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Give Me the Strength...A Parent's Prayer at Graduation

release my grip[This article by Kami Gilmour is an excerpt from a chapter in her best-selling devotional book, Release My Grip: Hope for a Parent's Heart as Kids Leave the Nest and Learn to Fly.

Give Me the Strength...A Parent's Prayer at Graduation

Lord, have mercy—

There’s a cap and gown hanging in my son’s room and it’s taking my breath away.

He’s graduating in a few days, and I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. (Did you maybe spin the earth a little faster on its axis for the past several years? )

He’s ready…but I’m not sure if I am.

Because since the day he was born and wrapped his tiny fingers around mine, my heart has been living outside of my body.  At that moment I understood the concept of unconditional love—including your love.

Thank you for making me his mom…and trusting my hands to care for this little human’s life when I had no clue what I was doing.

This parenting journey has been the hardest, funniest, stinkiest, most terrifying, inspiring, holy mess…and there are a lot of parts I messed up that I wish I could do over.

Please forgive me for the times I was exhausted and bitter and wanted to give up. Forgive me for yelling a lot. Forgive me for not paying attention. Forgive me for forgetting things. Forgive me for dropping off my 6 year old son and leaving him unsupervised for three hours at the sketchy roller rink because I had the wrong day of his friend’s birthday party. Forgive me for all of the mistakes I made as his mom.

And please help him forget this stuff—or at least help him forgive me if my failures screwed him up.(Hopefully you can turn the consequences into something positive—like the development of grit and resilience.)

Thank you for the sweet moments too—there were soooo many of those. The baby snuggles, the funny toddler sayings, the little boy hugs, the crappy Mother’s Day craft gifts and Popsicle-stick Christmas ornaments that I can’t ever throw away, the hoopla of snow days, the sight of 10 pairs of sneakers in the doorway and the house packed with friends, the camaraderie of other parents on the sidelines of at least 1,000 soccer and baseball games, the family road trips, the conversations around the dinner table and sitting on his bed whenever I still remember to tuck him in at night…THIS is what I’ll miss.

But most of all, I’m going to miss him in the ordinariness of the everyday.

Because being by his side and watching him grow up for the past 18 years—on the good days and the bad—has been the greatest joy and privilege of my life.

Oh Lord, release my grip and give me the courage to let him go. (You're gonna have to pry my fingers back a little.)

Remind me that he is yours...that he’s always been yours.

Remind me that you’ll be with him, especially when he feels alone.

Remind me that your love for him is even bigger than mine.

Remind me that I’ve done my best to raise a young man who follows you.

Remind me that letting him go is a much better alternative to letting him live in my basement forever.

And while you’re at it, please remind him of all of the above, too. 

Lastly, please give me the strength to celebrate this milestone without ugly-crying during graduation. I'd prefer not to show up in family photos of this special day with a streaky-red-puffy-post-meltdown face.

Because I want him to know that I’m more proud than sad. I want him to know that I'm more excited about what's next than afraid. I want him to know that I believe in him. And I want him to know that I believe in YOU. 

Lord, in your mercy, hear my prayer.

P.S.—Please, PLEASE keep the rain away during our graduation open house celebration, because I forgot to rent a tent and 150+ people are just not going to fit inside our home.


FullSizeRender (54)Written by Kami Gilmour, mom of five teen and young adult kids. She's the author of a best-selling book that chronicles her imperfect journey of parenting in this season with a refreshing sense of honesty, humor, and practical insights:  Release My Grip: Hope for a Parent's Heart as Kids Leave the Nest and Learn to Fly. 


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Showing 25 comments
  • Lorna Davis


    • Erin Foley


  • Janice Fisher

    My one and only child, a son, is graduating from high school this week. You captured my scrambled, emotional heart in the beautifully written words.

    • Charlotte

      Exactly!! Mine too

  • Melanie

    Love this!

  • S. Grobleben

    Wow! Still have one more year, till my son graduates, and this has me all teary eyed. I’m going to be a mess next year!

    • Selinda

      I was saying this very thing last year. And this year I have been a hot mess. As a matter of fact I had to go on medication just last month and he graduates in 3 days. I have never been more proud of anything and all my life then as I am of my son at this very moment

      • Kami Gilmour

        I hear you! I had to go on medication too! Congrats on this amazing moment, though. Soak in every moment–you’ve done well!

        • Cheryl

          This is so perfect – thank you for capturing every emotion in this beautiful passage!! Most of all – Lord give me strength and courage to let him go!

  • Anne-Lise

    I wasn’t able to download. I would love a copy. can you help?

  • Mary Rossi

    This is a beautiful read my oldest is graduating from High School Next year.. as most I am not ready for this.

  • Dawn

    Thank you. I needed this. My daughter is graduating in 1 week and don’t know how I’m supposed to do it 🙁

    • Nancy

      My son is graduating in 1 week from today. I have many emotions going….

  • Dawn

    Nailed it. Thank you!!!

  • Camille

    Thank you. It was nice to have reaffirmation of my feelings as I watch my daughter graduate college and move on. We’ve both done a lot of growing.

  • Tina S

    I have also been struggling with this same issue as my baby girl graduates in 4 more days, how I have been praying that God will take control. Thank you for this read.

  • Teresa

    This is so spot on I’m saving this as my baby graduates next year.

  • Susan

    thank you. My last child, my youngest son graduates on Saturday. This says so much of how I feel!!!

  • Jessica Peacock

    My daughter is graduating today, and this is exactly how I feel! Sharing on Facebook. Thank you!

  • Monica

    Just today I started crying. My kids wanted to know why ? I told them because I was being Goofy and my oldest graduates next year and will be leaving. Give me grace to not be the blithering idiot…

  • Michelle

    Even though our son will not be graduating for two years …I have had these same thoughts and prayers with our two daughters who have since graduated and married … I cried all the way through this article…simply beautiful…thank you❤

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