Do you remember what a blessing to witness the arrival of each of our children? After months of anticipation, the moment arrives when the doctor hands you a bundle of joy. The feeling is like no other feeling in the world. At that moment, they are perfect in every way. I don’t think words can truly express what that feeling is like when you meet your child for the very first time.
I gave birth to three beautiful children, two daughters, and a son. I felt like a complete family as I cherished each one of them. At their birth, I thought about all my plans for their lives. Ballet classes, gymnastics, softball, karate, fishing trips, baseball, proms, and eventually, weddings would fill my years to come. Excitement filled my soul as I planned their futures filled with joy and happiness.
Soon, my dreams came crashing down as my son slipped into eternity to be with His heavenly father. All my plans for his life were gone forever. So many emotions rolled around inside me. Many years of doubt followed as I tried to figure out what I did wrong. Kids aren’t supposed to die. As a parent, I am supposed to protect my children and provide them with everything they need. I felt like a failure.
A few years pass and life resume. We take our daughters to Ireland to visit my family there. In the north, there is a sight called the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. We took the girls so they could walk across it. As we approached the bridge, my heart cried out, NO. I can’t let my girls cross this bridge. They might fall to their deaths. Panic set in as I realized something I never understood before it. I am not really in control.
That moment of terror taught me that I could try to shelter my kids from everything under the sun, never letting them have any fun. Or I could trust them to Jesus’ loving care. The girls were His long before they were mine, and He knew what He was doing more than I. Would I trust Jesus for His purpose in their lives, or would I try to control a situation that was not mine to control? I surrendered them to Jesus.
In our society, we have convinced ourselves that we control life. But we don’t. Our control is an illusion that helps us sleep at night. Once the death of my son forced me to take off my rose-colored glasses, I learned the best thing I could do was to surround my children in prayer. And, when things got tough for them, I could point them back to Jesus. My actual job as a mom includes teaching them to trust in the Master’s plan for themselves.
I think the hardest prayer for each of us as parents, is to ask for God’s will to be done. So often, I want to control the events for everyone in my family. With the death of my son, I learned that I really can’t. I need to trust them in His loving arms. When the tough times arise, and I can’t control it, I need to pray for His will to prevail and for me to accept whatever that looks like for their lives.
Many tough circumstances arise for them in their adult lives. I remember the phone call from my eldest when a boyfriend dumped her for no reason. The heartbreak in her voice sent me driving to college to pick up and bring her home for the weekend. Not because I could fix it, but because I could help her turn it over to God. We prayed and talked long hours that weekend, and I took her back to school with the knowledge that God had her safe in His hands.
Or I remember another tough time when my youngest daughter called me. After years of trying to get pregnant, she finally had succeeded. A few weeks later, she miscarried and felt devastated. When she asked me why I had no answers. She expressed deep anger with God. Again, I prayed and tried to point her to the only source of our hope, Jesus.
As the years wear on, I watch my girls as their faith becomes their own. I can’t hold onto faith for them. They must develop that relationship for themselves. Sometimes, their struggles are tough for me to watch from the sidelines. But, then I remember and give them over in my prayers to the One that controls the winds and everything under the sun.
Now, as the grandchildren fill my house with laughter, I have a new generation to cover in prayer. I also need to teach them to give all their troubles to their Heavenly Fathers. When they fear the darkness, I share about the creator of light and how He protects them in all circumstances. I also teach them Bible verses to recite when the problems arise.
As your children grow, pray for God to send them good friends. When they decide to go into a career or college, pray for their decisions to line up with the plans Christ has for them. As they start dating, pray for the Lord to provide the perfect spouse for them.
Here are some verses we can give to our children, no matter their ages, to help them focus on the One who can save them:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever; he will always protect us. (Isaiah 26:3-4)
All things are done according to God’s plan and decision; and God chose us to be his own people in union with Christ because of his own purpose, based on what he had decided from the very beginning. (Ephesians 1:11)
You were chosen according to the purpose of God the Father and were made a holy people by his Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be purified by his blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure. (1 Peter 1:2)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
Our children are a gift from God. We raise them and teach them so many things throughout their lives. But, they are only ours because God entrusted them to us. Our job is to trust them back to God instead of trying to control life for them. Pray for them, instruct them in the ways of the Lord, and trust Him enough to pray for God’s will to be done in their lives and for us to accept it.
Father, thank you for the privilege of being a parent to my children. Thank you for guiding the time I had with them as children. Today, I release them as adults to your care and guidance. You will fight for them and delight in them (Zephaniah 3:17). Bless them and keep them. Let your face shine upon them. May thy will be done and grant me the strength to accept what comes their way.