Only 53 days?
That’s not even two months yet!
For many of my friends and me, time may be playing tricks on us.
Recently, we launched and released our kids into life in some unique way – whether to kindergarten, to middle school or high school, to university, to a new job, to marriage, to family life, or some other life-impacting opportunity. For our family, our son Micah Man embarked upon an adventure with Pais Australia just 53 days ago. I wonder if my friends’ and family’s 53 days have passed in a similar way to my own heart’s time. My calendar dates are flipping one after the other after the other in hyper speed. However, my mama’s heart doesn’t beat that fast apparently. It seems like Micah Man has been Australia-adventuring for a long, good while.
I miss him.
However, my God has provided me with strengthening words of encouragement to grow and mature me as the mom of an adult child. One of the realities of sending your kid across the oceans and continents is that getting together in person just doesn’t happen – at least not for now. So, when Micah is working through one of his own marvelous, faith-stretching, character building lessons that inevitably come along, I must too. But, in my own way. Micah will experience and will tell own stories now. However, that doesn’t mean that I still don’t have a role to play as Micah lives his life, matures in character, and discovers more about the faithfulness of his God.
What is my role?
There are a few, actually.
I will be available for my son when he needs to talk.
I will listen to him.
I will encourage and cheer.
I will pray and pray some more.
And I will love my son – always and forever.
Wait a minute, you may say.
Isn’t that what you were already doing as his mom?
Yes, of course. And no, not completely.
When Micah Man was home, learning, growing, and developing in emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual ways, his dad and I did listen, encourage, pray for, and love our kid. Like crazy. We provided significant hands-on guidance and mentoring in his decision-making, too. We instilled our family values of loving God, loving others, celebrating failure, and being wise in each of our children.
We can still offer guidance and mentoring, but since we are not present for Micah’s day-to-day life experiences, he’s on his own now. He must decide what he needs to do, when he needs to do it, how he needs to respond, and Who he needs to seek out to accomplish it.
And Who Micah seeks, Who Micah rests in, and Who Micah depends upon makes all the difference.
For the past week, I’ve been camped in Chapter 34 of the Book of Ezekiel. This chapter offers many, many, many promises of how Jesus, our Good Shepherd tends His sheep. Reading and reflecting upon Chapter 34 all week, I took hold of the sweet assurance that my adult child is in good hands. Micah is in the tender care and under the perfect, magnificent guidance of his Good Shepherd.
I declared many verses over Micah this week. Here’s just one:
“You are my sheep, Micah, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God,” declares the Sovereign Lord.
New International Version, Ezekiel 34: 31
With this declaration in mind, I discovered a myriad of ways that my adult child is kept secure and strong in his Shepherd’s care.
These are my adult child – sheep declarations from Ezekiel 34:
v. 11 Jesus searches for His children, his sheep, and looks after each and every one.
v. 12 Jesus rescues His sheep from the times and experiences when they feel lost, isolated and alone.
v. 13 Jesus brings His sheep out from the nations and gathers them together in His name.
v. 13 Jesus provides pasture for His sheep – in the mountains, in the ravines, and in the settlements, in the cities, in the suburbs, in the country, and beyond.
v. 14 Jesus tends to His sheep and provides good pasture.
v. 14 His sheep lie down and rest in His presence – especially when they are worn out after a long, long day.
v. 14 His sheep are fed.
v. 15 Jesus cares for His sheep – Himself.
v. 16 Jesus searches out the lost sheep and brings back the strays.
v. 16 Jesus binds up the injured and strengthens the weak.
v. 28 Jesus’ sheep will live in safety and no one will make them afraid. (I love that!)
v. 29 Jesus will provide rich, sustaining land to His sheep.
v. 30 The sheep will know that Jesus is their Shepherd and their God.
v. 30 The sheep will know that their God is with them – wherever they are in the world.
v. 31 They are the sheep of His pasture and He is their God.
My adult child may not be with me in Africa, but he is with his Good Shepherd who guards, protects, guides, provides for, and sustains my son as he experiences the joys and challenges of life – wherever Micah is in the world.
As I write these words, though, my thoughts are not only with my friends who have adult children who are trusting their Good Shepherd, but also those who have adult sons and adult daughters who have strayed from the fold of Jesus – for now. Take heart, my friends.
Jesus searches out the lost.
He brings back the strays.
Jesus binds up the injured and strengthens the weak.
He searches out His sheep and looks after them.
Jesus knows their hearts and He continues to love them wholly and completely.
No matter where they are….
This is a promise.
So, what do we do in the meantime?
We continue to love our adult kids.
We continue to listen to them and encourage them.
We remind them that we are their biggest fans and cheer them forward.
And we trust Jesus to shepherd our adult children well.
Which of the promises or rather adult child – sheep declarations from Ezekiel 34 do you want to pray into your adult child’s life this week?
Here is my prayer for Micah Man, and maybe yours, too:
Heavenly Father and Precious Jesus,
Thank you for these affirming words today. You declare our son Micah to be your own. Micah is the sheep of your pasture, and you are his God. Remind Micah this week through your Word, through others, and through his experiences that You are with Him. As Micah drives about town, as he interacts with children, as he serves at church, as he interacts with his Pais team, as he lives with his host family, as he assists with coaching basketball, and as he has time with You alone, I pray that Micah experiences your trusted and sure Presence. When Micah needs rest, You will provide rich, sustaining pasture for him. When Micah is discouraged and feeling a touch of homesickness, you will gather Micah to Yourself and tend to his needs and strengthen him. When Micah is stretched in new ways relationally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, You will minister to him and guide him with Divine purpose. Your promises are true, O Lord. Thank you for shepherding our son so well. We love you, Lord.