Are All The Children In?
by Maggie Chandler

Somebody didn't give me all the facts.

        For years now, people have been telling me God gives us teenagers so it won't be so hard to let go of them when the time comes. I've clung to that thought, deriving a measure of comfort from it as I inched my way toward the emptying of my nest.

        But something happened to my kids on their way to adulthood. They became my best friends. Their teen years weren't as difficult as I had imagined, and their presence in our home only became dearer.

        When I left for work this morning, my daughter's furniture was here. When I got home this afternoon, it was gone. Just like that.

        So, if what people have been telling me for years - that God gives us teenagers so it won't be so hard to let go of them when the time comes - is true, then why am I sitting here in the middle of the floor of an empty bedroom crying my eyes out?

        My head tells me I've been blessed to have her in my home for almost 22 years, but my heart tells me it should last a few more days.

        My head tells me she'll just be five minutes away, but my heart says the parent/child relationship will never be the same.

        My head tells me it will be good for her, a growing up experience, but my heart wonders what will happen if she gets sick in the night or locks her keys in her car or runs short of money or forgets to set her alarm.

        My head tells me she'll be back for lots of visits and meals, but my heart tells me she won't be here when I go to bed tonight or when I wake up in the morning.

        D.L. Moody used to tell about an old woman as she lay dying. She was nearly 100 years old, and her husband was by her side. She was barely breathing, when she suddenly revived, opened her eyes, and said, "Is it night?"

        Her husband said, "Yes, Janet, it's midnight."

        As she took her last breath, she asked this question: "Are all the children in?"

        Her youngest child had been dead 20 years, but she fell asleep in Christ asking, "Are all the children in?"

        If only I had a nickel for every time we've asked that question as parents.

        Though the time finally comes when parents no longer know if their children are physically in, we can derive much comfort in knowing that they are spiritually in - that they are in the Lord Jesus Christ. Are all the children in physically? I'm not sure. Are all the children in spiritually? Yes, yes. Oh, yes.

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