About the Author

Deidra is a national speaker and the author of Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are, and One: Unity in a Divided World. Follow Deidra on Instagram @deidrariggs

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  1. Nothing but sweetness in this Truth, Deidra! It’s one of the greatest gifts we can give our children – the wings to soar into the life they are called, and the courage to let God lead them there. My own story is one where I didn’t really realize that was the purpose, and so He’s helped me to see the importance of that perspective with the kiddos He has me be a Mama to.

    Rich blessings as you continue to Trust in Him for their lives…

  2. Last night I began helping my oldest two pack to move into their new place. I am grateful they are going together but I realized for the first time that this will probably be the last time they move from my home. My thirteen year old mouthed, “I don’t want them to move out.” No one does. Although they will only be a few hours away, it is still a hard reality for us all. I’m guessing I’ll never get used to it. What timing! Thank you for this post.

    • This made me chuckle because I once mentioned to my children that they might want to consider moving in together. They looked at each other, then they looked at me and the looks on their faces clearly told me I had lost my mind. ; )

  3. Time flies by way too fast and they grow and need us less but than time changes. Soon they will be parents and they will need again. So wait calling everyday is too much, oh know I’m going to be hating it in a year aren’t I!! Have a wonderful weekend!

    • That was one of the hardest things to hear from my son. I have to admit, it still stings a bit. But eventually, he needed money or something and was on the phone calling me. πŸ™‚

  4. My baby is starting kindergarten…can i start crying now??? Seriously, this is a hard thing to do no matter what age they are. There’s the first day of school, there’s the first dance, there’s the driving test. For me, this kindergarten thing is already blowing me away. Pretty soon…he will be graduating…in the blink of an eye. Oh, what a job we have being mothers. Beautiful post…helping me prepare for this fall : ) Thanks for writing and sharing this post.

    • Kindergarten is such a big deal, isn’t it? I remember it so well! I had to put my kids on one of those big yellow buses and watch them ride away from me. It was all I could do to keep it together there at the bus stop with the rest of the moms.

      You can do it, Sue. And yes. You can cry. : )

  5. One of the most profound, haunting statements our pastor said when my children were toddlers was, “You aren’t raising them for yourself, you’re raising them for someone else.” He wasn’t speaking in terms of God, but the human experience of marriage, or at a minimum, to be independent from you as adults.

    Now that I have my firstborn entering college, I REALLY understand! I love your post, and the acknowledgement that having children is a process of letting go bit by bit.

    s i g h….{{hugs}} to YOU!!

    xo

    • I once heard a pastor say that leaving is what they’re SUPPOSED to do. My oldest was in high school, just getting ready to enter his senior year and those were the exact words I needed to hear at the time. It let me know that this was right, that my feelings were normal, and that it was all going to be OK.

      I kinda like that idea of raising them for someone else. Kinda. πŸ˜‰

  6. And we pray that He would keep them close and that He would draw them to Jesus. Feeling so much the same way in this transition of hands on Mom of small children to developing relationships with adults….but still being Mommy! One year left of high school for my youngest and I will attempt to treasure every minute of it. And this summer with all home for a time…what a sweet gift.

  7. It is such an important shift in perspective. We are not raising children. We are raising men and women ….and husbands and wives.

    KNOWING that God loves them more than I ever could has made this bumpy week with our 16 yo easier to handle!

  8. Thank you for sharing your testimony of letting go. My husband and I do not have children. On May 25 I lost my mother to her brief battle with cancer. Nineteen days before, my father-in-law died from a long term lung disease. We had time to prepare for both, much more for our father-in-law, and just under six months for my mom.

    When I first learned of her cancer, I thought I would want to keep her and hold her for as long as possible. I soon came to terms with those feelings and gave it over to God. What peace. Prayers for grace were answered in the last months.

    When I read your post this morning, I realized that I had already been working through that process of letting go and realizing that is what life is about. My parents both did a great job of helping me to learn to stand on my own feet in their own ways, and to answer my life’s calling.

    In the past decade or so, I’d been making an effort to call my mom regularly, each day on my way home from work. I’d become frustrated in the past year when she wouldn’t (actually turned out, couldn’t) converse much beyond what was on the TV right then or go over the things we’d talked about numerous times in the days before. In January I learned why she could no longer chat away with me.

    So many times in my life I felt that I was watching out for my mother. Through the divorce from my dad when I was a teenager, and through the years I was in college, and myself a bit of a boomerang child before marriage at age 26. My mother was best friend in so many ways, and we had our good times and bad. And again through the winter I was there for her, taking her to medical appointments and staying with her through hospitalization, radiation and chemotherapy. She was strong, I could see it. Throughout it all, I believe I’ve been letting her go for so many years.

    My husband and I are unable to have children. We’ve considered adoption and had a pre-adoptive placement with children in our family, but with so much emotional hurt, we soon found we didn’t have the skills to make it work. I think about this a lot and know that it hasn’t been in God’s plan for me. I needed to have the time and resources to care for mom these last months while she fought a good fight and did what she needed to let go of me and my brothers.

    I’ve found so much comfort, so much love and heartbreak, too. I am stronger because of it.

    Be strong and take heart and wait for the loft
    Ps. 27:14

    • Mandy-

      What a gift you’ve given us today. This window into your story – your life. Thank you so much for sharing yourself here today. I grieve your loss along with you. This letting go that we endure here on this earth – to college, to marriage, to illness, to disappointment – it is so very difficult in all of its shapes and sizes. My prayers go with you along the journey, and I believe the women who stop by here and read this will join their hearts with ours. You are loved, my friend. Oh, yes you are!

  9. And we let them go because God has places He is sending us as well. WE mothers and fathers…..”are not meant to stay” where we are either. It’s bittersweet and beautiful all at the same time. And empowering. We give our children the gift of going.

  10. Thank you so much for this post. I needed it this morning. I am about to pack up my two and send them to an overnight basketball camp. They will be back tomorrow. However it is the oldest seventeenth birthday today. Time is flying by so fast. So yes, I needed God to do some speaking today and He did through you. Thanks again.

  11. Thank you for this timely beautiful post. I am going to keep it and reread it as my baby leaves for college in August. I imagine I will remind myself over and over “because He keeps him I can let him go”.

    Thank you again

  12. yeah. as it turns out, i have blinked! these boys are getting so big – the first one gets a driver’s license next month….talk about letting go. great reminder of whose they are. thank you.

    • The driver’s license! What a rite of passage!

      It was SO hard for me to stop grabbing the arm rest every time they put their foot on the brake, or turned a corner, or rolled down their window. You’ll do better than me, though. I’m sure of it!

  13. It is hard to let my beautiful babies go when they are off to camp or college or other positive adventures. It is even harder to let them go when they are on the wrong path, when their behaivor is dangerous. I believe we are called to let go of both and even more than that to take care of ourselves and of our homes and relationships so that we are the most solid foundation we can for our families.

    Thank you Deidra for reminding me that children are not here to be children or to be “ours” it is their journey to be God’s people seperate from their parents.

    • Oh, Carolyn! What a great point! Yes. We need to let them go – even when they choose a path that we wouldn’t. So hard. But God hears our prayers, doesn’t He? He knows our heart and – most of all – He loved those children before we even knew them.

  14. I am not a mom. Yet, perhaps! But I loved this post because I have seen it in the eyes – and sometimes less subtly, of course (!) – of my mother. She is a best friend, she is the one I can argue with, she understands so much that it frustrates me when she doesn’t, she knows what I mean, she knows what will work… I have seen it in other mums’ eyes and heard it in their words too! So I know it can be hard. For mothers, and for protective fathers, who may not get to read this post – because I have one of each. Today, I forwarded it to them and my friends who have had similar struggles. I’m thinking of sons and daughters who could use it too πŸ˜‰

    PS Praying for you, Mandy.

  15. I think of my children as the most precious gift i have ever been lent because they are not ours. They stay for while and then they leave. My niece died in a car accident 18 months ago, no warning, no time to prepare, God just took her home. My youngest daughter of 4, the last to leave, goes off to university in September and it seems like yesterday i was urging them all to get ready for school in the mornings so we wouldnt be late.

  16. Sweet friend.. thank you for this encouraging post as I sit smack in the middle of a new season – sending all three of my kiddos off to college in August. My youngest two (twin daughters) just graduated from high school and I find myself reciting His Word back to him with every wave of emotion. But your words ring true.. “But they’re not meant to stay. They are always leaving.” Grateful to have the privilege to bless them in the going and leaving. Even more grateful to have women come alongside me in the journey. You are treasured. πŸ™‚

  17. It’s not easy, is it? I’ve got two out of the house and six at home. It’s hard losing touch and not being a part of the day-to-day, but you’re right, He keeps them.

  18. “He keeps them.

    And because I know He keeps them, I can let them go.”

    I love this and am tucking it deep in my heart, even as I am a grandmother, and it doubles for my wonderful grandchildren.

    Thank you!
    karen:)

  19. Mine are still little, but this really touched me. You are so right: We don’t get to keep them; God does. I’ll have to save this and read it again, and again, and again . . . thank you!

  20. THank you for sharing! It was timely, as my oldest sister just took her oldest son to college yesterday (summer football training). She said it was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do! I know I’m not looking forward to when the time comes for my little ones to leave home. But as you said, they are His. He has simply loaned them to us to keep for a short time. And then the beauty of it is that we’ll spend all of eternity together again! What a gift!!
    Love your posts–thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Holly

    • It IS one of the hardest things! But I have to tell you that my family still laughs at the way I blubbered and cried my way through leaving our first child at college. It wasn’t funny then (to me, anyway – THEY were all laughing on the inside), but now even I giggle when they all start to re-enact that moment.

  21. Oh, Deidra! What beauty is here! Of course we know our children aren’t ours, but it’s because He keeps them that we can let them go. So well said.

    LOVE this.

  22. When my (now adult) girls were 9 & 11 they were baptized. As i was watching them, I FELT a weight lifted off my shoulders and I heard God whisper to me, “I have them now.” Knowing they were in His hands was a great help as they got older and continued their journey of leaving. I have been blessed beyond measure watching them as they grew in their relationship with God, and now my oldest is about to have her first baby and I will enjoy watching her learn the lessons all mothers have to learn.

  23. i think my mom is still waiting for me to leave as I talk to her on the phone every day πŸ™‚

    but you’re right… every step away is scary and exciting, just like the letting go must be. scary to have them walk out of your grasp but excited to see who they become…

  24. “because I know He keeps them, I can let them go.”
    Such beautiful and true words! I have a 4 1/2 yr old daughter and another little princess on the way. I can’t imagine them leaving but I know my job as a mother is to prepare them for just that. A heartbreaking task to prepare them to leave but as we trust God through all of it, it makes room in our hearts to adjust to the different task of parenting at arm’s length later on. The most comforting, frustrating, and challenging truth in parenting is that change is constant. The good parts will change, the tough parts will change. Everything is constantly changing.
    Even with all that change though, I know I always need my mama and I am so thankful for all she has done and continues to do to encourage me every step. Thanks for this beautiful post!

  25. Got two daughters – a college grad and already working, and a 4th year college student.

    I know the feeling…

    “They’re not mine, though. They were created by God to change the world. ”

    I am just here to help them be the change God has designed. I just hope I am doing my job well.

  26. As I mom I hold back tears, hold on a little tighter, and pray! As His child I sit, take a deep breathe, and say “Thank you Lord…for keeping me!” This post was beautiful!

  27. Oh, this is a really great post! I so want to keep my son and hold on to him. This is what boosts and provides comfort: “And because I know He keeps them, I can let them go.” Thank you for this post!

  28. Oh yes, Deidra – you have exactly captured this bittersweet truth! They are always leaving and that is exactly as it should be. Just lovely – thank you. LOVE it when you post here.

  29. As an adult, who just graduated from University..I’m at the other end of the spectrum. I want to be let go. To live, to create, to be the possibility

  30. My oldest just turned 16, while my youngest hit 16-months…and I’m so aware of how little time we have with them here at home. How often I wanted to hurry along those challenging baby years – and am now trying to ‘weigh-down-the-waters’ and slow them down!

  31. This post was so wonderful and amazing. Thank you for your words!! Just wanted to give you a little perspective as a 23 yr old who has now been on “my own” for almost 6 years, 4 at college and now 2 in the actual “real world” with a big girl job. We do appreciate it. All of it. We are eternally grateful for all you have sacrificed as parents and all the things you have taught us. It might take some longer to realize it than others, but the things that parents do for their children make them who they are and we really are forever grateful for it…even if we don’t always tell you. Trust in the choices you made and the people you raised them to be, they will be fine. Because you have given them to Him, they will be fine. If they don’t already, they will learn to trust in Him as well. And it will all be fine. We are His to keep. And yours to cherish.

      • Didn’t mean to make you cry πŸ™‚ But I’m glad my words were able to touch you as much as yours touched me. Thank you for writing and sharing your heart. I appreciate this blog so much and am so relieved when I get to sit down with this space on my computer every night.