This week I decided it is time to start letting the ducks out in the yard without any fencing. Almost all their feathers are in! They aren’t quite ready to be completely free on the farm, but I have to trust at some point that they will be ok. They’ve been caged for their own protection from elements like cold temperatures, rain (because they didn’t have the oil production to protect themselves yet), and of course predators. In our neighborhood predators can be dogs, cats, hawks, and even coyotes! On the farm, the list of predators will be quite different from in our suburban home.
As I contemplated what to share next about the ducks, God began to show me some amazing similarities in parenting: When our children are small we keep them close. They don’t understand the dangers of putting little things in their mouths, touching hot surfaces, or falling from high places. They don’t understand the dangers of cars in parking lots or strangers who “seem” nice. These are all things we teach our children, little by little until they have learned. So we keep them close.
When Noah was little, I had to always watch for him when we were out. I thought that kid would never learn to look for cars in the parking lot! I held onto his hand tightly. I warned him every single time we went anywhere and he would still just take off without looking! I wondered if he would ever learn to watch for himself! I realized one day that it was me holding him back. Let that sink in for a minute. He knew I was watching, that I wouldn’t let anything happen to him. I had to let him go for him to finally learn to look for the danger. And do you know what happened? He did it!
Three things had to happen for Noah to finally learn. First, I had to trust what I had taught him. Second, I had to give him the chance to prove himself. Third, I had to trust God. That He would watch over him.
Ya’ll! This is the hardest part of parenting! We want to be able to protect our kids from danger, from harm, and from being hurt, but we can’t do that for them forever. There comes a time when we have to start trusting what we taught them, trust God, and start letting them go. We have to give them a chance to prove themselves! There are so many life lessons that we can’t teach them, that they must learn through their own experiences. Wasn’t it like that with your own life? If only it was as simple as giving and taking advice or instruction! The best life lessons are usually the ones you actually LIVE.
It would be cruel to take my caged ducks and turn them loose. They need time to explore. They need time to practice their natural, God given instincts about noises and potential dangers around them. Plus, how will I know if they can fly if I never let them out? So I opened the gate and let them out.
Notice how they stayed close to the crate- to what they knew was safe. I continued doing this at least once a day for a week. They began to follow me around!
Yesterday, I opened the gate and just found a spot in the grass to watch them from a distance. They found a nice, shady place to explore in the yard. They found bugs to eat, fluffed their feathers and even settled in for a nap. And do you know what? It made me so happy to see them doing what God designed them to do!
So to all my mama friends reading this today, remember to let them go. Pray for them, train them, and by all means watch over them. But when it’s time, let them go. Don’t wait until they find a way to escape the protection you’ve placed over them. Let them go, little by little, until they are ready to fly on their own! And then, you can sit back and watch them do what God designed them to do. They are going to be ok! We can trust HIM!
- Psalms 25:1 (NIV) In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.
- Proverbs 3:5 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
- Romans 15:13 (NIV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
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