Dear daughter,

You are now 16, and the long-awaited time has come for you to get your driver’s license.

I know how excited you are to have the freedom to drive everywhere on your own. It will be a huge change in our lives because we have spent so much time together in the car. Through all these years, I have taken you to school and back every day, to all your swim practices and meets, doctor’s appointments and jobs, social gatherings and events. The hours we have logged in the car together are countless.

As you’ve grown older, we have had our best talks in the car. In this safe space, you have shared your worries, your fears, your dreams, and everything going on in your world on any given day. I loved listening to it all, while I offered you my encouragement, advice, and support. It has always been the place we communicated best, this private time with no interruptions and no one listening in.

I will tuck every conversation we’ve had in my heart because it’s in all our “car talks” when I really raised you and you’ve grown the most.

We sang all the praise and worship songs we both adore, while your harmonizing voice filled the air. We have laughed hard and long at the ridiculousness that life always seems to bring. We have battled and bantered through mistakes made on both of our parts, and we have cried and offered forgiveness and grace while we loved each other through hard things.

Our time in the car was often filled with reminders of obligations, responsibilities, and commitments, while we discussed strategies for schoolwork and swim goals, conflicts, and difficult decisions. We have sat idling in parking lots while you shared the deepest longings of your heart and sorted through all the pieces and parts of your future plans and your budding dreams.

What I will miss most are our prayers.

Since your first day of school, we have prayed together every single day while I drove you to pre-school, grade school, middle school, and high school. Through every grade, every year, on the way to every school, we never missed a day. It’s been part of our early morning drives that have started our day off with the One who created it, and my gosh, what a glorious gift that’s been.

We didn’t just pray on the way to school, but we have entrusted God’s hand in every detail of your life, every time we drove anywhere together. It was just what we did. We have prayed on the way to all our destinations, asking for God’s presence in every situation in every season of your life. We have prayed for His guidance and comforting assurance during many challenging circumstances.

No matter where we were going, we always invited God along with us, asking Him to prepare the way. We always lifted up our intimate conversations and deep revelations to the Lord together.

This sacred habit was firmly planted in what became the holy temple of our car.

No matter how rushed we were, how frantic and frazzled things had been, how frustrated or exhausted we felt . . . 

We always prayed.

Oh, my beautiful girl, as you get behind the wheel every day on your own to go to swim practice, school, work, and all the other places you will travel, I can only hope that you continue our prayerful routine.

I know it is fully ingrained in you and I see your faith growing like wildfire. I have been blessed to witness your heart soar with a passion for seeking God’s will for your life every day. There’s nothing more important than growing your relationship with the Lord and your love for Jesus is blazing with a fire that burns so bright. There’s no greater joy than seeing the light of the Lord shine in your child.

So, no matter how rushed you are, how frantic or frazzled it’s been, how frustrated or exhausted you feel . . . 

Remember to invite God along for the ride.

Open up your heart and entrust Him with every detail of your life.

Speak boldly of His goodness and celebrate His greatness.

Offer Him your struggles and your secrets, your mistakes, and your messes, and soak in His forgiveness in all those places.

Feel His presence overcome you, His peace pour through you, and His love consume you.

Ask for His protection and provision, His direction and conviction, and thank Him for every gift He has given you to live the life He has called you to live.

And I’ll be praying the same prayers, trusting in our good, good Father to lead you on your way . . . 

Stay faithful to His faithfulness, for your heart is His.

I will remind myself over and over again, that you were His beloved daughter before you were ever mine.

I’ll continue to thank Him every day for lending me you as I learn to let you go.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:6

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Christine Carter

Christine Carter writes at TheMomCafe.com, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. Her work is published on several various online publications and she is the author of "Help and Hope While You're Healing: A woman's guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness." and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World.” Both books sold on Amazon.