College Send-Offs and a Parent’s Heart

The month of August brings the resuming of college classes.  Anyone sending  one of your children off to their first year of college?  I remember facing that heart-wrenching time when both of our girls left home to further their education.  It was tough, but the Lord ministered to my heart so wonderfully, and I blogged about it when it happened with Alli.  I recently found that post, and wondered if it would be helpful to share again. Here it is:

This weekend found us moving our daughter to college. Whew! Thank the Lord for a mini van!


As she sat in the floor of her room packing the last of her belongings the night before leaving, she got a bit emotional about the transition that was in front of her. I understood – my emotions have been in my throat for a week. I’m so happy for her, yet it’s just unbelievable that this time has come so quickly. I’ve gone back and forth – happy, then melancholy; excited, then fearful.

God knows what we need before we do. Yesterday morning in the church service we attended, a song was sung by the choir with the pastor singing the verses as a solo. The song? Consider the Lilies. I love the song; our family has sung it in church with one daughter at the piano, the other on her violin accompanying my husband and me. Remembering us singing it recently made it special. But the words were a sweet reminder that I can trust my God for the care of my younger daughter at college. She’s young, she’s new at college life, but He is aware of where she is and what she needs and I can trust Him – especially when I consider the lilies… Matthew 6:27-29

God also gave me a wise husband who planned for us to get away to the beach after taking our daughter to college. He suggested that we take some vacation time, before going back home. How smart that was! We prayed and the Lord has provided a lovely condo at an extremely reasonable rate. Here’s the view out our patio window…

As I had my devotions recently I read Ecclesiastes 3:1 –

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

Immediately the Lord brought to my mind that there is also a purpose for every time. How I long to use this season of my life to honor the Lord. It would be very easy to live for myself now that I have more free time, but I want it to count for eternity. I’m asking the Lord for the purpose of this season, and I pray that this week while we’re away He’ll show me a bit of what that may be.

How wonderful it is to relax after a very busy summer. So for now I’ll rest…and consider the lilies.

Consider The Lilies
Written by: Joel Hemphill

Verse I
Consider the lilies they don’t toil nor spin
And there’s not a king with more splendor than them
Consider the sparrow they don’t plant or sow
But they’re fed by the Master who watches them grow

Chorus

We have a Heavenly Father above
With eyes full of mercy
And a heart full of love
He really cares when
Your head is bowed low
Consider the lilies and then you will know

Verse II

Now may I introduce you to this friend of mine
Who hangs out the stars and tells the sun when to shine
And kisses the flowers each morning with dew
But He’s not too busy to care about you

I pray that if you’re sending a child off to school, or one of your children has left to get married, or whatever the case may be, you’ll be encouraged that God is aware and He cares for them – and for you! If you need proof, just consider the lilies.

with love,

13 thoughts on “College Send-Offs and a Parent’s Heart”

  1. I remember having tears in my eyes as we left Ben at Alabama. It was such a big school and his dorm room was small and cramped. He only knew a few people there! Quite different than my nursing school experience where it was all girls and more like a big sorority. When my youngest left, I felt better about it. He was more gregarious and being a typical third child, found it easy to fit in anywhere! It is hard to let them go but that is what we raised them for so it was good to see them get their wings and fly!

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  2. I loved this, thank you! We take our son (a freshman) and daughter ( a sophmore) to UVA on August 21st. I am really struggling – this makes us empty nesters. Both our kids have some health challenges right now too, which makes everything feel more scary. I would covet your prayers, and any more godly wisdom about how to trust and enter this new season. Thank you for this post – I know the Lord sent it to me by way of you 🙂

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    1. I have prayed for you today, Jenny. I totally understand! I plan on giving some more tips from a mom who’s now on the other side of the earlier post. Check back on Thursday. It will get easier, I promise.

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  3. Excellent post, Denise! In particular I remember dropping my first daughter off at college — can it be 20 years ago now?! — and feeling as if something had been amputated. It was painful! But I was able to leave her in God’s hands, knowing that she is really His, not mine at all, and He would care for her.

    Some things that helped me: planned weekly phone calls to her (this was before the day of cell phones or texting!), writing her several times a week, and planning special care packages throughout the semester. Another thing that helped greatly — this was a decision I made when our last child left for boarding school — was to make up my mind that this could either be a time of wallowing in sadness, or it could be a time of spiritual growth. I determined that it would be the latter, and what a difference it made!

    And, especially for Jenny, above — realize that an empty nest can actually be a good thing. It will draw you and your hubby closer together, so begin now to plan for that. Date nights, breakfast out, maybe coffee and devotions together sometimes if your schedules allow. Plan to go on a couples’ retreat this fall if you have that opportunity — it will strengthen your marriage! And one really wonderful thing about the empty nest is that it gives you more quiet time to spend with the Lord. Start a new Bible study, or begin a program of Scripture memory.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment … as you can tell, this is a topic close to my heart!

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    1. Thanks so much Mrs. T. for your comments…I feel like my Heavenly Father is using you ladies to be an encouragement to my heart.

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  4. This is a topic close to my heart as well, and like you, I am now on the other side with all of our children graduated from college for some time now. Ours are all married and with children of their own. We had been a home schooling family and my husband is a pastor, which meant we had spent a lot of time together. Also, the school all of our children went to was 14 hours away from home. They could not get home for weekends or short visits. I remember dreading their leaving for college for weeks, and wishing time would stand still so we wouldn’t have to say good bye. Now though, I remember this as being one of the sweetest times in my walk with the Lord because I really clung to Him. I realized anew that everything in this life changes and how important my relationship with Him was. I also see the lessons God taught my kids and how He directed their path through the college years. And now that we are used to being empty nesters, I still miss them but I enjoy this season of my life.

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