I recently had the pleasure of have a few unexpected moments yarn shopping in Hobby Lobby with a dear friend. As we wandered at a leisurely pace back to the needlework department, I glanced over to a section of home décor items, (how can you miss it, honestly?), seemingly for a nursery, and saw one that struck me. “For this child I prayed.” That’s what it said. In beautiful script and soft colors it expressed the joy in Hannah’s heart when God granted Samuel to her after years of being unable to have a child. I smiled, remembering how I prayed to have children in the years before God blessed us with our two, both of whom are now young adults.
Thinking about that sign during the week, however, I almost want to go back and buy it. Not because we are having a baby. Oh no. And not even because I’m mourning my kids’ childhoods too quickly past. Nope, I love having them in my life at this age. But that little sign resonates so deeply with me in this season because for our children I have prayed. And prayed. Over these children over all of their lifetimes. And I know they’re not babies, and I’m NOT petitioning heaven for a new life in our home (not even a kitten or puppy, thank you very much) , but I am (and always have been) constantly petitioning heaven on behalf of these amazing people God sent to us.
I prayed for them during my pregnancy and in anticipation of a safe delivery.
I prayed for them when they were sick as babies, learning to walk and talk, learning to share (help me!), learning to make friends and adjusting to being in school.
I prayed for them as they learned the excruciating lessons of junior high (which is seriously the most vile time of any person’s life. Trust me on this, I’m a recovering middle school teacher).
I prayed for them as they have struggled to decide who they are, tried on different versions of themselves, and had their hearts broken by others.
I prayed for their path through high school to college. And beyond.
I prayed for their choices, for their safety, and for their protection from said less-than-optimal choices.
For these children I prayed. And prayed, and prayed.
You’re never not a mom. From the moment that first pregnancy test comes back positive or you get that call that the baby you’ve been praying for has been born and is ready for you to come and get him/her, you are all in. And I will never NOT pray for my kids, even as they walk the paths of their own lives, their own way. I won’t always agree with their choices, but I won’t pray for MY way. I continue to pray for God’s way.
Our youngest graduates from high school in less than one week. Seriously, I don’t know where the time has gone. But as she goes forward, and as our son continues his path through college and career, I will continue to pray, trusting God’s plan and path are so far superior to my own controlling machinations, knowing He will use even the hardest things to bring good into their lives.
These verses keep my focused on reaching up to God on behalf of my kids, their future, and their path.
When they’re struggling: As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11 (emphasis mine)
To remind me God isn’t finished with them yet: He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6b
When I wonder if God hears me: The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16b
To remind me to keep praying: So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9
To remind me that God can handle anything: Jesus answered them, “I assure you: If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you tell this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done.”
Sometimes praying for our children is all we CAN do. Sometimes it’s all we NEED to do. And it’s always the best thing we can do.