Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Faith of Hanna

The last few days my sweet husband has been checking my blog to see what wonderful wit, wisdom, or wild thoughts I might have posted. So last night he told me it was about time I put something new here.

I've stayed away from my blog because I've been overwhelmed. Not with the normal overwhelming things like work, or illness, or business, etc. I've been internally overwhelmed. Those of you who are mothers, especially mothers of adult children, know the feeling. Sometimes your heart is so heavy for your children that you simply can't find the strength to lift yourself up and pursue your own interests. That's where I've been.

All my kids have their individual sets of circumstances, trials, hardships, decisions, challenges... And this mother's heart feels their pain, knows their frustrations, understands their longings, hopes for them, fears for them, wants for them, rejoices with them, cries for them...and prays for them.

A young mother of three girls once said to me, "I guess parenting is not as intense for you now that your girls are older." Boy, did she have it all wrong! Broken toys and boo boos were easy fixes. Lost jobs, financial stress, career choices, time investments, influence of friends, life lessons, disappointments--now you're talkin' intense parenting!

As I've poured my heart out to the Lord on behalf of my children, a voice in the back of my mind (or in my heart) keeps telling me I need the faith of Hanna.

You remember Hanna. She was the one that went with her husband every year to worship and offer sacrifices to the Lord. And every year her husband's other wife would tease her, make fun of her, and talk trash to her because she didn't have children. Finally Hanna had all she could take--"And she, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she made a vow..." (See I Samuel 1: 10&11) Remember? She asked God to give her a son. She prayed so hard that Eli, the priest, thought that she had had one too many sips of the hard grape juice?

Oh no! I know what you're thinking! Don't worry! I may need the faith of Hanna, but God has blessed me with lots of common sense. This old gal knows that she's past her prime and I'm not crazy enough to ask God for more kids. (Grandkids? Yes! Kids, no!) You'd KNOW I had one too many at that point!

The faith of Hanna that I need is found in I Samuel 1:19-2:11--the keeping of the vow.

When I was a little kid I was taught the story of Hanna in Sunday school. Secretly I thought she was a pretty lousy mother. What kind of a mother could just take her kid to church, drop him off, and leave him there. Didn't she love him? How terrible! I remember one teacher I had trying to reassure me that it was okay because Hanna could go visit Samuel every year when she went up for her annual worship service. Humph! I still didn't like the woman!
But now, I respect her. She knew she was simply a vessel belonging to God, put here on this earth for God's purpose and glory. She knew, even before Samuel was in her womb, that he belonged to God too. She simply wanted the privilege of bringing Samuel into the world so that she could give him back to God--a gift of love and gratitude.
Hanna knew that God was a good parent--the best parent--a better parent than she. Her faith was in a God who could care for, provide for, guide, and teach her little boy like no other parent could. Not even...well, you know.
I think of Hanna now and how she might have wished she had not made that vow to God. I'm sure she cried long and hard every time she left the temple, and her baby boy. Did she hug him until he couldn't breath? Did she hold on to his hand until both their arms were stretched out tight as she walked away? Did she wish for the days when he was a tiny baby and she could cuddle him and hold on to him? And when she was back home, was her heart so heavy with thoughts of her son that she could hardly pull herself up to pursue her own interests? Maybe so.
Yet her faith in a God of all hope and possibilities caused her to make a vow, and that same faith enabled her to keep that vow. She gave her son back to the Lord for His service. I need the faith of Hanna.
The most intense part of parenting? Letting go.

9 comments:

Carol said...

LaVonda,

I know exactly what you are speaking of. My 2 oldest are out of the house, one with a wife and kids and mortgage, which I can not see how he can keep up with, and the other, will graduate from college in May. What will he do? How will he ever pay back his student loans? And what if I give him the car payment, the phone bill, the insurance bill? And, what about his girlfriend? What about their future. Then, a teenage girl...will she make the right choices as she starts to drive and (EEEEEK!!!) Date? I guess I need to let go a little. What does worrying really gain us? Thanks for the lesson! Thanks for visiting my story too! Love, Carol

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

Lavonda, this is an awesome post. Thank you so much for your insight. With so many small children, I often feel overwhelmed...and then I wonder how in the world I'm going to handle the heartache that comes into THEIR lives, because you love your kids so much. The faith of Hannah is what we all need. Faith that God has a PLAN for each one of them! And look how Samuel was used of God!

Great post.

THE question is up on my blog (you were the straw that broke the camels back!) I hope you pop over to answer!

ktwalden said...

I can totally relate to your feelings of being overwhelmed. When I see young mothers becoming frantic over colic, dirty diapers, and temper tantrums, I just nod my head and think to myself, "honey, if you only knew."

Having three adult children plus spouses for two of them entitles me to shout AMEN to your closing remark of letting go.

What would we do without that wonderful grace that God supplies to see us through anything and everything?

Losing Myself said...

I agree that to some degree paranting a grown child is the toughest challenge of all. I cling to God's promise in Proverbs 22:6 I just ask God to let ME live long enough to see it....

Edie said...

This is a great post Lavonda. Praying that God would calm your anxious heart. :)

Talkin' Texan said...

Carol, I don't know what it is like to have "son worries" but I do know about the daughter starting to date thing! Never stop praying!

Heidi, I remember how taxing it is to mother small children. But rest well now while you can still plan their days, pick out their clothes, and choose their friends.

Ida, Don't give up hope dear friend! Never stop praying--God never stops answering.

ktwalden, I too have three adult children and two sons-in-law. I wonder if this letting go thing will ever get any easier!?!

And to Edie and all of you, Thanks for your sweet encouraging comments and prayers. You are all God's grace in skin!

Shonda said...

My oldest moved out last November. I'm going through the "letting go" phase. I'm in shock he doesnt call me or even want to come over for dinner. He only lives 5 blocks away. I'm having a hard time letting go, but know I must to let him grow. Thanks for sharing this for I'll also be praying for the faith Hanna had in order to let go of her son and commit him to the Lord.

Engrafted by His Grace-
Shonda

Anonymous said...

Lavonda, this post touched my heart so deeply. I know just how you feel! I'll have to tell you "the rest of the story" some day but my daughter moves out first to go to college and two years later my son moves out to go to college. Then my daughter moves three and a half hours from me taking my grandaughter with her and my son comes in one day and says he's joined the Marines! They don't always do what you want you want them to. The hardest thing I ever had to do was let them make their own decisions and then live with the consequences. They are both great people, I just had to learn to trust their judgement. All we can do is pray for them and ourselves. It has been several years and I still haven't found a life of my own. I'm working on it, but just don't feel like it yet. Boys are a different breed of cat, with their own set of worries for their Mothers! But girls and boys are both joys to have. A good book to check out is "When Your Children Hurt" by Charles F. Stanley. It's not a long book but I think it will speak to you. I am a type A personality and have had to learn to say "Here they are God, I turn them over to you." It is so hard. I miss all three of them so. Anyway your blog is cool and I will check it out again. Renee' Cosper Betts

Talkin' Texan said...

Renee'
I hope one of these days we can wrap our motherly arms around each other in that comforting embrace that says "I've been where you've been and I've felt your pain."
I think the "empty nest" has been the hardest season of life so far. I'm sure we will get through it, but I'm sure it won't be without some bumps, bruises, and scars. Knowing we are not alone helps tremendously!
Thanks for reading and for leaving your comments. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you again!