As we wrap up this month of “launch strategies” for all the teenagers in our lives, I’ve reached out to another mom with a college-aged daughter so she can give us a peek ahead at the next stage. Guest blogger Lianne Robinson, a friend and fellow-writer from my own college days, shares what it’s like to trust God with His plans for young adult children. Take it away, Lianne, and ROLL TIDE.
Do you ever feel like your prayers aren’t making it all the way to God’s ears? I’ve sometimes felt like I was standing at the door to Heaven’s waiting room, wringing my hands and wondering if I was close enough to God for Him to hear me. I’d like to share a story of when I perceived this to be the case.
Since my daughter, Emma, was nine years old, all she has ever wanted to do was be in the Million Dollar Band at the University of Alabama. All through high school, Emma took flute and piccolo lessons, marched every fall, participated in many honor band festivals, and excelled as a section leader and award winner. She applied to the University and was thrilled to be accepted.
Emma excitedly auditioned for the MDB in February 2018. It was her senior year and we waited almost 4 months to find out if she had made it. I vigilantly checked her email every day to see if we had heard any news. When I would wake up every morning, I would pray this prayer in expectation: God, please let this be a good news day! If it is your will for her to be in this band, please let it happen. If it’s not, please help our hearts to understand.
It went on like this day after day until the end of April. I was not with her when the email came in. I read it first and was crushed to see the word “unfortunately” in the first sentence. Where would we go from here?
All hope wasn’t lost, however. She was placed on a waiting list that gave her a chance to join the band if someone else dropped out. Emma was hopeful about and accepting of the situation.
So, the praying and email checking continued in earnest. The long-awaited email never came. I struggled with being frustrated: God, she wants this so badly. She needs this for her confidence and for a social circle. Please, if it’s Your will, make a way.
Sometimes I wondered if God was ignoring my prayers, or if it simply wasn’t His plan.
I had many faithful prayer warriors praying with me about the situation over the summer. At the end of July, Emma received a phone call that changed everything. The director of the band created a brand-new special position for Emma and several other students that were on the waitlist. She would be a uniform manager and would help with equipment. She would have the chance to proudly wear the uniform and would travel with the band, but she wouldn’t march. To say we were happy is an understatement!
God answered our prayers, but only in His unique way and in His time. There was never a point where God didn’t hear me.
What I had failed to realize was that God was gently telling us, “Wait. What I have planned is better. My ways aren’t the same as yours. Just be patient and My will shall be done.” (See Isaiah 55:8)
August rolled around, and Emma went to band camp. She quickly made friends and found her place at the University. She worked very hard, but it was altogether a wonderful experience. She enjoyed the friendships she made and gained valuable insight into the inner workings of the band program.
Fast-forward to April of this year. Emma auditioned again for the Million Dollar Band. We prayed in faith, and we waited more patiently. Emma decided early on that she would love to march, but if God had a different plan, she was open to it. We found peace in the realization that we were all going to be okay, no matter what the outcome was.
On the last day of April (during final exam week), Emma received a late-night email, which I again happened to see first. All I saw was the word “Congratulations!” and I was filled with joy so strong that it my heart overflowed with it. It leaked out of my eyes and bubbled out of my soul as laughter and praise. Emma quickly contacted me, and we celebrated and praised God together for His blessings. We are excited that she will have this opportunity to be a representative for Christ as she does what she loves with the band—marching and playing music.
If you ever find yourself outside the door to Heaven’s waiting room, remember that God cares about the things we care about and is faithful to answer our prayers in His way and in His time.
I love Lianne’s story of partnering with God through her prayers and her trust in His timing as Emma moved into the next stage of independence! For more encouragement in prayer and parenting, check out these links: