August 18, 2014

Sending a Baby to College?: From My Heart to Yours:

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” 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!!



  1. Jan & Paul.

  2. I left my precious daughter Saturday. And although she is only an hour away, that house was too empty! Thank you so much for this post!

    • Oh, an empty house is so hard….especially walking by the empty room. It’s not messy anymore. I am praying for you both right now!!!



  3. Wendy Frankle says:

    We moved our daughter in last Monday so it has been a week now. For the first few days I lived in denial that she would only be gone a few days. Now it has set in that she is truly moving on. On the phone last night she called her dorm HOME. I am so happy that she is loving school and that its all she ever wanted it to be, but also sad for us. Your post came at a good time as most of my friends moved their child into dorm rooms this week as well. We are all grieving and rejoicing together. As I reminded my BFF this week. We have been preparing them for this day for the last 18 years, but no one has prepared US! We have to be BRAVE. Its what parents have to do.

    • Wendy, your words are so true, “We have been preparing them for this day for the last 18 years, but no one has been preparing us.” I remember standing amazed that one mama’s heart can carry so much ache and sadness yet so much joy at the same time. But God makes that possible, because if it weren’t for the JOY in seeing our children so happy and fulfilled, the deep ache and loss in our hearts would be unbearable. But knowing this IS God’s great plan for them AND for us helps us to be BRAVE and STRONG.

      And I remember the first time Lauren called Athens and UGA “home,” it truly broke my heart. But we came to agree that it is her home away from home. And I want it to be because it means she is comfortable, safe and happy there. 🙂

      Praying now for your and your girl!!



  4. Susan Gruener says:

    Praying for all you moms (and dads) and especially for the college-bound students (kids!). I pray comfort for the whole family and protection and provision for each student leaving home. I pray this will be the year for each of these young adults that they would make Jesus their ‘home’ and He home in their hearts. May this be the year for revival among each student in each college campus all across this nation, that they would be the next generation to ‘lead’ this nation in righteousness and a new-found relationship with our great God. I pray blessing on each student and family.
    I am not a mom sending off a student to college, but a grandma whose oldest granddaughter will be going to college in a couple of years. Moms and Dads, it isn’t any easier when you become a grandparent! 😉 God bless you all and God bless you Wendy for encouraging us!

    • Susan, you are THE BEST!!! Thank you for taking the time to pray for all of us. Your prayer is beautiful and just perfect for what I know burdens many parents’ hearts.

      Blessings to you!


  5. My name is Jennifer, and I am sending my baby, Clarissa, off at the end of September. I have already walked through this valley with her older sisters’ leaving, so I know God can get me through. Since I cried on the first day of kindergarten both times, though, I don’t kid myself that this will be easy the second time around. Thanks for your encouragement and prayers.

    • Jennifer,

      Thank you for sharing. I know we have many sending off their babies this year. Praying for you and Clarissa…especially for you that the Lord will open new doors for you as you seek to find what He has planned for the next stage of your life.



  6. melissa smith says:

    Thankyou for sharing your heart. I have had a lot of changes in our family this past year. I have six children;but my three oldest (all sons) have left home one by one. I thank God for where each one of them are in their lives. They all have turned to Jesus and desire to follow Him, which is such a comfort and blessing to my husband and me. But letting go for me especially is hard. I am a singer/songwriter and have written songs to each of them as they enter their new chapter of life. I believe God helps me write these songs for my own healing and learning to trust Him with my children. I hope that God can use my music to encourage and bless other moms/ parents too. Thinking and praying for all those moms struggling right now to trust their children in God’s hands whatever stage they are in. One of my songs is on youtube “Every Moment” by melissa smith

  7. Beth Heeseman says:

    Wendy, thank you so much for your beautiful post. We dropped our eldest child, Gary, at Chapel Hill on Friday to begin his freshman year. We know he is ready; he has wanted to attend Chapel Hill his entire life and worked hard to be there. We are so happy for him.

    4 weeks ago he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. In just a few weeks after the shock of discovering this illness, he has gotten his blood sugar levels under control and lives a healthy lifestyle but college and especially fraternity life will bring about new challenges and temptations. Please pray that Gary:
    1 – keeps and grows in his relationship with Jesus Christ
    2 – makes healthy choices both personally and academically
    3 – is surrounded by friends who love and respect him and his diabetic restrictions
    4 – enjoys his years at Chapel Hill and makes the most of every day
    5 – is kept safe and is surrounded at all times by Jesus Christ

    Thank you so much, Wendy. I look forward to seeing you this fall at Bible Study!


    Beth Heeseman

  8. My name is Annette and my daughter Hanna starts college this Thursday. Although she will be living at home, she will have more freedoms from her parents. The hard part is that my sweet little baby girl is all grown up now. How did 18 years fly by so fast?

  9. Dear Wendy,
    Thank you so much for writing and sharing this article; your words, and God’s timing, were just perfect. Thank you for offering to pray for our oldest, Stephen, as he begins his freshman year.
    Love in Him, Judy

  10. I remember reading this 3 years back and love to read the intro you post this year! Just Sunday in church our pastor touched on this a bit as he prayed for the upcoming school year and all the letting go’s. His baby is about to get married and the nest has been empty for a couple of years, but he said it’s still hard. You miss that time, but he said really when I’m 80 and kids are 60 do I want to be sitting around having movie nights? We do raise our kids to let them go. I heard someone say, “As a parent you know you succeeded when you no longer have a job.” Not that we won’t always be Mom, but you know what I mean.
    Above someone said we spend years preparing the kids, but nobody prepares us as Mom’s. Well, my oldest is entering 6th grade and I’m grateful for the insights each of you share here. They not only prepare me, but in the chaos also remind me to enjoy the moments. Thank you…I needed that today. Pray this year is Lauren’s best one yet!!

  11. I remember when you first posted the article about your daughter leaving for college. At the time, my son was still in high school. Now, he is starting college – time flies! Thank you for reposting the article and thank you for your prayers. My son is Nathan. He is going to college in Missoula, Montana, a few states away – we live in California. Montana is a great fit for Nathan. We also have a nephew, Slater, going to college in Arizona. Please pray for Nathan and Slater as they move away and start college. Thank you and God Bless.

  12. Thank you so much for your encouragement! As I type, my heart aches and tears flow for Hannah. We said goodbye Saturday and left her in a dorm three states away, trusting in the Lord’s plan for her life. There are still things I want to share with Hannah…I keep remembering more and more. Many mamas have gone through this and thrived. Somehow, I trust I will, too.

  13. Sorry this is off topic…I read something you wrote about starting a neighborhood bible study and found my way here. I’m trying to start a neighborhood bible study right now. Wanted to ask you some questions. I am in a new neighborhood where everyone stays to themselves. I’ve tried talking to a few people but can’t seem to get them to engage. I was wondering if you have tips on how to invite without being intrusive by going door to door to ask? How did you begin?

    • Hi Talley, first I am so excited you want to start a Bible study in your neighborhood! We did an e-mail invite and put an invite in mailboxes. We started with a book and not the Bible to make it less intimidating. And I provided the home and everything we needed (coffee, refreshments) so women would not have to bring anything or host at their house. They only needed to buy the book.

      And the way we began before we even started the Bible study was inviting a few moms to pray for our kids at the local schools. That formed our initial invitation list.

      Do you have at least one friend coming alongside you? That really helps if you have a friend helping you and praying with and for you and the women. I’m sure you are already praying for these ladies, but continue to pray for the Lord to open their hearts to come. We made it non-threatening and comfortable.

      I hope this helps. Feel free to e-mail me at if you have any more questions. I am praying for the Lord to draw women to your invitation and your kind heart!!


  14. Pat and Sara

  15. Hey moms! I have a wonderful song written from the heart of a mom who feels just like you!! Take a few minutes to listen to the song God laid on Melissa’s heart. I know it will bless you!!



  16. Wendy,
    I remember when you first posted this and my heart ached for you. Then when I had the blessing of spending time with Lauren, I understood the ache on a deeper level. Now am I watching my daughter enter middle school… and my husband has begun teaching high schoolers at church. Little did I know my heart could be filled with so much love for all these kids. Then it hit me… we only have a year left with some of the kids, two with others, and just a hair more with our own daughter before we have to say our “until then’s”…
    Thank you for showing us that there is that light at the end of the tunnel… that joy returns… that God’s mercies truly are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!

    Heavenly Father,
    Your beloved Son left Your side when He came to earth. You are the God of all comfort and compassion. You understand every ache and You see every tear from each Mom who is saying, “Until then” to her precious child because You know that emotion firsthand. Thank You for using Wendy to live out 2 Cor 1:3-4 in our lives. She is taking the comfort You gave her and she’s showering it on us. Envelop each Mom and child during these times of separation. Let Your love sink into our hearts so that we are overcome by Your joy and peace. Hem each child in on all sides as they leave their parents’ roofs. As they journey out, bring them into a deep intimate and personal relationship with You… far deeper than ever before. Protect each child with Your warrior angels and Your Holy Spirit. We give You all the praise as we thank You endlessly for the gift of our children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

    Love you dear friend!

  17. Wendy – Thank you for these words of encouragement! I read this a few days ago, but keep coming back to read more comments from other Moms that are taking this same journey I am about to embark on. My son, Josh, starts his freshman year tomorrow! It was a struggle the past year getting him to this point, so we are thrilled that he is actually going to college and embracing it! I know it was absolutely God’s doing that this is even happening right now. So while I am overjoyed at the decision he came to, it is still such a huge change for our household to not have him there as part of our every-day lives! I will miss him so much and will pray for him every day that he encounters positive people to influence his life, that he is safe, and that he is moving forward with his life as a young adult.

    Thanks also to Noelle whose prayer above is so sweet and spoke to my heart! What a blessing to know so many other Christian Moms are praying for our students and for the families they leave behind! Blessings and prayers to all the families who are sending their kids off to school right now, no matter what age!

    • I love the name Margaret. That is my Mom’s name… my Mom who graced heaven 12 years ago!

      Thank You for the miraculous ways You have worked in Josh’s life. Through the struggles in this past year, Margaret was able to see Your work end in victory. Thank You for showing Yourself to Josh through his beautiful Mom Margaret. Abba, as Margaret walks the hallways and the rooms in her home… as she notices the presence that’s missing… fill her with Your Presence! Holy Spirit, move in her home and in her heart. Open the eyes of her heart so she can see You every moment- and especially as her Mom heart aches. Let Wendy’s testimony grow deep roots so that she is filled with overwhelming joy on this journey. That sounds absolutely impossible… and it is impossible with man. But with You Lord, ALL things are possible! Abba, I stand in firm agreement with her prayers for Josh. We believe that You will surround him and show him favor. We believe that You will bless him with Christ-centered people- whether friends, teachers or acquaintances. Thank You for being trustworthy. We pray and praise You together in Jesus’ Name, Amen!

      Big hugs to you sweet Margaret.

  18. Thanks for the post, Wendy! Made me teary-eyed, especially you and your daughters hug. Holding back tears here at work. And I’m not even a mom. This summer, I experienced a conversation with the Lord that made me wonder if I will only have “Spiritual” children. It helped me let go of my dreams/plans and it’s helping me embrace His dreams for me. It’s such a beautiful thing ~The love between parents and children. It makes me think of how much the LORD loves each of us and how much His heart breaks when we leave Him. Your book “Living So That” was one of my favorite bible studies. I’ve had a bookmark in the very last part on “Humility” for a few months now. Not sure if it’s because I don’t want the book to end, or if it’s because I need a lot of help with “humility” so I’m hanging out there for a long time. Keep writing books! You have a lot of godly wisdom to help people.

    • Amber, what a tender and beautiful heart you have. I pray that soon God will give you the desire of your heart. But until that time, I praise Him for the peace He has given you to surrender that desire of your heart to Him.

      And thank you for your kind words about “Living So That.” To hear you say it was one of your favorite studies blesses my heart deeply. I spent much time in that chapter as I wrote it and still struggle with living out that part of my “so that” life. 🙂

      Blessings to you!


  19. Terri in Stockholm says:

    I came to your site today because I was feeling so sad about my son leaving and I remembered how you felt when Lauren left for college the first year. How glad I am you reposted — Jesus totally led me here today. Thank you Wendy, and thanks to all who posted here.

    Love to you all in Christ,

  20. I was so blessed by your story and all of the responses, especially the beautiful prayers. Two if my 4 children are in college at different universities. (Brennan and Meredith) And although they are not far from home, I miss them terribly. Even when they come home for the summer or after they’ve been home for the month during the Christmas break, I get so sad when they go back. I still have 2 daughters at home, one being a Senior. Oh, how I wish I could turn back the hands of time and revisit the days when they were toddlers! Thank you for your ministry, Wendy! You are such a blessing.

  21. We moved our son in on August 18, he is only one hour away, but it seems so far away. He seems to have adjusted to sharing a room, bathroom, etc something he wasn’t used to being an only child at home…as for mom still having my bad days..he should be coming in from school and practices and just being here! Please keep me (Gail) and Dillon in all your prayers and that we planted the seeds to know he has God always in his heart and on his mind!


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