I share from a tender heart this morning. I have many friends who are sending their sweet babies off to college this month. A few asked me to re-post my post from 2011 when I took my sweet girl off to college for the first time. So below, I am re-posting that post. But BEFORE you read it, I want to encourage you with a few words from my heart this summer as we sent Lauren off for her senior year at UGA.
Lauren speaking at her high school graduation June 2011
Our July 2014 visit with Lauren while she interned for Major League Baseball in New York City!
We not only survived but thrived!!
These three years have gone by so fast. But may I tell you, Lauren and I have grown closer than I could have ever imagined! In her words (that make this mama’s heart sing), we have become more like girlfriends!! We truly ENJOY each other. We have taken some of the most amazing trips together. So the “goodbye” that initially shredded my heart into a million pieces has now blessed my heart more than I could have ever asked or imagined. And just a few weeks ago, she left me this message on Facebook.
“Fifteen Best Things about Being Close with Your Mom”
http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/a29039/best-things-about-being-close-with-your-mom/ via @Cosmopolitan (cut and paste)
So as you read the post below, keep my words above and my closing words tucked deep in your heart. The ache will lessen. The tears will subside. Joy will return. I promise! And always remember in the wait…His mercies are new every morning!!
My heart’s cry from 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.
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.
And I was right…even though in that moment I didn’t want to be. All I wanted to do was whisk her back home. But Athens, GA has become Lauren’s home away from home with girlfriends who love her; a football team she’s rabid about (Go DAWGS), a Christian community that has challenged and developed her faith, and an education that already has opened amazing doors for her. And, most importantly, it’s where God has grown her into an independent, capable and strong young woman! All things I know would never have happened had she remained here with us.
If you are one of those moms today (or have a friend who is), please leave a comment and share your (or her) name and your (or her) child’s name. We are not alone. Thousands and thousands of mamas all over the world know the ache in our hearts. I promise to pray for each woman and child by name. And let’s band together and pray for each other…that the God of all comfort will ENABLE us to entrust Him with our babies and FILL our hearts full of His peace, love and grace today!!