**Hey friends! I have missed you these past few weeks, but I have enjoyed precious time with my family. Although I have not been posting, I have continued to pray for you.
Wanted to let you know that I have a new FB Ministry Page and would so appreciate it if you would stop by and “Like” my page. To visit, click here. I will share more about it in my next post. **
If you are taking a child to college or have a friend taking a child to college, it is my prayer that God will use this post to encourage you. I begin with a post I wrote in August 2011 and then share a new one written today.
Written from my heart August 2011….
No one ever prepares you for the hurt that accompanies sending your baby off to college. Moms share their experiences. They give advice. They pray. They send Scripture. But when the moment arrives…nothing prepares you.
As we stood in the darkness of the parking lot outside Lauren’s dorm, I felt as if I could not breathe. Waves of grief overcame me. She hugged her Daddy. Next she hugged her brother. I stood, waiting for my turn, tears streaming down my cheeks. Finally she came to me. I held her for what seemed forever as we both wept…no words just tears. Finally, we spoke our last goodbyes. I watched her walk up the stairs to her new home. Everything in me wanted to run after her. I wanted to turn back time and take her home…just one more year with me. But I knew that was not possible.
It was time…time for her to journey into the next phase of God’s plan for her life…a plan I know is perfect…a plan I know is one planned by God since before time began…a plan to prosper and not to harm her…a plan to give her Hope and a future.
But knowing those truths does not make saying goodbye hurt any less. As we drove home, the ache in my heart grew.
Walking into the house brought waves of tears. It hurts so much. How do I walk this walk? How do I live each day knowing her bright, smiling face won’t be walking through the door every afternoon. How do I serve dinner every night with one less place setting? How do I go to Target knowing she isn’t with me to stop at Chick-fil-A to get our sweet tea? How do I watch “Bewitched” without her at 4:30 every afternoon? She is everywhere!!!
How will I walk this walk? The only way I know how…one step at a time…with my Lord guiding each and every step and with you, my sweet friends, whose prayers and words of encouragement have held me up. It is such a lonely feeling, yet you have helped me know I am not alone.
My friend Marlo Huffington wrote these beautiful words:
Let the sweet waves of loss wash over you for they will eventually give way to joy!
So, I will wait patiently for the Joy that always comes in the morning.
Written from my heart August 2012
I wrote the post above about this same time last year, and guess what? I survived! Joy did come in the morning. Yes, with Lauren’s departure, our house was different…my life was different. I got used to saying “three” instead of “four’ at our favorite restaurants. I adapted to shopping at Nordstrom by myself. Eventually I could walk into Lauren’s room without bursting into tears.
We all survived. In fact, I came to enjoy our new normal. I was able to spend more time with Monty and with Bo and that was a blessing.
When Lauren returned home for the summer, I was overjoyed. We returned to the “old normal,” and it was fabulous! I could not have asked for a better summer. It included a wonderful trip to New York…just the two of us…and a two week trip to California for our entire family.
When the time came to take her back to Georgia, dread rose up in me again. Would I go through another time of deep despair? Would by heart feel as if it was ripped in two all over again?
Much to my surprise and delight, it was different. Although tears still flowed as we hugged our last hug (and for about 30 minutes down I-85), it was easier this time.
Easier because she loves the University of Georgia. It has become her ”home away from home.” She lives with 5o of her closest friends in the sorority house. She is well on her way as a journalism and communications major. She has found a church home and a great Bible study. She is in the center of God’s will. How could I not be excited and grateful God’s faithfulness to answer all my prayers!
If you are taking your child to college, whether for the first time or not, please leave me a message here and share your heart. I want to pray for you! I know it feels like you will never survive saying “goodbye.” But you will. I promise.
And you will not just survive, you will delight as you watch your child mature and grow. You will be shocked when she actually takes your advice…when you hear your words come out of his mouth. (Can you believe he was listening?)
Claim God’s promise:
I will turn your mourning into gladness; I will give you comfort and joy instead of sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13b