Arrows, Angels and Watermelon Socials

And last night it began – my first call from my daughter away at college needing support from home as she faced self-doubt and fear about auditioning for band today.  I am confident she will do fine and was able to deliver the words of comfort all Moms are created to do-even if it was 1500 miles way.

So, when you read the words “1500 miles” you probably don’t feel the gut wrenching, heart breaking, breath taking seizure that temporarily takes over my head and heart when I think of my child so far away.  Have grace with me when I admit its only 655 miles, but it feels like 1500.

Ok, deep breath, back to the call.  The call takes me back to this time one year ago, to the first few months of school and the weekly calls full of bravado, though clearly tempered with a fear, lonliness and sadness.

The first few months of me at college (and by that I mean my daughter at college and me immersed in my own separation anxiety), having hope and not worrying were very difficult.  I knew my daughter was in God’s hands; she had deep roots in faith, and I had peace she chose the right school. 

I knew that it would just take time, but that hamster in the wheel in my head is, like, the Jane Fonda of hamsters, and she just refused to stop whirring with worry. 

So I have a fit and healthy head-hamster to help me get to work. I read hundreds of articles on how kids and moms can adapt to their children going away to school.  I practiced the fine art of restraint, only mentioning a few times each call the multitude of opportunities and ways that my daughter had to meet people.  I thoughtfully sent those articles, took the time to look up all of the social events and text the information to my daughter.  I was there for her every day to call to tell me about how she finally found her way. 

But the phone didn’t ring.  My morsels of wisdom, and nudges of encouragement fell on the deaf ears of a nineteen year old determined to find her own way.  She stuck to our agreed upon Sunday calls, and during those calls, we talked about all of the events on campus- that she didn’t go to.

So I prayed.  Every day – every day I prayed that God would let my daughter see how much there was to offer her at the school, that she would open her mind to all of the great opportunities I had found and planned for her.  I prayed that Jesus would take the wheel and walk her stubborn little feet over to that watermelon social on Saturday. 

But I’m the melon head in all of this.  First, I know my daughter hates watermelon.   Second, I know her introverted heart hates socials.  I was praying for my daughter to find her way – down a path I was building. 

God delivered my truth through Facebook.  Now, Jesus is my friend, but its not like he sent me a private message – rather he sent me a blog post from a mother who was facing her child going away to school.  She referred her intention to send her son into the world like an arrow, quoting Psalms 127:4. It was exactly I needed to understand what God wanted me to do as the mother of a child who was 10 hours away at school. 

“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, are children born in one’s youth”

He wanted me to release my sweet arrow into the world.  I believed and committed to this out of faith.

And I was dedicated, every time I ached to hear her rattling about in her room.  Every dirty dish that wasn’t in the sink, every night I didn’t have to wait up for her to come walking in the door; when the silence of an unslammed door was deafening and the lack of mystery powdered mess on the counter was non-existent...  I prayed continuously that God would hold my arrow. 

After one particular morning of diligent praying, I had a vision – God sent me an image of an angel, “flying” over my daughter’s residence hall.  I only saw the back; feathered black wings made of steel– certainly one up to the task of dealing with my stubborn daughter.  The image gave me great peace.  God was letting me know he commanded his angels as promised in Psalms, and they were watching over my daughter.  It gave me great peace.

But wait…there’s more (I’ve always wanted to say that)…

The Glory of God is so powerful, the beautiful story doesn’t end here.  My daughter found her place at school and is now so involved in activities she doesn’t have time for watermelon on the lawn (I’m sorry, that still sounds like so much fun!).  I came to visit her in the fall and she proudly gaveme a tour of campus.

As we walked to the art school and passed under a tiled archway, my daughter pointed out the tiles in the ceiling.  She then stopped at the other end of the archway and pointed at the tiles again and said “Mom, this archway is special, designed so that if you look at the tiles from the direction we came, you just see colored tiles, but if you look at the tiles from this direction, the tiles form a black bird”

Sisters, I didn’t see a bird – I saw the beautiful black winged angel.  God’s promise, strength and glory, all in a visible, touchable, beautiful mosaic over my head.  And this moment gave me peace- not just then, but through today, sitting here 655 miles away from the most beautiful gift God has every given me, knowing God has her covered.

Lord, I pray for all of the arrows sent off to school this year.  Please send your angels to watch over them.  I pray for peace and faith for us mothers, that we learn to accept that you hold our children in your hands now…..and actually, you always have.

jenn hill.jpg

Jennifer Hill




GATHER HER || 10.12.17



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