“With every decision you make, that is one more apron string that I have to cut.”
“Yes, mom, but that also means it is one more apron string I have to hold! I’m not so sure that I’m ready…”
College was a beautiful and trying season for me. Though I was 20 hours away from home, I grew closer to my mother than I had ever been before. As I felt the weight of what we endearingly call “#adulting”, my mom was going through her own transition. It wasn’t “letting go” per se; it was more of a role change. Change is never easy, but it is inevitable. There is something sweet about every season we go through, and the Lord provides mother figures to walk with us. I will speak into the two seasons that I have personally weathered with my mom: foundational and independence, knowing many more are to come.
I would like to call attention to a biblical relationship that we sometimes overlook. In Luke chapter 1, we read the timeless narrative of a young girl, Mary, who is engaged to be married and find out she will conceive the God of the universe. We don’t read anything of Mary’s biological mother, but I want to liken Mary’s aunt Elizabeth’s relationship with her to that of a mother and daughter. Elizabeth watched Mary grow, at least at a distance, and now, as Mary transitions into adulthood and motherhood, God provides an older family member for spiritual direction when no one else would understand.
“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit…And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.” Luke 1:41,56
In Luke 1:35-37, the angel of the Lord informs Mary of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Mary leaves quickly to visit Elizabeth as she is older, respected, and family. For three months Mary sits under her authority and gleans spiritual wisdom as she is about to face a world that doesn’t understand. Elizabeth creates a safe environment for Mary to process the things of the Lord. Mary’s song in verses 46-55 comes from that environment. In a perfect world, I believe this large role of trainer and mentor is ordained by the Lord for a mother to fill.
During our own foundational seasons, the Lord has gifted the authority of a mother: one who has walked a similar road, can verse us in things of the Lord, and caution us of the world. This is why God purposefully ordained parents to train their children, and children are charged to honor their parents.
Calling out the elephant in the room: as children get older, they begin to understand that parents are flawed. But does that void the command to honor? That isn’t what Romans says about authority. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1-2). Have we ever known a sinless government leader? God is completely aware of the broken state of mankind, yet He still appoints leaders to be honored. This passage speaks to political government, but the same truth is applied to the home as parents are the governing authority of the home. Parents are to be honored as unto the Lord, not because they may or may not deserve it.
Whether your mother-daughter situation is beautiful or tarnished, respect and love still needs to exist. And the more you handle your foundational season with care, the sweeter your transition to independence will be.
Transition to Independence
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Luke 1:42
Although Mary approached Elizabeth in humility and submission, Elizabeth did not see her as a child, no matter her age. In fact, she cried out, “Blessed are you among women!” Elizabeth was in tune with God’s greater story and found it an honor to speak into Mary’s life. Elizabeth also knew that Mary’s ultimate Authority was the Father and the Child that was in her womb.
There comes a time in every parent-child relationship when they shift from command to exhortation. I will not forget how my parents would verbalize on many occasions that I was an adult, and they were praying that I listen to their words and make the wisest decision. Parents begin to relinquish control, and children learn to filter motivations through Scripture and outside wisdom.
Daughters, the temptation to run with independence and figure everything out on your own will be strong, but may your foundation be build upon the wisdom of Proverbs 1:2-7. Listen to wise counsel, be well-rounded in your learning so that you are not swayed, and fear the Lord with every step you take. You will indeed listen to someone. And my prayer is that you filter all “truth” through the Truth of the Word of God.
And mothers, pray without ceasing. It may be weeks, months, or years that you pray your daughter through a season or trial, but the Lord never stops listening. It is absolutely acceptable to want the world’s best for your daughter, but God wants heaven’s best for her…and sometimes that looks different that what you may expect. However, He promises to withhold no good thing that will keep us on this journey He has for us. He sees from a heavenly perspective and timeline, and it takes a God-sized amount of patience and trust. The Father is infinitely patient with each of us, so we can’t help but be patient with Him. So do not grow weary of doing good and falling on your knees before the throne room of the Father.
Apron strings will never be easy to cut, and a certain extent of grief may accompany. However, a daughter will never stop being a daughter, and a mother will never cease to be a mother. Allow the seasons to change, and cling to the Father who is unchanging. When the seasons are stewarded well, a woman-to-woman, sister-in-Christ relationship will be gained. And may we be as Elizabeth and Mary, who honored each other, saw the Lord’s greater story, and surrendered to His leading.
Father, thank You for placing a woman in my life that I can call ‘mom’. Thank You for calling her to Yourself and for the wisdom that she is able to pass along. She is not perfect, and neither am I, so be merciful and gracious to us. Give us a love for each other and a love for You.
1 John 5:13-15