The house is still. Her room is strangely empty. A chapter of her life is complete and a bright new chapter has begun. Although it happened before our eyes, it's still hard to believe that childhood dependence has gradually shifted to the independence of adulthood. I still remember being entertained for hours by a little girl who couldn't get enough of playing, 'Waitress.' With pen and paper in hand, she'd make up a menu that left my mouth watering. Now she's the one ordering from the selection at her college cafeteria.
After a weekend of travelling, unpacking, getting our daughter, Riley, settled in her dorm, and making the trip back home, my husband and I are just coming to grips with the fact that our lives have radically changed. And change can be challenging. But change also helps me to realize my need for an unchangeable God. What an encouraging promise echoes from the book of Hebrews, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8; KJV).
The same God who comforted parents decades ago, offers that same comfort to those experiencing an empty nest today. When I begin to wonder whether I was an effective mom, I can look beyond myself to the One who gave me the incredible gift of a daughter. At the age of seven, Riley called on the Lord Jesus Christ to save her, and became His child. I can rest assured that He is able to take good care of her! The book of John encourages me with the truth that nothing is able to remove my girl from the Father's hand, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:27-29).
The campus is beautiful. Meticulously maintained grounds, with palm trees swaying in the warm Florida sunshine, make the setting positively idyllic. The student body is the perfect size without being overwhelming. Everyone is extremely friendly. The college is founded on Christian principles. These things aside, if this wasn't the college the Lord had directed her to, we would not have felt comfortable enrolling her. But in spite of the fact that the college is several hours from our home, and we won't see our daughter as often as we'd like to, there was a sense of peace that settled over my husband and I, even as we said our tearful goodbyes. The Apostle Paul speaks of this peace we can experience when we pour our hearts out to the Lord, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).
No doubt, the days ahead will be filled with the challenge of change. I'm thankful for a God who never changes, who takes care of His own, and who fills my heart with peace when I lay my concerns at His feet. What a mighty God we serve! "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness" (Psalm 107:8-9).
Are you being challenged with change? Lift your eyes to the Lord, and you'll find Him more than able to meet your need!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I'm so grateful that You never change. You hold me in the palm of Your hand, and You cover me with Your peace. Help me to surrender to the work You're doing in my life. May I be an accurate reflection of You to those around me. Amen.