Letting our children go

I am entering that season of life where my chicks are beginning to leave the nest and I am needing to let my children go. I confess this is NOT an easy time for me. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having all of my children home. But I also know that the Lord’s plan is for them to leave home and follow His path for their lives. They are arrows sent out from my quiver to seek their own destination and be used by Him in a mighty way.

Letting our children go

A few weeks ago my eldest child got married. This week my next oldest daughter is moving away from home to live with a friend and move nearer to her boyfriend. Whether she will stay or not is up to the Lord. I pray for His success and blessing on her life as she seeks His will and lays her life open for His guidance and direction.

But the question is: HOW do we let go?

Sometimes I think I’m ill-equipped to answer this question. Goodness, I couldn’t even send them to institutional school!! But there are some things I’m learning.

  • Prepare them – tasks

“Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest” and your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.” Prov 6:6-11

Have you taught your children the basics of living on their own? I know I still feel there is so much more I could have done to prepare them. But have you taught them wise money management? Can they grocery shop wisely? Are they able to cook (I’m not saying be Julia Child, but can they keep from starving or living only on ramen or mac & cheese)? Can they do their laundry and clean their bathroom? Do they know how to clean a house? Do they know how to take responsibility for their own adulthood and decisions?

  • Prepare them – wisdom

“For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.”
Prov 8:11

Have you taught them how to search the scriptures for wisdom in decision making? Sometimes God jumps in and speaks directly to us in giving instruction to us. More often than not, He longs for us to grow in HIS wisdom and learn to make decisions in our lives through His Wisdom. Helping your children learn HOW to search for His wisdom in the scriptures is one of the best tools you can give to them for their future life.

  • Prepare them – counsel

“My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you.” Prov 6:20-22

When our children were young we were the voice of authority for them. We WERE the authority. But as they grow and mature (hopefully in the Lord) we need to slowly change in our relationship. We must grow from the Chain of Command to the Chain of Counsel. We should along the way allow our teenage children more and more decision making choices and debrief with them; discuss why that was a good or bad decision. They must come to a place where they are no longer relying on US to make their decisions but are quick to seek counsel from us. And our counsel must ALWAYS include us sending them back to the Lord for HIS wisdom to speak to them, whether through our counsel or not.

  • Prepare them – faith

 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deut 6:5

We all try to train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But have we helped our children grow into their OWN vital and growing walk with God? Have we encouraged discussion, questions and even doubts so that they can all be taken back to the authority of the scriptures? Are we training our children to find the steadfast of their faith in Jesus rather than in us? Have we encouraged them that God is TOTALLY on their side and that He will never leave them or forsake them? If not, the time to start this is NOW.

  • Prepare them – affirmation

For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy. 1 Thess 2:19-20

By the time our children leave home, we want them to be 100% convinced of our love. We may have had trying times during their teen years but our goal should be for them to completely be confident that we are their greatest cheerleaders. Let us work to build a relationship with them that they feel embraced by our love and that no matter what happens, we will always be here to love and support them.

  • Prepare them – calling

 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess 1:11-12

We want our children to know confidently that God has a calling and ministry for them. He designed them uniquely and specifically for His glory and delight! Have we encouraged them to seek that calling? Remember, our goal is for them to seek and know what God wants them to be, not what we want them to be.

I’m linking up with these lovely blogs.
(Image courtesy of sattva/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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  1. Thank you so much, Kate, for hosting your linkup today. This post touches the point I am at in my life right now, with four out of the home, and three home but not home. Two work out of our home and are gone much of the day. One has online college so is extremely busy when home. The other has involvements after work. The one that is home also works but at home. I rarely see her. It is so hard some days maybe because I arrived in this season within a very short time. It was just two years ago that everyone was home. I am so thankful for blogging because that gives me a ministry and purpose since it doesn’t take all day to keep an empty house clean, lol.

    I love your blog, BTW, and blessings on your day!!

    • Thanks for sharing your situation, Judith! Empty but not absolutely empty. I can understand. But I still do have 3 younger children I’m still homeschooling at home. And today, my baby turns 12!!

      I’m so glad you got to come by and join us all again this week!! Blessings to you, dear!

  2. Trial post :)

    • Real reply. Thanks!

      • Trial one more time.

  3. I love this post. I am going through the first stages of loosening my grip halfway through teen years. This is a great encouragement of the preparing I need to do before fully fledging. Only problem is I have teen boy who’s not very interested I shopping, cooking and cleaning!!! Great site found you through Transformed Tuesday such a blessing :-)

    • Tania, I’m so glad to have you visiting today! Even with teen boys, it is important that they KNOW how to cook and clean and shop, even if they don’t do it a lot. You could always host an Apartment Living night once a month where THEY have to manage the house – all cleaning and cooking and managing! It could be really fun.

      Thanks for your comments and for the visit! Hope to see you again!

  4. Such great insights, Kate! I’m beginning to feel the apron strings tug a little as I prepare to send my youngest to school. Thank you for the wisdom and encouragement.

    • Nancy, so good to see you again! The world sees this time of life as learning for our children, but I think we PARENTS learn just as much!!

  5. I hear you. Letting go is never easy. But the most powerful gift we can give our children is our acceptance and their freedom — their freedom to plunge into their lives and make their own unique path, mistakes, and successes, without worrying about whether or not we will approve. I wish you the best on this long, continuous journey that has the potential to make any of us much better people.

    Speaking of better people, those don’t tend to be the writers of the “You can make a million dollars” books which I talk about in my article this week, number 56, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? All of Us. Amazingly, I have found Christian versions of this topic, and like the non-Christian versions, they frequently make people feel inadequate and dumb.

    • Carolyn, you said it! Thanks so much for jumping in with your insights today. And that was an excellent article you mentioned above. Love your blog!!

  6. Love the wisdom here.. thanks for the practical advice. My oldest is starting high school this year, my youngest heading to preschool- and my 3 in between just won’t stop growing up :) I love how you broke down the ways we must prepare our children for their launch beyond our home. Glad I stopped by from the Better Mom.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Alicia! I know what you mean about them not stopping growing!

  7. A wonderful post, Kate. You’ve summed it all up so nicely.
    I’ve had a had time putting many of these things into words when I’m asked “how do you let them go?” – mostly because we’ve not always done a great job with the points you’ve shared.
    I’ll be sharing this post with young moms, who need to hear these things when their children are young, because by the time we ask this questions, we are in already in the thick of it all!
    Releasing our children has been a huge step of faith, and given us opportunity for growth – way more than I ever realized.

    • Thanks, Linda! If this post can be an encouragement to young moms in their journey in child rearing, I’m totally blessed! Your last comment is soooo true!! Thanks for sharing.

  8. I am not looking forward to this season but it will be upon me before I know it. My first five children were born within 6 years so my house will begin to empty as quickly as it filled. This is wonderful advice to prepare for that time. Thank you for sharing it with me last week. I haven’t been by your blog for much too long…happy to “see” you again!

    • Kasey, I’m STILL not looking forward to it!! It is hard but there is a great joy in watching the children run on their own path with the Lord and for the Kingdom. It is much easier for my husband than for me. (MY response at my eldest daughter’s engagement was excitement and tears. My HUSBAND’S response was, “1 down, 7 to go!” :D)

      I’m glad to see you stopping by. I love your blog and come by and read as often as I can. Blessings to you, dear!

  9. Beautiful, Kate, and so filled with wisdom. Somehow, we work all our lives to reach this point, only to realize that one part of our heart isn’t ready. Knowing that we’re launching them into the good future we’ve been preparing them for all along helps. A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are made for. Pass the Kleenex!

    • Ah, thanks Lori. But you have passed me with all of yours gone. I’m still just learning on this subject! I didn’t realize you grew up in RI! So did I, in Central Falls (it was much different 35 years ago!)

  10. We left Bristol in 1979, after the Blizzard of ’78. Were you there then? Oh, my, that whopper of a storm probably prompted more than a few southern migrations! When I was a child we lived in North Providence, which is only 5 miles or so from Central Falls. What a small world! Where are you now??

    • I was in college in Boston in the Blizzard of ’78, but still called RI home. After college I moved to WV to teach, then back to Boston (where I had gotten saved in college and still had a strong ‘family’ church there) then to NM (where I met and married my husband), then to IN for grad school at Purdue, then to ND for his first job and we are now in rural northwestern IL. And where are YOU now?

      But I’ll tell you, I really miss it. Being inland for the past 34 years has not been easy on this New England gal!


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