When Your Child Graduates (for parents, graduates, and my son)

Gold Brush Stroke

It’s difficult to let our graduates go. Yet we can confidently release them, knowing God has them in His care.

I’m now officially a mom of a college graduate (soon to be two [and four adults])! At the risk of sounding cliché, where has the time gone?

I still feel like that newlywed, eager to begin the married life. I still feel like that young mama, excited but nervous for the adventure that lay ahead.

I know I’m a bit wiser and quite a bit older, but it’s difficult to grasp that I’m now parenting an independent adult son.

I’m so very proud of our firstborn. Daniel is a young man of character and integrity. He loves the Lord and his family. He’s not without flaws but is humble in his acknowledgement of his weaknesses.

He pursued his degree with purpose and passion and (from what I can tell from a distance) a good measure of fun as well. He’s one of the least judgmental people I know and is willing to honestly dialogue about any issues without malice.

Danny’s been a huge support for me in both my personal faith and my ministry. I can’t be more grateful or blessed to be his mom.

Dave Danny Julie resized

Difficulty of Letting Go of Adult Children

Yet, no matter how well they do, as a parent, it’s difficult to let go of our children. We want to continue to protect them and help them solve problems. We long to guide them around obstacles and through valleys.

And to some extent we still will. Parents don’t quit being parents once our children turn 21.

It's hard to let our children go, but parents don't quit being parents once our children turn 21. Share on X

We still play an important, yet perhaps more subtle, role in our adult children’s lives. One of the first tasks (and perhaps most important) is to surrender them into the loving arms of their Father.

Yet sometimes we need to provide something tangible for them to take with them. 

So to make all of us “releasing” parents feel better, I used Scripture to develop a list of principles we can pass on to our graduates (it’s great advice for the rest of us too!). Simply click on the image for your free download.

Help your graduates adopt important Scriptural principles as they move into the real world (it's great advice for the rest of us too!). Share on X

Scriptural Principles for Graduates (and the rest of us)

  • Spend time daily in the Bible, letting the words of life soak deep into your heart.
  • Hold fast to the truth of Scripture.
  • Continuously surrender your expectations and embrace God’s perfect plan for you.
  • Love and seek the Lord with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul.  We serve a relational God, One who wants more than your obedience. He wants your heart.
  • Love others as you do yourself (Matthew 19:19).
  • Be bold in sharing the Good News, because apart from Jesus Christ all are lost.
  • Be kind and gentle and generous to everyone you meet.
  • Have compassion for the least.
  • Conduct yourself with humility.
  • Look to the Holy Spirit for discernment and wisdom.
  • Cultivate gratitude (recording gifts daily makes it easier).
  • When you don’t feel the presence of God, know that He is still near. He will never leave or forsake you.
  • When you face struggles and begin to grow impatient, know God has this too. Trust that you are growing and being transformed and that God redeems all challenges in His perfect timing (not ours).

Principles for Graduates

Graduate, may you be richly blessed as you pursue the perfect plan of your Father.

Graduate, may you be richly blessed as you pursue the perfect plan of your Father. Share on X

Letter to My Son

And if you will indulge me, to my son:

Daniel, as you embark on this new adventure of employment and a life independent of parental and institutional guidance, my prayers for you will remain much the same as they have. I pray that you remain a “servant of the living God” (Daniel 6:20). May you trust in your Lord (Daniel 6:23). May the Holy Spirit be your beacon for life. May You surrender your expectations of what’s best for His true best. May you love Him with your whole heart, mind, and soul (Matthew 22:37). May you praise His name forever and ever (Daniel 2:20).

Danny, your father and I love you so much and are incredibly proud of the man you’ve become and all your accomplishments. We are blessed to call you son.

Love, Mom 

“Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” Psalm 37:4-5

Reflections: Do you have a loved one who graduates this year? Place his or her name in the comments so I can pray for each one.

Going on 5 years of counting and I’m nearing 5,000 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! Here are numbers #4,999–5019. Read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Orioles making their appearance: their song is heavenly!; First lawn-mowing done; Lovely lilacs picked and gracing my table
  • Watching an oriole drink milk from the cat bowl!; Finding my lost phone; Zachary home to go to Joey’s soccer game with us
  • Rose-breasted grosbeak found our suet ball; Taking special note (and photographing it) of God’s fingerprints in nature on my morning walk; First use of our new gas grill
  • Celebrating life and homegoing of a dear lady and helping to serve the luncheon; Watching a great, hard-fought soccer game; Packed to travel to Danny’s graduation from Hillsdale College
  • Safe arrival at Hillsdale College for Daniel Sunne‘s graduation (with the family including my mother-in-law); Beautiful place to spend next 3 nights; Being with our firstborn
  • College graduation of Daniel Sunne – so proud of him!; Listening to Justice Clarence Thomas as commencement speaker; Celebrate the commission of Danny’s friend as a Marine 2nd Lieutenant
  • Attending church with Daniel and seeing his friend Caleb; Relaxing afternoon at the rental house; Beautiful weekend, ending with time around the fire and smores


By His Grace,



  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) on May 17, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    In life, we go through stages. Rev. T.D. Jakes calls then seasons. But we have to go through them as we and our kids mature. I read somewhere that since the powers-that-be lowered the age of majority, those in their late teens do not vote. I personally believe that a mistake was made when they did this. You refer to the age of 21 as the age of majority. I believe you are right. Extend my congratulations to your son,please.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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