I recently read a quote that went something like this: “Sometimes our greatest contribution to the kingdom of God is not what we do but who we raise.”
Um. Alrighty then. Just so we’re clear that there’s no pressure in the parenting department or anything…
This quote reminds me of John and Charles Wesley, the founders of the Methodist Church. Their mother Susanna would sit in the middle of her kitchen with her apron pulled up over her head while she prayed for her children. (For some reason, this visual always makes me giggle.) And her kids would actually leave her alone when they saw her in this position. That is astounding to me! I mean, I can’t even go to the bathroom without someone, husband included, following me, trying to have a conversation. (You would think that the bathroom would be a signal that all conversing is off limits for a couple minutes.)
I’ve thought about getting out an apron and putting it over my head. My family would probably think I’m crazy, but it might buy me a few minutes of quiet time. “Don’t talk to Mom right now. She’s got that apron on her head so she’s having another breakdown.” (Yes, I said “another.”) Or, to borrow a quote from Jonah, “Mad Mama.” (Which, by the way, is from his book Llama Llama Mad At Mama. It has nothing to do with my temperament.) (Grin)
I do pray for my children, though. A lot. Because, truly, it’s probably the most important thing we can do for them. I pray for wisdom and kindness for all of them. That they would be Christ-followers. That they would develop a deep love for God and for His Word.
I can actually see this “love for His Word” taking hold in Brienne’s life and it is so much fun to watch. Lots of mornings, she is up before everyone else, reading the Bible and working on her Bible study. She’s hungry for the Word, and frankly it’s inspiring to me to watch her dive into God’s teachings. I hope that she never loses this hunger… (The tween attitude she can lose. But not her hunger for the Lord.)
For Jonah, I’m praying Luke 2:52 – that he will emulate Jesus, growing “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” I desire this for all of my children, but particularly for my sweet, stubborn Jonah. I want him to make wise decisions, I want others to respect him and trust him. I want him to be well-liked, for goodness sakes! And of course I pray that he will have the favor of God poured out on him.
For Vivienne, I’m praying that she will drink cow’s milk out of a cup. Seriously, that’s where I am with her right now. And that when she starts talking, she only says things that are “helpful for building others up, according to their needs.” (Eph 4:29) I’m already terrified of the things that are going to come out of her mouth. And I’m not even kidding.
It is so interesting to me to look at all my kids and see how different they are. And it’s also overwhelming because we can’t just pray a blanket prayer over them. I have to know each child, inside and out. Their personalities, their fears, what they love, what they cherish. When I take the time to learn these things, I can pray specifically for them. I can speak life into them.
Obviously, Christ knows us at a deeper level than I can even fathom, and I am so very grateful for that. When I can’t pray or don’t know what to pray, He takes over. He intercedes for me. How comforting it is to know that I can approach His throne in prayer, and He hears my cries even before I speak them. (And I don’t even need an apron over my head.)