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Social media reminds me every day that I have memories with this person or that…whomever I tagged in a status or whomever tagged me.

As my son gets ready to leave for the military in just a few days it’s got me to thinking… he’s going to be gone. What will I have left of him? Is it just memories? Will that be all I have left of my children when they move from home? Memories that will, with time and age, fade from my mind and leave nothing in their wake? To think this leaves me almost in a panic. I get shivers up my spine as this is someone to whom I’ve devoted a good portion of my adult life. The post-partum panic attacks, the breathing treatments every 4 hours day and night for 2 weeks, the fingerprints on the walls, the hugs and kisses, the snuggles and smiles all for what? To leave them behind when I turn to leave him in the hands of the United States Navy?

Then there’s that still, calming, small voice that I hear. It whispers to me. Really? You think all you have is memories? This wasn’t all for nothing. Those panic attacks were not because you were unstable, they were out of your insane love, privilege and obligation to protect him. Those breathing treatments were to remind you that he couldn’t breathe without you, the fingerprints on the walls were so that you could see him grow as they got bigger and bigger. No longer on the lower parts of the windows where he strained to see the trash man but on the door frames as he leaped to try to reach them and the banisters he slid down and the stair railings he hung from all so that you could see him growing in stature, the hugs and kisses, smuggles and smiles were there to remind you that he would still love you in jr. high and still hug you in high school. He would outwardly protect you from any perceived threat  no matter how small or big he was and he will continue to do so when he’s a grown man graduating from NAVY boot camp. He will be a different boy but the same boy altogether.

Then the voice continues, isn’t this what you’ve been asking in your prayers all along? You prayed that he would be strong, you prayed that he’s have a personality that would welcome everyone…the lovely and the not so lovely. You prayed that he would be able to breathe and to use that breath to be the best he could be. And you prayed that those smiles and hugs and snuggles would help him to learn how to love. So, what? What is it that is for nothing? These things have been instilled in him. They are in his DNA so what are you worried about? Your arm of protection can no longer spread out to where he is going to be…but Mine can. I’ve been listening to your prayers all this time…why do you think I would stop now? Indeed, I have been here all along and I will continue to be. So no, what you have left is not just memories. You have a grown son who has a plan and a direction. Who consults me as to his choices just like you taught him. You’ve instilled in him to depend on Me… why don’t you stop panicking, breathe slowly, look at MY fingerprints on his life, snuggle into me and let me handle things. Then take those memories on social media, remember them fondly and know more memories are in store. He was mine from the beginning, you gave him back to me remember? I know the plans I have for him…

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depasenior-pic-onert from it.

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