There have been no hair bows or sports uniforms for a while at my house. I don't have to pack anyone's lunch but my own. And I haven't read a bedtime story in years. But the biggest change to date began when my youngest gained his driver's license, and I took off the chauffeur hat I had been wearing for nineteen years. Honestly, I didn't mind that so much. I have always believed my most important purpose as a mom was to prepare my children to be successful, well-rounded, God-loving adults, and part of that meant letting the drive on their own.
But this summer of unchangeable endings has been difficult. This will be the last summer my daughter will ever be at home. It fills me with sadness even as I rejoice in the new beginning she is preparing for and throw myself wholeheartedly in being supportive of her wedding plans.
I have this one last year to make a lasting impact in my son's life before sending him out into the world. I cannot see the path God has planned for him. And I struggle with trusting God to work out his plan fully in his life. I know that God is good. I know that God's plan for my son is good. I just wish I knew what that plan was so that I could help guide my son down the correct path. It is a struggle that as a person who loves the Lord and daily attempts to follow him, I am ashamed to confess.
And as this ending draws near, it feels like preparing for death, as I ask myself, did I do enough? Did I give them the right lessons? Will they face life's challenges by turning to Christ? Are there regrets? Failures? Should I have taken a different parenting tack? Did I make the right choices?
Surely I am not the only parent to have these feelings.
And while I have no answers to the above questions yet, I can take comfort in hope. I can also hold fast to the truth that my relationship with my children may shift, but it will not end when they leave my roof. I can call upon scriptures that provide peace:
*Philippians 4:13 I can do everything [even let go of control of my children] through him who gives me strength.
*Romans 8:28 and 31-32 We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose....If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
*Psalm 46:10-11 Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
*Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
*Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything [ouch!] but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I can no longer hold my children's hands and lead them. I stand on the precipice and watch with my heart aching, just like I did when they left for kindergarten, or took their first steps, or rode a bike for the first time. Why does it seem harder now? Is it because the decisions they make now could be life-altering? But isn't that is the way of parenting? I remember my own parents let me go, not only away to college, but to a completely different continent. I can take a deep breath of perspective.
I don't want to spend this year in anxiety and fear. I want to cherish the time we have together, to make memories that will last long into those nights after they moved on. I want to continue to be an example of Jesus to them.
I have faith. I will continue to pray for my children, even when they are adults. I will ask for wisdom to know when to speak out and when to be silent. I will also most likely continue to struggle with my role and with trusting completely. When I am faced with doubt and fear I hope that I can continue to hold fast to his promises.