By the time our kids are five years old, we sense that parenting is going to be one extreme roller coaster ride. We laugh, we cry, we fret, we scream, we worry, we pray—often all within the hour. But in this season of graduations, I want to give your hand a gentle squeeze and assure you that the motherhood mantle we wear is precious and permanent. And when you watch your child walk across the graduation ceremony platform, cap firmly planted and gown billowing, you will be rendered speechless. Other than the embarrassing cheer-scream you may let fly…
We have three grown kids, and this week we attended graduation number six—our middle, the eldest son, graduated from UBC with majors in Philosophy and English. (Allow me this proud mom moment?) He has already started his Master of Divinity at Regent. An extreme keener, methinks. My husband and I frequently look at each other and shrug. How did all our kids get so ridiculously intelligent? We figure something magical happened when our chromosomes combined. And that sums up our smarts. 🙂
Whether your child is graduating from high school or Harvard, the ceremony itself is somewhat sobering. As mothers, we observe and ponder and have that surreal flashback of their growing-up years, and we wonder where on earth the time has gone. And then we panicky-pray that we have done “enough” … when in reality, we know that God is all they need as they forge ahead. He is always enough.
“‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Even the word “graduation” gives me the shivers just a little. It’s rather a big deal after the culmination of years of studying and marks a definitive moment of change for the student—and for the mom. A new chapter. The launching of a dream. Following a passion. Starting a job. Moving away. And for us moms, we watch it unfold like an out-of-body experience.
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)
We often give this comforting verse from the book of Jeremiah to the graduate as they embark on their new normal and head into their exciting endeavors. But I think this is also a verse for the moms. (I’m pretty certain all the Bible verses are for all the people!) Being an empty nester and watching my kids fly and soar and thrive, I need that reassurance that my Heavenly Father is taking care of me, too. That He still has a plan for me. A plan for you.
Perhaps as we watch our kids accept that diploma, degree, or whatever achievement they have worked so hard for, it should encourage OUR hearts that this is not only a new chapter in their story—it’s a new one for us, too. God does not abandon us when our kids leave home or go to college. Maybe He is there for us on an even deeper level, or maybe we just notice and appreciate Him all the more. Our priorities shift a little and we get to see life from a slightly different perspective.
All those years of feeding picky-eaters and chauffeuring for hours on end and watching sports and ballet and band concerts and saying bedtime prayers—we were building into young lives. Lives that are now being channeled into something bigger, something which may change the world or may change the neighborhood or may change one other life for the better.
And so, I say CONGRATULATIONS—not only to our graduates but also to the parents. To you, their moms. For your hard work, tough love, gentle hands, and praying souls that nurtured them thus far—and will carry them forward. Keep praying. Cheer them on. Encourage their hearts.
And know that God’s plan for YOU continues as you also begin the next chapter…
Until next time,
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