Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Be a Parent to an Adult

I've got two kids who have moved out of the house at this point and it's been a very interesting transition to say the least.  Not having them here is difficult because I miss them so deeply but it's also very exciting at the same time.  I'm not necessarily excited for me, personally, but for them.  They are following their dreams and turning into adults.  The problem is, I'm just not sure how to be a parent to an adult.  This is tricky!

I try not to worry.  I really do.  I know to trust the Lord, that they are His children, that He never leaves them.  But I think down deep every mom has a twisted, messed-up idea that worrying about their children may somehow prove to be effective; that it means they are actively parenting and showing how much they still care.  But it doesn't help.  It isn't effective and it's totally against what the Bible says we are to do as parents.

Rod & Stephanie
When my daughter graduated, my husband turned into what I thought was a "Nazi-parent".  He was adamant that she move out, stretch her wings.  My daughter was terrified and cried buckets of tears.  She tried to go to a college close to home but my husband stood his ground that she needed to move away.  I was a mess.  I knew the Bible was clear to submit to the husband's decision, but I really thought he was being tough on her.  I tried to cushion it a little and then worried like a sick puppy the first few months she was in college.

Now, guess what?  She had a talk with him last week while I had the pleasure of listening in.  She said "Daddy, thank you for pushing me.  I'm so happy and I know I'm where God wants me to be!  I would have never gone to this school if you hadn't done that and I'm so grateful."  Big hug.  Huge tears.  And my husband said "You know that was the hardest thing I've ever done.  I didn't want to be mean - I just knew in my heart it was the right thing to do."

I'm sitting there watching this feeling like I'm in the Twilight Zone!  What?  I thought it was wrong!  I thought it was over-bearing!  I was convinced I was the right one by being the protector and spending countless hours worrying over whether or not she would survive!  And yet....he's the one she's thanking.

Big wake up call.

I told Stephanie that I was sorry if I coddled too much and she said she needed me to at that point, but that she saw after awhile how good the decision was for her.  I told her she was the first born so she is the "guinea pig" when it comes to me learning along the way!  Maybe by the time my 11-year old is her age, I'll finally figure out what it means to be a parent of an adult. 

But I think I know the first step now.  I will no longer be a worrier.  What a complete waste of time and energy! I heard once that worrying is like rocking in a rocking chair - it gives you something to do but it gets you nowhere.  It does not make me a better mom.  It is not proactive parenting.  It is the opposite of trusting God!  Instead, I will be a warrior.  Instead of worrying about my kids and feeling out of control, I'm going to relinquish that control and pray like nobody's business that God will protect them and guide them.  He did it anyway, even though I worried, but what good did the worry do me?  I guess it gave me a few new wrinkles and a lot of sleepless nights...but it got me nowhere.  Praying, instead of worrying, will bring me into the peaceful place of rest that God intends for me as a parent.  Trusting.  Believing.  Honoring his word!

This mom is officially a warrior.  A prayer warrior!  Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes.  Sometimes the decisions we make for our kids are hard - especially as we let go more and more as they become adults.  But the rewards are astronomical.  I've got an amazing adult daughter who is walking confidently into the call God has placed on her life - and she's turning into quite the warrior herself.  Thank God my husband is the strong man he is and he could see that, even though it was the hardest thing he'd ever done, he had no choice but to do it out of love and obedience to God - so he did. apply my new warrior mentality to my 20-year old son, who is free-spirited and travels all over the country following his dreams.  Rod had to push him out, too.  I see a pattern here.  

Lord, help me!

Philippians 4:6-7
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

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