Article by Charisse Goforth:
I'm that mom that cried from Pensacola, FL all the way to Ohio (if I'm honest, it was probably Michigan) after dropping my firstborn off at college. With each one of my children I pretended to be strong and told them how awesome they would do and how much fun they would have. With each of them I stayed strong as we said our goodbyes because I could see the tears forming in their eyes and I could hear their voices becoming shaky.
Let me tell you something ladies, the minute we were out of sight, the tears came~and they came and they came. My heart was screaming inside. "I'm not ready! They're not ready! I have so much more I want to teach them! This isn't right, it can't be right to have to say goodbye like this!" Except for the occasional sob, my poor husband drove in silence for miles. The very day my third child (and only son) went off to college for his first year, my oldest daughter got married. I barely had time at the wedding to tell him goodbye as he drove away and minutes later I was saying goodbye to my firstborn as she drove off with her husband. As happy as I was for this new chapter in their lives, I'm pretty sure I cried myself to sleep that night. It didn't get any easier and as hard as I thought that was, seeing my granddaughter go off for her first day of preschool sent the same ache through my heart. Yes I'm that hysterical mother and grandmother.
At the time each of my children left, I had no idea what the future held. I was sure that my Michigan raised daughters would meet someone from across the country (or another country) and I would never get to see them again, except for maybe the occasional Christmas visit. This was it. The end of their childhood as I knew it.
God was smiling down on me that whole time. As I cried and told Him how desperately I wanted His will for their life~ "but it's JUST. SO. HARD. God!" ~kept coming out of my mouth, and yet He smiled. When my eldest got her first apartment with her husband, 3 hours away, He smiled. When my son took a pastorate job 3 hours away (and I did let the tears fall as I said goodbye) He smiled. When my baby told me she would be living in FL after her college graduation, He smiled. Yes, God's plans are not our plans. (Isaiah 55:9) And as that hysterical mother (I think I cried the entire year my youngest was a senior in high school) cried out to God, He heard me and He smiled.
And so, I fixed my thoughts on Him. I prayed for my kids and I knew deep down that they could never, ever be happy outside the will of God. (Psalm 16:11) Even though I had no clue, God knew that one day they would all be ministering here at Calvary Baptist with us (and now I'm crying again). Moms, it can be so hard to trust that our children are truly seeking God's will and if we are honest with ourselves, it can be hard to trust God, but if we don't~ we WILL not, we CAN not~ ever have the peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7) Don't be fooled into thinking that your will is God's will for their lives. Give your kids to God. I mean really truly hand them over to Him and then trust Him with their future. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Today you might be watching your own senior drive away for her final year of high school. Today you might be saying goodbye in front of a dormitory. Today you might be standing to a wedding March as your baby becomes joined to another. Today you might be hugging your grandchild as their tiny feet take them into school for the very first time. God understands exactly what your heart is screaming. Trust Him completely. Let Him hush your heart's cries, realizing He holds their future and knowing that whatever that future holds, He is smiling down on it because you gave that future to Him.