by Toni Hebel

by Toni Hebel

I couldn’t wait to get out on my deck the other morning and hopefully get some work accomplished. 75 degrees, light breeze, sun shining through the trees, air filled with the smell of honeysuckle, birds of many colors singing in harmony. Perfect! Every one of my senses were enjoying His creation—an incredible gift.

A fluffy baby bluebird landed on my deck rail right in front of me. It was clear that all of its wings weren’t fully formed, yet it apparently had enough wing feathers to make it from the birdhouse to our deck. I froze. I wanted to capture every moment of what was happening without scaring it away. The baby bird just stood there and began to cry. It cried in one direction, and then it turned around as it cried in another. It hopped a bit and cried some more. My heart went out to this little fella when I realized that mama had just pushed him out of the nest.

After a few more minutes of crying, the mama bird decided to show up and join her baby. Her arrival lasted only a second as she noticed me sitting here. So she flew to a nearby tree and watched her baby from afar—she watched him cry. Fascinating. The baby didn’t know where to go or how to get there, and was probably scared to death without mama!

Then mama came back—this time pushing her fear aside to help her baby. It was comical to watch the baby’s reaction. Immediately he opened his mouth. “Feed me!” Mama made eye contact with her baby, turned around, flew to the nearest branch, and then faced her baby. After a little while, baby bird got enough courage watching his mama and followed her lead. He flew after her, landing on the same branch. They continued to fly together from branch to branch. Beautiful!

I witnessed a mom letting go, and the memories of my own experience of letting go came flooding back. “You need to learn to let go…starting now,” were the words of one of my mentors right after my first child was born the day after Mother’s Day. Those words have stuck with me through the years.

To “let go” is to trust God.

To “let go” is to do what is best for your child when everything in your heart wants to keep them from struggling.

To “let go” is to forgive them when they break your heart.

To “let go” is to keep them in open hands, knowing they’ve only been entrusted to you by God for a short period of time. 

To “let go” is to surrender. 

I recently visited a dear friend who is in the process of “letting go” in the most difficult of circumstances. Her daughter has an inoperable brain tumor. As I observed my friend feed her daughter, pray over her daughter, wipe her daughter’s tears, I sat in awe. I experienced a sacred moment between a mother and a daughter. What was even more impactful was watching my dear friend bow with her face to the ground before an altar, weeping, asking God to spare her daughter’s life—yet in that same moment, with open hands, yielding to His will—whatever it may be—true surrender. 

Surrender is the source of true peace; if we aren’t at peace, it is because our surrender is not complete.” (Francois Fenelon, 1651-1715)

There is much we can learn from the mama bluebird and my dear friend. Peace doesn’t come from hanging on; peace comes from “letting go”. “Letting go” is surrendering to God whatever you are holding on to. It is always safer in His hands than in ours. God can be trusted with everything... and everyone.

In surrender there is peace.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25


Toni Hebel