Parenting has no end dates

The children are adults now but I still worry and pray for them.

When they pocketed driver's licenses and drove away to other homes, a part of me went also.

Where ever they go, a part of me goes also. And even when they bunk in a dusty tent in Iraq or work on a tan on a sunny beach in Belize or clean a window in a humid subdivision in Indianapolis or commute through busy Philadelphia streets or look for career opportunities close to Lancaster fields and businesses, my children are close to my heart. They are often in my thoughts. They are often in my prayers.

Parenting has no end dates.

Love crosses boundaries of time and space, keeping connections and memories alive and strong.

Love spans the chasms of time and territory to build connections with electronic messages, digital photos, phone chats, video streaming and visits -- whatever is possible. Separations are temporary. In God, love is eternal.

There is always a bit of a let down after a visit with family. It is exciting to see them, hear them laugh, listen to the journeys and struggles... and then there is the silence.

Prayer fills the silence. Love fills the silence. We can't always be talking or together. In heaven, I imagine, like here, there will be separations of some sort from time to time so that the times when we are together with loved ones can be all the sweeter.

It is a comfort to meditate on the biblical promise that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8). Within that love of God exists the love we have for family and for others. Nothing can separate us from pure love. God's kind of love, God's style of concern, interest and parenting has no end dates.

God's style of parenting can endure separations of time and geography because it isn't clingy, it is freeing. God allows his children to explore opportunities and adventures and to grow as separate people and be independent followers of his ways and to freely choose relationship with him. God allows us space because nothing can separate us from his love. Nothing.

It is hard to let a child go ... to leave for Kindergarten, to leave home for college, to leave a town for a distant job opportunity. It is hard not to see them as often.

What fills the empty room and heart spaces that echo with memories and images of those children and grandchildren?

God can do a great job of filling all the empty spaces within and around us with his good gifts and more importantly with an extra measure of his style of love.

Seek God's love and you will surely find him. Dwell and walk within God's style of love. When God's love fills empty spaces, they shine and echo with words and laughter.

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