This week begins a new phase of life as my younglings start leaving the nest. This post finds me driving to Los Angeles with Amanda, our middle child, as she heads to Biola University for her junior year. Since she has to be there early for R. A. (Resident Assistant) training, I am helping her drive the car that she and her brother share while at college. The end of the week, my wife and I will put our youngest child, Caitlin, on a plane to Boston, where she will begin her freshman year at Gordon College. She has to be there early to participate in La Vida, an outdoor education program required of all incoming students. Later this month, my oldest child, Jonathan, will head to Biola University, where he has three more semesters before finishing his undergraduate studies.
As I contemplate this time of transition, I appreciated Gary Thomas’ description of his feelings as his oldest daughter left for college, which he recorded in The beautiful fight. As he explains,
“My goal, with all my children, has been to raise sons and daughters of Levi. Malachi gives us a picture of what a godly child is: ‘[Levi] revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin’ (Malachi 2:5-6).
According to this passage, God wants us to maintain families that teach our daughters and sons to
- live in awe of God,
- revere his Word,
- walk with him in fellowship,
- live peacefully with others, and
- turn others from their sin.”
I echo Gary’s sentiments. My wife, Carol, and I have done what we could in raising our children. Now, Jon, Manda, and Caitlin need to leave our home in order for God to complete his work in them. While we have missed some opportunities, we have caught many others. Rather than focus on what we have left undone, we are reminded of what God is still doing.
As parents, there is a sense in which we function as an assistant coach talking with the head coach about how we’ll get this player ready–not for a game, but for life. Carol and I can rest, realizing that God has plans and a purpose for each of our children and that he is taking the initiative. We planted a tiny seed; God will make it blossom.