My 17-year-old daughter and I have visited two colleges in the past couple weeks. Two colleges that I visited on my own college search twenty-five years ago. I remembered being at those schools, walking around, taking the tour, sitting in the classrooms. And now here I am, with my daughter, the years all blurry in between.

The plan has been all along that my kids would more than likely go to the local community college. And then my daughter’s current college criteria after that are as follows: “small Christian college within two hours of home.”

But something is shifting in me. Despite the bubble-world I’ve tried to create all wrapped around them during their entire upbringing, I now wish I could go back in time and whisper to them along the way, “Go do anything.”

I’m beginning to see that there isn’t a formula for life.

Yes, our culture seems to have created one: birth, toddlerhood, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, job, get married, have children, live/work/parent a while, retirement, die.

But it doesn’t have to be that way for everyone. I don’t want my children thinking they have to live out some predetermined life I’ve created for them in my head.

I want them to do what they want to do (within the great spaces of God’s huge and gorgeous and intimate will, of course).

I want them to live where they want to live.

I want them to learn what they want to learn.

I want them to marry who they want to marry (Lord, help them).

I want them to have kids or not have kids.

I want them to live full and abundant and adventurous lives, even if it means it takes them far from home.

Basically, I want them to follow Jesus. And Jesus doesn’t necessarily live only in the Midwest. In fact, last I checked, he’s absolutely everywhere.

I love my children. I don’t know if they’re planning to stick around for my benefit, but I want them to know that I’m going to be okay. And I want them to know that they’re going to be okay. Because God’s got me. And God’s got them. And it’s okay to go. It’s okay to try things. It’s okay to not be me or their dad. In fact, I don’t want them to be me or their dad. I want them so desperately to be who God wants them to be. No matter what that looks like. No matter if goodbyes are involved. No matter what. Because I love them.

(C) Elisabeth Klein, 2014

Elisabeth is a single mom to Sara (17) and Jack (15-1/2). She loves spending time with her kids, her friends, reading and writing. She is the author of Moving on as a Single Christian Mom, Living Through Divorce as a Christian Woman: Questions & Suggestions, Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage: Questions & Suggestions, Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage, At the Corner of Broken & Love; One Girl, Third World; He Is Just That Into You; In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother’s Heart; and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom’s Weary Soul. All these books can be purchased on Amazon.com. Visit her website at www.elisabethklein.com.

If you are in a difficult marriage or find yourself going through a divorce, she has created two private groups on Facebook that she would like to invite you to. Simply email her at elisabeth@elisabethklein.com for more information.

Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer's Guild and has been featured on Moody’s In the Market with Janet Parshall, This is the Day with Nancy Turner, and Midday Connection with Anita Lustrea.

If you’d like to contribute to Elisabeth’s ministry, click here.

Publication date: August 21, 2014