How can she be 18? I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. It seems like only yesterday that she was just a baby. And now my baby girl has become an amazing, incredible, beautiful young lady with a love for life that matches her love for our Lord. High school graduation is behind her, and in just a few short weeks she and her most necessary and prized possessions will be moving to a college seven hours from our home.
These days I find her sorting through boxes, drawers and endless piles trying to decide what goes to her new home in the dorm and what stays behind. Porcelain dolls will be wrapped up and stored in the attic along with the box of dress-up clothes and miscellaneous keepsakes from her childhood. Her stereo and new TV, DVD player, laptop and dorm-size refrigerator will make the move, along with photos of friends and family and other reminders of home.
Knowing she’s the last of our four children to leave home, friends ask me constantly if I’m ready for “the empty nest.” Usually I just smile and say I think so, but mostly I’m just thankful that she’s ready. Not because she’s had the love, support and encouragement of her family and friends, or even because she’s worked hard and excelled in school.
I know she’s ready because she’s packing her rock collection – and these are no ordinary rocks. These rocks were claimed one Sunday morning during a church service when hearts were anxious as our members prepared to move into a new, larger building. Our pastor invited us to take a rock for every milestone we had experienced in our former building – a reminder of all that God had done in our hearts and lives in that place.
Just as college is a milestone in her life, those rocks symbolize her spiritual mountaintops, epiphanies and covenants – milestones she’s shared with her God. Salvation, baptism, a call to mission work, a promise of faithful tithe, regular quiet time for prayer and Bible study are all promises she has made. Is she ready? Yes, thankfully God has prepared her and me for this moment. And though I know it’ll be tough letting her go, I find peace in knowing God will be with her every step of the way!
“That I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
– Deuteronomy 30:19b-20 (NIV)
“Lord, thank You for giving us free-will. Help us to make the right decisions that lead towards a blessed life. Thank You most of all for Your son, Jesus, who has died for our bad choices and our mistakes. I pray for those close to me who are in the middle of challenging decisions, including…”