Return to sender

Written by Lisa Clark
Published on August 18, 2020

When I wrote this blog in 2007, I had a picture in my mind of how the following four years would go, but God had other plans . . .

My daughter’s college journey looked more like a figure eight than a straight line. 

Four colleges.
Two moves back home.
A move across the United States.
A world tour.
And finally, a degree online.

I never could have imagined Caroline’s journey when I set her up in that initial dorm room. But that’s the goodness of the Lord. He knows the plans. Our part is to trust him.

Thirteen years later, Caroline is married to her soulmate, in college ministry, and a mom to three perfect little men. God always has a plan. 

And it’s always good, even when it’s not a straight line—trust him.

Flashback to August 2007

I remember being in my pre-teens and doing chores in our home. 

I liked to vacuum, so I usually was able to pick it as my chore du jour (oldest child privilege). With the smell of lemon Pledge in the air, I would vacuum away to my mom’s 8-track tape of Elvis’ Greatest Hits

One of my favorites was “Return to Sender.” Elvis had a way of making vacuuming seem cool.

This month, “Return to Sender” came to mind as my husband, Brad, and I left our oldest daughter in Nashville, Tennessee. Caroline was starting her freshman year of college. 

It came way too fast—I guess it always does. I think I cried through most of her senior year. Every “last” this or “last” that inspired a flood of tears.

“Last” first-day-of-school picture. “Last” pep rally. “Last” Christmas school concert. “Last” Sadie Hawkins dance. 

Brad never quite got it. He never shed a tear the whole year. Until the day came to leave her in Nashville and return to reality. 

He finally got it. And he got it the whole flight home.

The fruits of our labor

As hard as it was to leave Caroline there, we knew God was with her. 

Who better to walk her through this new chapter of life than the King of kings and Lord of lords? I mean, come on!

We all step out in faith when we begin our families. What great woman among us knows if she is going to be a good mom or not? I didn’t feel like a great mom the first few months after bringing Caroline home from the hospital. She cried all the time. 

I was tired, hormonal, overweight . . . you get the picture. But I was doing my job. I fed her, changed her, bathed her, loved her, and she began to grow.

And now, I see the fruits of my labor.

To raise children of the King

We pray for our children as they grow. 

We pray that they will love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, and minds. We pray that they will accept him as Savior at a young age. We pray that they will live lives that are pure and holy before him.

And yet, we sometimes hold on to them as if they are really ours. God has reminded me over and over that the children he blessed me with are his. They are his creation, created for his pleasure. 

He has gifted them to me as a blessing. I can be part of their molding and shaping, but I can’t claim them as my own. 

I must return them to their Sender.

Moms, we should not wait until our children go off to college to return them to Jesus. We must be relinquishing our grasps on a daily basis. In doing so, we are reminded that he loves them more than we do. He has a plan for their lives. 

And in turn, we become free to love them just for who they are—children of the King.

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Lisa Clark

A seasoned speaker, Lisa Clark has been teaching and speaking at churches, schools,
and community groups throughout D/FW for the past 15 years. Her love for
teaching women began at church, in particular bible study. She loves studying God’s
word and imparting wisdom on women of all ages. Quickly, she realized biblical
parenting was her niche and God led her on a grand journey of teaching moms how
to raise their children by His word.

This led her to partner with Sky Ranch Christian Camps in 2007 and the
development of SkyMoms Ministry with her friend and Sky Ranch CEO, Linda Paulk.
Lisa has a unique teaching style, which couples humor and personal stories of
raising her own two daughters with biblical insights. Grounded in God’s Word, Lisa
has a passion for encouraging moms in the day-to-day struggles of parenting
preteens and teens.
This passion and mission led her to write her very first book in 2016, Raising
Sinners. Raising Sinners is a biblical parenting, short story written for moms and
dads in all stages of parenting.
“I am not a perfect parent and realize that as long as I am covered in flesh, I will fall
short on a daily basis. But I also realize that God has given me what I need to parent
confidently. Confident parenting is the key. I am the parent and God has
commissioned me to be the parent. I have a responsibility to give Him, my husband
and my children my very best.”

Lisa is married to Brad, her husband of almost 32 years. She and Brad co-teach a
young married bible fellowship class at their home church in Plano, TX,
Prestonwood Baptist Church. They have two daughters, Caroline and Camryn.
Caroline and her husband, Brent, lead a ministry in Norman, Oklahoma called
Crossover, and they are the proud parents of Revan and River Russell. Camryn is married to Brett and they reside in Dallas with their new baby boy, Ezra.

Read more about Lisa

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