I received an early morning call from my 16 year old daughter while she sat in an airport in Miami waiting for the flight that would soon deposit her in Guatemala. I could hear the excitement in her voice as she said her goodbyes and professed her love for her dad. As we hung up, a thousand memories flooded my mind of this incredible journey being her father has been, I also felt sadness that time was slipping away and had I done enough.
To be a parent is something that no book will ever be able to convey. You can theorize the experience, but until you stand in a delivery room and watch new life be born, and know your part in it, it’s just words.
The parent journey is one that can only be described as an emotional avalanche. The swings from love to hurt, pride to disappointment, hope to fear, sometimes within the same day can be overwhelming. Maybe the hardest part is that no matter how involved, attentive or affectionate you are, if you’re doing it right you always feel like you need to do more.
I find that as my kids are growing older my greatest legacy must be to bring them to Christ. If I were to give my children everything I own and every moment of day but deny them the Christian experience, I’ve failed. Vacations, family time and Sunday sports programs have replaced sitting together in a worship service and hearing the precious words that will enable our children to succeed long after they have slipped away and started their own journey.
The true measure of success for us as parents is not what school they get into, what career path they chose or did they marry well but do they follow the King? If they follow Him, then the fears that bind all parents’ hearts can be stilled because our children’s heavenly Father always has a plan that is much better than ours.
So today my 16 year old is slipping a little farther away from needing her mother and me to be by her side in everything she does. She’s traveling internationally for the first time without her mother or me beside her. She’ll experience the heart of the Father for the poor outside of my watchful eye and I will never be prouder. Five times she’s walked on foreign soil and now she’s out their without me. She may be slipping away from me but she’s sliding right where she needs to go….