Friday, April 01, 2016

Catch and Release



Baptism Day
I love this picture.  It is from the day our oldest son was baptized. It was a Holy day as we brought him before the Lord, asking for and trusting the Holy Spirit to work in his life, promising to raise him in such a way that one day Noah could make that commitment to follow Jesus for himself.  Not only were we entrusting him to God's care and Grace, God was entrusting him to our care and grace.

And now the day has come when this son is making his first steps into independence.  I knew it was coming.  When he started attending our church's youth ministry it was as hard as, if not harder than, my youngest boy starting Kindergarten at the same time.  Oh but how he has loved it!  He is surrounded by a group of boys who are sweet-spirited, full of energy, full of life.  Our son has these friends from church that are his core.  I am so thankful.  It makes it easier as I consider the changes our relationship will undergo. 

He is not a little boy anymore.  It's time for him to start charting his own way.  The days when I can lay out a path for him to follow are dwindling.  It's hard letting him go.  And this whole new chapter in our relationship with our son kind of took me by surprise.

Along with this group of young men that have been his best buds since preschool, Noah participated in Confirmation, that sacred and Holy time in the life of our congregation where young people confirm for themselves the commitment to follow Jesus.  On the Friday before Confirmation Sunday, these confirmands attended a retreat.  At the send off parents joined their sons and daughters for a time of worship and consecration.  We watched as our children had their feet washed by their leaders.  At the conclusion of the service, mothers and fathers were invited to anoint each confirmand with oil, consecrating them to the Lord.  We brought them to the Holy Grace of God as infants, and now we stood shoulder to shoulder, releasing them into God's promises for their lives, the journey we cannot walk for them.  The one they have to figure out how to walk on their own.

Confirmation Sunday


I wept of course.  Even as I think of it now my heart aches.  I didn't realize that he would pass out of my spiritual care so soon.  I didn't know that's what Confirmation would mean for him and for us, until the moment it happened.  Sure his father and I will be there to offer guidance and love.  But now Noah is responsible for making his own choices for the life he will live.  He gets to choose what following Jesus looks like for him.  

This morning I attended one of the last school assemblies Noah will have before he goes into Junior High.  He was being recognized along with others at the monthly celebration for school leaders.  The teacher from a Kindergarten class he helps in came up to me to say how pleased she was to see him recognized.  She spoke of how sweet he is, how much she loves having him in her classroom.  I could feel the tears pool in the corners of my eyes.  I know each day my walk of faith now includes trusting God to guide this young man as much as God guides me.  And though I often miss it, I am touched to see the evidence that God is doing that.



The first few weeks when Noah was born were so hard.  This child who was the answer to our prayers, the one we thought we would never be able to have, spent his second week of life in Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.  He was severely dehydrated with high sodium levels that were wreaking havoc on his tiny body.  It took a week with specialized care to bring him to the place where we could take him home.  His doctor for the week just happened to be doing his rotation on Noah's floor.  He just happened to be an expert on high sodium babies.  He was able to bring everything going on with our tiny son from the brink of disaster to the place where Noah could go home and live a completely normal life.  On the day he was discharged Dr. Cooper stopped in to see how Noah was doing.  We were worried there could be long term affects that Noah would have to cope with as he grew.  I'll never forget Dr. Cooper's words to me, so full of humor, "If he has trouble in third grade with math, you can't blame it on this!"  And then he laid Noah back into the bassinet, made the sign of the cross over him, and said to our tiny son, "Go with God."


It is my prayer now as I release him into a world so full of uncertainties.  It is the best thing any of us can do as we meet each day full of challenges, unforeseen heartaches, injustice, and loss.  I have tried to  show this son of mine what that looks like each day.  And so many days I let my own fatigue and frustrations get the best of me.  Yet I hope what he has received has been enough.  I have found that the work of faith is to trust God, to have confidence in the One who loves us perfectly and Who is telling His story of redemption through our lives.  And so my work of faith is to trust that I can release this child of my heart to the One who first asked me to receive him into my care.  I will go with God.  And I will trust that the One who loves us both will show my son what it means to go this way too.

1 comment:

Robert Hollis said...

Beautiful.

Loving.

Inspiring.

Faith-filled.

Wish I could say I had something to do with the way this mom turned out.