T minus 8 days. That is what we have left with our first born before she leaves home and travels more than 800 miles away to begin college.

She is ready and I am excited for her. I am grateful for all the ways the Lord has worked in and through her over these past 18 years and I cannot wait to see and hear what He will do next.

Many of you have already passed this milestone in your homes and have encouraged and supported us. You also correctly predicted the current situation in our home: a wide range of emotions. Todd and I have been happy and sad, excited and worried, proud and regretful….and all within the last twenty-four hours!

One thing that has take us a bit by surprise, however, is the sudden urgency we are experiencing these days to teach our daughter last minute life lessons….all of them…..in eight days. In spite of the eighteen years we have had with her under our roof, we now cannot stop ourselves from cramming into her any and every thing she might possibly need to know. We’ve covered banking, laundry, safety, friendships, budgeting, the importance of working hard and anything else we could think of. Just last night Todd was almost giddy when she came home with a flat tire so he could teach her how to fix it!

As her packing pile grows with dorm essentials, so does our need to throw in “just one more thing” she might need to know before she leaves. I’m grateful for this time, but with every day that ticks by I worry about what I might be forgetting to teach her. What else will she need to know?

This morning as I was thinking and praying about this, I thought about how Jesus must have felt as He prepared to leave His disciples just before His Accession. What did Jesus focus on in those last few moments with His closest followers? I flipped open my Bible to refresh my memory.

Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

After spending countless hours teaching, loving and preparing them, Jesus didn’t spend those last moments in front of His disciples cramming into them every detail for how they should respond and react in every possible scenario they might encounter until His return. Instead, Jesus kept it short and sweet. He reminded them of their focus and of His presence.

During this new and unusual season, almost everything about life and ministry is “different”. From the way I get a haircut to how my kids are going to school to the way we worship together on Sunday morning, nothing is as it was and I admit to regularly feeling ill-equipped and incapable of making the decisions that I now face on a daily basis. Jesus’ words are a beautiful reminder to me, however, that while I may not have all the answers to all the questions in front of me, I do have all that I need…He has given my his very presence. Nothing more is required.

I’m grateful for that and for the reassurance that I can stop focusing on teaching last minute life lessons to my college-bound daughter. Instead, I will spend these last few days remembering that she leaves our home equipped with everything she will need to face the uncertainty of what lies ahead: Jesus’ presence (and her mother’s phone number).

Thanks be to God!