By Becky Hill Martin
“Empty nest syndrome.” No parent really likes that term – unless you haven’t slept for 18 years. I went through it last year when my only child went away to college. (Fine! It was only 30 minutes from the house.) I thought I was going to have to invest in Kleenex stock I cried so much. The first few months she was away, I felt like the “Kudzu Queen” – a clingy nuisance. The more I called or texted her, the fewer return calls and texts I got. It was frustrating-depressing to realize she no longer needed me.
When I read Hosea Chapter 11, I imagined God “raising” Israel – doing all the things a parent does for a child only to be ignored once the child left home. Although Israel kept running further away from God, His love never failed because it wasn’t (and still isn’t) based on what Israel did or didn’t do. God considered Israel His child. Nothing could ever change His love. He waited patiently and gave Israel every opportunity to return home.
If you’re sending your child off to college this month, you may need to brace yourself for unanswered texts, fewer calls, and a lot of “I don’t need you to remind me to study.” Yes, they’re flexing their wings. All you can do is pray that God will always be the guiding wind underneath those wings. Like the Israelites (eventually) realized they needed God, your child will realize they need you. Even if it’s just to do the 2 months’ worth of smelly clothes they left in the laundry room on their way through the door.