For 10 years I waited and prayed for a child to fill my empty arms. I often felt like Hannah in the Bible who wept bitterly in the temple while she begged God for a child. Like Hannah, I waited impatiently through the years, never quite content with the blessings I had been given during my waiting season. Like Hannah, I also made vows to the Lord. 

Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow: Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain, If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me by giving me a son, I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you. I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline. 1 Sam 1:10-11 (MSG)

When the day came that I was finally pregnant, I knew (figuratively) the child I carried was my Samuel. Although her name was Lydia, make no mistake this was my Samuel. The Precious Moments print that hung above her changing table was of Hannah taking Samuel to the temple. I told my little “Samuel” this story all the time before she was even old enough to understand. I knew the narrative must be written firmly upon her heart and mine.  

As parents, we understand that our children are gifts from God to us for a season, but they are not ours. We are stewarding these treasures until such a time they can stand strong and be launched – like arrows, designed to hit a mark. In that analogy, we are the keepers of the arrows. It’s interesting though because we must be faithful to train so that we launch them well. Anyone who’s ever pulled back a bow knows it takes great strength, skill, and practice to send an arrow into flight. These things don’t just happen on their own. Parents and children must partner together in many ways for a successful launch.  

Lydia has been mine for a season, but it is now time to give her to the Lord. We’ve had several practice rounds to prepare us these past few years: mission trips to Haiti, college in St. Louis, an internship in Guatemala. But the echo in her heart pulls her to a prolonged season in Guatemala. Like Hannah, I willingly let my Samuel go. We’ve always known in some form this was our path. I worship for the beautiful time we’ve shared and I will worship in the launching process. My beautiful, educated and called one is now being sent to a land intrinsically tied into our lineage. I couldn’t have written the story better if I tried. It’s time to watch my Lydia soar.