It seemed like yesterday when I gave birth to my oldest child. Of course, yesterday was actually 26 years ago. Now, that child is packing up her apartment in preparation for an overseas military deployment later this year.  Following close on her heels is my 23-old daughter, who’s planning to sign a lease on her first apartment later this week. My youngest daughter, also known as the one who qualified me for the Empty Nest Club, is settling into her second week of college. Yesterday, she texted me from the coffee shop because she’d spent two hours studying the wrong material for her medical terminology quiz.

From the time that my kids were born until now, I’ve worried about keeping them safe, well fed, happy or secure. When they were newborns, I watched their tiny chests lift up and down to make sure they were breathing. I guarded my babies to keep them from tipping into sharp table corners as they tried to stand and take those wobbly first steps. And once my kids began walking, a multitude of new fears and worries walked into my life…

Once our kids start walking, we spend the rest of our lives gritting our teeth and wringing our hands worrying if our grown up bundles of joy will be okay. Will my son make the right decision about college? What if my daughter loses her job? What if that young woman isn’t good enough for my boy?

Some moms also have to face deeper, darker worries and heart-breaking questions.  Like the mom who told me about how much she loved her 30-year old son, but his on-going drinking problem was wrecking his life. Out of guilt for her own mothering mistakes, she’d pay his bills, let him move back in and talked to creditors. However, the years of stress over his problems and the financial burden of bailing him out caused her to lose sleep at night and cry all of the time.

When I meet women at conferences or retreats to sign books, I always ask what they worry about most. At least half of the women say, “I worry about my adult kids.” Many of those women answer with shiny eyes filled with unshed tears. Sweet friend, if that is you today, you aren’t alone.

One of the most well-known verses in the Bible contains the wisdom and advice that all mamas, no matter the age or stage of their children – need to hear. Do me a favor and read this verse aloud so that your mind AND ears can hear the peace and the plan that God wants to give to you:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

These verses are God’s encouragement for you, my friend. Whatever you are worried about today, give it to God. It doesn’t matter if you’re worried about your little ones, big kids, adult children or even children yet to be born, give those worries AND those kids over to God.  Be real and honest about what is tearing up your heart, whether it’s a child who won’t do their homework or a son or daughter who never calls to check in. Tell God about it.

Then give thanks. Please don’t forget this part!

In the middle of our fear and worry, gratitude gets pushed aside. Our minds get so focused on what we lack, we forget the love that we’ve given and received. Thank God for the moments that you have spent with your children. Even when life is really hard, nothing is ever all bad. There is healing in gratitude, so don’t deprive yourself of it.

Ultimately, God wants us to give up our worries so that He can give us peace.

Mom, would you rather have worry or peace when your child is going through a tough time? Peace doesn’t come without surrendering your worry. If you want to hold onto all of those negative thoughts and panic, God will let you to do just that. But God has something better waiting for you.

If you’re ready to let God handle all of the worries about your kids, go ahead and tell God about it. If you need words, you can use these:

Dear God, I’m so overwhelmed with worry about my child. You know how much I love them and it’s so hard for me to see them in this situation. Yet, I know that my worries and my fears aren’t doing anything but making me miserable. God, I am so afraid that ___________________________ will happen. I need to surrender that fear to you and trust that You are watching over my child and that I can trust You with his/her life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.