A couple of months ago, someone asked me how I was doing in light of my baby girl graduating high school in May. Smiling weakly, I told her I’m doing okay more often than not, but the “not doing okay” parts felt mighty heavy.
If you know me at all, you know this isn’t my first graduation rodeo as my twin sons graduated high school four years ago. But it is my first graduation with the baby of the family, and I find that reality brings with it more complicated feelings. In the words of my good friend Aimée, “Sending your first born off is like picking at a Band-Aid, and then sending your baby out into the world rips the Band-Aid off all together.”
Yep, that about sums it up.
Of course, I’ll miss Faith no more than her brothers. But when she leaves, her daddy and I will be ushered into a whole new stage of parenting known as Empty Nest-dom. All in all, I’m looking forward to this life change as it’s a very good one, yet my heart is tender toward the losses that come alongside the joys.
If that’s you too, mama, I offer you this:
A Prayer for the Graduate and for the Mom of the Graduate
Dear Father in Heaven,
No matter where my child is headed next — trade school, immediate employment, or college — I thank You that Your presence goes with her. Guide her thoughts, motivations, actions, and plans so they’re in line with Yours. Guide her heart to want to follow Yours.
Help her be a light that brightens the lives of those around her, so others may see You around them too.
When my child is stressed and discouraged, give her a hopeful vision of her future and a steadfast spirit in the present. Give her discerning wisdom beyond her still young years for every choice and decision.
Surround her with kind people who are for her, who love her and act in her best interest. Help her to be the same to others.
Give her favor among her professors, teachers, employers, and peers, and help her to be kind and strong.
Thank you that she can’t cross the street without Your presence crossing it with her.
And Lord, when the house feels much emptier than it did before, comfort me and show me Your goodness to come. Help me see my nest not as an empty (or emptier) nest but a changing nest. Help me see and name the good things You still have in mind for me in my new season.
Only You know every way I’ve showed up for her again and again through the years. While showing up for her may look different in this new season, help me keep showing up in the way she needs — no more, no less.
Lord, you know my regrets over the many times I’ve made mistakes in my parenting. When I wish for do-overs, remind me that Your grace fills my gaps and submerges my mistakes. I pray You bring to my mind and my child’s mind all the good memories made through the years, and may we keep them like treasured pebbles in our pockets.
May my child be acutely aware that while she no longer resides under our roof, she’ll always reside in my heart. (In other words, remind her to call her mama!)
Turn my sadness for this season into wonder for Your ways, for it holds wondrously good within it too. I shall see Your goodness in the land of the living. And thank you that no matter what change I experience, it comes with Your same promise of presence — for both me and my child.
In the unchanging name of Jesus,
That was exactly what I needed. My daughter’s last day is tomorrow. The litany of lasts has been a joy but a heavy one. There’s been a lump in my throat behind the smiles. She’s not my first nor last, but each hits a little different I suppose. Thanks for the prayer. I think I’ll go re-read it now.
Kristen Strong says
With you, Sheri. With you in all you share here! Sending love!
Brenda M. Russell says
Good morning Everyone, I am so touched by this article today. I love how these words bring special memories to my heart. You are certainly right, we live from season to season and along with our seasons come different experiences. Some experiences are not good but some are wonderful.
I pray that all the graduates will be mindful to thank the Lord for helping them to reach this success. And I pray that all mothers, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers and step mothers remember to thank the Lord for their journey and His guidance along the way.
We can’t live for our children but we can pray daily for them. Even when we made mistakes with our children, God knew we would be a progress in the making just like our children.
Glory to the name of Jesus.
We are to trust God and obey His Word.
We will experience all types of ups and downs but God will never leave us or forsake us.
Enjoy your day.
Your Sister in Christ
Kristen Strong says
Amen, dear Brenda. Amen. xo
My girls all graduated many years ago. They’re all moms, and successful workers outside the home, as well. When I prayed this prayer, it made sense for them, too! Thank you, Kristen!
Kristen Strong says
I’m so glad, Irene! It seems like after high school, we must repeatedly release them in one way or another. Sending you much love!
Beth Williams says
I never had children, yet was a mother to my parents in their aging years. Like most parents there were good & bad days. Some I wished never happened. There were times when I prayed for the stress, hardships, & pain to be over. It has been 5+ years since their “graduation” to Heaven. I was alright at first then I kind of missed being needed & having someone to care for.
This really hit home “And Lord, when the house feels much emptier than it did before, comfort me and show me Your goodness to come. Help me see my nest not as an empty (or emptier) nest but a changing nest. Help me see and name the good things You still have in mind for me in my new season.” Strangely He did just that. He took my part time hospital job, changed units (step down to ICU)m& gave me a full-time benefitted job. He showed me that there are still many people out there I can care for in various ways. He is awesome.
Becky L says
I liked reading the prayer you wrote. I just wrote a few things in a graduation card for a friend’s son who graduated yesterday. I gave him encouragement. I remember when our kids graduated years ago from homeschool. My daughter went to college in WA state. She now lives with us and works on line
at home for now..she was hoping to gwt an apartment or house but it’s expensive. Son stayed home but still worked then moved to an apartment with friends. Some college then work. Now he’s married and has 3 childrwn. Good memories for sure and so thankful they continue follow Jesus. Congratulations for your daughter’s graduation. She made it!!