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.
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.”
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.