Dear son,

Now that your not-so-spring break is over and you’re back on campus, things are settling back to normal around here.

I must admit, that was quite a week.  With your brothers falling one by one, sidelined by a nasty virus, and you in and out at all hours, I was plumb shot by the time Friday rolled around.

Not that I didn’t like having you here, mind you, extra laundry and vanishing coffee beans notwithstanding.  I did.  Having you pacing around on the other side of my desk, talking about – well, life – was just like old times.  I loved it.  It’s just that any schedule I once had was crossed out, shredded up, and burned.  But that’s okay.

Every time you leave again, I’m reminded of just how tough this whole “letting go” deal is for parents.  It’s the kind of thing that keeps you awake at night, wrestling with questions of grave import.  You know, things like, “Have I taught him all he needs to know?”  And, “Is he strong enough to stand on his own?” And finally, “Does he have enough clean socks?”

What a parent comes to realize is that you no longer have control.  Perhaps you never did and it was an illusion anyway, but you know it then as never before.

So what’s left for a mother to do?  I’ll tell you what yours does.  She prays.

Some months ago, the Holy Spirit directed me to a fresh, new way of praying that has truly been transformational.  I can’t recall just how it began, but with one small, daily plea breathed heavenward, this mama’s been learning to let go and let God do His work.

“Lord,” I pray every morning, “ordain all of my appointments.”

It’s amazing to see what’s happened.  Now that I’m actively looking for His hand, I’m finding divine appointments everywhere.  In the giving of a smile to a stranger in line, He is.  In the friendly faces that stop by my table at the coffee shop, He is.  In the encouraging word spoken to a troubled heart, He is.  And in the face of one who speaks, unknowing, a word that I needed to hear, there, too, He is.

This is what I now pray for you, son, that your Heavenly Father would ordain all of your appointments.  Whether you’re eating lunch at the Acorn or looking for resources at the library; whether you’re hanging out in Manges Hall or walking across the greens, I ask Him to give you appointments of your own.

If it’s a bit of encouragement you need or a word of truth, I entreat Him to set that up.  For the times that you struggle with temptation and the enemy’s pressing in, I trust Him to intervene.

Perhaps, though, there’s someone who needs the same from you.  I ask Him to bring them across your path and to give you eyes to see these blessed opportunities.

It really does take the right kind of eyes.  Otherwise, so many encounters just seem like interruptions, and it’s easy to blow them off and walk away, never knowing we just missed a chance to make a difference in someone’s life.

It’s an exciting way to live, son, this daily surrender of one’s steps to God.  When you venture out like this in faith, you begin to see that He really does order our days and direct our paths.  It frees Him up to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”  And that’s the kind of life Dad and I want for you.

I love you, you know.

Always praying,


Rhonda Schrock is a working-from-home mother who, with her husband, is raising 4 sons (ages 21, 17, 12, and 4).  A medical transcriptionist by day, she also writes a weekly column for The Goshen News in the early-morning hours, delighting readers with her humor and insights in a style that many have compared to the late Erma Bombeck.  In addition, she is a prolific blogger, maintaining her personal blog, The Natives are Getting Restless, while contributing to several others.  An admitted coffee snob, she devours books and loves to run.  When her tribe gets too restless, she points the BMV (Blue Mommy Van) toward her favorite coffee shop where she can be found, self-medicating with her beloved mochas.