By Faith: A Mom’s Journey

Second day of school. 2013.

On the first day of school my sixteen year-old sleeps in and his baby brother gets ready alone. The freshmen will have the high school to themselves the first half of the day and he is brimming—about to overflow.
“Your baby is starting high school, mom,” he says to me as he bends slightly at the knee to wrap his arms around me. “I know, baby,” I say. “You’re growing up.” “I have a mustache,” he grins, and I swat him away. “Hush!” I say, closing my eyes to that soft down below his nose.
I put the cinnamon rolls on the table, along with a bowl of strawberries—dusted lightly with sugar. But then I must go, time for me to get to work. All day long, I think of them. “It’s the first time EVER,” I tell my co-workers. “That we haven’t gotten a first-day-of-school picture.” I feel at loose ends, far away from them. 
It’s like this every year, but I always forget. Until I must remember. After companioning them through the long days of summer this breaking away feels a little like birthing them all over again—they move out of the warm circle of my embrace and into their own physical space. Each year they become more and more their own persons. 
This year we enter a new season. Now that Teddy is driving, these two precious ones no longer need their parents to drop them in front of that big brick building. Each morning they will pull away from the curb on their own. And though I know better, this morning as I stand in the driveway and wave them off, this backing out into the street feels like a pull away from me. 
And since this is a new beginning, I turn the pages of my Bible to Genesis. I read the story of Abraham—his call and the way he wandered with all that belonged to him. I flip over to Hebrews, to that great “hall of faith” and it says this: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (emphasis mine).
I can’t help but notice that everywhere Abraham went on this faith journey, the first thing he did when he arrived was build an altar. So that’s what I do. I build an altar out of books and words and coffee. The candle flickers and I do not know where we are going.
Buy I obey. And go. Letting faith lead, worshiping along the way. 


  1. Sharon O says

    It is hard… but good to see them grow up. Just as labor is hard, the end result is worth it. This is beautiful.

  2. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk says

    My oldest lost her first top tooth in the night and took care of it by herself, didn’t even wake us. She has the sweetest touch of a lisp today, though and I’m so glad that a seven year old can still be so heart-bendingly adorable. We start school on Monday, another labor, another birth and the living goes on. THanks for sharing your heart.

  3. says

    Let me know when you get it figured out. Ok? 🙂

    This letting go, it’s hard, isn’t it? But that altar sounds like a mighty good idea. Remembering God’s promises, and His faithfulness in the past, always helps me trust for the present moment.

  4. Nancy Sturm says

    After taking care of their every need as infants–it was just yesterday, wasn’t it?–it’s so terribly difficult to watch them grow up and away. Beautifully written, Laura.

  5. Douglas Jenkins says

    An altar is built for a sacrifice … maybe you really are needing a monument for the moment, a cairn perhaps. Built one on top of Baldy Mountain, near Durango Colorado with two others; one a local, Tom, son of a migrant worker, the other, Randy, a member from our high school youth group visiting from Michigan. We left handwritten notes wedged among the stones, telling of our two weeks being together working at the Florida Mesa Presbyterian Church.

  6. MommieDaze says

    It’s a journey that seems to start new with every school year. I have two boys and they are growing so quickly. Thank goodness God is in control.

  7. janetb1 says

    I feel this way each time my son and nephew come home from college in May and they leave to start a new semester. My nephew was dropped off yesterday, my son leaves tomorrow again and I am sure the tears will flow.
    Love this post! It is true that they all become their own persons but it goes so quickly. Don’t waste a second.

    My daughter is looking for apartments. Her career has started.

    I am one blessed mama with three great kids 🙂

  8. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    Oh, I hear your heart! I also have two sons and I know how hard it is to let them go, but I have also learned that loving them well is letting them go. When they come back to you because they truly want to, you know that they their love is true!
    Blessings for the new school year.

  9. soulstops says

    Dear Laura,
    Your mama heart is tender and beautiful…your boys are blessed…and isn’t that always the true faith journey – to not know where we are going, but trusting the One we follow does…oh, for the trust to follow Him completely (my prayer)…hugs to you 🙂

  10. says

    Oh Laura, I feel your anxiety, your wondering and wandering. I’ve been there and still am living through it. A mother’s heart always goes with her children, no matter how old they are. And there is a pulling away that is so hard to handle, so rough on our delicate hearts.
    Love you, friend,

  11. says

    Oh, Laura, I sent my firstborn to high school last week and I ache with you- such a bittersweet gift, these kids that keep growing up right beneath our roofs. Your boys are so handsome! I think motherhood is only a job for BRAVE women. Letting go takes so much faith and courage. You’re a wonderfully BRAVE mama, dear friend. Blessings on your kids’ new school year.

  12. says

    I always slow down when I come to read your words because I know they will contain sacred truths. This is no exception, Laura. I love building an altar in that way. I’ll have to borrow that from you (and well, Abraham). 🙂

    My daughter started her 2nd year of college, and I still ask for a first-day picture. She chose to do a 2nd day this time to commemorate her 2nd day of her 2nd year. I loved it.

  13. bluecottonmemory says

    My Freshman started a new school – new to us. A Latin Christian School – and his brother’s going, also. They have Latin 1 together – and we have peace, amazing car conversations about the bible, science and history – and literature – and it’s like I always thought education was but haven’t had in such a long time. Your scripture – went straight to my heart – it’s something I’ve needed to say to my new graduate and the 21 year old – thank you for this encouagement that is trickling down in my family today: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

  14. Kim Adams Morgan says

    Such a beautiful heart. How do they grow up so fast? I remember the independence with driving (so long ago, that was). To all the Moms – They are all good; just different steps. But they are going with God, and the wisdom you have provided all along. Do not fear.

  15. pastordt says

    Oh, my, so gorgeous, friend. I so remember those days, when the car backs out and off they go. As it should be, of course, and as you truly wish it to be as well. But still . . . hard to do. Blessings in the letting go, Laura.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *