A wild mixture of excitement and anxiety has brought her to today’s hugely anticipated milestone. Some days she has squealed with delight and her eyes danced at the thought of another birthday, the chance to celebrate with gusto, as she always does! Other days, heavy concerns have wrinkled her forehead. Her shoulders have stiffened, and her voice become unsure as she anticipated the responsibilities of “real life” looming.
Our sweet girl is now eighteen! Legally an adult.
This afternoon there were confident steps, planning her own birthday gathering at the skating rink and driving herself to meet friends, signing her own liability waiver in a single sweeping motion of budding independence!
But just this morning, huge decisions haunted. Of the list she has researched, to which colleges should she apply? How will she navigate the end of the quarter at school with submission deadlines closing in fast? How will she quiet the mounting pressure of not knowing how on earth she will earn a steady income to provide for herself in the not-so-distant future?
Much like the rest of us, our daughter is caught between the here and the not yet. The ground beneath her feet can feel shaky and uncertain. One minute she is an enthusiastic and appropriately proud senior in high school, accomplishing so much, and rejoicing in hard-earned “finish lines.” The next minute she is a young girl again, kneeling by her window in the quiet of her room, gazing up into the night sky, baring her soul to the LORD, asking for His help. Some days, it all seems bigger than she feels ready to tackle.
It’s not easy to watch her struggle. But I know this is where I need to leave space. As her mom, this is when it is most critical to stay present enough to reassure, but distant enough for her to find her own firm footing. The LORD has been whispering to my heart for a while, “trust what I am doing in her heart. . . let her reach for Me and find that I am there for her.”
. . .
Not long ago, we enjoyed an impromptu mother-daughter shopping trip. She needed a few new clothes for the school year, and I was hunting for a small gift for a friend. Together we discovered a sweet and delicate necklace. A simple chain with three small hearts, one of each in white, yellow and rose gold. She suggested it as a potential gift idea, but I had already selected something else. We left the necklace in the store and carried on with our day.
As her birthday approached, my thoughts kept drifting back to the necklace. It reminded me of the words from Hebrews 13:8, “JESUS is the same yesterday, today, and forever!” I retraced our steps to the same store and purchased one of those necklaces for this special occasion. I was grateful for the words to express my heart as I signed her birthday card:
“Your Savior, the One in whom you placed your trust as a little girl,
the One to whom you have prayed all these years, He is the same today.
He walks beside you, still. He will never leave you.
You may now be an adult, taking brave steps forward without Mom and Dad.
But with the LORD’s help, we will always be here for you, too!
His love for you will never diminish. And neither will ours.
The best investment you can ever make is to align your heart with His,
yesterday, today, and forever!”
How precious to reiterate the Bible verses we posted in her middle school locker. I pray she will hold them dear and seek no other source of guidance as she waits on the LORD to direct the weeks, months and years ahead:
“Show me the right path, O LORD, point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the GOD of my salvation.
All day long I put my hope in You.” Psalm 25:4-5
. . .
I honestly don’t know how I feel about suddenly having an adult child! It is not a new challenge, however right and good, to release her to the Father’s care. I have known since she was born that she is not “mine.” She is simply a treasure I was given to hold for a few years.
I sometimes have my own panicked moments, anxiously wondering if I have done my job to nurture her heart and her thoughts for the past eighteen years! To teach her needed life-skills. To help position her for “success” as an independent adult. Parenting is not for the faint at heart! It is a BIG responsibility!
But then I remember what has steadied me at every turn, over the past eighteen years. The LORD has been the same yesterday, today and forever for me too! He treasures my daughter far more than I ever will. He will be faithful to pursue her heart again and again, just as He has mine. I pray that far and above any other endeavor, I have faithfully pointed her heart toward the LORD, her heavenly Father, Creator and Savior! For His is the love that will never fail her!
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