One of those last few days of summer, my college-bound son and I were doing some shopping at a local big-box store, and we ran into a good friend and her freshman daughter. After cheerful hellos, they continued down the aisle, and I laughed to myself! The mother and daughter had two carts loaded with matching…everything, and my son had so far selected deodorant, a set of sheets, and a shower caddy (at my insistence). Who would be better equipped for the rigors of college life?
As fate would have it, when we arrived at school, we ran into the same friend, who was trying to cram a carload of her daughter’s necessities into the tiniest room on campus, while my son and his roommate shared a veritable mansion across the street. He had floor space and air conditioning. She had everything else. “This might work out well,” I secretly thought, knowing he’d be over to her room anytime he needed something.
Within our means, moms do all we can to make the transition to college as smooth as it can be for our children. But the transition happens on our end too, so how well do we prepare ourselves? Ali jokingly says she didn’t notice her oldest was gone until she was looking for an extra carpool driver back home. Julia, however, grieved all summer before her only daughter left for college. Everyone experiences a change in the family dynamics as a child leaves for school, but we cope very differently.
What best equips us for this change (or any major life event)? I like to think that the solution is as simple as the three Ps: perspective, peers, and prayer.
College-age children can occasionally overwhelm the most temperate mothers, but we can remain peaceful when the chips are down, trying to see events the way that God sees them. When we set our eyes on eternity, every hassle—big or little—becomes a “momentary light affliction producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Our faith in Abba, who loves us and wants the best for us, can help us embrace struggles in any moment with hope and optimism. Humble, trusting, and patient, we might just even find something to laugh about.
Peers can be much more than a group of similarly aged women with lots of commonalities. God invites us to thrive by turning peers into lifelong friends who accompany us through life’s ups and downs. Christian friendship is a spiritual reality meant to bring individuals close to each other, close to God, and, closer, one day, to heaven.
How can you find strong, faith-affirming friends—ones who will stand the test of time? By being a friend in service to others, by asking God to send good friends, and perhaps by joining a Christian Bible study or prayer group like Praying College Moms, which will put you in touch with Christian women in similar circumstances. Then...enjoy their friendship!
When we’re sad or worried, as we can be about our college kids, prayer might sound like a long series of petitions, right? And that’s OK—even beautiful—because God the Father hears and treasures every word. But prayer can be much, much more fulfilling than a long list of requests, because God draws us close when we pray. He wants intimacy with His beloved children. He wants to reveal Himself to our hearts and minds. God wants to work through us to effect change in the world, starting with those we love the most—our children.
Every time we come to a moment of prayer, let’s remember who we’re talking to and what God wants from us in exchange.
• He is Abba. He wants intimacy.
• God is Father. He wants to protect us (sometimes from ourselves).
• God is omniscient. He has the Big Picture, and we do not. He wants our trust.
• God is giver of every good gift (James 1:17). He wants our gratitude.
• God is powerful and creative, and He wants to share these qualities with us.
• God is Almighty, and He wants our heartfelt praise.
The only “right way to pray” is to know who we’re talking to and how precious we are to Him. In the weeks ahead, you’ll be adding to this list your own experiences of God, the gifts He has given to you, and the fruits of the Spirit you employ for the good of your family, your prayer group, your community, and the whole world.
It is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost. Matthew 18:14
You know that I love my college-aged young adult and that I've done my best to raise him/her to know, love, and serve You. Please bless him/her, especially in these first few days of college, as the adjustment to a new schedule and new responsibilities settles in. I know you hear my prayer, Lord, and that you love me and my child more than I can imagine.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit Amen.