The ice skates will be idle for weeks, maybe months. The girls went back to college this morning. Honestly, it was hard. Katie was the last to leave. I closed the door after watching her drive away and felt a little nauseous. The house was crazy quiet.

No more activity. No more chitchat. Just quiet.

Since by nature I am a doer, I set about getting things “back to normal”—whatever that is. I stripped their beds, emptied their trashcans, and tidied their rooms for a long winter’s nap.

I love having the girls home.

I love talking with them daily.

I love being able to physically love on them either by serving them or giving a quick hug.

I love our impromptu coffee sessions when we plop on our comfy sofas.

Lest you think our month was filled with Norman-Rockwell-esque activities and every conversation was loving, deep, and heartwarming—not the case. We had our share of rough spots. And not everything was resolved. This unsettledness makes saying good-bye harder. I want everyone to ride off into their worlds happy and without a care.

But that is not real life. Our lives are real. I’m thrilled my girls are pursuing their dreams. I’m not thrilled we sometimes don’t get along. But I’m thrilled we are emotionally healthy enough to feel deeply and think independently from each other. I’m thrilled we are a close family that loves each other enough to spend Christmas break together.

As I straightened their rooms God spoke to me the reality that He and only He can work out the rough spots in our lives and relationships. He reminded me that my job is to pray. Pray with faith and trust that God will work in and through each member of our family. For this control-freakish mom, that reality gave me peace and comfort.

God also gave me a personal word. He showed me He has work for me—beyond laundry and emptying trash. He wants to stretch me in areas of obedience and trust. The invitation didn’t sound like fun, but when God personally presents it, it’s irresistible.

He also playfully invited me to have more fun. Cross-stitch of all things. It’s been years, but when Katie and I looked at patterns a few days ago I felt excitement and even a nudge from God. Cross-stitching is a part of the creativity God put in me. I’ve ignored it for years and have missed that part of me.

One last nudge from God—move my relationships (especially with my friends) higher on my list of priorities. Even Gene and the girls have challenged me to do so.

The girls are still en route and so am I. I will be there for them and pray like crazy for them. I will also pursue the path God set me on. It is God’s gift to me as I mature into the mom of adult children. Our family is in process together till the day we meet Jesus face to face. It’s not always pretty, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

To what adventure do you need to release your child? 

What area of your child’s life do you need to pray like crazy and trust God?

Is God nudging you, like He did me, to let Him stretch you or reorganize your priorities?


Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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  1. God answered prayer through your ministry in so many ways!!! I will private message you soon to tell you 🙂

    I loved this post and identify because today my Abby leaves to go back to college. How do I feel? After feeling like such a failure with the huge ups and downs of this break, I am encouraged that we are not alone in this journey. I am thrilled that we ended her break well with an extremely long game of Settlors of Caton! I will not mention what the previous night was like 🙁 That is life in a family that experiences forgiveness and grace. Yes, we are real, too!

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