As a parent, I have not felt more unprepared for anything than the moment our youngest “left the nest.” I know all the Christian ease about preparing them for the world, but I was not ready for how her independence would impact me.

It’s been a couple of months since she stepped into this next phase of adulthood, and she is knocking it out of the park. However, the transition for me has been less than graceful. I remember longing for a quiet home while our kids were still there. Now I find myself making noise and being loud because it’s just too quiet.

I had no idea how much time my wife and I had devoted to our girls. As we first began to adapt, those times spent waiting for the girls to come home so we could have dinner have become uneasy times, staring at each other, wondering what do we do now? We can eat when we want and what we want without worrying about whether or not they will want what we prepare.

I have tried extremely hard to be as excited about all the “new” things in her life. She calls to tell us things that are happening, new places discovered, young men that are interesting – I don’t try as hard to hide my disapproval on this topic. Through it all, she is bubbling with excitement. Life is filled with new adventures as she embraces her independence, but I’m left wondering, was what we taught her enough?

I have learned to trust God more in these moments as a father letting my little girl soar to new heights then at any other time in my life. We lived (as best as we could, definitely not perfect) a Christian life in front of her. We tried to model the love of Christ in our relationship as husband and wife, as parents, with others, in giving… the list could go on, but you get the idea. We encouraged her to be independent, trusting that her relationship with Christ would guide her through times when we couldn’t hold her hand and walk through the moment with her.

We are still there for her even though we can’t get there as quickly as if she were still home. She calls when she needs advice or her car needs work, and I’m grateful for that. My newfound independence is becoming less overwhelming as time goes on. In fact, you could say it is liberating. I feel free to continue building my relationship with Christ as I watch her life develop, knowing that as long as she keeps her focus on God, she will be okay. In fact, I might just take her mom on a date when I finish writing this. After all, we don’t have kids at home. We can stay out as late as we want!

Toby Swager is a husband, father, author of two books, Non-Profit Director, and Pastor. He currently serves at Connection Pointe Church in Goodlettsville. Log on to his website for more information,

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