Wide Open Spaces

Holding on and letting go.

Finding the balance in this crazy life feels harder some days than others.

Maybe it is holding onto a relationship, a job or even a place.

Maybe it is letting go of someone you love.

As parents, our roles morph over time.

In what feels like a nanosecond, we work to protect and care for our children.

Then in the blink of an eye, everything shifts.

We are to send them out into wide open spaces where we can no longer offer protection.

A place where they will spread their wings, make mistakes and grow.

It’s the stuff that country songs are made of.


So as I sat with my long-time friend and our sons last night at the Chicks concert, the words to the song  Wide Open Spaces seemed to reflect that moment of holding on and letting go.

*Insert lump in throat here.

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about

Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out

To find a dream and a life of their own

A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

Many precede and many will follow

A young girl’s dream no longer hollow

It takes the shape of a place out West

But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed

She needs wide open spaces

Room to make her big mistakes

She needs new faces

She knows the highest stakes.

Sending a child to preschool for the first time with new faces.

Sleepovers and overnight camps.

Moving into their first apartment.

Regardless of how old our children become, we always want to protect them from the hurts and challenges we know they inevitably will encounter.

We want to hold on just a little longer.

Letting go doesn’t mean our children will be alone.

But God.

As His children, our heavenly Father promises to be with us in this world.

Even those wide open spaces.

He brought me out into a wide open place;

He delivered me because He was pleased with me.” Psalm 18:19 NET 

Before I would send the boys to school when they were little,  I would hug them and ask them, “ do you have enough love for today?”

Even when I could not be with them in the wide open spaces, I wanted them to know my love was with them.

More importantly, I want them to know that their heavenly Father’s love is always with them.

Regardless of how far they go or the mistakes they will make along the way.

The wide open spaces do not feel so overwhelming when I remind myself  how wide and deep God’s love is for my children.

And for you and me.

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,  the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.  I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:14-19 NLT

Friends, I do not know the wide open spaces that you and your loved ones may face.

It may not be an overnight camp or new apartment.

Maybe it is a rehab or a prison.

Maybe it is not a place at all, but an abusive relationship or an illness.

My prayer is that wherever those places your loved one is, that you rest in knowing that His love is so vast it can find them anywhere.

Even the wide open spaces.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”  Ephesians 3:20 NLT