And then there were three.
In the course of about two weeks we're going from a family six living in our house to a little group of three. Poor Dylan. Outnumbered by his parents for the next three years until he, too, goes off to college.
Two weeks ago we dropped Erin off at the airport for her semester in Germany. She's working at a military base doing daycare, working with infants. Last weekend we took Blake to Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa for his freshman year of college. He's going to be studying computer science. On Sunday we will take Allison to Chicago for her semester internship with Easter Seals. She'll be working in the Willis Tower.
I've had lots of emotions bouncing around in me over the last month or so. I'm excited for all three of my college age children. I'm praying for them and I can't wait to see what God does in their lives as they finish/begin college and get out into the working world. I'm also nervous for them. I know what a scary world this can be at times. I know what a cruel place it can sometimes be. I know that things don't always go the way you plan and I know that many times they will be disappointed by their own failings and the failings of others.
I wish I could clear a path for them, hold their hands and walk with them, reassure them that everything is going to be fine when the bad times come. But I can't do that. Even if I could, it wouldn't be healthy for me or for them. Parents raise their children so that they eventually move out and live on their own. Parents are supportive but they can't handicap their children by hovering and helping too much. We've done the best we can and there comes a time when our children need to leave the nest and learn to do things on their own.
Hopefully we have been diligent about showing our children what it means to have a relationship with God. Even if they stray for a time, we pray that they will come back and grow in their own relationship with God and we know that that is what will really help our children thrive in life. God is the only One who can be there constantly for our children. He will guide them, comfort them, challenge them, and protect them.
It's time for me to practice letting go. It's time for me to trust that God has each of my children and He'll never let them go. It's time for me to focus on supporting my children, but not stress out so much about whether I've done everything right (or wrong) and prepared them well for what life will bring. Anything I forgot to tell them, they can get from Google, anyway.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go [and wherever your children go]." (Joshua 1:9 ESV - brackets mine)
Are you letting go of a college age child this fall? How can focusing on God help you to make that transition well and move forward trusting that God will be there for your child when you can't be?