When Your Child Leaves For College

by | Aug 19, 2018 | Parenting

I’m not alone in this. I know full well many of us are walking through this season together.

Your child has left for college.

Or soon will be.

Some of us are experiencing this for the first time, with full-on feels of all kinds. Heart strings stretch in all sorts of uncomfortable directions. Tears and sadness may fill one moment, and hope and excitement for our college student fills the next.

Our heads tell us this is a good thing, but our hearts aren’t there yet. Our hearts say this child should still be age 12. It can’t understand how the years went fast when the days were sometimes long. How can we possibly be walking into the college years already??

When your child leaves for college. Help and hope...

Yet, for some of us, this is our second, or third, or fourth go-around with this child leaving for college thing. Some of us aren’t so sad anymore when our college student leaves to begin a new school year. We’ve embraced a new reality of a more empty nest. We’ve found it’s all okay.

Others of us, however, are far from that. Tears still come and our hearts still ache on college move in day and beyond. Yes, we’re thrilled for our college student, but we miss his presence at home. Greatly.

I find myself in the latter example.

Our youngest child, our son, will begin his senior year of college next week. (What??!!) My heart isn’t aching like it has in past years, but goodness, I will surely miss him. Life here won’t be the same. But, our emptier nest will transition once again, and life will continue to be an adventure. That’s a good thing.

What continues to get me through the tough days, however, is this truth…

My child is not on his own out there.

Here’s a crazy thought… God loves our children more than we do. Yep. It’s true. He knows them, inside and out. After all, He formed them and saw them way before we ever did. And, even though we can’t be with them every moment of every day, God is. (Thank God, He is!) If I had to choose whom I’d rather have accompany my child all day long–God or me–I’d choose God. Hands down. He knows what’s best for my child. He knows how to protect him and from what. God knows it all, and He has plans and purposes for my child in this life. So, knowing God is with both of my children, every moment of every day, comforts and encourages this mother’s heart.

Just as these words were for Joshua and the Israelites, they’re for you and me and our children:

God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.  Deuteronomy 31:8 MSG

God is with us and He’s with our children.

Fellow parent, you’ve raised your child well.

You’ve loved her, believed in her, and equipped her to blossom in this world. Even if it wasn’t done perfectly (who has ever parented perfectly??), your child has received what she needed from you. Feel good about that, fellow parent. Feel good that you were the parent you needed to be for your child. God gave you the honor of being her parent and you’ve done well in your role.

Start children off on the right path. And even when they are old, they will not turn away from it.  Proverbs 22:6 NIRV

And now, we pass the baton. We pass it on to our children, to take it and run with it. To befriend God and to follow His lead. To make their own mistakes and grow through them. Just like you and I did. To run their individual race with endurance and to make his/her mark on this world. What a beautiful mark it will be!

You know? One of the best parts of this whole experience is this. We get to watch in awe these ones we’ve raised as they mature into amazing, life-impacting young adults. We’re privileged to be in the front row, cheering them on, praying for them, believing in them. Our role may look different as it did before, but our title remains the same. Parent.

Well done, faithful parent. Well done.





Now it’s your turn. What is helping you in this time of transition as your child has left for college? Or what has helped you in the past? Your words may be the encouragement another parent needs today.

Linking this post with my friend Mary for #TellHisStory.

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  1. Kim

    I am right there with you. 4th time, senior year, couple hrs away… and he called sick with high fever this weekend. It is hard not to be able to take care of them when they do not feel well. So, this was a good reminder. Yes, God is right there with them the whole time.

    • Julie Lefebure

      Oh, goodness, Kim. Our mommas hearts ache when we can’t be with our children when they don’t feel well. I pray he’s feeling better today! So thankful God is with them in every moment, and glad we get to walk through this senior year together! Much love!

  2. Mary Geisen

    Julie- Your words really hit home. I am beyond the college years but I remember all the feelings. What is so true is how God loves our kids more than we ever will. He has such good plans already laid out. It’s just a matter of time until they are revealed. I am praying for you as feel your son’s presence around your house, but miss him all the same. Thank you for this encouragement.

    • Julie Lefebure

      Hi Mary! What a gift to be able to rest in the truth of how God loves our kids even more than we do (and we love them with all we have)! I’m thanking Him for holding us in His love, just the same. I enjoy what you’re doing with #TellHisStory. Keep up the great work, my friend! Much love!

  3. Cindy

    I am learning in this life stage of parenting adult children that we as parents have what I call a divided heart. You miss their presence but you want them to be successfully independent. You want to be with them but you love your own life too. And now every time I leave my grandsons, my heart just splits down the middle wanting to be there for every milestone but knowing it’s now my daughter’s turn for that. What a relief to know God has us all in his loving hands and takes care of each of our hearts, even when they are divided.

    • Julie Lefebure

      Cindy, I appreciate your wise words. Yes, a divided heart. That’s exactly it. You nailed it. Thank you. I’m with you… so glad God has us all in His hands! Bless you.


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