The Power of Accepting Your Emerging Adult

It was the perfect spring day with brilliant blue skies as flowering trees flourished across campus. My hubby and I were gathered at the University of Northern Iowa to see our youngest daughter, Keziah graduate. Our daughter, Rebekah and her husband, Ryan, traveled from Missouri. Oldest daughter Moriah made the trek from Minnesota and Keziah’s husband, Forrest, joined us on the purple bleachers of the stadium. 

The stadium floor was speckled with rows of black chairs ready to be filled with eager graduates. Purple and gold banners and large bouquets of yellow flowers flanked the stage as professors and regents marched in wearing their regal gowns and hoods. The joy was palpable as families joined to celebrate their children’s accomplishments. 

Since our grown children live hundreds of miles away from us, I was content just to spend time with them. Seeing them lined up next to me made my heart swell with thanks. Moriah, clad in distressed boyfriend jeans, a crop top, and platform sandals, looking like she stepped out of a Free People advertisement, turned to me with her warm brown eyes and soft smile, “Thanks for not asking me to wear a dress, mom.” I was shocked and touched by the statement. “Honey, you are free to wear whatever you’re comfortable with. I love you just the way you are,” I beamed. 

The Gift of Acceptance 

It got me thinking about the gift of acceptance with our adult children. Do our children feel honored by us or do they carry the weight of our expectations? Do we say things like: 

** Why are you doing that? 

** Why are you wearing that? 

** You should do this! 

What a heavy load for them to handle. Our adult children are free to express themselves. They are no longer bound by what we want. Imagine how our relationships could soar if we gave our grown kids the gift of approval. What could it look like if our grown children didn’t bend under the heavy burden of what we want for them? 

When was the last time you looked your adult child in the eye and said: 

** I love who you are. 

** I adore the way God made you. 

** I appreciate your perspective on life. 

** I admire your style. 

God’s Approval 

How does God’s approval affect how we see our grown children? What if we leaned into this truth from God’s Word:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

— Psalm 139:14 (NIV) 

What this verse tells us about approval: 

** God gave specific personality and physical traits to your child. 

** God’s works are wonderful (your adult child is His work). 

** We can be assured God makes no mistakes in design. 

Since our children are approved by God, can we approve of them also? Instead of burdening your grown offspring with what you want, could you give her the freedom to be who God created her to be? Could you honor her for how God made her instead of longing for something she can’t give you? 

You can give the gift of acceptance the same way God does. Right here, right now, your grown child is wonderfully made. Do they believe you see them that way or do they have doubts? When we affirm our adult children and watch them be comfortable in their own skin, peace is ushered in. Love abounds. Grace is infused. What could be a greater present for a mom to bestow? 

A Prayer for Moms 

Dear Papa, Thank You for the way You designed my grown child. You have made them perfectly. Help me accept them for who they are and not make them bow to my expectations. May they feel loved and honored by me, because, just like Christ extends unconditional love, I want to also. I trust Your work in their life. Amen. 


Pamela Henkelman is an enthusiastic encourager with a passion to speak, write, and coach.  She believes all of life flows from our loving union with God. She helps Christian moms navigate their changing roles with their adult children through intimacy with God. Learn more on her website or on Instagram. Pamela lives in the Midwest and is married to her Pastor. They have five adult children and two grandsons. 

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