Launching Our Children Like Arrows
This past fall a photo stream of parents dropping their kids off at college filled my social media newsfeeds. Proud, teary eyed parents, beaming teenagers, decked out dorm rooms, and an air of uncertainty adorn the photos. What will become of these kids who have learned so much yet have so much to learn? They are at a crossroads , and only time will tell which direction their futures will head.
As a mom, I know that in ten short years I’ll likely be where these parents stand – with an SUV backed into the crowded parking lot of a college dormitory, unloading cleaning supplies, cute wall decor, and a shaggy rug. However, when I think about my oldest daughter moving out and going to college (or whatever she decides to do after high school), I don’t feel tears welling up as much as excitement. Does that sound strange? Don’t misunderstand me – I will miss her terribly! And I’m so thankful that day isn’t soon. But raising our children in order to launch them is what our mission as parents is all about. I hear many parents today lamenting their children’s departure, as if their stories are ending, when in reality, they’ve only finished the introduction to a masterpiece still being written.
Psalm 127:3-5a says:
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
What is the purpose of an arrow?
To be launched, of course! Arrows are not intended to just sit in the quiver, weighing it down and taking up space. They are carefully crafted for the explicit purpose of being launched. And in the same way, we parents spend years crafting our children into arrows that God can use. We pray, teach, discipline, and love, but all of those things are a means to an end, and the end goal is to launch.
When I think about who my children might become some day and what they might do, I get excited. Perhaps they’ll go to college and grow and stretch their faith in new ways. Perhaps they’ll travel across oceans and share the gospel with people who have never heard. Perhaps they’ll become mamas, patiently, diligently loving their babies day in and day out. Or perhaps they’ll do something completely different because God has a tendency to surprise us.
I know my children will go through trials and setbacks just like we all do, but I believe God will use those times as part of their stories as well. He is in charge of their destinies. Their daddy and I get the privilege of helping shape them and point them in the right direction, and then we just have to let them fly.
Now I know that in a few years when I drop my first baby off at college, there’s a good chance I’ll eat my words and boohoo all the way home. But if instead you see me soon after with a wide smile on my face and a glow in my eyes, you’ll know it’s not because my laundry load got lessened. It’s because after 18 years of crafting my arrow, I just launched her into her purpose.
By faith, I believe she’s going to impact God’s Kingdom, and I can’t wait to see the trajectory He takes her on to do so.