Hard To Say Goodbye

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

Psalm 127:33

I think back to the early days when I first found out I would be a dad. At that time, I worked second shift and would sometimes work past my normal hours and come home later than usual. This was one of the nights and when I got home, I went to kiss Rebekah and noticed a pair of blue baby shoes on the nightstand. I was overcome with emotion, and we both wept with joy as we embraced each other. We did not know if the baby was going to be a boy or not, but we just assumed it would be, and began the preparations of becoming new parents. We tried to read and learn as much as we could, but we had no idea what was in store for us. We found out our baby was indeed a boy, and I was excited that my firstborn would be a son. We painted his room powder blue and decorated it with boy-themed accents.

Nathaniel was a big baby, and was a challenge from day one. He ate constantly and never slept. We did not know how we would survive the first few months but we took it one day at a time. We dedicated Nate to the Lord as a newborn and prayed that God would use him for His honor and glory. Manhood seemed so far away but we knew that we wanted God to be the focal point of his life. He finally slept through the night (after 10 grueling months), although his appetite did not dissipate. We continued to pray for him and he grew from that big baby to a young man starting high school. It seemed things were moving quickly, but we had no idea how fast things were changing.

In the blink of an eye, he was a senior year in high school, choosing his college and major. That year flew by and pretty soon we were watching him walk down the aisle for his graduation ceremony. He was transitioning into a man, and we both became emotional as our boy was a boy no longer. We knew the day was coming, but boy, it is hard when it comes. We decided to take him to college and make sure he got settled in and ensure he was on the road to success.

When we dropped him off at his dorm for the last time, my wife hugged him at least three times before finally, reluctantly, letting him go. Tears filled all our eyes and it was hard to see him walk through the dorm room doors as we got back in the car. I looked to see if he would turn around for a final wave, but he continued walking. I tried to hold the tears back but they flowed down my cheeks and memories flooded my mind. I saw him as a baby, a little boy, a young man, and now a man who was looking to make his mark on the world. He was no longer my little boy, but he was the young man we had trained him to be. We prepared him his whole life for this moment, but it does not make it easier when you try to say goodbye.

We are learning to let go of our parental grip and trust God to do what only He can do. We were never truly in control, and only eternity will tell of the things our sovereign God kept him from and pushed him to. God’s will was for Nate to go to a Christian college, and Nate followed where God led him. Children are a heritage from the Lord, and we sometimes forget that they are His children and He will do what He deems best. We have a short time with the children God entrusts us with to train them up in the things of the Lord, and then they leave the nest and, by God’s grace, repeat and improve the process as they train their own children. I did not want to say goodbye to my son that day, but God’s plan is much better than mine, and I pray that His will be done in Nate’s life.

Do you trust God’s plan for your child’s life? Do you pray for your children as you should? Do you push them to be successful according to the world’s standards, or do you encourage them to follow God’s leading in their life above all else? We are entrusted with a precious gift from the Lord in our children, and we must be good stewards of this gift. I praise God for the fruit of three children, and my prayer is for them to do the will of the Lord and to please Him with their life.

Stay in the Fight!

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