Learning to Decrease

Motherhood is an exercise in stepping aside and trusting God

I'm an engaged mother. I'm not referring to my relationship status; I mean I'm actively involved in the lives of my children. I pray with them; I monitor their library books; I observe their attitudes and struggles and do my best to offer good counsel.

I'm a sentimental mother. I still tuck them in at night; I take pictures and video clips of their achievements; I keep the handwritten notes and artwork they've proudly bestowed on me; I like to have my children in my sight.

But my status as a mom is about to change. Soon my oldest daughter will be leaving home to enter college. And as I look ahead to this transition, I'm beginning to realize that I must learn to fill a different role.

Accepting the Transition

John 3:30 says, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (NASB).

The apostle was, of course, referring to Christ and to his own part to play in the divine drama that was unfolding. But it seems to me that this verse could apply to almost any situation in which we find ourselves being asked to relinquish the present for God's greater purpose. I think it speaks to me about my changing status as a mother.

Since I believe that my daughter is following God's will for her, I can view this transition as another opportunity to surrender to his plan. And I've been recognizing that her maturity is reaching a state where she needs a different Teacher to take the major role in her preparation for life. She needs the training and mentoring that only the Father can give, the one who knew her from before time and who allowed that tiny seed of humanity to grow and blossom inside me. She needs his full-time, 24/7 nurturing, and that will have the most impact when she is fully dependent on him—in his hands and out of mine.

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