When Your Children Grow Up

Our daughters turned 18 and 20 this past week. The youngest technically becoming an adult (according to the state of Minnesota) and the oldest leaving the teen years behind. It is somewhat startling to look back and realize how quickly those years went by. And somewhat confusing as we move forward trying to “parent” our adult children and face an empty nest in the fall.

I have mentioned in a previous blog that I was never planning to get married and if I got married I was never planning to have children. Fortunately, God had different plans for my life that included a husband and children.

Over the years my husband and I received plenty of parenting advice from other parents, Bible studies, and books that helped us through various ages, stages and bumps in the road. But somehow, we missed how hard it was going to be to have the girls leave home. And they must have offered the “Parenting Your Adult Children 101” class when we were out of town.

When our first daughter moved way to college we decided we did not like the phrase “letting go.” But instead prefer the phrase “stretching the umbilical cord.” We wanted her to clearly understand that we would always be there for her when needed and that we would always be connected.

As I look ahead to the fall with both daughters in college I also think back to the verses we prayed over them as infants. Verses that ring especially true for our girls as they have moved and will move away from home.

When our oldest was dedicated as a baby we chose Proverbs 3:5-6 as her life verse. It says, “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.”

Two years later we choose 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 for our youngest daughter. Which says, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

On the morning our oldest turned 20, I woke up missing her so much that I cleared my schedule, hopped in the car, and drove 7 hours to spend part of her birthday with her. As she ran out of the dorm - huge smile on her face - and flung herself into my arms for the longest, tightest hug imaginable I could barely squeeze the words “I love you” past my constricted throat.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for daughters who know and love you. May they keep you at the center of their lives. May they make the choices they face prayerfully. May they seek your guidance and your wisdom daily. Amen.