My sixth child graduated this weekend.
I repeated the ritual of ordering a diploma, a cap and gown, and a “Congrats Graduate” cake. I prepared a short word of encouragement. I whittled down hundreds of pictures to the 70 or so that would fit in the allotted time for the slide show. I coordinated with other homeschool parents so we could pull off a semi-traditional graduation ceremony while still preserving some of the uniqueness of homeschooling. I planned a party for our family and friends.
And I smiled. I reminisced. I cried. I also simultaneously experienced pride, worry, joy, and dread.
- (Lean in closer. I have a secret for you: It never- even on the sixth time- gets ANY easier.)
I find completing one stage of education and sending my child off into the world to be exciting with a healthy portion of terrifying sprinkled all over the top.
No matter the chosen method of education, from traditional to private to home school, I suspect most parents feel these same, conflicting emotions.
Yes, graduation is a sign of academic accomplishments. With the course of required classes completed, this stage of schooling is done and our student is free to move about the country.
But is my child ready? She understands history but what about money management? She enjoyed Anatomy and Physiology but will she eat healthy on her own?
School is one thing. Life is another.
It might not be any easier, but I have enough experience with this process to know some things. Ready for my hard-won wisdom? It isn't very long, but here goes:
I may not be certain what she will chose to eat, but I do know she will not appreciate me clutching her pant leg until I am certain she will make all the right choices. She is moving into a new stage and I have to let her go.
I must graduate into the next stage of mothering as well.
- Secret of Mothering: (the big reveal of what “they” never tell you)- each stage of parenting lasts only long enough for you to figure out a few facts on how to navigate it. If you are beginning to feel any confidence or comfort, rest assured, something is about to change and you can put your knowledge on the shelf. You are going to need a whole new batch.
As my child graduates, I can either hover and worry (and doesn’t EVERY 18-year-old just LOVE that?!) or I can send my child into the world.
But my choices are not complete. Releasing my child can look very different. On the one hand, I can wish her luck, go to the coast for a vacation, and let the School of Hard Knocks do its work. But, on the other hand, I can chose to be a fighting, ninja, prayer-warrior Mama. I personally would rather be a dangerous warrior in a cool black pantsuit than a beach bum.
Yes, I must allow my student to wander into the hard in-between of childhood and adulthood without me standing by her side. But I am not required to leave her uncovered or unprotected. I can pray specifically for areas I know will be difficult in this stage and then let the Lord be her teacher and her guide, because that is no longer my job.
I will now be her ninja, sort-of like a silent partner she knows nothing about.
So, what will I pray? Below are some suggestions taken right from Scripture. I prefer to pray Scripture, because the inspired, living Word has to be better than my hand-wringing, whining, worry-laden ones. I chose just five Scripture prayers to list below, but there are innumerable verses to use.
If you like the suggestions below, there is a form to sign-up with that will allow you to print these out so you can stick them in your Bible or tape them to your mirror or put them wherever you can grab the sheet and pray.
5 Prayers For My Graduate
1. That God would complete the work He has begun in my child.
- Philippians 1:6: And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)
- Dear Lord, thank You for the work You have done in my child. I ask You to guide, protect, lead, and direct him/her until the work You have begun is complete and he/she is prepared for whatever calling You have in this next stage of life.
2. That Jesus would be my graduate's biggest goal
- Philippians 3:14: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
- Jesus, I ask You to help my graduate love You more, desire You more, seek You more, and pursue You more than any other thing. May You be his/her biggest goal and dream.
3. That sin would not entangle my graduate and trip him/her up
- Hebrews 12:1: … let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (NASB)
- Lord, with all the distractions and temptations facing my child, would You please help him/her to walk away from sin, to lay aside allurements or addictions, and keep him/her safe from all that reaches out to keep him/her from Your best.
4. That my graduate's heart and mind would be guarded
- Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
- Please Lord, guard my child's heart and mind with Your peace. Please keep them from influences that would dilute Your will and silent Your voice.
5. That my graduate would find wisdom and gain understanding.
- Proverbs 3:13-14: Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. (ESV)
- Lord, as my graduate pursues jobs, education, and relationships, please guide him/her to Your wisdom and understanding. There is nothing more valuable.
No matter how old our kids or what stage they are in, we must never stop praying.
Whether you use the prayers below or come up with your own, let’s pledge that every time we start to feel the worry beast growing, we will put on our black ninja pantsuit and pray for our graduates. It is the best gift we can give them.
What are some other prayers you have for your graduate? Put them in the comments below. We can all help each other in our ninja, prayer warrior efforts!
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