Parenting college students is a new stage, but it's not the end. Your child is moving on beyond your protection, but not outside your influence. God still has WORK for YOU to do. Hope and advice from other college parents. Scripture-based encouragement from the Bible story of Mordecai and Esther.

Dear Parents of College Students: You need to hear this

Dear parents … God STILL has work for you to do and you will ALWAYS be relevant and needed! Learn from Mordecai’s example and other college parents. So MUCH great advice packed inside!

Each August across the nation, parents drop off their children and leave them with an institution they have no control over.
Their children disappear behind ivory pillars and locked doors.
It’s a scary time.
They are handing over the most precious gift God ever gave.

[x_custom_headline type=”center” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h3” accent=”true”]Dear parents of college students[/x_custom_headline]

… to be continued …

I’m reminded of another who watched the child on loan to him disappear beyond his protection.
I’m talking about Mordecai, the relative-turned-father for the well-known Bible heroine, Esther.

The story of Esther is not about Mordecai. Actually, it’s not even about Esther. It’s about the providential work of God to carry out His plans for His people. But He used a supporting cast, right?

And since ALL Scripture is inspired, I believe there is inspiration within these pages for dear parents facing the same challenge Mordecai faced.

Mordecai CONTINUED to be near and available

Esther was no longer under his direct supervision, but she was never outside of his influence. He continued to spend much time invested in knowing how she was.

“And every day Mordecai walked in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her.” (Esther 2:11)

Throughout the story, Esther knew exactly where to find Mordecai when she needed his help or needed to hear his advice.

Mordecai CONTINUED to challenge, instruct, and inspire her

In the first half of the book, there are three records of Mordecai’s words to Esther:

1- He gave her advice and instruction before she ever entered the palace:

“Esther had not made known her people or kindred, for Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known.” (Esther 2:10)
“… for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him.” (Esther 2:20)

2-He passed along relevant information that affected her situation:

[After discovering the plot to kill the king]
“And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai.” (Esther 2:22)

3- He admonished and challenged her to do the right — albeit hard — thing:

Esther’s first reaction to the news of the plot against the Jews was not bold action but rather fear (and understandably so).
Mordecai recognized the consequences, saw the bigger picture, and discerned that this WAS a time for him to speak hard truth with authority.

“Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews.
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.
And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)

Mordecai CONTINUED on in his own service to God

Dear parents, Do you know how the book of Esther ends?
Take a minute and think. Because I bet you answer with something like the Jews’ defense of themselves or the feast of Purim.
And you would be right. But that’s not the final word.

Here are the last words on record:

“And all the acts of his power and might, and the full account of the high honor of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?
For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.” 
(Esther 10:2-3)


Yes, your child is moving on beyond your protection, but not outside your influence.
What you have taught will continue to teach.

I know it feels like you’ve been punched in the stomach. Driving away, you might as well have been driving off a pier. The emotions flooded and you may be drowning in memories and grief.

Dear parents, Take them to God. He knows this story well. After all, He sent HIS Son off beyond His protection once upon a time as well.

He will sustain you through the grief and then He will be your source of wisdom as you discern — as did Mordecai — when to watch, when to speak, and when to admonish.

And I know you know this. But I’m going to say it anyway. Pray. Pray. Pray. This is your:

  • biggest gift to your child,
  • your greatest weapon against the enemy who stalks your child, and
  • your most certain source of peace.

Dear friend ~ This is not the end.
You are still the parent and you will ALWAYS be relevant and needed.

And don’t forget:
God still has work for you to do.
Just because the intense years of child rearing are behind you doesn’t mean you are finished. You’ve simply completed another chapter of His story and plan for your life.

…You CONTINUE to be available to your child.
…You CONTINUE to be the parent.
…You CONTINUE on with purpose and mission in the kingdom.

Because after all, it’s not about you. It’s not about your child.
It’s about what God is doing in this world, through each of you, to accomplish His providential plan.
And who knows but what God brought you to this place for “Such a time as this?

Parenting college students is a new stage, but it's not the end. Dear parents, God still has WORK for YOU to do. Hope and advice from other college parents. Parent encouragement from the Bible story of Mordecai and Esther. Scripture quotes, parenting teens, words of encouragement

Listen to the wisdom of those who’ve walked a mile in your shoes:

From Alesha:
The colleges/world will tell you your children are adults now, take a back seat. This is not Biblical. All through scripture children were to respect their parents’ opinions, direction, and even requests.
You didn’t suddenly stop being the parent because your child is 18 or because they’ve moved away to college. God entrusted them to YOU.

* Continue to pray, advise, and make requests. Command continued respect.
* Sure, you’ve got to loosen the apron strings, but PLEASE don’t let go!
* Let them know you love them, you’re praying for them, and you expect their best.

Most of all, trust God to get both of you through this, you and your child.

From Karen:
Don’t get too upset if things aren’t going perfectly for your student.
My son once poured his heart out to me on the phone and after listening and trying to say some reassuring words, I spent a lot of time worrying about it.
When I next talked to him, he had already forgotten the situation he had complained about and all was well!
This is the time for your child to begin solving his own problems and they can do it if we let them!

From Ray:
… What Karen said is fresh in my memory of a daughter who occasionally called with anguish to share. We hurt for her. After all, our precious child was hundreds of miles away hurting and we could do nothing to help.
But the old King James Version said it in many places, “It came to pass,” and it usually did before we were finished worrying about it. We survived it, and so did she, with not too many grey hairs accrued.
⇒P.S. This is my dad. {I might have been a bit of a drama queen in my younger years :) }

From Marva:
I’ve made the mistake of thinking that my children were ok because I was there to protect them. I quickly realized that it is God who watches over them and keeps them safe. Now I pray for them and trust Him!

From Ruthie:
Cheer them on and get a hobby
. You’ll do yourself (and your kid) a favor. But be sure to be readily available, any time day or night, for they will still need you – a LOT!
(Ruthie writes about launching her four young adults on her blog Rear.Release.Regroup.
Start with this post for some great inspiration: “How God Cares for our Launched Children“)

From Paula:
… You’ve raised them to be the person they are, so let them be that person …God is the best umbrella to put over your child!

From Penny:
[A speaker at a new student conference told us…]
“Your child will call and be ‘happy, happy, happy’ so you listen and rejoice with him/her. Other times, your student will call and be ‘sad, sad, sad.’ So, you listen BUT you do not offer to fix the problem.”

… Many times when one of mine called home and was ‘sad, sad, sad’ and I expressed at the end of the conversation that I really felt like I had not offered much help, my child would often say in a brighter voice, “It is ok. I really think I just needed someone to listen.”

… I would also tell my adult child that I would pray for him/her and I might offer some advice, if I felt that God was leading me to offer it.

From Anita:
I am so thankful that God gives us “stages” of this letting go process.

1- The “what’s next after high school” stage
(Which includes fervent prayers like: “Lord, please direct this child of Yours, and help me to accept the outcome”)

2- The “oh. my. gracious. She’s leaving us” stage, as you drive away from high school graduation

3- The “let’s get organized and somehow fit all this stuff into the cars to somehow fit into this amazingly small dorm room” stage
(And as you drive away, wondering if you’ve been praying enough for her new friends, new routines, new everything that is miles from home)

4- The “who is this new independent person who is visiting us at Christmas???” stage

5- The “but we are still praying our hearts out for your wise choices, and we will still have crucial conversations about life with you” stage

6- The “we love seeing you stepping out of your comfort zones to serve Him in far off lands and we will keep praying our hearts out” stage

7- The “I think you have solid plans for your future.
…  I love your independence.
… Please keep me posted on how I can pray
” stage

… and I think that last stage will continue past college and into her future.

From Michelle:
Sometimes, despite our best efforts and years of training, things will look like they completely crashed.

… Remember that it isn’t the final chapter so reserve judgment. Pray instead of panic. Love wisely. Prepare yourself for the moment grace needs to be extended. That will get all of you through the “less than what you had hoped for” moments.

Read the REST of Michelle’s wisdom in her own GUEST Post: The process of letting go (What you need to know)

[button shape=”rounded” size=”large” href=”” title=”Parenting Teens and Beyond” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]Keep Reading: More Posts Like This[/button]

Launching teenagers into young adulthood is not for the faint of heart.
Parenting teens is hard.
You’ll be reminded you’re not alone in this stage.

[x_author title=”.”]

Making Life & Words Count!


20 responses to “Dear Parents of College Students: You need to hear this”

  1. Christa Sterken (@Csterken) Avatar

    I am SO grateful that God led me to your post today. I NEEDED it so bad, after homeschooling 14 years, we moved across country and our daughter moved across the country again now for school. She has serious health issues and it is a gaping void my heart feels as I worry. I so treasure all these wise words

  2. Amy Avatar

    This whole thing is so difficult. My daughter left for a performing arts school in Hollywood. This would be bad enough, but she had turned her back on God 9 months or so before leaving. She began making strides to come back to Him in the month before she left, but then she went off to that Sodom and Gomorrah, and I know that she is just as far from God as ever and is believing all the insanity that Hollywood and the liberal left spout day in and day out. I have begged, pleaded, prayed, fasted, and nothing seems to be turning her back to God. I am so distraught, sad, disappointed in the lack of answers to prayer, and depressed that I don’t even know what to think or believe anymore. I knew that sending my daughter to college was going to be difficult, and that I would have a hard time with it no matter the circumstances, but this is beyond what I think I can bear. I feel like my daughter is heading toward the abyss and God is just going to let her go- that he is not going to pull her back. I feel that we are running out of time because this world is spiraling out of control and the Lord will soon return. And even though the Bible says that God will wipe away every tear and there will be no sadness in heaven, I cannot imagine eternity without my daughter(s) and that scares me and makes me sick to my stomach. And no one seems to be able to offer any confidence that things are going to turn out alright. And I know that is because there’s no way for anybody to really know what’s going to happen. I am sorry to say that I have lost my faith and my trust that God is going to work this out. I’ve come to the point where I don’t even know if prayer even works. People say it does but honestly I don’t know if it’s just coincidental or not-that you just happen to be praying what God was going to do anyway. My heart is aching and I feel as if God does not even care. I don’t care about me- I just want my daughter(s) to follow God and make the right decisions and spend eternity in heaven. I don’t think that is asking too much. I’m not being selfish with my request- I’m asking for my children.

    1. Christi Avatar

      Oh, Amy. How absolutely heart wrenching. I hear the terror and urgency coming through your words and I have a lump in my throat for you.

      Praying over YOU right now, as you need God’s Holy Spirit to come close and relieve your fears that He does hear. He does care. Prayer is His creation. But, with all that said… He’s also a very big God and a loving Father who can handle your doubt.

      I have no answers, and at times like this, all we can do is hold on to His unchanging truth. If we don’t, we’re certain to drown ourselves. I’ve been on that edge — for different reasons than you — but I know the sense of hopelessness and I can still remember the sting of the enemy’s hisses as he accused God before me and convinced me for a time to join in. But God. But grace.

      Hold on, sister. I don’t know for how long, but I know tomorrow is worth it. And the next day. And the next. God is faithful and He is good, even when it feels so unbelievable NOT good and wrong and hurtful and hopeless.

      I will add you and your daughter to my prayers. I am so sorry. So sorry for your pain.


      1. Amy Avatar

        Thank you for responding to my comment. I am keeping the tab open so when I am having a bad moment, those times I am in such despair for my daughter(s) that all I can do is lay on the floor weeping, I can turn to your message and know that someone who doesn’t even know me took the time to pen some words of encouragement and has offered up a prayer for my girls and me. Thank you.

  3. Becky I. Avatar

    Thank you so much for writing this, and I thank God for sending me here. I have never seen any of your posts before, but today’s timing for me to see your writing is perfect. Because this is the day my daughter, my love and joy, is leaving for college. I have tried not to think about it. However, last night it really hit.

    So today as I cried out to God for help, I happened to see what you wrote. Thank you.

    My daughter is packing now, the last few things she wants to bring along. And I am finding comfort in the words of this column, and those of you who have left comments. Bless you all.

    1. Christi Avatar

      Wow. Thank you for letting me know these words have been used by God in your life. What a tremendous privilege!

      This is such a hard season for parents and I’ve shed my own supply of tears and seen others do the same. You are not alone.

      Thank you again.

  4. Frances Green Avatar

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts on Mordecai. I haven’t thought about him in this context before. We moved our last son into the freshmen dorms this week, so I appreciate this perspective. May we find ways to continue to be an influencing voice in their lives.

    1. Christi Avatar

      Yes! What YOU said, Frances. Thank you for being here!

  5. Forever Joyful Avatar

    What beautiful applications from the book of Esther! I love how Mordecai never left Esther alone and continued to inspire her. He wouldn’t let her get away with taking the easy way out. What a blessing that she listened!

    1. Christi Avatar

      Thank you for this encouraging reflection.

      I love that you phrased it as, “He wouldn’t let her get away with taking the easy way out.” That’s so true.

      May we as parents be filled with the courage and wisdom to know when to challenge our children to do the same.

      Thank you for being here!

  6. Ruthie Gray Avatar

    I love the stages that Anita posted! She was so spot on, wasn’t she?! This was really great, what a wonderful idea! I’d love to incorporate something like this as far as advice for younger moms, I’ve been trying to come up with something and this may be the solution!
    And I never thought of Esther that way, but what a great example Mordecai gave for us to follow! And the ending of the book, I never thought about that. Profound, indeed.
    What can I say? I can’t help but tweet this one too!
    Wise, wonderful words, Tex. Praying for you daily! :)

    1. Christi Avatar

      Isn’t Anita a hoot? She is the friend I partnered with in raising my oldest daughter. And her philosophy was this: “Embarrass them now so they are inoculated against the world’s embarrassment.”

      We had MUCH fun implementing that strategy together during their growing up years and the girls still laugh about our antics today. And neither of them are self-conscious! ~ Maybe that’s a post in and of itself :)

      I think your ideas would be GREAT and can’t wait to read what you come up with.

      Thanks for using that “profound” word on me. I don’t get that often :)

  7. Caryn Jenkins Christensen Avatar

    Hi Christi! I found you over at Holley’s today and I’m so glad I clicked on your link :-)
    Your post is such a great reminder to the parents of college students (me)! This was my favorite take-away… “Because after all, it’s not about you. It’s not about your child.
    It’s about what God is doing in this world, through each of you, to accomplish His providential plan.”

    1. Christi Avatar

      Hi Caryn! Thank you for this encouragement. Yes, this is such a hard stage, learning what side of the line to be on. But when we keep it in that perspective, it does help tremendously. Thank you again for being here.

  8. Trudy Den Hoed Avatar

    Such important advice through Mordecai and you. Thank you, Christi. Just before I read this, my 93-year-old neighbor dropped by with some tomatoes and an article to read. She asked me to pray for her daughter who is in her 50s. Then she said something so true. We never stop being parents. Their pain becomes our pain. I have grown-up kids and grandkids and as long as I have life, I will pray, pray, pray.

    1. Christi Avatar

      We never stop being parents. Such truth. And as such, we never stop having a piece of our heart walk around on the outside of our bodies, right? Thanks for your sweet words, Trudy!

  9. Mary Geisen Avatar

    Love this! My sons are beyond college even though my younger son is finishing up his masters. The advice via Mordecai and Esther is so pertinent and goes along so well with parents sending their kids to college. As parents we are still important and play a part in the lives of our children. It changes over the years but we are needed! Great to be visiting you from #TellHisStory

    1. Christi Avatar

      Yes, Mary! It does change, but they never stop needing us. (I know because I’ve never stopped needing mine!) Always love when you drop by. Thanks for being here!

  10. Christina Hubbard Avatar

    These words are encouraging to this mama of a tween too! We just put our kids in public school after 4 years homeschooling. I will hold on to that reminder to pray pray pray. Yes, we’ll always be the parents. Thank you, Christi! Visiting from #tellhisstory.

    1. Christi Avatar

      I’m so glad they could be some small encouragement, Christina. I can only imagine all that is swirling through your heart and mind at this juncture. Thank you for being here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *