August used to be vacation month, but now it heralds the first day of the new school year. Whether your child is beginning kindergarten, entering middle/high school, or preparing for that first year in college, this season brims with errands and emotions.
One of my most vivid memories was the day we moved my daughter into her first dorm room. She chose our alma mater, a 10-hour drive away. We had shopped and packed everything under the sun to put into that 10×10 room that would be her new home for the year. She and her roommate had meticulously planned who would bring what; however, more items were needed when we arrived.
We followed the long line of cars filled with fellow parents and first-year students. The air was filled with high expectancy and a myriad of sensations. I had been anticipating this day for the past six months with mixed emotions. On the one hand, it was an exciting time in my daughter’s life. On the other hand, it was a monumental change for me.
The memory of her first day of elementary school flashed in my mind- the grief, the absence, the vulnerability to outside challenges and influences. I was now facing an emotion that far trumped those feelings from before. I wouldn’t see my girl for weeks, even months. She was an independent college student making decisions that would impact her life.
The sun was setting when we completed all the errands, and the inevitable farewell was in sight. I didn’t want to do this. I hesitated. How would she navigate newfound freedom? Overcome temptations? Who would ensure her safety? Leaving her in the dorm proved heart-wrenching. The parting hug, my tears in contrast to the excitement in her eyes, remain etched in my mind. Walking back to the car with my husband, we prayed for her safety, protection, and choices as we began the tearful 10-hour drive home.
Trust- it’s something we talk about, but so very challenging. I had to release my daughter to God’s care, trusting Him to safeguard her in this new phase. Could God shield her entirely? No, but His love surpassed mine; He loved her first.
Despite knowing these things, I began to worry. Anxiety created stress, which led to sleeplessness, and an erosion of trust. This affected my relationship with my daughter and with God. I needed to make a change.
Then I remembered. When my children were younger, I used to pray the scriptures for them. I would take a verse, read it and then use it as a prayer putting their name in it. I needed to practice this daily.
Here are some examples:
Proverbs 3:5-6; Dear Lord, I pray that _ learns to trust in you with his/her whole heart. I pray that You will bring people into his/her life who will help his/her acknowledge You and guide each step he/she takes. Amen
Jeremiah 29:11; Dear Lord, I know you have plans for ____. Plans to protect him/her, not to harm him/her, plans to give him/her a hope and a future. Lord, I pray he/she learns to call on Your name and is confident You will hear him/her when he/she does. Amen.
Philippians 4:6; Dear Lord, Help me not to be anxious about all the things that could go wrong with __ while he/she is at school. I thank you for this opportunity for him/her and trust in you for protection. May I feel your peace, and may Your peace guard his/her heart too.
Joshua 1:9; Dear Lord, Help ___________ to be strong and courageous, not to fear or be dismayed. Help him/her to keep their eyes on You and know that you are with him/her wherever they go.
The power of praying the scriptures helped distract me from my worry, and I grew in my relationship with Christ. As my prayer life grew and I began depending on God for my strength, trusting Him with my daughter instead of letting the stress of worry consume me. What loved one are you worried about today? Try praying the scriptures for them using their name. It may make all the difference.
Your ways are not mine, and my thoughts are not Yours. I am so very grateful that your ways are greater than my comprehension. I am thankful that Your love for those I cherish is boundless. Forgive me when I forget this and cloud my thoughts with worry. Help me to trust in You with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. Amen