“You put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” Psalm 56:8
In less than 48 hours I will be driving my twenty-five year old daughter to the airport where she will board an airplane and fly across the continent to a new city, a new job, and a new chapter in her adult life.
The last months have been a flurry of activity for her; she has sold her car, and then had to organize a bevy of borrowed vehicles to keep herself in transportation to and from work, she has moved out of her apartment and moved belongings too large to transport at this time into storage, and she has flown back and forth to New York City for interviews and meetings. In the midst of all this she has tried to use every free moment to say her goodbye’s.
I have known this move was coming, and she is not the first to leave the state of her childhood, but like her older sister before her, she has been given wings, and now it is simply time to stretch them. I am intensely proud of her in all the ways that a parent should be, as she is a young woman worthy of respect for her hard work and steadfast commitment to excellence. None the less tears have become my constant companion over the last months preceding her move, and now in these last hours that she has been spending in my home they threaten to spill again and again.
One month ago my oldest daughter gave me my first grandchild. As a new mother, she has been ushered into the beautiful and bittersweet world of parenthood. Love has stretched her heart in ways that she had no idea that it could, and yet with her greater capacity for love she has also found an enlarged capacity for pain and a new struggle with the knowledge that she can only do her best.
When these two beautiful women were yet toddlers I can remember lying in my bed next to their father with an ache filling my heart so deeply that it turned to streams of tears. There as a young mother I realized I could not hold them, that each day would come and it would go, and as it did they would grow, and that God had charged me and my husband with the responsibility of raising them for just exactly that purpose; to become strong capable adults who would leave us. I also realized that try as I might, I could never fully protect them; I could not breathe in and out for them, nor could I follow them through every detail of their daily lives, making sure no unkind word was said, or no harm occurred. I could not even ensure that in our flawed and fallible state my husband and I would always be the very best parents for them. I could only seek to do my best to love them with my whole heart, to protect them where it was wise to do so, to apologize when I erred, and ultimately, to trust the One who gave them to me to do what was very best for each of them.
The years have brought countless tears for this mother, some of joy, and some of the deepest heartbreak imaginable. There were times when the pain threatened to wash over me in waves too heavy to bear, and seasons when the tears of rejoicing washed away the broken pathway I had walked. Today, I sense my Father is using my tears to water gardens I have yet to see, growth green and new springing up in the lives of those He has enlarged my heart to love.
I trust Him, that He is not a God who ignores the eyes of his child as they brim with tears, but rather he sees every drop, and puts every stream, river and wave to His use to grow gardens fresh with new life, and to carve seashores satisfied with the beauty of His plan.
I know You know the ache of my heart, and I know You have not let a single tear go unnoticed. I thank you for the joy of watching my children grow into beautiful adults, and like my tears , I entrust each one of them to You, knowing the plans that You have for them are good. And in this knowledge, I rest with tears of gratitude and a heart at peace.