Like Jennifer, so many military women know the pain of leaving a child behind when you PCS. If you’re navigating this significant change, I hope you’ll find comfort in the words she shares today.


Leaving a child behind when you PCS

by Jennifer Wake


“I Left My Heart in San Francisco” is a classic song that may be foreign to a new generation. However, every military mom who has left a child near a duty station to PCS knows the heartache of leaving. Our hearts are full of pride as we watch them thrive or full of pain as we watch them struggle. This pain may be overwhelming, yet watching children grow and develop wings to fly into the world can turn that sadness into rejoicing.


My husband announced we were moving from Maryland to Kansas right after my daughter got engaged. Her fiancé is from Buffalo, New York so that is where she was going to stay. My heart wanted to be joyful because of their marriage, but the announcement of the move caused my heart to cry out to God and question my husband. “Why can’t we stay here?” “Why can’t they find you a position here?” WHY GOD?  


God met my anguished cries with gentle whispers.


“Casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7


My anxieties included thoughts of how to help her when I am thousands of miles away. How do I help her plan a wedding. How do I…. 


He reminded me that he had my daughter in the palm of his hand. his plan is to have her prosper and grow closer to him. I needed to trust him. Trust his plan and ultimately trust my daughter and how we raised her.


As we packed up the car to make the drive across the country, I hugged her tight. She clung to me until we had to leave. Driving away with only two of my three kids left a huge hole in my heart. My son felt that hole and tuned the radio to a Christian music station. “More Beautiful You” by Jonny Diaz came on. That is my daughter’s song. God always allows me to hear it just when I need it to be reminded of her and his love for her.


As we drove through Ohio, my son fell asleep and I started to worry. But God brought Philippians 4 to my mind.


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplications with Thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7


Leaving a child behind in another city, state, or country will always be challenging.

The distance can seem overwhelming but praying and crying out to God with your fears and your worries helps.  The first few months she called me every day. And now, years later, I may get a weekly call, and sometimes, when she forgets, I call to pester her. 


This year’s theme of Rise Up challenged me to see my children as adults. All of my children are in their twenties, but I see them as children I still need to parent. God wants me to rise up from that idea and see them as adults I can give advice to while allowing them to make their own decisions. 


Rise Up


Submit Cast your worries upon the Lord. Every time you start worrying about your children who are far away take those thoughts and give them to God.


Worship Worship singing is not my thing but God uses songs to speak to my heart. Ask God to give you a song that reminds you of your child. This will help you to pray for them.


Pray Pray for your children and for you to keep your focus on what God wants you to say or not say. Parenting adult children is full of holding my tongue. 




Lord, watch over our children who are far and near. Remind us to turn to you with our worries and our cares. Lord guide our children and hold our tongues. Teach us how to let our children fly and how to encourage them to chase after You. Amen.