It is that time of year again. As we speak, college students are picking out their favorite prints at Target to hang in their new dorm rooms, packing their cars with late night study session snacks and furniture and saying those hard, but good “see you laters.” This is one of those times that for parents can be a joyful time but also sad in some sense because their children are leaving the house. Certainly there are other moments that I think could sum up this same feeling. Weddings can certainly stir up these emotions. But it seems to me that this time of the year, especially for parents who have college freshman, it can be kind of difficult. Parents start voicing their prayer concerns at church after dropping their kids off at college and you know that they are missing their child or children and to a degree are struggling to let go and trust God.
I am married, but my husband and I do not have children yet. This event of sending your children off to school I know others know too well, but as for myself, I have yet to experience. With that said, I wanted to bring to you today some wisdom from my mother. My mother has had to watch four children leave the home and two times, she has had to do it and then leave to go overseas so she and my father could continue their time as missionaries in Japan. I can’t even imagine that feeling. She has time after time been reminded of the sweetness in trusting God’s protection, wisdom and grace for her children. I greatly admire her for that because it’s certainly no easy task to do this. I have asked her to share some about what she has learned over the years and I believe she has so eloquently summed up this understanding of trust well.
My grandsons are here with me this week and they are really enjoying building elaborate structures with cardboard building blocks. They have constructed “Empire State” buildings, airport towers, and the like. I gave them green cups and little plastic soldiers with a few plastic people shaped chopsticks. They have made thee impressive structures that any “Mimi” or “Bubba” would be proud of. Preparation was key to success. We divided up equal amounts of blocks, soldiers, chopsticks, etc. They were not the same but equal. One got an extra blue block and the other got an extra yellow. One received two blue and one green army man and the other received three red. Each one a little different but equally blessed. All of this led to creativity and peace. Each one building his own structure and no one in total control of the other. Learning to share and let go of control is a lesson we all have to learn from childhood and into adulthood. It was a lesson that Adam and Eve had to learn, and I had to learn in its truest form when as a young teen I repented and first surrendered my life to Christ. Now as a mother whose children have all married and left home, I am learning again how to let go and let my wonderful, all knowing, all wise Savior do His work in my life and theirs. Preparation is key. We will only be able to effectively entrust our children to The Lord when they leave home to the degree that we have with prayerful intention entrusted them to Him before they left. Colossians 3:12-17 tells me what I need to know. Those are the scripture verses just before the well known husband, wife, and children family relation verses. In particular, verse 15, which says: “…and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called to one body and be thankful.” We are not in control. It is Christ who rules. When we are thankful we are acknowledging that all things come from Him. This includes of course our children. Each one coming, and going. Each one as they marry learning to build their own family structure. Equal but different learning to live under God’s rule and commands. I miss them all, but I have great joy in knowing that I can trust my Savior to care for them. I know because He has cared for me and met my every need since my own childhood and theirs. I have witnessed His provision in their lives and you can’t out give God! Proverbs 16:20 states as a fact: “The one who understands a matter finds success, and happy is the one who trusts in The Lord will be happy.” As empty nesters we desire to keep on entrusting our Savior with the children we were so blessed to have as ours here on earth and we fully intend to “enjoy the wife( and may I say husband ) of your youth”! Proverbs 5:18 We spent last week together doing just that on a 40th anniversary trip. This empty nest can be a lot of fun! – Dale Russell
Oh, what a sweet reminder this is that we can trust in God with our children because He has taken care of our needs! Let’s consider and meditate on this as we pray for either our children now or our future children!