“Help us remember…You’ll hold them as they journey on. And You’ll hold us, too, as we watch them soar. And You’ll never, not once, let us down.” - Kayla Craig, To Light Their Way
Each year as graduation looms, I find myself feeling a whirlwind of emotions. While I’m sad to see the seniors go, I’m also excited for the opportunities ahead of them. I am grateful for the time I’ve had with them and proud to have watched them grow in maturity and faith as followers of Jesus. I laugh when I remember some of the crazy games we’ve played, and I cry when I think of the hardships some of them have already faced in life. What a joy it is, though, for me to send them out knowing they’ve experienced rich, deep spiritual community with one another that they will always know, and that their lives have been impacted by adults who have intentionally cared for them and modeled for them what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
After watching students move on year after year, you’d think it would get easier. Well, it doesn’t. The uniqueness of each student and the impact they have on me makes it tough to say goodbye, even though I know letting them go is the best thing for them.
While it’s difficult for me and their small group leaders to let them go, I can’t even imagine how tough it is for parents. Whether your student is going far or staying near, going to school or working (or a combination of both), eager to leave home or anxious about the future, the emotions surrounding the process of letting go are varied and complex.
Yes, it’s a process. It’s not a one-time deal. You’ve been letting go in big and small ways since your child was born, and you’ll continue to do so as you let them go into whatever life has for them as a young adult. Your relationship with your child will shift in big and small ways, and my prayer is that you find new joys and cherished memories in this next season. Pray for your child, trusting that God is near to them, as He is to you. When you can’t find the words to pray, may the prayer below offer words of hope, peace, and strength as you trust God to walk ahead of you and beside you in this journey.
A Prayer for Letting Go
by Kayla Craig, To Light Their Way (adapted)
O God, Give us the strength to loosen our parental grip and let go
Of what and of who were never truly ours in the first place.
The days felt so long, and now it’s time to step back so the one
Who will always be so little to us can move forward…into adulthood.
In the places we cannot be, help us to trust You are there.
In the places we cannot be, hep us know You are there.
As our child makes their place in the world, be the fresh air that fills their lungs.
Lead them to places of rest, and propel them to keep going when they’re road weary
And not sure if they can go on.
Build hope into their hearts so they know they’re never alone –
Not for one minute, O Lord, not even for one moment.
Let every act of parenting’s past and of parenting’s future be an act of love.
Help us remember…You’ll hold them as they journey on.
And You’ll hold us, too, as we watch them soar.
And You’ll never, not once, let us down.
About the Author
Stephanie Whonsetler is the Associate Pastor of Students at Grace Fishers. She and her husband, Chris, have three young kids. You can learn more about our Student Ministries program on our website.