And Then She Went to College...

Eighteen years seem like such a long time ... until you drop off your first child at college. At that moment, you realize just how short 18 years actually is.

There is no way to prepare for the 18 years of emotions you feel as a parent. As I drove home yesterday after leaving my Kayleigh at Samford, my heart felt ... I don't know how to describe it other than weird.  I am SO excited for her future and know that these next 4 years will potentially be some of the most memorable of her life.  And yet there is a deep heaviness in my heart knowing it will never quite be the same.

I am not sure you ever feel ready as a parent to say goodbye to your child. I am proud of the young woman she has become and yet every insecurity I have as a parent surfaces in these defining moments.  Your mind is filled with both good times, struggles, and a flood of questions regarding your abilities as a parent.

A lot of memories are created in 18 years - many you will cherish always and some you wish you could edit or rewrite.  But each life occurrence serves as a word, sentence, paragraph, or chapter in her story.  The first section of her life story has now been written and the next section begins.

Thankfully I am not the supreme writer of Kayleigh's story.  Nor is she the ultimate biographer of her life.  No single person stands as the final composer of her narrative. The Sovereign Author of her life story is a Heavenly Father who fills her pages with grace, redemption, healing, hope, love, and forgiveness.

There is no promise that Kayleigh's story will be filled only with happiness for the goal of our Author is not to make us happy.  His purpose is to make us holy - to conform us to his image. The aim of the Author runs deeper than mere happiness for happiness comes and goes.  Happiness is fickle. It is a cruel taskmaster drawn by superficial architects.  God wants to develop something deeper within Kayleigh. He wants to create within her a supernatural joy that surpasses human comprehension.

Jesus talks to his followers about a joy that can't be taken from them. This joy is not dictated by circumstances. It is not controlled by humans.  And it is provided solely in Jesus.

As God writes Kayleigh's narrative, I am thankful that I play a significant role in her story. God chose me to play the role of Kayleigh's Daddy.  And that reality is both a huge privilege and responsibility.  I have not always played my part in a God-honoring way. I am a sinner. I am human.  I created chapters I wish could be edited out or rewritten.  And yet, every sentence I composed God uses for her development and His glory.

God has taught me a lot in these 18 years with Kayleigh.  His education has not always translated into everyday life. But in the end, I must rest in the sovereign control of the Author who above all else has taught me how to love her unconditionally.  

I think I am still in a little denial that my Kayleigh is now a college student.  In some way, she will always be the curly-haired, brown-eyed beauty that captured her Daddy's heart as a child.  And yet as I kissed her goodbye yesterday, the tears that streamed down my face were not generated by sadness alone but a deep joy - knowing she has a Heavenly Father who loves her more deeply than I ever could. And it is in His sovereign love that I can rest as He writes her beautiful biography. 

I love you Kayleigh Hudson - now go live out your story. It is really just beginning. 

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