When my son left for college

A GMC U-Haul truck
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My 18-year-old son recently left home to attend college. I was more concerned about what he needed than he was. I was constantly asking him, “Do you need towels, sheets, or soap? Do you have enough toothpaste?”  He would roll his eyes at me. I knew I had to let him go.

I had several other friends whose kids were going off to college and leaving home for the first time. They shared with me that they were struggling to “let go.” I was glad I was not the only one.

As a Mom, I have a built-in instinct to take care of my son, and that is a necessary part of bringing him up. But now, I have to trust God, and let him go. I still pray for my son, of course, but God wants my son to develop his own relationship with Him.

I came across an interesting verse in scripture:

Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.  —Samuel 4:4

I have heard this story preached before: “The nurse picks up the baby and drops him, and he becomes lame.” But look more closely: Mephibosheth was not a baby—he was five years old! Most five-year-olds can run faster than most adults I know. She meant well, but she should have just grabbed his hand, and run with him. The nurse turned Mephibosheth into a cripple because she tried to do for him what he needed to do for himself.

I thought about this, and realized that I have to let my son “run his own race.” Of course, I can stand by and cheer him on, but I can’t carry him. I don’t want to cripple him so that he cannot face the challenges that life throws at him.

Growing up is uncomfortable, and we make mistakes. If he forgets to do his homework, or forgets to study for a test, he will have to learn to be more organized for next time. If I continue to oversee his work, I will deprive him of developing the skills he needs in later life. In a sense, I would be crippling him.

God does the same with me. Although He is always with me, leading and guiding me, He doesn’t do things that I should be doing myself. Jesus promised us, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  –John 16:33

God walks beside us in our tribulation. We should do the same for our adult children.

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