My fourteen-year-old daughter, Claire, leaves in a few days to attend boarding school. My husband and I have agonized that we have not finished teaching and preparing her—that she will leave our home speaking and reasoning like a child as she goes quickly to live independently like an adult.
The scripture lessons this week remind me that God’s love surrounds us even in our mother’s womb. God’s love provides strength and refuge for us, and God’s love can sustain us even when we face persecution—just as it sustained and gave Jesus courage. I want my daughter to know, have experienced, and trust in the breadth and depth of this love. How have we as family members pointed to God’s love, demonstrated God’s love, and allowed opportunities to stretch and test that love so that Claire believes that it will always hold and support her?
I had assumed that I would be present to help Claire navigate new academic and social situations that might appear to her as if looking “in a mirror dimly.” I imagined wiping away the grime of peer pressure to see the truth underneath. I had hoped to stand behind her at the mirror and compliment her beauty and strength when she couldn’t see them for herself. And to point daily to the love of God until she could discover it for herself.
Now I must learn again to trust that faith, hope, and love abide—even in a distant boarding school. I must also trust that the greatest of these, love, surrounded Claire before her birth and will be with her daily and forever.

Parent God, be with all parents who are separated from their children—whether by geography, misunderstanding, or unresolved conflict. May each trust in your love for the other. Amen.

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This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

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