My heart has a familiar ache in these upcoming weeks as I watch parents and their high school teens prepare for the “Letting Go Chapter of Life”. The ache and excitement culminate together, leaving everyone feeling like a deer-in-the-head-light experience. “This is only natural” is what everyone will say to you as a word of encouragement.
All you can remember is that in the last eighteen years with your child, you have fed them, helped them to read, write, work through math problems; hand down your faith to them; how to make good decisions; to putting Band-Aids on their wounds physically and spiritually. Whatever their need was, you were there to help them.
The struggle of knowing this must happen and the reality of it are two separate things! A part of you realizes it is time. You tell yourself you are not the only one that has entered this chapter of your children’s life, that their are others who have done this letting go. However, when you pull away from the parking lot of the next step, whether it is college, or vocational training, a seminary or a religious order, there is nothing natural about leaving your child there and driving away. Why would it feel normal? You have only been with them from their beginning to this chapter in life. The last eighteen years of your life involved them. That is a long time my friend! You cannot just turn on a light switch and say, “Ok honey on to your next chapter, and don’t let the door hit you in the butt!”
I remember when we dropped our first daughter off, and how it was a mixture of feelings. Our feelings were of both excitement and fear. As we begin to pull away, I just had such a sinking feeling. I remember her younger sister saying as we drove off, “Mom this just doesn’t feel right or make sense!” I had nothing to respond back to her as I had tears streaming down my face, for in my heart she was right!
Here is a gentle reminder of who God is and what He has to say about us and our children.
Isaiah 43 NIV – Israel’s Only Savior
1 But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
After reading these verses, the children we have are created by God, and we are all His. Our daughters were a gift from God. Our assignment is to take care of them; teach them about God their Father; and LET THEM GO!
My husband and I took our responsibility seriously to raise our daughters to be holy women. However, the greatest part of the responsibility that was given to us – was to not stand in God’s way with the purpose that He has for both. Just like us, God has an individualized purpose for each of our children for a specific time as well as the place.
So how do we make it through this new chapter? The answer is by putting one foot in front of the other.
Pray for the wisdom of how to parent this next chapter of your children’s life.
Send your children a text once in a while saying I prayed for you today, or a Scripture verse, or do you need me to pray for you today?
Discern what God has planned for you in this chapter of YOUR life. He is not finished with you or you wouldn’t get to experience these growing pains!!!!
Trust in Him and know He loves you and He most definitely LOVES YOUR CHILDREN!!! He brought them into this world He will take care of them!
Hang out with some friends to affirm, encourage and pray for each other.
Remind your children they are loved!
I know there are some who cannot wait for their children to leave so they can live their next chapter. I say good and well! I had to grow into that stage. I am still learning how to let go by not offering my advice unless asked, and instead encouraging them to pray and see what God says they should do. Of course, if I feel their decision would put them in danger, I would offer my two cents right away. For the most part I am learning to use my two ears and be a good listener.
In closing just remember, that the first 18 years were just a blur or a blink of an eye, and these next four to eight years will go even faster. The best part now is on the other side watching them make decisions, praying to their Father for guidance as they step into the purpose that they are here for this particular time and place.
It is all good! Peace be with you today and on your next journey!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you.You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)