+[coming of age trip]+

"Fly, eagle, fly" I called as I let go of her bicycle the first time and watched her pedaling swiftly and strongly away. She was a young child and I a young mother. This week was yet another version of that moment. Another moment of letting go, hoping that the instruction I have given will guide her in wisdom. Another moment of watching her step into a new level of independence - ever knowing that I am there, within sight, but also knowing that I have consciously let go a bit more, so that her wings can develop as they were Designed to do. Guiding by instruction more than holding.

The teen years are a forest. As we spent time beside the crashing waves of Lake Superior, in the forest of the North Woods, we talked of the complexity of the forest of the teen years. We spoke of its traps and its lures, and of its immense growth and colorful richness. We talked of friends, pressures, purity. We talked of her shield of faith being more her armor now than her cradle. We talked of the delay of dating, rather looking toward courtship. And we took in the natural pictures of it all surrounding us. We talked of her dad and I being her guides through that forest and how as we exit it on the other side of those teen years, we will be escorting her into adulthood. At that point she will have enough experience from our walk for her to begin on her own adult journey.

We laughed a lot. We sat on rocks and watched the water while soaking in the sun. We walked trails and ate until we were bursting. We did jigs around the campfire and I read to her fireside by the light of the moon. We stargazed and called them by name. There was wonderment abounding.

The natural surroundings of rocks (to speak of her foundation being our Rock) and the forest (to give tangible illustration to the teen years) provided a picturesque atmosphere for discussion.

On the last morning, I built a cairn near the waters edge - a visible marker that something significant had happened there. And I prayed over her, asking our God for protection, for direction, for His plans in her growth and for relationships to aid in her growth. And I asked that if I was not to make it through with her to the other side of this forest, that He would provide women to walk with her the remainder of her days. I asked for His Blessing upon her.

And we crossed over, together. And it was so good.