The Truth About Pain in Childbearing

It’s that day again—the photos are everywhere on Facebook and Twitter: scrubbed faces, neatly trimmed hair, un-scuffed shoes, and bulging backpacks all heading out the door. The faces in the photos are all smiles—it’s behind the camera where the tears usually spring up, as mothers everywhere faithfully create a steady record of that bittersweet morning when the kids return to school.

Jewish rabbis taught that pregnancy is a mother’s most blessed season. During pregnancy she could know with certainty that her child was safe, warm, nourished, and near—a certainty that would vanish as soon as the child entered the outside world. With a measured inhale, a steady exhale, and a mighty push, she would irreversibly move her child from safety and provision to separation and uncertainty.

The rabbis may not have been far off the mark. Birth is euphoria tinged with the ache of separation, the loss of a kindred closeness. It feels a little like a betrayal of a trust, thrusting a tiny person from a place of relative self-sufficiency to a place of complete dependence. It is undeniably natural and necessary (I’m glad my 15-year-old is not still in utero); nevertheless, we are stunned by the pain it involves and astonished at the amount of adjusting to come to grips with our new reality as a mother.

As the years unfold we begin to understand that we have been introduced to the great truth of pain in childbearing, a pain we naively believed would be confined to labor and delivery, but that visits us at every transition we nurture our children toward: the measured inhale, the steady exhale, the mighty push. And separation. Preschool. Kindergarten. Middle school. High school. College. Career. Marriage. With a familiar aching euphoria, we push them out—from safety and provision to separation and uncertainty. It feels like they would be safer just staying with us, as if safety were the greatest gift we could give them.

Somehow, this painful separation process is for our sanctification as mothers. For years I was not sure what the Bible meant that women would be saved through childbearing, but it grows clearer to me now. I once thought it referred only to giving birth, but its meaning encompasses the span of motherhood. Children are born in an instant, but they are borne across a lifetime. Childbearing saves me because it faithfully (albeit painfully) reminds me over and again that I am weak. It reminds me that I am not self-sufficient, that I do not have what it takes to preserve and protect my children, but that my heavenly Father does. It saves me from the belief that I am God.

Motherhood teaches women the imagery and language of the gospel on an intensely personal level. How appropriate the intertwined imagery of childbirth and the Cross: the necessary spilling of blood for the commencement of life, great loss holding hands with great gain. How appropriate the intertwined language of motherhood and the Great Commission: at the threshold of an unkind world we smile bravely at our children and say “go,” though our hearts may whisper “stay” as the door closes behind them.

My maternal feelings mislead me. There is no betrayal of a child’s trust in sending him out into uncertainty: there is only opportunity to further teach him the one worthy Object of his trust—and to learn the lesson again for myself. To paraphrase a favorite author, I cannot raise my children to be safe, but I can raise them to be strong.

So on such days of transition, I will steady myself to take those precious photos and send those precious children out. Inhale. Exhale. Push. And it will hurt the way great loss holding hands with great gain tends to do. I may cry for a little while after they go, but I will also give thanks for God’s faithfulness—faithfulness in turning the pain of childbearing from a curse to a means of grace. Only he can do that. He can be trusted, and he alone.

  • Neo

    Don’t think I’ll ever “push my children out”, not to secular/private school systems, and definitely not force them out at some arbitrary age (“Ok, you’re 18. Off to the secular state college. Oh, and find a spouse while your at it.”) There’s a Darwinistic flavor to the idea that we’re just primates that needs to force our offspring/genetic material out into the world, and don’t bother with a patriarchical vision or a multi-generational heritage that we can continue to shepherd our children beyond the expiry date set by the pagan culture.

    My children are always welcome in my home, and I’ve never even remotely considered adapting the secular mindset that there comes a point I should “push them out”.

    • Joan

      Neo, I did not come to the same conclusion as you from reading this article nor did I sense the author has any of the worldly viewpoints you assigned her. Releasing our children to the care of our heavenly Father has nothing to do with not welcoming them in our homes. Perhaps it was the photograph of a public school bus that spurred your strong negative reaction and a second reading of the article is in order.

    • Wendy Shank

      I REALLY don’t think this is what she meant, Neo. Take a deep breath. There are some believing Christian children on that yellow school bus, I’m sure… and some that need to hear the good news about a Savior, too! ( :

      • Kevin Subra

        To be fair to Neo, Jen does emphasize pushing them out, which is not, in itself, a biblical concept of motherhood. I think Neo has some points worth considering.

        • Al

          The emphasis is there because Jen assumes that pushing children out is part of being a mother and is dealing with how difficult this is. I am a little baffled as to why this is even in dispute. This is clearly a biblical concept because mothering is about raising children to become adults and sometimes this will mean ‘pushing out’. This is not signing up to a secular agenda but part of parenting a child well.

          We don’t require a Bible verse stating ‘Mothers, thou must push out’ to understand that this is a crucial part of mothering. We can observe how mothers interacted with their children in the Bible though and draw certain conclusions. So from Hannah we can see that sometimes, literally pushing a child out of the maternal arms, is the right thing to do (look how Samuel turned out) and from Mary and Joseph, that sometimes we don’t let our children go when we should (Jesus aged 12).

          Neo – it’s OK if your children are to stay at home more than other children if that’s how you think this is how to parent your children best but I hope you will allow other mothers to make different choices without assuming that they are signing up to a secular agenda.

          • Kevin Subra

            Dumb question (for me): Isn’t sending kids to a secular school, by default, signing them up to be taught by the secular agenda? This isn’t arguing for or against it, but it’s certainly true, isn’t it Al? It makes our “pushing out” need much more “putting in” than probably with other options, it would seem.

            Requiring a verse: If we are commenting about a verse and making it say something that it doesn’t directly say, is it fair to say it? Seems counter-intuitive to the article.

            Pushing out is not a mother function, I would say. Pushing out is a parenting function (both father and mother). This would argue against the author’s point and suggestions.

            • Al

              I am not sure I entirely understand your first question Kevin but I’ll take a stab at answering. In some ways it does demand more of us (‘putting in’) if we place our children in secular education (‘pushing out’) because we have to continue to educate them at home about dealing with secularism. But bringing up children to deal with the secular influences is a vital part of growing up. At some point all of us have to be able to analyse and understand such influences and deal with them in the light of our Christian beliefs. It is a question of when it is appropriate for children to be exposed to the secular influences and for different children the appropriate time will be different. I do not think it is appropriate for me to decide for someone else’s children when they should have to deal with this.

              The verse Jen is commentating on has different interpretations (as she has pointed out below) and it is entirely appropriate for her to expound the verse in this way. Some people do take verses wildly out of context but I don’t believe she is in this case. This may not be the only way however of interpreting this verse. Sometimes the Bible ‘speaks’ to us in different ways depending on the season of our life and what the Spirit is drawing to our attention.

              As pushing out is a parenting function it is therefore also part of mothering and thus legitimate to focus on from a woman’s point of view alone.

  • Darci

    I am not looking forward to my two year old growing up. It is bad enough that she is growing more and more independent every day! But, it is true, we are raising them to be God fearing adults, not to stay dependent on us, but to grow dependent on Him in making their own decisions. Good article!

  • Nancy Guthrie

    So achingly true and so beautifully said. Thank you, Jen.

  • Al

    Thank you for this perspective Jen.
    I had not thought of the pain encompassing the whole of a mother’s life before nor that it referred to the different aspects of pain. With three children growing up fast I identify with the feelings of saying ‘Go!’ when you know you have to for their sake yet wanting to say ‘Stay!’ for my own.
    God is faithful throughout the seasons of raising children but it is only in the living through them that we discover this.

  • Janna

    This really spoke to me as both of my children will be starting preschool in a couple weeks. I so often think of how I, as a mother, want to be able to control my children’s environment- whether it be schooling, friends, media exposure, diet, etc. but how I can’t do that completely or perfectly. And, frankly, that as their mother it isn’t my place to control, that is the responsibility of their Heavenly Father, and that as I slowly release them- into the world and further into his care, covered by prayer and His word- I demonstrate faith and trust in my Heavenly Father as well.

    • Rosy

      Hi Janna,

      I just was reading down the comments and I wanted to respond o yours if that is ok:)

      I think that you may have a misconception about “control”. Yes, ultimately Our Father in heaven ordains our steps. But He has also given us guidelines on how to raise our children.

      There is so much we as mother’s (I am a mother of five), we need to let go of and not fear. But, we do need to be wise. Not wise as the world and conform to it’s ways To be different from the world. Not to fear teaching our own, training little hearts, and then preparing them for one day when they will leave our home.

      I am a gardener. I would never leave a little seedling out in the harsh cold weather to be
      destroyed, but I care for this seedling, making sure that I am caring for all the needs so when I do put it outside in the Spring, I know it is ready. How much more important is our children!

      I personally think that sending the children off to school is not a Biblical way of mother’s having to let go.

      I think it can be justified however people would like it o be. Especially since our world thinks that mother’s should be out side the home working, and Biblically a mother is to be homeward oriented.

      Bottom line. Motherhood is hard, exhausting and completely rewarding all in one. We are to protect what the Bible calls “gifts” and “rewards” and “blessings”.

      Our children are from Him, not to be sent to learn from a very secular mindset. From teachers who teach views that may be contrary to what they have learned from home. A parents job is to teach and raise up their own children. I believe that our society is so lazy. Women want to pass along their children to another women who has been “trained” to teach them. Then finally relax at home.

      “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
      Luke 6:40

  • Kim

    Lovely. So true. Parenting during the teen years brought the principle of pain in childbearing down in full force. But it was definitely a means of sanctification.

  • Hannah

    Achingly beautiful piece. Thank you.

  • Johanna Hanson

    So true. We must raise them to be strong in the world and not be afraid of the world. Thank you for your words.

  • Lindsey Carlson

    Yes, and AMEN! My husband and I were recently discussing how pain in childbearing is also related to the pain of continuing to produce a continuing line of sin-stained human beings. It is painful because we continue to see our sin manifested and repeating in the fruit of our loins. We grieve that we are incapable of “fixing” anything in ourselves and in our children.

    Neo- I don’t think that this is the heart of Jen’s article. She is stating that all of life is characterized by seasons. We all are born, grow, change, and mature. Children leaving our home, whenever this happens, is a natural part of life. I don’t think Jen is “kicking her children out of the nest” as much as she’s recognizing the natural rhythm of life that is designed to strengthen and challenge our children to cling to Jesus when we’re not around. We want them to stand firmly rooted in the gospel and this is painfully not ours to control. We must faithfully shepherd them and be good stewards of the truth and trust the Lord with the results. This, is painful.

  • Brenda

    Just when I thought it was safe to wear eyeliner and mascara…I read this. Great piece. Thanks for sharing this beautiful reflection.

  • Kevin Subra

    I believe mothers and accompanying responsibilities are of the noblest and eternal of ventures. It is hard work, but it is the most influential work on earth.

    I do think, however, that in this article the author is super-imposing modern life on the passage addressed (a common Bible study error). The concepts of “Preschool. Kindergarten. Middle school. High school. College. Career. Marriage. With a familiar aching euphoria, we push them out—from safety and provision to separation and uncertainty.” would be foreign to the time in which it was written, and therefore would not be in any way what the purpose, intent, or interpretation of the passage would involve.

    Further, the passage indicates somewhat an opposite view. That women will be saved in childbirth “*IF* they (presumably the children) continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” It seems to indicate ongoing influence (as opposed to “pushing them out” with an ultimate goal of life-impacting influence on her children. Sanctification and maturity is found IN mothering, not in giving up mothering to others.

    • Red


      I do agree with your second paragraph, though not with your last one. In v15 “the childbirth” is a noun and not a verb. So I take this to be the birth of Christ and through Christ the woman of vv11 & 12 , who Paul is not allowing to teach will be saved. This woman or “she” who is deceived and in sin v14, will be saved if “they” (her and a man, probably her husband) remain faithful and holy.

      • Kevin Subra

        It would not be this unless salvation is of works instead of the finished work of Christ. Salvation is either wholly of belief in Christ’s work or it is of our works.

        It is also interesting that it is focusing on the woman specifically in v. 15, not the man. It misses the logic of the passage to return to the man (covered in v.8).

        • Red

          I don’t understand what you are saying, Kevin?
          What would not be what?

          In the prior verses women and men are plural, but in v11 through v15 Paul uses the singular, “a woman” and “a man” which according to the context, especialy v15, “she” and “they” refers to a specific woman and a specific man. In v15, a woman is refered to as “she” and a woman and a man together are refered to as “they”

          • Kevin Subra

            Sorry for not being more clear.

            I do not see how this passage would be referring to salvation (as in “being saved from sins”) for anyone, man or woman. Salvation is by faith alone in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

            The passage also says “SHE” will be saved, so it is still talking of the woman being “saved” in some specific way to her, not both the man and the woman. I see it as the interpretation of being saved from uselessness, since women cannot teach or lead – v. 12. The woman finds her fulfillment / sanctification in the God-assigned role (from creation onward) of raising her children.

            I think the “they” is most naturally referring to the children which is directly antecedent to the word translated “they remain,” mentioned in the word “childbearing” (teknogonia). Literally, “She shall be saved through the childbearing, if they remain in faith and love and holiness with self-control.” The most direct antecedent would not be the woman, or the man and the woman, but the children just referred to.

            “The woman” is referred to in the singular in v.14, so the singular is normal and natural in v. 15. The only way you could get a specific woman & man (which is not mentioned) out of this verse is if you were interpreting it as being Adam and Eve alone. It is either “the woman” (the female as opposed to the male, as it is presented through the latter part of this chapter), which would represent all females (as opposed to males) or it is Adam and Eve (which would make the passage non-sensical and irrelevant, it would seem).

            Creation is used by Paul to relay what impact the Fall had on both the man and the woman. The order of creation (which is not impacted by culture) and the deception of the woman by the serpent (a historical fact, again not impacted by culture) are applied by Paul to the roles of men and women as they relate to the church.

            “The meaning of sozo [to save] in this passage is once again something like ‘spiritual health,’ a full and meaningful life. This fits the context quite well. Paul has just excluded women from positions of teaching authority in the church (1 Tim. 2:9–14). What then is their primary destiny? they will find life through fulfilling their role as a mother IF they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety. A salvation which comes only to mothers who persist in faithful service is not the faith alone salvation
            taught elsewhere.” (Dr. Tom Constable)

            This understanding that it refers to the raising of her children would correlate very well with 1 Tim 5:10 “if she had brought up children” and the desire of Paul that “younger [widows] marry, bear children, manage the house…” as well as instruction found in Titus 2:3-5.

            I’m not trying to force any particular interpretation. It means something, and it cannot mean anything we want. My view has changed from a more common view to something I believe is more in line with what is revealed in creation and presented throughout Scripture.

            I hope this helps some.

    • Shannon

      Why must we assume that “pushing them out” means we are no longer mothering them? This is a false dicotomy that surfaces often but just doesn’t seem to be helpful to the discussion.

      • Kevin Subra

        Well, when you opt to “push them out” to preschool, isn’t someone else mothering them at that time?

        I just see the main point of Jen’s article as “pushing out,” and I see much of it as not part of the original intent.

        Good article, but not one based from this text.

      • Kevin Subra

        Biblical accuracy should be relevant, always, by the way. That is my point.

    • Al

      The ancient world was full of even more uncertainty and danger than one we live in (I’m assuming a normal western experience here – clearly there are exceptionally dangerous places to live in today as well). The milestones that Jen is using to illustrate the experience of a modern mother could be easily mirrored by the experiences of a mother in the ancient world. In every civilisation there are milestones of growing up that require separation of a child from their parents and would have been even more dramatic than the ones we experience now.

      In the culture in which the New Testament came into being males did leave home (to join the army for example or to learn a trade) or they became adults within their home with all the responsibilities and privileges that brought whereas females would have expected to leave their parental home, often shortly after first menstruation when they would be married, sometimes to a man they had no choice about marrying. The experience of mothering growing children in the New Testament context is not so far removed from the pain and peculiar joy of encountering milestones today; it is entirely appropriate to use this passage in this context.

      • Kevin Subra

        “The experience of mothering growing children in the New Testament context is not so far removed from the pain and peculiar joy of encountering milestones today; it is entirely appropriate to use this passage in this context.” No argument here. It’s how she is posits it in some ways that would never have been construed in the era in which it was written. You are correcting her error by what you write more than standing for what she has written.

        Good article, as I say. But not culturally accurate for the text, and imposing our culture into the text, rather than applying how they would have understood it to our day. Sending kids to preschool is foreign to this text. Rather, it seeks to justify choices that would not have been made in that day.

        • Brenda

          Kevin, I am just not understanding your argument. We all realize the Biblical text isn’t justifying the specific decision to send a child to preschool or not. To me it’s clear the author understands that the choices made by mothers at the time the NT text was written are vastly different from the choices a mother (or father, for that matter) of 2012 has to make. The point is: what is the timeless principle behind the text? To me the author articulated it very well. She did say that “At least three interpretations surface regularly in reliable commentaries, one of which I related in the post. Two sound exegetes don’t always arrive at the same conclusions, but surely there is grace in handling the disagreement.” I haven’t done a study on this particular verse myself, so I am not in a position to comment. But I find this article to be very well written and I disagree strongly with the judgement imposed on folks who do, for various reasons, opt to send their children to school. I thoroughly agree that “Biblical accuracy should be relevant, always,” but we cannot change the fact that we currently live in the year 2012. We still are trying to follow Biblical principles.

          • Kevin Subra

            Brenda, Jen doesn’t exegete the passage – she applies it. She references 3 interpretations (I have found 6, but not the one she seems to embrace.), but does not present her choice nor her exegetical logic behind her choice based upon the text.

            Your reference to 2012 indicates that you do not believe that this passage is itself timeless. It does not address culture or choices, but the outcomes of the choices based upon a woman’s childbearing. It is presented in such a way to be acultural. It doesn’t address the “how” based upon the time of its writing. It avoids tying itself to a time by the very way it is written.

            There are several points and principles (not just one) in the text. We cannot pick and choose based upon how we desire to interpret. We must be faithful to the text by how it was intended to be understood. It is not helpful to bend the text to make it mean what we want it to mean, regardless of how nice it sounds. Creative writing is not the same as accurate exposition. This is the former (to a great degree) and not the latter.

            • Brenda

              Kevin, I do agree with Al, that I appreciate your courteous manner in these comments. I am very confused by your second paragraph. Like I said, I have not done a study on this particular passage myself, but I am agreeing with you that the text does not address culture or choices and it doesn’t address “the how.” I don’t understand how it appears I am saying the opposite. What I said is that I can’t change the fact that I live in 2012 and I’m trying to apply Biblical principles to the best of my ability. Best wishes to you. :)

        • Al

          I don’t think we will agree on this Kevin but I appreciate the courteous way in which you have expressed your objections to my comments.

          • Kevin Subra

            Agreed (that we won’t agree). Ditto on the courtesy, too. ;>D

  • Danielle

    God is so awesome, I just read that passage of scripture and wondered the same thing. How 1Timothy 2:15 that women would be saved through childbearing. And then I find this article. Thank you for opening up my eyes to a deeper meaning. It is after all about sactification in all and through all circumstances.

  • Aimee Byrd

    Thanks for these words of encouragement in Christ. I often think of how as parents, it is our job to equip and teach our children to be independent adults (from us that is), but our own spiritual growth is so different. In our sanctification we see that we are more and more dependent on Christ for every step. This helps us realize that while we are equipping our children to be independent from us, we also are to teach and encourage them of their utter dependance on Christ.

  • MF

    I did not “bear” my two children the way that you other mothers have. They were carried by someone who simply could not be their mother. Instead, I received them like unexpected gifts at the ages of four and five.
    But I still understood every word of what you wrote, Jen. Motherhood has shown me my greatest weaknesses and my need to always stay close to the Father, who can do all things that I can not.
    I believe that this is motherhood’s greatest gift: not necessarily pregnancy, though it is a beautiful process, but actual mothering. That is the the great gift, that we are allowed to care for God’s children even though we are totally inept and unprepared and imperfect.
    I often think of the day when my boys will become men, and I am both saddened and encouraged by the thought, because I know that God has His hand on them. He plucked them out of what was turning out to be a terrible situation and placed them in a God-honoring home.
    I don’t send my kids to public school, but I feel the “push” every time they learn a new skill that leads them closer to manhood, or run off to play with their friends now instead of asking me to play like they used to. I feel the “push” especially after bad days, when the realization that they won’t be in my house forever hits me like a brick wall.
    Thank you Jen, for your fitting words and wisdom.

  • Marilyn

    “How appropriate the intertwined language of motherhood and the Great Commission: at the threshold of an unkind world we smile bravely at our children and say “go,” though our hearts may whisper “stay” as the door closes behind them.” Loved this. As I struggle today, wanting to change life for a couple of my kids, longing that they be safe, imploring God for their safety I read this – thank you.

  • Brenda

    Oh, wow! This is the best article I’ve read in a long, long time! Great job, Jen! I had never thought of that scripture with this perspective before, but it makes absolute sense! It made me cry! Oh how true it is. Thank you!

  • Angel

    Such a great post, Jen! I feel like each stage I’ve gone through with my kiddos so far includes “Inhale. Exhale. Push.” I love hearing the heart of other moms who love God, love people, and desire to teach their kids to do the same.

  • s

    as an adoptive mom, i’m so grateful for this post…the acknowledgement that childbearing is not just about pregnancy, labor & delivery, but bearing our children over our hearts before the Lord for our entire lives. thank you…

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  • Joel

    Wow! Just, Wow! Jen, your gift for communicating the emotionality of this experience and connecting it with the Gospel is remarkable! Very well done!

  • Sally

    And it does not get any easier when they have grown up and have children of their own..Your heart still aches with separation,made even harder with grandchildren

  • Bernadine Barker

    How I do feel for your family, Chris. It is the natural process and you want them to go off to school, but it is so painful. It is especially true with the first one. I remember how hard it was for me when Ryne went off to school. When he came home at Christmas, he brought a “family tree.” for our family. HIs room mate told me at the time of his funeral how much he thought of home and Ryne was always so composed that I probably never realized that. I know I wish I had called him more, wrote him more, taken trips to school to see him more. When Robert went off to school, Ryne was back home, I was going through the divorce and he was closer so I could see him…and I did go to as many of his baseball games as I could. I remember my mother crying when I was getting married. When I ask her why, She said, “well, you won’t be my little girl any more.” I said well I have been gone to school and not home much, but her reply was, “But you will never be back in the same way anymore.” And it does not get any easier when they have children. Now I am feeling sad because Robert, JR has only 4 more years of school and he will be off to college.

  • Andrew

    Sorry to be a party pooper but this is just not good exegesis :( The original meaning should be firmly established before making applications.

    The article really was inspiring and well communicated but just not supported by the text. One of my preaching pastors used to chuckle and tell students who preached an inspirational message that was not sufficiently grounded in the text, “THAT WILL PREACH”. Everyone knew he meant that people will love it whether it is bibilical or not but we should not be satisfied with it.

    • Jen Wilkin

      Andrew, you are not a party pooper at all. I did my homework before writing this post. There is quite a bit of debate surrounding the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:15, but it is friendly debate. At least three interpretations surface regularly in reliable commentaries, one of which I related in the post. Two sound exegetes don’t always arrive at the same conclusions, but surely there is grace in handling the disagreement.

      • Kevin Subra

        I’ve studied this passage a great deal over many years, and I’ve never seen this interpretation. It certainly would not have been understood that way at that time (preschool, etc. is our culture, not theirs in Ephesus). Different arguments are not equally valid, and cannot all be true.

        I agree with Andrew. This is not good exegesis. It makes for a nice article, but not a Biblically sound one (from this text, anyway).

  • Wendy Shank

    Beautiful thoughts! Whether the text directly means this broader view of “childbearing” or not, exegetically speaking, we may not know for absolute certain. But I think it’s perfectly appropriate and even helpful to put all of the very real pain of the whole span of motherhood, and the need of being saved through it all, into the biblical context along with the physical pain of birthing. It’s all motherhood, cursed and then redeemed. We are KEPT through them by our father, for sure! It doesn’t defy a good theology to think of it this way, and in fact it has helped me greatly to claim the promise in this bigger way!

    As for the reactions you’re getting against “pushing them out” — well obviously you’re not saying they have to get out by a certain age and that they’re not welcome at home anymore. Good grief.

    I have always felt that child-bearing and child-rearing had better include some rehearsal and preparation for child-releasing before the day comes to leave (and cleave, if they are so led). We felt that encouraging their growing independence was part of our job, and what joy to watch them stand their ground as young fellers in the public forum (with some coaching from us when needed). You can do this in the home school, the church school, or the public school. (But whatever your context, it is, as you say, a little painful at times!)

    I wrote some very similar sentiments on my blog a few years back as my last child headed off to his first day of senior year of high school (my LAST first day of school as a mom). It’s just never over, and that pain is a blessed pain. Thanks for sharing. — thought you might enjoy hearing about the other end of that lifetime of first-days-of-school.

  • Wendy Alsup

    I enjoyed this, Jen!

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  • Shannon

    Oh wow. Love this post. It captures the sentiment of my own heart as we agonize every year over the schooling decisions. This quote resonated with my heart: “There is no betrayal of a child’s trust in sending him out into uncertainty: there is only opportunity to further teach him the one worthy Object of his trust—and to learn the lesson again for myself.” I think this is God’s heart for us in the midst of dying world. I have been blogging through some of our reasoning for public schooling and this just encourages me so much! Thanks Jen!

  • Louise Holzhauer

    Strong, wise and beautiful, like pillars in God’s temple. Like well-rooted and fruitful trees. (Ps. 144:12). That’s the goal in raising children, but it costs a lot. And it shapes us to be more like Christ – who gave up everything to give us everything. Thanks for the reminder that pain is transformative and raising children is very good work.

  • Pamela

    My sons are in their 20s. You can hope and pray they will be strong, but you can’t make them strong.

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  • Lisa Spence

    Beautifully expressed! My oldest son left home two weeks ago to begin his college education and I well understand the emotion you describe in this post!

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