Today’s post is by my sweet friend Linda Dixon. She was telling me the other day about her daughter and I asked her to share with us. I know a few of you are feeling some heartstrings tug as kindergarten/high school/college has entered your picture. I’ve been a bit misty-eyed myself. I don’t know why. My niece going to college? My kids driving or not driving? Summer coming to an end? Just an overall sap? I don’t know, but my kids are now preempting me, “Maawwmmm! Please don’t tell that lady holding a baby that ‘It goes so fast.” Well, here are a few kind words of encouragement to help us along.
Thanks for sharing, Linda. … And, thanks for walking the road with me. -Kay
“Jesus and Winnie the Pooh got me through my journey to Uganda.” That is how our daughter began her first blog post this week from her new adventure. One week ago, our little baby girl moved to Uganda to mentor young girls for one year, maybe more. My parting gift as we left for the airport was a stuffed Winnie the Pooh to accompany her on her way.
Watching her walk down the jetway. Holding back the tears that were rolling down my face. Trusting and releasing.
Roll back the clock 16 years…I can never forget watching her walk through the school door. It seems it was only yesterday. She stood expectantly in front of the school sign for a picture in her cute pink shorts with her brand new backpack. Again, I was holding back the tears that were rolling down my face. I was determined to leave her with a hug and a smile to make her feel brave. But, I was wondering did she really need to go off to kindergarten. Couldn’t I just keep her home, snuggle up and watch our favorite movie, Winnie the Pooh. Yet knowing that to grow into the person she was supposed to be, she’d need to face the big world out there.
Hoping and praying she’d find someone to play with on the playground. Hiding behind the bush and observing as they came out to play. Smiling as I saw her reaching out to the special needs boy in her class. Baby steps of releasing. Then off to the crying coffee with other moms going through the same torture.
As Moms we sometimes get lost in the middle of our kids lives and loose our sense of what is really important. I still remember the first birthday party that she was NOT invited to. I really wanted to call the mom and give her a piece of my mind. I remember crying in my bed late at night as I watched her struggle to find her way in middle school. Most of all, feeling the constant pull to do more, to keep up with the pressure all around. Private lessons in dance. Pushing her to make good grades so she could get in a great college. Why – I guess so she could get a good job and make a lot of money – I’m not really sure. I was just wanting her to be included and never feel left out.
Yet, in the end, it was in the times of being left out or not making the team that she heard a higher calling. Yes, she knew that she was loved by her dad and me, yet she still had a deeper need to be loved. I am so grateful that she heard the call of another kind, from another One whose love is filled with perfect grace, mercy and compassion.
Seeing Him mold my daughter despite my failings. Seeing her learn to turn to Him during the hard times. And during the good times. She did make Belles and she did get into the University of North Carolina, the college of her dreams and had the privilege of wearing the baby blue while cheering on the Tarheels.
Releasing again to a college over a thousand miles away.
And then, it happened! The question every parent fears, “Mom and Dad, can I go on a mission trip to Africa?” My husband and I debating how to give her all the well thought out answers, “it isn’t safe, you might get sick, and aren’t there people you can reach out to in Dallas?”
But all the while hearing the small silent voice, “release and trust.”
When she returned, her eyes held a light like never before and her passion for those with nothing was astonishing. She had fallen in love with a people that often don’t have food, or shelter or a school to attend or love. We watched our baby girl grow into a woman with passions for those who have no one to defend them. We watched her be transformed from a girl who wondered what she could buy at the mall and blossom into the person God intended her to be.
Isn’t that what we are raising them to do? To leave; to find His calling on their lives, to follow their dreams and their passions and to make a difference in this world we live in. To send them off with the backing of our love, releasing them to the loving memories of Winnie the Pooh and the everlasting love of Jesus.
Linda Dixon has been a teacher of “A Mother’s Heart” community Bible Study for the last five years and loves teaching and mentoring younger moms. She is an active community volunteer and has a passion for missions, having served along side her family in Siberia, Guatemala, Juarez and Zambia. She has been happily married to her best friend, Doug for 28 years. The greatest joy of her life is being a mom to her three children, a 22 year old college graduate who is on the mission field in Africa, a 20 year old Sophomore in college at the University of Oklahoma and a 17 year old Junior in High School at Parish Episcopal School.