As I hugged her goodbye I reminded myself not to cry until after I left the apartment. In that moment it didn’t matter how mature and capable I knew she was, all I could think about was how many miles were between her apartment in Manhattan and my house in Arkansas (1,304 if you were wondering). Even though she had been in college for the last 3 years and not living under my roof I suddenly realized how different it is to drop your kid off at a dorm room in the same state as you than leaving them in an apartment in a city you had never been to before that day.
But what’s a mom to do? Make them stay home? Only let them follow their dreams if they reside in a 100 mile radius from you? Hover and worry and loose sleep? I guess you could. But I’m not sure that’s how God wants us to parent.
I’ve done a lot of drop offs in my 25 years of parenting. The church nursery, kindergarten, first overnight at grandma’s house, church camp, the mall with no adult supervision, college… it doesn’t get easier. Letting go is hard. So hard. But I made a promise to God a long time ago that I would not let my anxiety limit my kid’s future.
My daughter wants to live and work in New York, and a summer internship there will open doors for her. Is it scary? Oh yeah. Did we do it anyway? You bet we did!
Here’s the thing I’ve learned watching my kids leave the nest and do crazy scary things… we can choose to be brave and let our kids go and still be miserable with lost sleep and anxiety that fills every waking moment. Or, we can choose to be brave and let our kids go and run to Jesus with every fear and unknown.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
My daughter survived her summer in New York, just like she survived kindergarten and middle school and college… not perfectly, not without difficulty, not without frustration… but she did it. And so did I. I was able to let her go and slept soundly knowing that the God who is able to give me a peace that doesn’t make sense is big enough to watch over her wherever she is.
Today I’m praying that whatever you are walking through with your kids that God will remind you that His presence will go with them… and His presence will also stay with you to give you peace.