I am in the season of life where my children are grown and married. That has put me in the position of doing much personal evaluation (how did I do as a mom? What would I do differently if I could do it over? Where did I fail?) and of being evaluated by my children as they sift through their childhood and see the stark reality that their parents were well meaning, but imperfect. There have been several hard conversations where my kids have openly shared how our best efforts affected them as they were growing up (for the good and for the not so good) and there have been several times that we have had to humbly ask for forgiveness.
I am thankful that we are able to talk these things through and I expect we will probably have more of these conversations in the future. As hard as these conversations can be, they are important so that my children are able to move forward, so that our relationship can continue to grow, and so that I can continue to model humility and Christlikeness to them, even though they are adults. But, honestly, these conversations have left me feeling sad and weary at times. I grieve the fact that I let my kids down in any way, but the reality is that even my best efforts have come up lacking, and they will continue to lack as I move forward because I am continuing to learn how to be a mom.
I remember vowing to do or be certain things when my children were born. I had ideas of what I wanted our family life to look like and what I wanted to be as a mom. I worked hard to accomplish those things. Now that I am going on year 5 of being a mom with grown and married kids, and I remember what I vowed to do or be as a mom and mother-n-law, I see that I have already made mistakes and have had to adjust my approach multiple times. In the same way that I was learning and growing as I raised my children, I am learning and growing as I relate to my grown kids and their spouses.
Whether your children are babies, toddlers, school aged, teens, college aged, or getting ready to launch out on their own, I expect that your story is similar to mine. You began with goals and aspirations and it didn’t take long to realize that you were going to fail your children along the way.
Not everything relies on your performance as a parent.
If you were to gather together a group of moms and take time to listen to each one share their story, you’d hear similar stories. There would be tears of disappointment and grief as they spoke about their failures or shared their children’s struggles. You might hear bursts of laughter as they remembered things they thought or said in the early years, and soft whispers of “hallelujah,” and, “amen,” as they talked about the ways God grew them and worked in their families. There would be heads nodding as they related to each other’s experiences, and clapping as they shared victories and, “aha moments.”
You’d hear about favorite parenting books, and Sunday School lessons completed. You’d hear of Bible verses memorized, long talks around the kitchen table (and in the car! and before bed!), sleepless nights of worry, and early morning moments of prayer before the children were awake. You’d hear of family times, friendships, and school choices. All evidence of the level of dedication, commitment, and sacrifice each mom showed as they worked to raise their children in a way that glorifies God.
Whether we are young moms, middle-aged moms, or moms of adults, our children are daily growing in their independence, and the ultimate goal of motherhood is to work ourselves out of a job. Preparing our children to launch well begins earlier than we ever imagined, as one life lesson builds on top of another. I believe it’s never too early, or too late to pray for them to launch well. As Christian moms we work hard to do the best we can with the wisdom God so graciously provides. Our prayers for our children are what connects our obedience to God’s wisdom, and our hearts to the Source of power Who brings the life and heart change that our children need.
As moms we have as our goal to do our very best to raise our children in the best way we know how to, but it is our relationship with God, our dependance on Him, and our daily prayers for strength, grace, and wisdom that will empower us to walk in obedience, one day at a time. And it is our prayers for our sons and daughters, and the work of the Holy Spirit, that will accomplish what He wants to accomplish in their lives…and in our lives as parents.
Let’s “…fight for our sons, our daughters…and our homes” (Nehemiah 4:14) by praying for our children to launch well, and to know and live for God. And let’s not forget to pray for help remembering that they are in a lifelong process of growth and learning just like we are.
Join us in Praying for Your Child to Launch Well
Is your child ready to step out, start something new, or enter into a new season?
Whether your child is headed to school for the first time, the last time, or any time in-between, starting a career, marriage, or family, your desire is for them to launch well. Everything you’ve done has been an effort to point them in the right direction, and set in motion the ability to make right choices, take right paths, and be righteous before God.
But there comes a time when prayer is the best action you can take. Join me today as we pray God’s powerful Word back to Him on behalf of our children using 30 key verses and passages that speak to the idea of launching into the next season, whatever it is, well.
at her blog.Gina Smith is a writer, author, and has been married for 32 years to Brian, a college professor and athletic trainer. For 25+ years she and her husband served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, where Brian was a professor and dean of students. They reside right outside of Washington DC and are the parents of two grown children, one daughter-in-law and one son-in-law. Now an empty-nester, Gina has transitioned her ministry from full-time mom and part-time writer, to being a mom who is available to her adult children as much as they need her and writing as much as she can