HOUSTON (BP)–The only thing as hard as watching your firstborn fly out of the nest is bracing yourself while your baby does the same. The first fall semester Amanda, our oldest daughter, was away, I woke up a half-dozen times or so in the middle of the night and felt like a change of scenery might help me sleep. Instead of moving to the guest room, I finished out the night in Amanda’s room.
It wasn’t until later that a friend told me, “Don’t you know that one of the most common things that moms do after a child leaves is spend a handful of nights in his or her room? There’s nothing new about that!”
One of the last mornings I awakened in her room, I spotted a crumpled Kleenex under the edge of the bed as I was waking it up. I had no idea how long it had been there, but I knew instinctively what it meant. She had been crying.
Had the Kleenex been used for a cold, she would have left it crumpled on the bedside table. I know my child just like your know yours. If she stuck it under the bed, she had used it for her tears and didn’t want anyone to know it. My heart ached. What had caused those particular tears?
That’s the hardest part of parenting. The heartache that comes in double portions: knowing they hurt and hurting with them. Oh, how we would shield our children if we could. Wouldn’t we?
Second only to the certainty of how terribly I would miss them, my most overwhelming emotion over their departure was fear. God graciously forced me to come face to face with the fact that one of my biggest issues was the measurable amount of control I was about to lose over my children’s lives.
That crumpled Kleenex was a vivid reminder that something had breathed a little fire on my child that I knew nothing about. And it was just a token of times to come.
Problems will arise that I cannot fix. Some I will know about. Others I won’t. What is my hope when they do? That my children will know where to go: straight to the throne of grace so that they may receive mercy and find grace to help them in their time of need. And that they will know what to do: pour out their hearts to God for he is a refuge for them.
In other words, I hope they keep blowing their sweet noses and crumpling those Kleenexes right there at the edge of the throne of grace. Not one tear that is poured out before God ever goes unnoticed.
From “Feathers from My Nest” by Beth Moore. Broadman & Holman Publishers. Copyright 2001. Moore, of Houston, is a writer and teacher of “Jesus, the One and Only” and other best-selling Bible studies published by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.