I first heard this phrase from author Carol Kent’s book, When I Lay My Isaac Down. An intriguing title. The sub-title is “unshakable faith in unthinkable circumstances”. Written about her own son in the midst of an harrowing situation, it harkens to the story of Abraham being called to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in obedience to God, trusting that He will save him in the end.

Since I first heard it, and read it in the context of Carol’s story, I’ve broadened the idea somewhat. After all, aren’t we supposed to “lay our Isaacs down” not just during crises, but from the very beginning, giving our children back to God as an offering? The problem is that when I lay them down, I almost immediately pick them back up again. It’s easier said than done and I’ve found that it has to be a daily practice.

I’ve never found it to be more necessary to lay them down, than it has been during their teen years and, now, as they are on their own and away from my care and keeping. Every day I lay them down, trusting God to accept that offering and walk them through their lives, the fragrance of the sacrifice pleasing to His senses.

The beautiful thing is when you’re given the gift of seeing the outcome of the sacrifice. When you see them set on their chosen path and get a glimpse of them offering themselves as a sacrifice of praise. Then you understand that laying them down, though truly a sacrifice on your part, was the best thing you could ever do for them and a tremendous blessing for yourself.