August 19, 2013

Saying Goodbye… [Taken From 2011 Post]

This past week, we said goodbye to my sweet girl, Lauren, as she began her third year at University of Georgia. It was hard, but not as hard as that first year!

Below is the post I wrote three years ago when we said our goodbyes to Lauren. The Lord led me to share this message again to encourage you, whether you are saying goodbye for the first time, the second time, the last time, that you are not alone! Saying goodbye to our “babies” breaks our hearts in two. Beginning a new normal hurts so much. But it’s all part of God’s good and perfect plan…a plan we can trust…a plan that is His highest and best for us and, most especially, for our children.

Please know I am praying for all of you saying your goodbyes and beginning your new normal.

Stop by next Monday and I will share a prayer I have written that you can pray over your son or daughter as he or she heads off on her own.

Saying Goodbye…

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.

Until then, I rejoice for Lauren. Her first two days were so hard. But now she is enjoying Rush and making new friends. Nights are still a bit lonely as she misses “home.” But I told her soon UGA would be her new “home,” her “home away from home,” and it would feel good to be there.

So many friends I know are taking their kids to college this week and next. Please know I am praying for you!!!

If you are one of these moms, or if you have a Scripture or word of encouragement for one of these moms, please leave a comment today.

Love,

Comments

  1. I remember this post. I can’t believe her third year is already here. I cannot relate to a mother sending their baby off to college because I am not a mother yet. I have had to say goodbye as we all have in other instances though. I save my emotions up for after the goodbyes. I call myself enjoying the time I have left with the person and being strong. Once they leave, I give it a good cry. Then I say, Lord help me because I am sad and hurting. Joy really does come in the morning.

    • KAY PARRISH says:

      IRIS THANK YOU FOR YOUR POST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OUR BABY GIRL 49 YEARS NOW LEFT US IN 1982 .SHE IS A MOM NOW !!!!!!!!!!!! HOW THE YEARS FLOWN GONE. I TYPE IN CAPS SO I DON’T HAVE TO THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MY HUSBAND AND I OF ALMOST 50 YEARS SOMETIMES CRY TOGETHER SOMETIMES WE CAN’T EVEN TALK ABOUT HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      THEN OUR BLESSED BABY BOY NOW 42 YEARS. WENT TO MILITRY BEFORE GRADUATING . I WAS AT HIS GRADUATION WITH MY BEST FRIEND CRYING OUR EYES OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SHE WAS SON’S BEST FRIEND TOO!!!!!!!! HUSBAND HOME TRYING TO UNDERSTAND HIM IN BOOTCAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HE HAD ULCES BEFORE DAUGHTER LEFT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NOW IT IS WAR TIME HIS SON IS IN THE MILITRY. YES WAR 1990!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HE GOT CALLED UP , GOT MARREID HAVE CHILDREN. HUSBAND I CAN’T EVEN TALK TO EACH OTHER TODAY BECAUSE LIFE IS GOING ON AND WE ARE GOING TO LEAVE THEM TO THIS WORLD SOMEDAY. WE BROUGHT THEM UP TO BE STRONG CHRISTIANS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEED MY MOM & DAD BUT THEY LEFT AND WENT TO HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HAD TO WRITE THIS POST TODAY BECAUSE ANOTHER PERSON WHO EVER HAS TO KNOW GOD IS IN CONTROL. MY HUSBAND WILL BE BACK TO LOVING EACH OTHER AND KISSING BEING HAPPY BUT AFTER THIS IS DONE.

      BY THE WAY THE FRIEND HOLDING MY HAND AT SON’S GRADUATION IS IN HEAVEN SAYING YOU CAN MAKE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DID SAYING I TOLD YOU THEY WALK ON YOUR FEET WHEN THEY ARE LITTLE, WHEN THEY ARE BIG THEY WALK ON YOUR HEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SHE WAS SMART SHE SAID WE NEEDED TOGETHER TO WRITE A BOOK TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!BOY WOULD I LOVE TO SHAKE HER RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SHE WAS HUSBAND’S BEST FRIEND ALSO.(WHO WAS SHE AN OLDER LADY WITH A WHOLE LOT MORE KIDS, GRANDKIDS AND GREATGRAND MOM RAISING A CHILD NOT HER OWN.WHO WAS SHE STRANGER ????????????TOOK MY FAMILY IN MANY YEARS AGO.)

      WE SERVE AWESOME GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WE WILL MAKE IT. I HAVE TO QUIT CRYING, EDIT THIS POST AND GET US HUBBY & ME SOME LUNCH. LADIES WE SERVE AN AWESOME GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Lots of good stuff here, Kay! So good to hear from you again. I always know you by your ALL CAPS!

        Blessings to you,

        Wendy

    • Iris, thank you for sharing such great words of wisdom with us today. I had to remember to not be sad the days before Lauren left so that I would ENJOY her company while I still had her home. Kind of like when Jesus told his disciples not be be sad while He was still with them. :)

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  2. This post last year was such an encouragement for me. I felt heart broken last year as I sent my oldest son off to college for the first time. I had no idea I would feel the way I did and I stumbled across this blog and it affirmed my heart and my feelings. I cried for a week after he left and off and on all year long. He just left for his 2nd year and though I miss him again already I dont feel anything like last year. I think I actually appreciate this phase of life this year :) Thankyou for sharing this…I believe mothers need to know its okay to feel what we feel and that it does get easier :)

    • Carla, I couldn’t agree more. Each year gets easier. I LOVE having her here when she is here, but I keep myself busy doing the new things God has given me while she is away. Thanks for leaving sweet words of encouragement for moms walking through this for the first time.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  3. I have been reading facebook posts this week about all the anguish connected to this life event so I shared this on my wall. We lived through it 3 times……….it’s hard………it’s how it’s suppose to be.

    Hugs,
    Brenda S

    • Thank you for sharing, and thank you for reminding us that although it is hard, it is how it is supposed to be. We train them up and pour our hearts into them so that God can then take them and direct them to live out the plans He has for them!!!

      Blessings,

      wendy

  4. KAY PARRISH says:

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR POST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OUR BABY GIRL 49 YEARS NOW LEFT US IN 1982 .SHE IS A MOM NOW !!!!!!!!!!!! HOW THE YEARS FLOWN GONE. I TYPE IN CAPS SO I DON’T HAVE TO THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MY HUSBAND AND I OF ALMOST 50 YEARS SOMETIMES CRY TOGETHER SOMETIMES WE CAN’T EVEN TALK ABOUT HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THEN OUR BLESSED BABY BOY NOW 42 YEARS. WENT TO MILITRY BEFORE GRADUATING . I WAS AT HIS GRADUATION WITH MY BEST FRIEND CRYING OUR EYES OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SHE WAS SON’S BEST FRIEND TOO!!!!!!!! HUSBAND HOME TRYING TO UNDERSTAND HIM IN BOOTCAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HE HAD ULCES BEFORE DAUGHTER LEFT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NOW IT IS WAR TIME HIS SON IS IN THE MILITRY. YES WAR 1990!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HE GOT CALLED UP , GOT MARREID HAVE CHILDREN. HUSBAND I CAN’T EVEN TALK TO EACH OTHER TODAY BECAUSE LIFE IS GOING ON AND WE ARE GOING TO LEAVE THEM TO THIS WORLD SOMEDAY. WE BROUGHT THEM UP TO BE STRONG CHRISTIANS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEED MY MOM & DAD BUT THEY LEFT AND WENT TO HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HAD TO WRITE THIS POST TODAY BECAUSE ANOTHER PERSON WHO EVER HAS TO KNOW GOD IS IN CONTROL. MY HUSBAND WILL BE BACK TO LOVING EACH OTHER AND KISSING BEING HAPPY BUT AFTER THIS IS DONE.

    BY THE WAY THE FRIEND HOLDING MY HAND AT SON’S GRADUATION IS IN HEAVEN SAYING YOU CAN MAKE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DID SAYING I TOLD YOU THEY WALK ON YOUR FEET WHEN THEY ARE LITTLE, WHEN THEY ARE BIG THEY WALK ON YOUR HEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SHE WAS SMART SHE SAID WE NEEDED TOGETHER TO WRITE A BOOK TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!BOY WOULD I LOVE TO SHAKE HER RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SHE WAS HUSBAND’S BEST FRIEND ALSO.(WHO WAS SHE AN OLDER LADY WITH A WHOLE LOT MORE KIDS, GRANDKIDS AND GREATGRAND MOM RAISING A CHILD NOT HER OWN.WHO WAS SHE STRANGER ????????????TOOK MY FAMILY IN MANY YEARS AGO.)

    WE SERVE AWESOME GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WE WILL MAKE IT. I HAVE TO QUIT CRYING, EDIT THIS POST AND GET US HUBBY & ME SOME LUNCH. LADIES WE SERVE AN AWESOME GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  5. Our first daughter is the same age, heading into 3rd year on campus, but she is nearby (living on campus) at the school where my husband teaches. Still, it was hard to let her go and grow into the woman she is becoming. Add to this her plans to teach English overseas…she spent 7 weeks in Korea this summer and is also returning from a 2 week trip to France (she was in a wedding with a friend who married a Frenchman). She has decided to attempt graduating a year early (she won’t have a lot extra to do that) and then teach English for a year in Korea before moving to…Japan!

    Meanwhile, my son stands in the shadow of his older sister, wondering what to study and where to attend school. I think he wants to fly like she has, but isn’t sure just how to do that. I think I will have a harder time letting him go, believe it or not, because he lacks the confidence of his older sister. But we have a year to work through this–he is a high school senior!

    And that will leave the 10 year old at home alone next year–something I find equally difficult. How did the house get so crazy and then so quiet so quickly?

    But all this makes me think of how much God, Our Father, loves us and wants to be with us. He put this intense feeling in our hearts to give us just a taste of what he feels while we are apart. We all look forward to our heavenly reunion, but this makes me realize that God looks forward to it so much more than I do! And maybe that thought will help cushion each blow as they grow up and out. That, and the thought that it is a great thing that they are healthy enough to go stand on their own two feet and make their own decisions–because we have been there guiding them all the way :)

    • Karen, you have shared some incredible insights that have encouraged me!! I love the comparison you made with God and us as His children and how He cannot wait for our heavenly reunion…to have all His children back in His house. What a marvelous day that will be!!

      But we also need to praise God that our kids are healthy enough to “leave the nest” and embark on the next journey God has for them!!! He has given them to us on loan but for a time. :)

      Thank you for stopping by today and sharing. You have encouraged me today!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  6. Thank you for re-sharing this post, Wendy! While I am not sending my baby girl off to college, she is starting full-day kindergarten next week, and it’s breaking my heart all the same. I know this is just the beginning of many “new normals” for us, and yes, I know she’s ready and it’s time. But… it’s the end of an era for us. I was blessed to be able to be at home with her (or working only when she attended preschool for a few hours per week) and now that’s all changing. I trust God, I know we’ll be okay, but still I grieve for what is now passing us by. My baby girl is going to school!

    Praying for all of us as we go through these tough few weeks…

    In Him…

    • Margarita says:

      OMG! My youngest is 5 and about to start Kindergarten too.
      I’m nervous for her to meet new friends and getting thru the newness of it all.
      You are an awesome mom, I can already tell from how you speak and are processing the end of this chapter for her.
      I was sad this morning dropping off my little one as tomorrow is her very last day at Preschool.
      It gave/gives me a lump in my throat when I think about it.
      Our babies do grow up so fast.
      I know there is going to be adjusting for all of us that will be uncomfortable but you freakin nailed it, I too trust God and we will be ok too. It does help knowing I’m not alone in this saddness of baby girl growing up, regardless of the grade they are going too. I even had a moment when my oldest went to Junior High.
      Breinny, you rock and thank you for sharing. It has helped me as today was a emotional for a very similar reason. Praying for you too. Lots of love and a big hug from CA!

  7. My daughter has been gone since the beginning of the summer, but this is her first year away. I still have nights that I cry myself to sleep.

    She is struggling, as am i.

    I have learned a great deal.

    This is my blogpost about what I learned:
    http://ready2overflow.blogspot.com/2013/08/babies-cry-lot.html

  8. This blessed me, Wendy. We are getting ready to take our daughter back to college for her sophomore year. Thankful for His grace!
    PS: miss you. Wish I could sit at your feet and learn from you every week.

  9. Wendy, thank you for this post. I sat and remembered my journey of kids leaving home, our two oldest..I shed many tears. And I still have two teens at home, soon, I will need to re-read this post again. I’m so glad that I opened this today, my friend will be leaving Wednesday to travel with her family to North Carolina to leave their oldest at college. She will be blessed to receive this post. He has been a big part of our family too, so yes a little sadness is setting in. Thank you for your encouraging word.
    God Bless
    Anna

  10. I remember that first “goodbye” between you and Lauren like it was yesterday. One of the most amazing gifts was to meet your beautiful Lauren last month. Witnessing your relationship and the mutual love that the two of you share has blessed me beyond words. It personified all of my maternal “why’s”… Why constant prayer for my daughter is as important as the air I breathe… Why a humble heart of a Mom is paramount… Why daily devotionals- even in the midst of a chaotic day- has to be non-negotiable… Why lighthearted conversation is vital… Why hugs and holding hands is never to be outgrown…

    Wendy, thank you for walking these roads with your Christ-seeking and Christ-honoring heart. I am right behind you, following the path you have blazed. And if my daughter has a similar love for Jesus that Lauren does, I will be rendered speechless- in awe of the greatest gifts from God.

    I love you friend!

  11. It seems like I was just reading this post for the first time! The reminder that time goes fast makes me realize I’ll be in your shoes sooner than I think!

    As I read your words, Kathy Troccoli’s song, “My Life is in Your Hands” came on the radio and I thought it was a perfect fit. Regardless if we’re sending our “babies” off to college, kindergarten or keeping them home to school (which also brings doubts, fears and mixed emotions) God has their lives and ours in His hands. Thankful for the peace that Truth brings!! Blessings to you!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlmYxZAgrGI

  12. Just read this post and it hit me right where I am. I moved my daughter into college 3 days ago. My first child and only daughter. She is only 20 miles away but my heart feels empty like she is an ocean away. We have talked every day, but we are both trying to adjust without saying it out loud. It is a whole new phase of life I thought I was ready for but really had no idea this is how I would feel. Lost. Less needed. Lonely. I love my daughter and know this is the right step but it is hard. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to see what God will do in her life but the waiting is hard.

  13. Wendy,
    This may not be exactly relevant to your post, specifically about sending one’s child/children off to school, but I read your post just now and five minutes ago I was standing in my driveway hugging my sister and my two nephews good-bye and sending them back to Okinawa where my sister’s husband (and her family) are currently stationed. She flew into town for a month (!) of summer vacation here at home before her boys (my ONLY two nephews) start school. I have not seen my sister or her family in three years, since they left for Okinawa. My nephews are now three years older than they were when they left and the youngest one doesn’t remember me because he was one-year-old when they moved. Seeing them while they were in town and knowing in my heart that for the entire month they were within driving distance was the best feeling. Now their summer vacation has come to an end. We just returned from one last dinner outing together and my sister and her family are flying back to Okinawa tomorrow morning. I hugged my nephews tightly, lots of kisses all around. I held my sister close and then released her to return to her exciting and worldly life (oh the adventures they have had as a family…walking the Great Wall of China, being stranded for three days on their connecting flight in Hawai’i (oh darn!), touring shrines in mainland Japan!)
    So tonight I send my sister off, back to her military wife life, away from our hometown, so she can return to her own home and send HER own boys to school on Monday. Praying travel mercies over them. Wendy, thank you for this post. It’s not exactly the topic you posted but I read it at just the time I needed to. Thank you and God bless you for it.

  14. Thank you Wendy for the post. I sent my daughter to college last year five hours away from home. I thought I would not be able to stand it, but I survived. This year was much easier but still hard. I shed a few tears but not as many as last year. I saw my daughter grow and blossom while she was away. I also saw growth myself through this experience. Moms, know it will be hard but you will get through it. Try to focus on the positive things. You may have to work at it at first. Take this time as an opportunity to do those things you wished you could if you had enough time. Now you have some extra time. I make a list through out the year of things I want to do, see, or go and then start checking off those things while my daughter is in college. Don’t look at this experience as losing something but gaining an opportunity grow, change, and become more of who Christ wants you to be.

  15. I remember the first “goodbye” said to my daughter as she spent a year away at Bible college.
    Though it was only a few hours away, she was so busy we hardly ever had a chance to visit her.
    Looking back now, we can see it was God’s way of preparing us. She plans to be a long term missionary, probably in a closed muslim country. Every short term trip is preparation for her long term goal… a life away from us in another world. Last trip… 6 months away, 2 months in Nepal.
    She leaves again in September and will be gone at least a year. God uses the time apart to remind us of His great faithfulness… to her and to us. He is faithful to protect her and use her for His glory.
    He is faithful to sustain us who miss her. He is faithful to provide opportunity to speak about Him and His grand plan when people ask us where she is and what she is doing. He is faithful to give her a glorious testimony to share with all who will listen and encourage those of us who stay behind!
    I now keep a journal of His goodness to her (and to me) while she is away so i never forget. Keep your eyes on Him during this time…. someday you may look back and find it was the beginning of something amazing He is accomplishing in your child’s life… and your own!

  16. Hi Wendy my primogeniture is too starting his 3rd year @ Howard University in Washington D.C. We live in Miami, FL LOL… Thanks-a-bunch for sharing, extremely encouraging. Some verses to encourage other moms: Phil 4:6,7 & 13; Psalm 32:8; Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 91:11; Psalm 119:133; Exodus 33:14; Romans 8:37; Proverbs 16:3

  17. Margarita says:

    It’s funny how when you read something later, how it can impact you so differently from the first time you read it, depending on where you are in your life and what season/chapter you are in.
    Although I am not yet sending my daughter off, I am still in a grieving stage with somethings in my life, that I am learning to process thru, so I can truly move on.
    I have a very amazing blessing of a friend moving to begin their next chapter in life. I trust God 100 million times infinity% in how this relationship was formed, where it’s gone and where God will take it. I may not like it but I know so much good has already come from it. My heart is so heavy when I think of the day I have to say good bye but never in my life have I been armed with so much wisdom to know it will be ok. God has put amazing family and friends in my life that will help me get through what will come. It will not be easy, it will not feel good but I am SO THANKFUL to GOD FOR what God has done and what God will do. Wendy, your wisdom is so amazing and I am just so thankful for you sharing your gift and for God blessing us with you. Big hugs from cyber world.

  18. Thanks for sharing your heart and a reflection of what most mothers experience when their child/children leave for college for the first time. I clearly remembered those days. However I smile because we have raised them for just that to become matured and go to college.
    I wish I was saying goodbye again to my son going off to college, instead one year ago I had to suddenly say goodbye to this 28 year old young man as he went to heaven to be with the Lord. Although this is also a temporary goodbye, it is a very difficult one as I too wanted to hold on to him.

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