Be honest. Are there days when you feel like giving your child or teenager back?
Please…do it! It’s the best parenting decision I ever made.
Today is a big day. My only child is graduating from college. Major life events tend to make me reflective, and this milestone especially so.
Yes, I’ve made plenty of mistakes.
But the wisest thing I ever did was to give my daughter back…to God.
My inspiration came from a mother named Hannah in the Old Testament. 1 Samuel, Chapter 1, tells her story. For many years, she prayed for a child. After her son, Samuel, was born, she voiced this prayer: “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” (1Samuel 1:27-28)
Hannah gave her long-awaited son back to God. And she inspired me to do the same with my only child. In fact, I prayed Hannah’s prayer as I laid my daughter in the crib for the first time.
And I’ve prayed that prayer many, many times over the years:
When I dropped her off for the first time at the caregiver (with my heart breaking) when she was four months old and I had to return to work at IBM.
When I dropped her off for the first day of school.
When she was about to undergo anesthesia and surgery in 5th grade.
When she drove off alone for the first time as a newly licensed 16 year old driver.
When she flew to Colorado at 18 for her first summer of working away from home.
When I left her at college a few months later.
When she was being rolled into ICU as a result of a horrible virus at 19.
When…just a few months later…she boarded a plane to Uganda to volunteer at an orphanage for four months.
Praying Hannah’s prayer requires a basic perspective shift. It requires understanding the truth that all of life is really about stewardship. Everything we have is a gift entrusted to us from God. Even our kids. They are not our possessions. They belong to God. He created them, and He loves them more than we can fathom or imagine on our best days.
One of the most beautiful byproducts of embracing that truth is unspeakable peace.
Will you have moments of worry? Of course. But if you quickly lasso those thoughts and choose to trust God instead, the feelings of peace will follow.
So today, as a new chapter begins, I am praying this prayer once again.