A few weeks ago, our sweet Emma Jo was excited to see me after school. “Mommy!” she yelled excitedly while waving a teddy bear wildly in her hands, “I get to bring Teddy home! We get to have Teddy!” Emma Jo was demonstrably elated. Teddy, her class’s “pet,” was coming home with her for the weekend. Having seen her older brother bring home his own share of Flat Stanleys and Pete the Cats, Emma Jo was really excited that it was her turn (finally!) to take a class “pet” on our family adventures.
We took Teddy everywhere with us—to the zoo, church, family dinners, and grocery shopping. By the end of the weekend, he had become more than just a visitor. Emma Jo had made sure that he became part of our family—so much so, that when Sunday night rolled around, Emma began to share that Teddy should just stay with us, that her teacher would understand. “No, Emma Jo,” I explained, “Teddy has to go home so that your friends can have their turn hosting him. Wouldn’t it be fun for Teddy to see other homes?” Through her tears, Emma Jo grabbed onto me and sobbed, “But Mommy, I cannot let things go! I just can’t let things go!”
How true are Emma Jo’s words—how very true they are. Whether it be a job, a home, people we love, our need to be perfect moms, or our need for control, letting go is one of the most painful parts of our lives. What’s even more painful is that, when we are called by God to let go, we often do not know why. The unknowing of why we are asked to let go of the things we love and hold dear often brings fear and even more pain. But, when we do let go, we make room for more love, better jobs, new people to love, and even more time to do the things we love. For it is in the letting go, mamas, that God helps us to make more room for the greater gifts he has ready for us. Even in the greatest moments of our pain, God knows what is to come. To be holy, in the words of St. Theresa of Lisieux, “consists simply in doing God’s will, and just being what God wants us to be.” In many ways, to let go is how we are guided into becoming that holy woman St. Teresa envisioned—to be who God wants us to be.
So, in the coming days, weeks, and months, as you are called by God to let go of some of the things that you hold dear, as you are called to transition into new seasons of life, take a moment to pray. Give thanks to God for the gifts that are yet to come, give praise and thanks for the gifts you have already enjoyed, and then take a breath and let go. Gladly accept the gift of letting go and of letting God guide you to the place where he needs you to be.