I am reminded of Proverbs 22:6’s instruction to train up a child in the way they should go. The operative word here is Go. Go. Go. It is our duty as parents to let them go. Give them the freedom and opportunity of serving the Lord their God. Allow them to discover life and all its riches and joys. Allow them to fail and grow into better human beings because of those failures.
Is This You?
So, what do you do when you read this list and the response is, “Yep, that’s me. Check. Check. Check.”?
The short story is, there’s hope. Confession time: I’m a recovering enabler. I spent far too much time on my child’s school projects. I was too interested in the sporting events and winning at all costs. I controlled doctors' appointments and friend choices. And guess what? I became utterly, flat-out, exhausted. I had no time for my ministry, my husband, or me. I had to learn to let it go. As with many difficult decisions, it wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it.
I have been parenting since I was 18 years old. I went straight from childhood to parenthood. I had never actually enjoyed my life, as an adult, apart from being a mother. Yes, of course, you are always mom (or dad), but you are not always parenting. Parenting ends with a season. You can love your adult child, offer Godly counsel when asked, and enjoy their company, but you can let go of the active parenting season, once they reach adulthood.
And guess what happened once I did? It didn’t kill my adult child or me! Our relationship strengthened because life was no longer all about him. I enjoyed the new-found freedom to go on vacation, pick up new hobbies, or not answer phone calls when I wasn’t in the mood to talk. Does he know I love him? Yep. Is he better equipped to handle the rest of his life once I finally let go? Yep. Did he always like the boundaries I implemented? No. Does he still love me? You better believe it!
So, go moms. Be free. Enjoy your life as an empty nester. You’ve earned it.
Jennifer Maggio is the author of four books, mother of three, and wife to Jeff. She is a national speaker and founder of the international nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is an abuse survivor who is passionate about women finding a life of complete freedom in Christ. For more info, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.
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