Dear Abby

On the pier at Newport Beach

On the pier at Newport Beach

Dear Abby,

Well that was painful.

That makes kid #4 and it has not gotten any easier to have someone move out. For those people reading this who have not dropped a kid off at school, I'm warning you. It goes faster than you think.

Abbydabs, as we dropped you off at the curb of your new 7 story dorm in Southern California and each hugged you goodbye through tears and promises that we'd miss you like crazy, I was reminded that active parenting is over. There will be no more daily conversations, face to face encouragements or nightly kisses as I pass through your bedroom. I have spoken into your life on a daily basis for 18 years and the "in the moment" parenting has come to an end. Sure we still have phone calls, text messages and all of your visits home, but the "teach them diligently along the way" lessons that we know about from Deuteronomy are wrapped up. I can only hope you remember all those things as you take off on this new adventure.

So, I decided to repurpose some advice I had given to your brother and I hope it's the one thing you stole from being in our home:  It’s all about Jesus. 

What? You expected something else?

Experience? Four years of university life will certainly be filled with both positive and negative experiences, but to chase after the college experience will leave you empty when school comes to an end. No, it is all about Jesus.

Relationships? Since you were born, you were raised in our home and surrounded by our friends and stories of our friends that we had made during our 4 years at college. Certainly, we hope you cultivate lifelong friendships and build great memories during your college years.

These relationships you make will be valuable and provide opportunities for networking during the rest of your life. However, relationships can fail. Friendships will be strained by distance after college. I want you to surround yourself with people who believe that life is all about Jesus and to not be afraid to reach out to others who don’t know Him yet. It is all about Jesus.

Education? Your grandparents love to inflate the idea that college is all about getting a good education. You know that education is a means to an end, but a lousy substitute for Jesus. It may open a few more doors and provide a few more opportunities, but shifting your hope from God onto education is a deceptive trap. We have encouraged all of you to pursue an education, but that always comes with the warning to not put your hope in education. Nope. It is not about an education, it is all about Jesus.

Religion? You are attending a Christian college. You are surrounded by teachers and administrators that want to mentor and guide you! That’s great and it is certainly a blessing, but I want you to remember more than labels and descriptions and much more than outward religious behavior it really is all about Jesus.

I remember being corrected once by a religious pastor for suggesting that it was all about Jesus. He warned me that it stopped short of what scripture teaches. For nearly an hour he expounded on scripture and theology to explain to me how that statement could lead people living a life void of the sanctifying works God requires. His argument and his theological slices reminded me even more: It’s all about Jesus.

We shift our hope so quickly. We have talked about that for years in our church and in our home as we’ve seen relationships implode and college educations lead to endless/hopeless job searches and layoffs. Abby, you know this. Shifting your hope onto the college experience, onto relationships, onto education or even onto religious behavior might satisfy you in the short term, but in the long run it is all about putting your hope in God. It is all about the Gospel. It’s all about Jesus.

Paul, in his letter to the church of Corinth, says this:

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

Abby you are loved! By God and by me. Study hard! Love others well! Call, text and come home often! :)

But more than anything, remember that it's all about Jesus!

Quietly making noise,
Dad