A toddler in a child carrier on my back and a pregnant belly in front of me. That’s how I brought in the early years of this century. I was young and determined to get things done, so I would carry these precious lives on me and do what I needed to do. It was only for a season – I wasn’t meant to physically carry them forever.
Yet as our children grow up, it can be difficult to figuratively put our kids back down on the ground. As parents of adult kids, we didn’t expect to worry so much. We thought that these days would be easier without the concerns of report cards, teen driving, and gossipy friends. Instead, our kids’ problems got more complicated just as we lost what control we thought we had over their lives. The other parents I’ve talked to agree – it can be just as hard as those physically exhausting early years.
What can we do to deal with this transition?
- Remember whose they are. For 18 years, you were the steward of raising this child in the Lord. It doesn’t mean you stop being mom or dad, caring about them, or encouraging them. Trust God to carry out His will in their lives, even when it doesn’t follow your timetable. Don’t manipulate the circumstances in an attempt to play God. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 ESV
- Cherish that your identity lies in who you are in Christ. We all wear a lot of labels, whether it’s child, employee, or friend. But after 18 years of focusing your schedule, energy, and priorities around your kid, the label you may cherish the most may be Mom or Dad. And that can be honorable, but it’s not all that you are. Romans 8:16 ESV tells us, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” As children of God, we can serve Him in all the roles we fill, but our most important identity is in Him.
- Take your concerns to the One who can change their lives. In prayer, we can ask the God of the universe to be with them even when we are not. In Philippians 4:6-7, we hear, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” My heart is most at rest when I am trusting in God for answers to prayer and letting His peace guard my heart and mind.
Lord, As my kids grow older, I need to trust You even more for Your will to be accomplished in their lives. May I grow in that trust and grow in my faith in You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.