Two years ago, our son experienced an unexpected trial that required he return home and take some time off from college. His vulnerability to ask for help allowed me the honor of entering his battle, yet my role as his mom did not feel clearly defined at the time. My mother’s heart was torn. I was challenged to respect him as a grown man and yet my desire to take responsibility for him felt magnetically strong.
More than anything, I wanted to be his ally.
Allies fight together on the same side in a war.
There were days that ensued when the battle got fierce and my urge to ‘mother’ him waged war with my heart to trust God for His provision. There were days it felt impossible to let go of my control and I held on too tight, especially when the battle seemed too heavy for him to bear.
I heard it in his words and in his frustration.
“My dream is over mom. I don’t think I’ll ever graduate. I’ll probably never get my senior ring.”
In war, there are times when a soldier needs help.
I stood and faced him. I grabbed his hands and prayed asking God for His strength and his provision. I called his friends and I called mine. Within a couple of hours, a ‘posse’ showed up in our living room.
Dictionary.com defines ‘posse’: a body of men, typically armed, summoned by a sheriff to enforce the law.
I am rewriting the definition as I experienced it…
Posse – a community of men and women, united and armored with God’s truth and ready to fight on behalf of others.
They carried him, fought for him and stood with him until he was able to stand on his own. Through prayers, presence and truth they walked with him and our family through the rough terrain of a battle that redirected his life.
God came through for our son and for our family through community.
My mother’s heart wrestled and my warrior’s heart battled alongside them in surrender and dependence on God for his life. I let go.
He returned to college a year later.
That was two years ago.
Just last month he came home for a visit. I was taken by surprise by his question…
I turned to face him once again.
“I get my senior ring in a few weeks.”
His face told me he was aware of the impact of his statement. The moment lingered and we both began to cry.
“Will you present my ring to me at my ceremony?”
I sat silent. The immense honor was almost too much for me to hold. I thought for a split second that it would be better to hand it off to someone I thought might be more deserving of such an honor.
But I didn’t.
How could I?
I looked at him, my heart pierced with gratitude and hope.
“There is nothing I’d rather do. Yes. It will be an honor to present your ring to you.”
Afresh I see thee. Lead me once more I pray—
Even should be against my will, thy way.
Let me not feel the foreign any hour
Or shrink from thee as an estranged power.
Through doubt, through faith, through bliss, through stark dismay,
Through sunshine, wind, or snow, or fog or shower,
Draw me to thee who art my only day.
Diary of an Old Soul by George McDonald
“I will give You thanks with all my heart…And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth.” Psalm 138:1
Ellen Oelsen lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband of 26 years. She is a mother of 4 children and loves their 2 dogs and 1 cat. Her hobbies include cooking, nature, reading, plays, and two stepping. She delights in offering hospitality of the heart and creating spaces of care, rest, play and reflection to inspire hope. She is beginning to expose the writer within her.