Last week, we said goodbye to some long-time friends. Today, they are moving to Colorado. Our friends have four kids. Their oldest two are each a couple of weeks younger than my girls. On Thursday night, we went to a going away party for this family. My youngest cried all the way to the party and all the way home. She was so upset that her friend was moving. We reassured her that we would visit her friend when we go to Colorado to see my husband's family this summer, but it didn't make a difference. Her friend was leaving, and her heart was broken.
I think the toughest part of being a parent is watching your kids hurt and not being able to do anything about it. I can't change the fact that our friends are moving. I can't shelter my girls from mean people. I can't create a bubble around them that keeps out any illness, sadness or hurt.
What I can do is be there for my kids. I can hold their hands when they hurt. I can wipe their tears when they cry. I can pray with them when their little hearts are breaking.
And, sometimes, that's what our kids need most. They don't need us to fix all their problems. They don't need us to protect them from every hurt. They don't need us to choose their friends or make the ground smooth. They simply need us to be there. They need us to be available. They need us to offer good advice. They need us to boost their spirits.
As our kids grow and become independent, we have to let them begin to walk some roads alone. We have to let them outside of our sheltering arms and let them be vulnerable to all the hurts, the trials and the difficulties that come with growing up. Yet, we can take comfort in knowing that although our kids have stepped outside the shelter we can provide, our kids never have to step outside the sheltering arms of God. Psalm 91:1 says "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
When you can't protect your kids from the hurt and disappointment that come their way, remember tat God is right there to keep your kids under His sheltering arms. And sometimes all they need from you is for you to be there, too.