My deepest desire as a mother is to spark a lifelong relationship between my child and the Heavenly Father. If I get nothing else right, I want to accomplish this one thing.
I believe my introduction builds a foundation for my child’s eternity. This one thing I want to get right makes all others seem insignificant. The screen time, the veggies, the not turning socks inside out . . .
I often fear I fall short of reaching my goal. We don’t make it to church every week. We don’t have Bible verses posted around the house. We don’t pray before meals.
Yet, when life gets scary, I see evidence the right seeds have been planted.
When my son was sick with a virus that lingered for weeks, and we both began to fear it might be something more serious, he asked if I’d pray for him. When the tornado sirens howled and we scurried to the basement, he asked if we could pray together. As a change of schools caused anxiety, he asked to pray together each night to ease his worries. When one of his closest friends moved cross country, he asked if we could pray for his buddy to make new friends.
In those difficult moments, I witnessed my son turning to God. Proof that he knows where his hope and comfort come from, and it has filled me with peace.
I’d like to say our prayers of thanksgiving are as passionate. We talk a lot about expressing gratitude and the importance of giving thanks and praise. But to tell the truth, I’m often relieved when my child doesn’t want to pray. When my son doesn’t ask to pray together, I know he’s in a good place. His mind is at ease and his heart isn’t hurting.
On the nights he asks, “Mom, can we pray?” just as I’m leaving his room, my heart sinks a bit knowing there is something weighing on him. “Of course we can,” is always my response as I navigate the darkness back to his bedside and reach for his hand.
Time will tell the story of how my child’s relationship develops. It will likely have ebbs and flows. At times, he may get angry with God when life’s challenges feel cruel. He may have more questions than answers. He may rebel. He may neglect the relationship altogether. He may fall deeply in love with his Savior and serve Him better than I ever could’ve imagined.
Like any relationship, it will have seasons of joy and seasons of disconnect. My prayer is the connection forged now binds forever, that the seed planted now will sprout roots that deepen over a lifetime.
The reality is, as a mother, I’d like to protect my child from the hardships and heartache I know this life includes.
Thankfully, that isn’t possible. It sounds nice, but I would cheat my child out of the growth those challenges provide. He will have to choose how to handle the hard stuff, I pray I’m teaching him to lean in and rely on the Father who loves him.
We love our children, we raise them to leave us, and then God willing, we leave this earth before they do. Jesus offers us the magnificent opportunity of a Heavenly reunion. And what an extraordinary gift that is.
Sometimes prayers offer hints of unspoken hurts. Hurts that would fester in the dark if not freed in prayer. For that reason, I’ll be grateful each and every time my child asks to pray.