mistakes they make, they can always come home. That we will always love them. That they were born for a purpose. And only by spending time in God’s presence would they ever fully come to know what they were destined to become…the very reason they were born.

Sending your children off to college can be challenging financially, emotionally exhausting, yet exciting all the same. It’s a time for them to spread their own wings, make new friends, explore careers, and hopefully mature in their faith. It’s THEIR time. So smile, even when your heart is breaking, hold in the tears until you drive away, and never quit praying for them. Trust them in the hands of God.

“For this child I have prayed.” I Samuel 1:27

When book of 1st Samuel opens Hannah is childless and full of misery. While weeping bitterly, she vows to God that if He will give her a child, she’ll give the child back to Him. By the end of chapter one, God answers her prayer with a baby she calls Samuel. Around the age of four Hannah follows through with her vow-dropping off Samuel at the temple with Eli….and walks away.

I’m not surprised that Hannah honored her word. But what I find completely unexpected is the simple fact that after weeping, finally having her prayer answer with Samuel, only to have to drop him off at the temple and walk away…and then she worships. Worship holds the power to change our perspective on a situation.

The story of Hannah is an example of how we can trust God with our children and our own hearts. She lifted up her eyes and raised a song of Thanksgiving. Her story is one of encouragement and hope to us parents, as we drop off a piece of our heart at college. I know your emotions are high as you stress over whether you have prepared them for this next step. As parents, like the eagle, we hover back and forth between covering them with our wings and teaching them to fly.

Trust God and let them fly.

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