My younger daughter is graduating from high school this summer. She will not only be leaving school, at last (she was not a fan), but she has a place at university far from home. She will remain in the same province, but seven hours away by car and ferry combined. Her sister, by contrast, only moved an hour away by car.
I could see her every couple of weeks. This will be a huge transition for all of us, and since I’m praying for me and my family, I’d like to pray for you and yours too.
For the Child or Parent Who Is Fearful
God knew from the start that a lot of parents and some of our kids would be afraid — excited, perhaps, but also fearful. After all, the command “do not be afraid” is found at least 70 times in a quick search of Scripture. That’s not including the hundreds of times this theme emerges without this statement.
1. “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you” (Genesis 26:24). You are entering what might seem like the most mysterious time in your life and being asked to plan out much of your life like someone with far greater wisdom and experience.
No wonder some of you students are afraid. But, as Scripture reminds us by its accounts of God’s people being sent into similarly mysterious situations and learning to trust him step-by-step, he wants you to do likewise.
Trust him and, in spite of those inevitable mistakes, your path will lead to Christ if you set him always before you.
Lord, help these young people to find peace in you, even amidst uncertainty.
2. “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they malign those of his household” (Matthew 10:25). Jesus didn’t sugarcoat the reality of suffering for our faith.
If my daughters are truly disciples of Jesus, I must remember that if they are suffering for Christ, they are also living for him. I can rest in that. The worst thing would be to hear that they were living a safe and quiet life for their own glory or self-preservation.
I don’t want my kids to be harmed for their faith, but I can trust God with my babies. He is good, and parents don’t have to be afraid.
God in Heaven, be merciful on mothers and fathers saying goodbye to their children. Give them strength to face these changes knowing you are at their side.
For the Child Who Longs for Independence
1. “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20).
2. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9). By all means, grow into the image of Christ who calls you his brothers and sisters. Be like him.
But do not forget to do all in Christ’s name, by his strength. Once you start to walk in your own power, you find out how weak you are. That’s not an excuse to sit around and wait for life to happen but a motivation to walk in faith. He will always be “the lifter of your head” (Psalm 3:3).
I heard one preacher say this is a reference to the ancient tradition of a conquering warrior stamping on the defeated soldier’s head. But remember Judges 7, where God told Gideon to reduce his army. He wanted Gideon to know where his strength came from when the enemy was defeated (which it was).
The test he used was strange, and no explanation was given, but David Guzik wrote, “Perhaps it was because those who cupped the water in their hands and brought it to their mouth were better soldiers because they kept their eyes on their surroundings even when taking a drink.”
We have to keep our heads up to watch for the enemy (sin), not so we can run ahead and fight, but so that we see temptation coming and run behind the shield of Christ.
Lord, teach our kids to do everything to your glory and not their own. Help them not to become stoically independent and to try and earn their way into your favor but to know that, in Christ alone, they are already beloved.
For the Parents Who Won’t Let Go
Are we confident that we taught our children enough skills to handle life? Christ sent the disciples out on a test run, and they returned to report their failures and successes.
He continued to teach them, and the disciples had learned all that the Father told Jesus to share with them (John 17:8), but Jesus had to leave eventually. Still, he told them, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” by which Jesus meant he would leave them with the Holy Spirit.
We have taught our daughters how to navigate real life, and I have exposed them to the real life found only in the gospel. They can still turn to us during crises, and we will help, but only Jesus has the power to actually be with them in Spirit.
I taught them to turn to Christ; I can trust Christ to always be there when they remember. Their lives always were in God’s hands but watching them leave home is a tangible reminder of that fact.
Father, it’s so difficult to let go. To launch our babies. When our kids know Christ it’s a little easier, but not perfectly easy. Help us parents to get out of the way so our kids can learn to need you more. One day, we might not be there at all, but you always will.
And the Truth
We do this with each child for the first time. I’m excited but nervous because I know how emotional I was about my older daughter’s graduation. Teary. Not a basket case, but jittery and concerned.
So, though I’m calm today, there’s a chance I’ll lose it by tomorrow afternoon when the pandemic-modified grad service is over.
A Closing Prayer
Father in Heaven, these are strange times. Teach us to celebrate your glory and to be thankful that our kids are graduating; to pray for those whose kids did not live to graduate for one reason or another, or for grads whose parents are not here.
We are fortunate if we can attend any kind of celebration, and we are also grateful that the big celebration is still to come for all of us who have placed our faith in you, regardless of what the future holds.
Thank you for patiently reminding us of your goodness and glory while we fret over such finite, temporal details as dresses, flowers, and photographs. If our kids are following you, they are in perfect hands and they have everything they need.
We can rest and let them go. They can get excited about the future you have for them. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
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Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/digitalskillet
Candice Lucey is a freelance writer from British Columbia, Canada, where she lives with her family. Find out more about her here.