Uprooted

Three weeks to go and my oldest son, Jake, will be uprooted and reestablishing himself at college.  Graduation came quickly, and the summer has flown past!  Our third bay in the garage has become a staging area for items to be packed up in tubs to go off to school with him.  We will all miss him dearly and our kids will no longer move as a “unit.”  We have been incredibly close through the years, and for the first time, there is a departure out of our home and into a new environment.  As his parents, it’s an incredibly bitter-sweet time.  A juxtaposition of emotions.  We’ve been saying for months that it is his time; time for him to fly on his own.  Yet, as this time inches closer, I cannot help but reflect on the years of memories at home.  

I had a dear friend say to me recently that kids his age are like plants needing to be repotted.  They’ve grown all that they can within the confines of our home “pot.”  To experience further growth, they must be uprooted and replanted in new soil.  I’ve seen the natural progress of this play out over his senior year at home, but the analogy of uprooting and replanting really drove it home for me.  

You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.

Psalm 80:8

Israel, or the church of God, is often compared to a vine within the Old Testament.  The history of Israel as a nation begins within the Old Testament around 13BC with the Exodus.   Millions of Israelites were led by Moses out of Egypt in search of the promised land.  Further mention of Israel in Psalm 80 says the nation was transplanted to Canaan – a soil better fitted for the Israelites –  by the loving hand of God, in order that it might have ample room to grow up and develop itself freely.  After forty years of wandering, the Israelites finally entered this promised land.  What a LONG journey!

There are so many lessons that can be learned from the story of the Exodus; many applicable to the home/college transition.  Rebellious at times over the course of forty years, the Israelites wrestled with trusting the Lord in this move.  I expect many freshmen will wrestle in the same way their first year.  The Israelites were leaving the comforts of what they knew as home to move into a strange and foreign land.  Likewise, high school graduates are leaving the comforts of home to move into new surroundings.  It is a time filled with excitement, but laced with anxiety and hardship.  Although it doesn’t take forty years to complete college, like the days of the Israelites, I imagine some days will feel incredibly long.   

In the truest sense, this next year will feel like a walk into the wilderness for all students headed off to college.  The vast majority of higher education institutions have fallen away from a biblical worldview and now champion a secular worldview.  The modern university is a petri dish for post-enlightenment thought and will leave many students with a Christian upbringing feel intellectually and spiritually alone.  Students will be required to make a choice between two opposing worldviews, and it most definitely will be a struggle.  

We, as parents, must prepare our graduates for life on the contemporary college campus and give the rest to the Lord.  Our prayer for Jake during this process of uprooting is that he will land in new soil that will enable him to flourish, while also holding on to his faith.  A soil that has the perfect nutrition for him to take deep root and bear fruit in this next phase of his life.  And, a soil that will yield the same reward the Israelites experienced when entering the gateway of Jericho into the promised land.  Along the way, it is my fervent prayer as his mom that the Lord will shepherd him along this journey, sustaining him mentally, spiritually and emotionally in the absence of his dad and me.  

As parents, join me in putting this solemn prayer request up to our most high God as our children move into their new ground!

A PARENT’S PRAYER

God of life and love, you have given me this child to care for this little while.

My heart is welled with joy and thanksgiving, anticipation and anxiety, amidst a longing to be together as we have been till now. 

These years of growing up have moved so quickly, so many things left undone, so much left unsaid, so much I still hope to give to my child who is taking this new step in the journey of life.

Help us as we reshape our lives to reflect this new reality of college. Show us new ways to be present to each other in love and in trust. Give me patience and help me to remember that my child is establishing new routines in freedom, routines different from my routines.

Calm my fears. Strengthen and protect my child in the midst of the challenges and temptations which surround all students. Grant greater courage that I myself may have had in standing for your truth against compromises of faith.

Provide good friends and worthy confidants for my child during these college years. Help me to give support and confidence, to discern how I am needed now, and to pass on, in my love, a measure of the strength and courage you have given me in the gift of parenting.

– MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY

xo Carre