Our oldest daughter graduated from college this weekend after 4 years at a Christian Liberal Arts college. It feels like it was yesterday that we drove away after leaving her in her dorm room for the start of her freshman year. My tender-hearted husband pulled over a few blocks later so we could both cry before we started the 6-hour drive home.

Watching your child grow and mature, letting go and learning how to “parent” adult children, maintaining long-distance relationships, figuring out when to step in and when to step away. Hard stuff. No one really tells you how hard it is when your children move out. Logically you know it is right and good. That independence and a functioning adult who gives back is the end goal.

Still . . . it is hard to watch them and feel them moving farther and farther away. Sometimes geographically. Sometimes from the values you have tried to instill. Sometimes emotionally as other people become more important in their life. Again, right and good, but still challenging.

So you sit at a graduation be it kindergarten, or 8th grade, or high school, or college, and you marvel at the changes. Your wonder where on earth the time has gone. You celebrate the child (who in this case is no longer a child but a full-grown woman) and the accomplishment. You see the changes – both visible and invisible. You remember the triumph and the tears. And you thank God with your whole heart for getting you to this day. Because you know that all of this would not have happened without Him.

Proverbs 22:6 tells us to, “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” As parents, we do the best that we can. Sometimes that seems to be enough and sometimes it is woefully inadequate. Either way I believe that God will fill in the gaps. My job as a parent is to help my child find a saving relationship with Christ that keeps their moral compass always pointing at Him.

One of things God impressed upon my heart was the need to write my daughter an old-fashioned letter every week for the duration of her college career. The verse that came to mind most frequently as I wrote to her was Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”

That verse is a prayer that I will continue to pray over my daughter. As she moves onto another dig in Israel this summer I am praying. As she moves onto 7 more years of college as she works on her PhD 2036 miles away (not that I am counting or anything!) I am praying. As she navigates a strange city and new school. I am praying. And those letters? I have committed to 7 more years of writing them each week.

Precious Father, thank you for your Word and for your promises. May we keep our eyes on you Lord. And may we release our children, at whatever age or stage, to you. Amen.