Monday, September 6, 2010

Growing Pains for Parents

This morning's solemn farewell to Caelyn brought on many tears. When we first began homeschooling back in 1997, I used Psalm 133:1 as the basis for a lesson on the crucial nature of forming strong sibling bonds:

"How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!"

I find it significant that the Psalmist punctuated that statement with an exclamation point. He then compared that unity, in verse 3, to the effect of dew on Mt. Zion and proclaimed,

"For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore."

This is not to be taken lightly. It is an important part of God's message to His people; and we have taken it to heart with our children, reminding them that they are to dwell together in unity -- "harmony" in some translations -- and in so doing, honor the Messiah. Because our children have been each other's first and best friends since birth, it was very difficult for our four younger children to say good-bye to their oldest sister this morning.

It was a quiet ride back to my parents' house as I pondered the fact that we, as parents, experience some growing pains of our own. We recognize, as in Psalm 127, that our children are arrows, which means that they are not meant to adorn the quiver forever. We are to aim them straight, bringing them up in the "training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4), to be released into the will of the God, Who prepared in advance the good works that He has created them in Christ Jesus to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Craig Grayson was very self-controlled as he gave Caelyn one last hug good-bye. He is so tender-hearted, but he maintained his composure well.

Morgan has been pensive for the entire day, no doubt wondering how life will be for these next three months without her best friend.

As I hugged her, I had a desperate feeling, as if I've forgotten to complete some crucial task or that I've failed to prepare her in some way. I kissed her soft cheeks one last time, hoping to recall how it feels until the next opportunity.

I can only imagine how it felt for Craig to escort Caelyn into the terminal. There is a special bond between a father and his daughter, and as far as I'm concerned, words fail to convey the mystery. Many women joke that they wish that their husbands could experience the pain of childbirth. For tender fathers like Craig, I imagine that same pain comes in releasing a daughter into the will of God -- in this case, serving a family in an earlier stage of the process.


  1. What sweet pictures! They bring back memories for me of sending my own daughters off to serve. You are doing a good work, dear Mother - not only for the family who is served by your daughter, but for the man who will marry this sweet servant you've raised.....and for your grandchildren. My girls learned so much from the times they spent with other families, and from being with other godly parents who were strong in areas we weren't. And sometimes they even came home thanking us for some of our 'rules' that the other family hadn't adopted!)

    Congrats to you and Craig for taking the road less traveled!

    P.S. It's always hardest with the first one.

  2. What a sweet post. Or should I say bittersweet? I'm excited for her, but reading about it hurts my heart! Praying for you guys.

  3. Debbie!

    You have refreshed me this morning with your wise, encouraging words.
    Oh, thank you for your input! As hard as this is, you've listed the
    very reasons that Craig and I felt that we should say yes to this
    decision. Joanna has many, many strengths that I lack. I agree that
    Caelyn will richly benefit from her time with their family.
    I'm grateful for trailblazers like you! By the way, I read an
    incredible article by the Botkin sisters yesterday, called "Why Am I
    Not Married?". They made some really strong points, and mentioned that
    their brothers and guy friends have stated that they don't just want
    their wives to be glorified nannies and maids. They want strong women
    who will be helpmeets in many ways, including adventure and business
    and other pursuits. I thought immediately of Jacqueline. She can hang
    with the best of decorators and cooks, but she's also perfectly
    matched to Nathan's sense of adventure. I love their exuberance!

  4. Oh, Dayna! As you go before me in releasing Caelyn to God's will for her life right now, words fail me....I can't even imagine doing the same thing with Meghan...and yet, I know I ought to prepare my heart in some way. Even words of comfort fail me right now, as I truly don't know what you & Craig are experiencing...but know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

    Meghan & I recently read the same article and have been discussing it as well...would be a great discussion topic when we get together soon...and I would value your son's input as well. Oh...much, much love and prayers, my friend!

  5. Dearest Mother,

    I am so blessed by your words! I miss you guys tremendously and look forward to reuniting with you all. I praise God for you and Dad and how you have encouraged each other as your trained us to honor the Lord. I am confident in that the Lord will say to you both, "Well done, good and faithful servants" because you have given up and resisted the lure of earthly attractions and pursued what the world calls "weird" and "unpopular" for the sake of Christ. The five of us children are so blessed to have you and Dad and each other. Thank you for what you have done.

    Eu te amo muito!

    Your Daughter,

  6. Her children will arise and call her must feel very blessed - and comforted - by that last comment posted! What sweet words for a mommy to hear!