About six weeks ago, we were jumping up and down because we had found out Alex had been selected to intern with the staff at a Worldview Academy Leadership Camp. Woot! We had been hoping and praying for this. A few days later, we were jumping up and down because WVA had phoned to say they had bumped Alex to a staff position and had added another camp. So now she could also attend the national staff training week. Double woot!!
Everyone was excited...
...until yesterday. She and I stood in line at the airport and waited for check-in. We went over last-minute itinerary, double-checked her stuff, talked about contact information.
"We didn't pray for you!" I wondered out loud.
So, we took advantage of the few minutes we had left before she would have to cross security and we would have to say goodbye. We found a couple chairs in a quiet spot, and there we prayed.
I prayed for Alex to learn. As the staff studies John Piper's Think, may she learn to think to the glory of God. May she learn to serve. May she learn to give of herself.
In the movie, The Village, a father pulls his daughter aside and asserts, "Some are born to lead where others only follow. You are one of those people." I could say exactly the same thing about Alex. So I prayed for Alex to lead. As a small group leader, may she lead younger Christians to process the 26 hours of lectures they will attend during their camp week. May she lead by example, as well as by her words.
But the opportunities that await Alex did not lessen the impact of the reality facing me.
She is ready to learn.
She is ready to lead.
And she is ready to leave.
As I watched her walk through security, I thought of my friend Suzanne, who once said that having a child is allowing part of your heart to walk around outside your body. At that moment, I fully understood that.
Then, Alex picked up her things, donned her backpack, waved goodbye...
...and was gone.
And part of my heart was gone with her.
I blinked again.
And as I made my way down the escalator, the reality of it all hit me. My baby was grown up. She was leaving to put into practice what we had spent 18 years pouring into her.
She was leaving to try her hand at using her gifts and being used by God.
This was the whole point of the past 18 years.
But, boy, did it hurt.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, Suzy Bogguss started singing.
"Oh, letting go.
There's nothing in her way now.
There's room enough to fly.
Even though she's spent her whole life waiting,
It's never easy...
Great. The tears were getting hard to just blink back now. My face was crinkling; I could feel it. And I kept my head down, so people couldn't see. I found another seat and waited until the phone rang. "Okay, Mom. I'm at the gate. Love you."
Love you, too.
That's why this is such a big deal.
We are raising our kids to fly.
But now that they are beginning to taxi out to the runway, I'm getting sad.
Our first two are launching; it's a wonder to behold. And the others are lining up behind them.
I can't stop them. I don't want to stop them.
This is a hard season, but it's a good hard.
And it's just a transition that will bring the next season.
And that will be good, too.
By the time I was driving away, another song was playing in my mind.
And before I knew it, it was just me and my song, no music or radio, and no witnesses. Just God to hear me.
"If I know You, You will turn this day into a perfect surprise.
If I know You like I think I do, the worst of times will work out right.
Lord, I know there's hope in sight.
You will get me through if I know You."
And I smiled.