Time passed too quickly.
Our first son spent his first year in college while living at home, but then he decided last fall, he needed to spread his wings and live closer to college. As parents, that was a tough change. Now, our youngest son will graduate from high school this spring and will be living in a college dorm this fall. Now, an even tougher change to accept – the empty nest.
Many parents I have spoken with about the reality of staring at the ‘empty nest’ often exclaim how they couldn’t wait for the day to arrive when they could be free from the constraints of child-rearing. That notion is the polar opposite of what we are feeling. Our sons are strong, independent, intelligent young men and we are certainly proud of them. We fondly look back on raising them and hope we have instilled in them all the necessary wisdom and spiritual guidance to fly high in all their endeavors. We look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the future with their education, career, and someday a family of their own.
Yet, the ache in our heart is too strong to deny.
In looking back over the years of raising our children, I realize that family life is a training ground for faith, hope, love, patience, and prayer. It is graduation time for mom and dad too. And it is faith and prayer that we must rely on more than ever as we help them move their belongings into their new homes to begin living apart from mom and dad. Our hope and prayer are that they will not fall away from Christ to chase elusive shadows, but they remember that God is the only one who feeds their souls.
“Train up a child in a way he should go, And even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
There may be times when they go their own way and the only way we can react is letting them go – and trust that God loves them. Our two sons are His after all.
Max Lucado has beautifully written, “Our Savior kneels down and gazes upon the darkest acts of our lives. But rather than recoil in horror, he reaches out in kindness and says, “I can clean that if you want.” And from the basin of his grace, he scoops a palm full of mercy and washes our sin.” A reminder we give to our sons.
As Martin Luther said, “Pray, and let God worry.”
A reminder for us all.