I attended my child's first graduation ceremony this year. Granted, it was only a pre-K graduation, but it made me more emotional than I expected. The preschool season is now over for my oldest child, and he is ready to step into a new world of elementary school on his own. Watching him cross the stage wearing his construction paper graduation cap, I thought of all the things I wish I had talked to him about before this moment and all my dreams for him as he ventures into kindergarten.
As a Young Life leader for ten years, I watched many high school students face a much more significant graduation than my son's. I was often swept up in their excitement for a new world of adulthood that I failed to see how their graduation affected their parents. Now that I am a parent myself, I am starting to realize the great weight that graduation has for those who have loved, mentored, and guided their graduate from birth until the moment they walk across the stage.
Some parents may see graduation as a crowning achievement. You have managed to navigate your child into adulthood and feel they are ready to walk out on their own. Some might feel hesitation, thinking of all the conversations they wished to have had and all the things they wanted to do with their kids but never did. Your child might be walking strongly with the Lord, or they might still be figuring out what a relationship with God looks like. They might have even decided to walk away from the Church completely.
Sending our children into the world is daunting. We work so hard to protect them from harm and keep them on the right path, and then one day, they get a diploma, and all of a sudden, they are on their own. If you feel overwhelmed or burdened in this season, remember that God loves your child deeply. He knit them together and works for their good. Through the prayer below, let us trust God to watch over our children even when we cannot.
God of the universe and Creator of all that is good, You have filled my life with hope, love, and family. You sculpted the mountains above and crafted the river paths below. You knitted my children together in the womb and gave them to me to nurture and grow.
I confess my fears and hesitations about this new part of my life. Help me to lean on You for understanding and comfort, and guide the steps of my child(ren) wherever they go. Teach me to put my trust in You to guide my child throughout their life and show them how to do the same.
Thank You for my child. Thank You for the life they have lived and the experiences that are still to come. Thank You for each moment that they were in my home, where we laughed, cried, danced, and played.
Remain close to my child always. Help them to run to You in times of joy and in times of distress. Show them the beauty of Your Word, and teach them to trust Your truth. May they accept the gift of salvation and abide in You always. Give them great friends, mentors, and leaders who will walk alongside them and protect them from harm. I know that You love them even more than I do and that You are working for their good. Amen.