"Train up a child in the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6
There's a spot in our living room that serves as a gathering place for when we are packing up items that we don't want to forget. Many years ago, my children would place their backpacks in this room each night, so we could quickly locate them in the morning. As they grew older, athletic bags with clean uniforms and socks would frequently occupy this space. When the dancer entered into the picture, her "rack and roll" would be set up in this room as she could take inventory and ensure that she had every required costume, shoe, and hair piece. As we prepared for vacations, suitcases, coolers, and beach toys would often be stored in this location. When each child prepared to go to college, this area also served as a holding place as we would frequently check items off the packing list. Before our son's wedding, this room was the designated location for tuxedos and dresses to hang and not get wrinkled. And last spring, this room held items as we prepared for our first baby shower for our future granddaughter. It is amazing the amount of precious memories this little room has seen!
However, tonight as I write this, my heart is a little heavy. I can't help but continuously look at all the items that are currently stored in this room as we prepare to travel to our last college grauation this weekend, and on the same day, move our baby into her very first apartment in New York City. Frequently, I find myself reminiscing how difficult it was to say "good-bye" to her when we left her at college. And although she is ready, my mother's heart is aching at the thought of officially cutting this last apron string.
As parents, we have the privilege of watching our children develop and grow through so many stages of life at such an incredible rate of speed, and we often find ourselves pondering, "How did this happen so quickly?" It seems that in a blink of an eye, we went from first day of Preschool to graduating college!
So how do you let them go and grow into the person God intends for them to be? From my own personal experience, I need to realize first and foremost that my children really belong to God, and they are only mine on loan. Next, I need to remember that our job as parents is to raise and nurture our children to be faithful and independent God followers, with the goal that one day, they will be responsible for themselves. Lastly, and what gives me the greatest peace, is remembering that Jesus is with our children even when we are not.
A few weeks ago, Janna Carlson, one of our students, showed me a dot that her mom had drawn in the center of her hand. She then explained to me that her mom told her "This is you" as she pointed to the dot... and then explained "This is God" as she made a fist and enclosed the dot. What a beautiful reminder that God is always with us and has each of us and our children in the palm of His hand!
This Mother's Day, we celebrate and honor all of our moms! You are such a blessing to your families and your Godly influence and strong Christian values have an eternal significance as you nurture and raise your children. And one day, when they are ready to move out and live on their own, as much as it will break your heart, you will have peace knowing that God will be watching over them even when you cannot.
Happy Mother's Day!