My husband and I are experiencing the empty-nest stage of parenting. One by one, a child leaves our home.
This process reminds me of the time Abraham placed his son, Isaac, on the altar as God had commanded. We may not be putting our kids on an altar to be sacrificed, but we are placing them in God’s mighty hands.
As parents, we enjoy being needed by our kids. Being needed may not be all bad, but if we are not careful, we can make the mistake of allowing ourselves to be little gods to our children, trying to do all we can to manipulate and control their world. Naturally, we want them to be kept safe; but if we are honest, we also want them near for they provide us with great comfort and companionship. In our case God never intended for our children to be with us forever. Our role was never to keep them under our protection for a lifetime.
God called us to empower and equip them for His plan and His purposes. In this, we must never be a hindrance or roadblock to the divine path God sets before them. In all honesty, the safest place our children can be is on the altar of our God or a better illustration is they are most secure in His hands rather than ours.
After all, my hands have limits. They are too weak and frail to bless my kids truly in the way they need to succeed in this world. On the other hand, God’s hands have no limits. His blessings know no bounds. He gives immeasurably more than what I can even think up much less pray. Where I am finite, He is infinite. Where I am only the runner, He is the reward. I equip for the here and now; He equips for now and eternity.
Just like throwing a rock in the pond, I am only the pebble that can make a splash of influence on my kids; but in God’s hands, He is the stone that makes ripples which exceed the borders of the shore.
Maybe you are in the same boat that I am in. Maybe your kids are venturing off. They will succeed and they will also make mistakes. I know I have done both as a young and older adult. However, no matter our kid’s ups and downs, letting them go does not mean to let them jump off a cliff into the unknown, it means to give them to the Lord and allow Him to refine and perfect them by His power and presence in their life.
When in the empty nest season, what is our job as parents?
First off, I believe it is to trust our God and His infinite wisdom to perfect what He has started in our child’s life. He is true to His word and His promises. For He promises that “He who began a good work in you (your kids included) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6).
Secondly, we are to be there for our kids, for they will come home from time to time to seek our advice or to celebrate their victories. We counsel them as they need (no lectures, mind you), celebrate with them and remember to consecrate them daily to the Lord. Acknowledge that God IS their rear guard and their shield.
The good news is this parents; God is also faithful to you and me. He promises to be our comfort in this changing season!
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).