Letting Go



“Mommy, I don’t think that I can go to horse camp.”

“What do you mean, sweet girl? You love horses, and I know you will have a blast,” I quickly assured her as we settled in for our bedtime routine of snuggling and reading together.

Her voice cracked and tears spilled out of her eyes as she choked out the words, “but if I go to horse camp every day that means we will only have six hours a day together!”

Those words. Those precious words.

In that moment, my heart melted as I thought about how much my eight-year old daughter was growing up so fast before my very eyes, yet even with how big she was getting- she still needed me. I held her close and assured her that she would be fine without me, but the tears continued…out of both of our eyes.


One thing that I am learning is that this whole letting-go thing is not easy. I’m quite certain that I have left pieces of my heart in the church nursery, at the preschool, in her kindergarten class, and now even at horse camp. And I find myself fighting through the mixed emotions of wishing that I could keep her little forever but yet wanting to help her to mature and grow.

As parents we have such an awesome responsibility. The Bible challenges us to train up our children in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6), and what I am learning is that part of training them is to help them transition from parent-reliance to God-reliance. As much as I want to be her everything, that is only a place that God can and should fill.

Suddenly, this became more than just about horse camp, but rather, an opportunity for both of us to grow.

Interestingly enough, the very next day after our emotional bedtime conversation, my daughter came to me and said, “Mommy, I’ve thought about it- horse camp is only a week long, and we have all summer to be together. Go ahead and sign me up.”

I watched her excitedly skip away, and I had to shake my head and laugh because I was still back at our emotional bedtime ordeal… while she had clearly moved on.

However, my heart was so happy and thankful that she didn’t get stuck in needing me to miss out on a week of having so much fun! I’m sure we will have many more of these crossroads to face together, but today I will hug her and tell her,

“Go ride that horse, my love! And have the time of your life at horse camp! And when you are done, I will be there to hear all about it and to savor our six hours together.”



  1. Nancy Rogers

    July 2nd, 2015 at 6:33 pm


    What a touching warm story. Yup its hard letting go..of children, of grandchildren, of lifes problems and of life’s tragedies, hard to let go and let God take control, to watch over, to wait on Him for all of it. Even adults have to learn this, almost everyday I find myself having to give it to Him yet again.
    As for horses, your sweet Emma has my heart there. I road horses in shows, for pleasure all my teen/young adult life. I owned 3 horse. Then not quite all that long ago had two mini horses, that I let go of about 5 yrs. ago as I got older. Nothing like the love of horse and a girl. 🙂

    God Bless,
    Nancy Looking forward to seeing you again at Maine Coast Baptist.

  2. pauladunn

    July 5th, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Nancy- you are exactly right: handing over everything to God is definitely not a one-time thing. It is a daily, hourly, and sometimes even a moment-by-moment realization that we need God. Letting God have control in all areas of our lives is an ongoing process for all of us. Glad to know I’m not the only one who keeps having to let go and let God… 🙂

    Emma definitely shares your love of animals! So sweet!

    Yes, I am so excited to come back to Maine in August! I look forward to seeing you then!
    Thanks for your constant support of my ministry!
    Blessings to you!

  3. Gail Smith

    July 2nd, 2015 at 7:02 pm


    Jack and I have had to watch ourfour sons grow up over the years and let each one of them go at different times. It was hard all four times but I do remember giving them back to the Lord when each was an infant. That is a comforting feeling just knowing that He has them each in the palm of his almighty hand

    Love you Paula
    Gail Smith

  4. pauladunn

    July 5th, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    You are so right, Gail! It is so comforting to know that God has our loved ones in His almighty hand- our children & our parents!!! 🙂 Love you, my friend!

  5. Denise Ames

    July 3rd, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Oh so precious. You’re both too sweet!

  6. pauladunn

    July 5th, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks, Denise! I so appreciate your sweet enouragement & support! Much love…


Leave a Reply

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