This whole thing with kids growing up and moving on proved itself to be a little more difficult than I had originally thought. One day they were here and the next day they were gone. I don’t know how many times I checked my “find friends” app to see where my son was; it was at least every time I walked past my phone! It consumed me. It was my way of knowing where he was at all times, but it still didn’t ease the anxiousness about how he was behaving. He does have a girlfriend now and that just added to the anxiousness. I became this helicopter mom who was tangled up in worry and could not find a place to land. I was getting tired, spinning out of control, and not acting like my normal self (well, as normal as I can). I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to answer questions about this new situation. I didn’t want to do anything, except for finding a hole, hiding my head in it, and crying (think sad ostrich). But times like these is when it’s good to have hidden God’s word in your heart (Psalm 119:11). You can pull out those lessons from the deep dark crevices of your mind. It was at this point of tail spinning that I thought about Hannah.
I thought about how she could not bear any children and how she desperately wanted them. I thought about how much her husband loved her despite the fact (1 Samuel 1:2-5). I thought about the prayer she uttered that got her accused of being drunk (1 Samuel 1:10-16). I thought about her faith in God granting her request (1 Samuel 1:17-19). I thought about that huge smile on her face as she held her very own newborn son for the very first time. Oh the joy she must have felt! Then I thought about what she had uttered in that prayer as I’m sure she did too as she held her new bundle of joy.
You see, in 1 Samuel 1:11, she had made a vow to “give him unto the Lord all the days of his life”. What exactly does that mean? To Hannah, it meant when he was weaned she was going to give him to Eli, the priest, to be trained in priestly ways. Now it didn’t take 18 years for this weaning; it was more like 5 or 6! And I was over here thinking how can I let my 18 year old go! How could I just give him up??? Talk about a wake up call!
Hannah had this faith and trust in God that I was lacking. When it was time for Samuel to go, she took the proper items for sacrifice and brought him to “the house of the Lord in Shiloh” (1 Samuel 1:24). She didn’t keep him any longer than what she had promised. She knew this day was coming and she had been preparing for it since she conceived.
Why does it seem so easy for Hannah to do this? It’s because of her faith. Just read 1 Samuel 1:27-28- “For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord.”
She lent Samuel to the Lord.
Now this wasn’t a “you can borrow him for a while, but then I want him back” kind of lent. This was a “You gave me this precious gift now he is granted to You for Your service” kind of lent.
After all this thinking and all this spinning, I decided it was time to strengthen my faith. All of this spinning wasn’t good for anyone. I looked to Hannah and decided to try to be more like her. I prayed a prayer I never had before and left it for God to take care of (1 Samuel 1:10-18; 1 Peter 5:7) and then I lent my son to the Lord. No, I didn’t take him to the temple, but I did put him in the most capable hands. I decided it was now time for him to serve God on his own, for him to finish growing into a faithful man on his own, for him to stand on his own two feet, and for him to answer for himself. No, this does not mean I don’t miss him or I won’t do anything to help him or that I won’t get excited to see or hear from him. It just means that I have to trust that we did our best in rearing him and that God will take care of the rest.
Lending our children to the Lord definitely did not come easily for me. It takes plenty of prayer and a fistful of faith, but it can be done. Just be like Hannah!
[Tweet “Lending our children to the Lord takes plenty of prayer and a fistful of faith, but it can be done.”]
by Kristina Odom
Kristina and her husband, Justin, serve with the church of Christ in Fairfield, IL where her husband is the preacher. Kristina is a stay-at-home mother to their three teenage kids and the author of Be A Light.