Daniel, our firstborn, is a high school senior! Wow, does that trigger conflicting feelings. Intermingled with the excitement for what God has in store for him, is an acute sense of loss as I anticipate how our family will change with him living many hours away at college. As I reflect on his life, pictures of his early years flash through my mind. The uncertainty of being a new mom and fear for his health are relived through those memories.

Danny 1 week old

Twenty-three hours of labor and being rushed to the University of Nebraska neonatal intensive care unit within hours of birth, began Danny’s memorable first year, which included a few hospital stays, therapy visits, ear infections, and projectile spit up. One particular recollection during that time involves a drive to Texas that turned out to be the longest trip of my life!

In February 1995, Dave and I took 8-month-old Daniel to Houston, Texas, to a doctor who specialized in orthopedics. Danny had a strange birth defect/injury of his left arm and was left with reduced utility and a buildup of scar tissue. This specialist was recommended as top of the line to advise us concerning whether surgery was a possibility to restore additional mobility.

We expected the best upon entering the office. We left furious! An arrogant doctor with poor bedside manner, he proceeded to question why we would consider surgery for our son, implying that it was because we wanted Daniel to be perfect. The absurdity of that statement reverberated off the office walls.

Although desiring to do some bodily harm to the doctor, we managed to maintain our composure and instead quickly exited his office silently fuming. We had driven all the way from western Iowa to Houston, Texas, to be told we didn’t want our son the way he was—that we were trying to make him perfect! That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Danny’s perfection never crossed our mind. We just wanted to provide the best care for our son.

I wish I could report that the rest of our trip went more smoothly. Not a chance! Daniel contracted rotavirus we believe while visiting the physician. Subsequent vomiting and diarrhea forced us to stop at nearly every roadside rest area and clean up. We were wrecks and couldn’t get back to Iowa fast enough. I vividly remember thinking that once we made it home, all would be fine. Unfortunately, shortly after our homecoming, our little guy was admitted to the hospital with dehydration. All turned out well in the end, and Daniel has grown up to be a faith-filled, respectable, and respectful young man with integrity, but it was a trip I’d never wish on my worst enemy—except maybe that smart-aleck doctor!

Daniel, senior year

“… He will guide them to springs of living waters” (Revelation 17:7b).

Even though Danny is on the verge of launching out on his own, my desires for his life haven’t changed much from those first days. I still want what is best for him. Only when he was 8 months old, the definition of “best” was much clearer.

Now more than ever, Dave and I need to release Daniel to his Creator, to let Him define what’s best, to follow His leading not ours anymore. Our role needs to become one of a cheerleader.

This won’t be an easy assignment for me, especially when the Lord’s leading takes Danny farther away from us. But just as the journey to this point in his life began with apprehension yet ended joyfully, so too will the next leg. Only this time the beauty will shine brighter with God as director.

And I’ll always have the memories—another precious gift of encouragement!

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

2 comments on “Releasing
  1. Dawn says:

    Always remember that the Father’s plan for our children is far greater than any plan we place importance on. TRUST.

    • juliesunne says:

      Exactly, Dawn, but trusting is such a hard thing to do in our humanness. That’s why we need to surround ourselves with faithful friends and a strong church family as well as consistent time to be in the Word.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Releasing"
  1. […] our blessing as he heads more than 8 hours east to attend college (see The Pain of Releasing and Releasing for more on my thoughts from his first year). Although there is great joy in seeing him grow into a […]

  2. […] entered into transition in my own life, beginning the process of releasing. Not long ago, my “spring” of nurturing young hearts turned into a “summer” […]

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