Summer has ended, and it's officially the Back-to-School season.  Parents everywhere are rejoicing and grieving as they send their children off into new places to learn and grow.  It's a time filled with anticipation and excitement, and often also a time filled with anxiety and worry.  It's a time for children to take further steps of independence, and for parents to take further steps of relinquishment.  

This year is the first year that we have sent a child to public school.  It was the first year that we have sent a child to school 5 days a week.  It felt monumental.  Dan and I were excited for her, believing this was the best place for her this year, but grieving her absence and hoping we had adequately prepared her over the last 6 years for the wonderful, confusing, hard world she was now going to explore without us by her side. 

As a mom, I want to be there to point out the important moments she misses, to redirect her when she begins focusing only on herself, to correct her when she isn't loving well, to encourage her when she is disappointed or feels slighted.  I want to speak life and truth when I see her begin to grab onto a lie.  I want to protect her from the pain and heartache.  

But as a mom, I also want to set her free.  I know that the same pain and heartache and tough decisions that I so desperately want to protect her from, are the experiences that can mold her character and strengthen her spirit.  The pain and the failure are the experiences that can drive her into the heart and hands of Jesus, and provide the tangible moments of encountering God that alone have the power to solidify the faith we desire for her to call her own.  She has to learn that He is with her.  That He is real.  So off she goes...

These are the days that I need a prayer like this to set my mind on what is good, and right, and true.  This prayer helps me release my rights to my children, and trust God with their lives.  

God our Father, you see your children growing up in an
unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways
give more life than the ways of the world, and that following
you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to
take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance
for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you,
and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

As you release your children this week, would you pray this prayer for them?