About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. This parenting adult children sometimes feels like a secret club, because we do carry concerns for them that are not ours to share with others. May we pray not only for our children, but also for our other empty nester mom friends. We ARE carrying a new set of concerns. And may we continuously praise the efforts of our young adult children, because they ARE in new territory and still need to know we are cheering them on. Thanks for opening this conversation Jen 🙂


    • Amen, Kellie. Thank you, Jen. Guess what? I have found your article in my mailbox (thanks, (in)courage subscription!) on the morning of my flight back home, after “launching” my last daughter. I’m thankful the Holy Spirit led me to open my computer and before that, reminded me to be content with all the years past, and full of hope for the upcoming new adventures. It’s no time to shrink back in sorrow, but to expand my trust and my heart for others. Again, thank you for your article that warmed my heart.

      • Don’t you just love God’s timing? Happy “launch” week. I know you are experiencing so many varying emotions as we lean into trusting Him for our child’s great adventure.

    • Yes, Kellie – I echo this. No more secret clubs as we embrace each other’s journey through prayer as well as a few close friends to share our heart.

  2. I have went through an 8 year estrangement with my oldest son and his family. Recently we have spent some time together but this week radio silence . It’s causing me alot of hurt plus anxiety. Your article is exactly what I needed to read today. To calm my spirit and ease my aching heart. Lay down the me and send it up to the Lord. Prayers are so appreciated.

    • Hi Cathy, I will pray for God to guide you through this painful time with your son. I can identify with some of your pain with my son who is very angry and seldom includes me or my husband in his family life. It has been a long journey and very painful journey to finally surrender everything to Jesus. May God continue to guide you and may he hold you and comfort you through the pain. Blessings dear sister.

    • Cathy – thank you so much for sharing your heart. I can’t even imagine the sorrow you felt these last eight years, but how exciting to have tip toed into time together. I can imagine your anxiety, but I also have learned that our kids can get so caught up in the busy ness of life (just like us sometimes), that when they don’t reach out for many weeks (or months), they don’t blink an eye. Praying for peace as you wait.

  3. I find it difficult to share problems with friends who are also mothers of my teenage children’s friends. It seems like it would be invading my children’s privacy, yet it is very isolating. Usually, I just say it’s a challenging time and instead, I share openly with my other friends who are not in my kids’ every day life.

    • Yes, Beth. I understand that delicate balance with their friend’s parents. Glad you have a few trusted friends outside that circle with which you can share.

  4. Jen so many kids I don’t have any myself. As I said this so many times. Not brave enough to have any myself. But I see on thing you said in today’s reading. Why do we see so many kids leaving the faith when they grow up. It is sad. They can be brought up in Sunday School. Then can’t wait to leave. My Parents where not saved my Mum not alive anymore. But both sent me and my sister’s to Sunday School. I am very thankful for that. My Sisters don’t believe as not saved. I am only one of us 3 Sister’s saved. My youngest might go to Church now and then. She and her Husband do send their kids to Sunday School but are not believers. They there kids only go to Church if taking part. Their Parents no that often to just look good they went. Many don’t go Church when get they finish Sunday School. Because they tell you it boring. They find it boring. That is sad too. I pray for all my Family to become believers and their kids too. They see the world out there as more interesting than going to church. Some way you can’t blame them. I love that scripture 1:John 4 ” it say I have no greater joy than to hear of my children walk in the truth.” I pray that over my family. I pray Church would become a place to my Sister’s kids and them and their Families. They want to go hear the word of God it would come alive to them all. They would be filled with the Holy Spirit and get saved. That’s my prayer for them. Love today’s reading. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx ❣️

    • Thank you for sharing your prayer (and heart) with us, Dawn. We will continue to pray that your sister’s children see God’s faithfulness in their lives.

      • Thank you Jen appreciate that. I pray for you all incourage. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx ❣️

  5. I am so thankful for this article ! Yes, it is wrong of me to think I have all the answers for my young adult Girls. It’s true that they belonged to God first. I love knowing that God has their very best interests at His Heart. The Word reminds us to Trust and Obey God. I’m guilty of making my own efforts to obey (sometimes missing the mark) and Praying with Faith and Thanksgiving (waiting for immediate answers) and not always admitting that there is a process to this marathon journey of walking by Faith and not by Sight. The process takes “time” and time belongs to God. We forget to tell ourselves and our children that there are many paths when we start this journey. God’s timing is not our timing and God’s ways are not our ways. Why do we forget so easily. We have to plant seeds for our seasons of Harvest in the natural realm and in the spiritual realm. Trust and Obey makes more understanding. Cultivating the best attitude of gratitude. Sowing in generosity and compassion is great. Forgiveness and sacrifices are wonderful soil enhancements. Praying for others showing hospitality go a long way towards healing hearts that have been hurt. When I see this picture painted over long periods of time or short periods of time, I expect a Harvest. Keep Faith Alive and allow your children to experience volunteerism and love through your living examples from day to day (with a great attitude) and you will be pouring love into their hearts and spirits.

    With Gratitude,

    A Mother Who Loves God

    • Brenda – it’s so evident from all your wisdom over the years that you are like you signed this comment – a mother with such a heart that loves God. Thank you adding such wisdom of experience to this conversation.

  6. Thank you for this devotional today! I have so many thoughts – but mostly gratitude for writing about this topic. We are not finished parenting when they turn 18 – it just changes into a whole other type of parenting. I found myself saying “yes!”as I was reading it. Thank for you your perspective and insight!

    • Heather – thank you for such an encouraging comment. I’m honored to open up the conversation and pray we continue it.

  7. So often I think “what did I do wrong?” I acknowledge I was not the best mother though I tried. My 2 grown children, 40 and 42, are wonderful, responsible, caring adults but so disconnected from God. I pray that they will come back and embrace God. This was reassuring to read all your experiences and comments. This is a conversation that needs to be in the open. Most of my friends are in the same situation with their children, but it never I occurred to me to talk about it.

    • Oh Madeline – I wish I was sitting next to you with coffee in hand giving you a big comfort hug while we stop the enemy right in his track every time you think “What did I do wrong?” The truth is that all of us can go back to the past and find things in our lives we wish we could have changed in varying aspects because none of us are perfect, but the Lord has given you these two wonderful children for such a time as this to continue showering them with unconditional love as you pray their hearts will one day soften to the Lord. And if they end up with children, you have the opportunity to disciple that next generation too and that’s a gift. Much love to you as so many walk in your exact shoes.

  8. Not parents but as self appointed aunt & uncle to our friends’ kids we have the joy of praying for those adult nieces & nephews & their parents. Paul’s prayer hits the mark on so many levels! This post was not only for parents of adult children! Thank you, Jen! Blessings (((0)))

  9. Wow! So powerful and true. Thank you, thank you for writing and sharing this post. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover and study daily yet I’ve not seen 3 John. I LOVE the verse you shared from this letter from John. I also love the verse you shared from Colossians and how you personalize it. I will now say this prayer daily for my children.
    God bless! You made a difference for me today

    • I’m honored to know that those verses are encouraging you in a new way. Isn’t it amazing how His Word is alive and active and continues to shift us as we interact with His truth?

  10. As a Mom who physically distant and has only one grandchild I was recently denied a chance to visit for his 13th birthday coming up…then I had a discussion about funeral arrangement and I was told that ‘they’ would honour and respect my wishes as I should as their mom…I want to be honoured and respected now, not after I’ve died! I struggle with loneliness and being ‘shelved’.

    • Oh Cathy – is it odd of me to want to give you a huge hug across the screen? To comfort you from afar because I can hear the depths of anguish your heart is experiencing? Since I don’t know the story with your adult child/grandchild, I can’t speak into that situation of how to continue creating a bridge of reconciliation but to be shelved is so incredibly painful and lonely. We really acknowledge your feelings and will be praying for this relationship.

  11. We truly need more posts like this one. As a parent of three adult daughters who aren’t walking with the Lord (24,30,32), I’m full of regrets and if only’s. Everyday I have guilt and wonder of what I could have done better (they did grow up in a church and two accepted Christ). Thank you for this post and such words of wisdom and encouragement. I wish there were more studies (or even books) out there to help us navigate through this difficult topic.

    • Lisa – So many here know the feelings of those questions and wondering what we did wrong, but I also know that is the enemy’s way of attacking and we are going to squash those lies right now. You will always be their mother and the Lord has given those children to you for this specific time to love them unconditionally.We will continue to pray their hearts are softened as He gives you wisdom and a sensitivity in how to reach them best.

      • Jenn, this is the second comment on a gal’s post that you help them to squash ideas and wonderings that don’t align with how the Lord thinks about us. THIS IS HUGE! The enemy is in the business of wearing down the saints and when we are feeling so discouraged he only pounces harder and faster! He doesn’t back off and say to his minions, “AH leave this one alone, she is having a bad day.” He waits till we are weak and makes his move to try to bring us to a place of unbelief in the God we have known all of these years to be faithful. As a Christian of 48 years and having raised 3 sons I am finding my faith to be more challenged today than ever before. THANK YOU for pointing us to the WORD and what God says about us as that is the only thing that can bring peace when everything around us seems to be falling apart. The LORD knows every detail and has us in the palm of His nail scarred hand whether we “FEEL” it or not. And Lisa, we are all in this together as the Lord encourages us to bear ye one another’s burdens.

  12. Thank you, Jen. Thank you for sharing. My heart has been breaking over my oldest son. I had no idea parenting adult children would be this hard. I often feel like a failure as a mother, although I poured my whole self into being a good one. Releasing him to the Lord fully is my greatest hope and comfort.

    • Oh Amy – I know that pain is so incredibly deep. We just could never know the challenges as they got older what a gift he has with you as a mom who loves him more than he can imagine. We continue to pray the Lord draws his heart back and that people will be put in your son’s path to point Him to His glory. Much love to you in that mothering heart.

  13. Oh such a timely devotional for me. My daughter celebrates another year of life. My prayer for her is exactly what you have shared in scripture. God bless you and continue in the good work God has begun in you!

  14. Thanks you for these words this morning, Jen. The hurt, grief, and isolation are deep. It helps to come alongside each other in the pain.

    • You’re so welcome, Susan. Look how many women here acknowledge the shared hurt and loneliness is deep. To be able to share this with one another if even here in the comments reminds us it’s so much better together.

  15. The timing of this article is incredible. I spent this morning saddened by the fact that not only have none of my adult children stayed in the faith, but my oldest in particular is raising her children to believe things in direct contradiction to everything she’s ever been taught. I prayed for them as I was sweeping the basement stairs, then I loaded the washer and sat down to read my devotionals. And there was your article. Thank you. This was clearly divinely inspired and timed.

    • Mrs Dee – It encourages us so much when the Lord works His timing in divinely anointed ways. We echo the prayers for your children and grandchildren and know that His work is not finished yet (especially when they have a heritage of a Grandma like you praying for them so fervently .:

    • Mrs. Dee, the Lord’s timing is so supernatural. Many are in your shoes….myself included. Let us lift each other up in prayer now more than ever. Stay the course.

  16. My daughter has been going in the wrong direction through her teens. She is now 31 and God has told her change direction. She has put our family in terrible situations and expects us to be okay with it. She was raised in the church. My water broke in church. We need a lot of prayer and I need to let go. It wouldn’t be so hard except she has MS and her choice of companions and their family is questionable.

  17. Thank you, Jen, for this devotional today. It encourages me in praying and being involved with my four adult children. Your comments on “releasing control and managing expectations” are right on. Also, “less lecture and listen more.” I have come to realize I cannot change my children, only the Holy Spirit, and we have good relations with all four, at this time – it took some time. They have taught me so much and I am thankful they are walking with the Lord.

  18. Thank you for this. We are struggling with our 22 year old son and watching him reject the Lord and believe the world’s lies is just heartbreaking. I appreciate the encouragement and will continue to pray for a breakthrough for him.

  19. Talk about timing . Less than 24 hours ago I received an email from my 25 year old daughter “asking “ me if it was ok to spend part of Christmas with her boyfriends family on a skiing trip . I started crying thinking I am never going to be able to compete with these trips offered to her . I text my son and told him the situation . He said she has an amazing capability to juggle many situations at one time , especially for me . She just surprised me for my bday , I’m seeing her next month and Thanksgiving we are traveling together .
    My children go above and beyond being with me and all family events . I think I’ve been jealous that many of my friends children still live close , while mine went to college and continued on …. They are living their best life . So I prayed and realized that I am truly grateful my daughter is able to experience this life . So I wrote her back and told her how thrilled I was that she still wanted to check with me and of course she can go . She will come a few days before Christmas and leave late Christmas afternoon .
    I’m still amazed at the timing of this article and thank God for holding my hand tight as I know we slowly have to let go .
    What I especially need to remember in the future with perhaps spouses and grandchildren , that the holidays are just a day and if they can come the day after Thanksgiving , then that day will be Thanksgiving for my family !!!

  20. Loved reading this post and all of the comments and responses that followed! I’m truly grateful that the Lord is the leader of this “club” as well as the author of our salvation. I am encouraged to continue in prayer for both of adult sons, especially the youngest who is inexplicably estranged in his heart from his older brother. Like many others, I am thankful God’s timing led me here today.

  21. Need prayer for so many of these situations in my own four young adult children and this hurting mama’s heart.

  22. My adult daughters need so much prayer! I’ve been praying for them for decades but they continue to be addicted to alcohol and live apart from God. I tried so hard to raise them to love Jesus and rely on Him and it breaks my heart to see them living this way. My oldest daughter has also been going through some serious health issues over the last month and despite going to several doctors and many tests being run, has no answers to what’s causing her pain. It’s affecting her job and her life while trying to be a single mom to our only grandchild. Please pray that her upcoming appointments will bring her answers and healing. I know the Great Physician can heal all things and my hope is in Him! Thank you so much to whoever will pray with me for Lauren and Lindsey!!

  23. When we have children it is a life sentence. They need us so much in their early years and if we are good at our job, their needs turn into confidence about their choices. I have known people that I have highly admired for their parenting skill and only wished I could be like them. And yet, they too had their turn at dealing with adult children’s life choices.
    Yup!! Choices – God allowed for choice knowing that as we are not perfect, that we would in all likelihood fall short. And for this we have Jesus!
    It is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Our true goal is not to raise kids perfectly but to raise kids that know where to go in times of trouble. And it isn’t us, it’s to the Lord we must teach them to turn to and as we do, to pray, pray, pray!!
    I, along with many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, have struggled raising children. We don’t want them making many of our own mistakes. But just like we have done many times over, we must teach and show the way to deal with life’s issues. Humbly pray and seek our Lord’s mercy and guidance daily. This life is not nor will it be a one and done situation but a daily letting go of self and letting God be our guide.
    My final thought is to encourage everyone to receive the blessings from our Lord with gratitude and humility. For every time we get things right there are probably a million times we have messed up and yet we are loved and blessed. What an inheritance to leave our children!!!!

  24. Jen,

    Parenting children in this world today is tough. The world is changing daily & not for the good. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to kill & destroy. He’s doing a good job with some young people. The older generation would do well to offer a listening ear & a praying heart for those mamas & papas.

    Blessings 🙂

  25. As a mother of 3 sons, one grandson and one great granddaughter, my heart is breaking for my children who have left God behind and are struggling in their daily lives to make a living. Their father and I love them and thought we did the best we could to instill our faith and values in their lives. I think the only thing we can do now is to turn our hopes and prayers over to God. I know He loves them just as we do and wants them to turn their lives over to Him. I pray God will succeed in drawing them back Into His loving arms so He can bless and lead them in the way of His love and care. Amen and Amen

  26. I am the mom of 4 adult children. Our oldest moved out in 2020 to another state. Initially, things went well between us. Then, he met a woman and almost completely broke off communication with us. They married in June 2022, and we heard from them a few times. The last time he spoke to us was Christmas 2022. It is so heartbreaking. We were always close while he was growing up. He was the last of our sons I expected to see walk away from his family and faith.

    Our other two sons still live in the area but moved out a few months ago. They work in the food industry and typically work on Sundays – meaning they do not go to church with us. Our youngest and only daughter, who is almost 21, still lives at home, but she often misses church to keep an eye on my almost 85-year-old mother.

    My husband has been an ordained Primitive Baptist preacher; our children grew up in the church. Our oldest two were baptized. So it is really hard to see them walk away from their faith or distance themself from it.