Lord, let me catch my children.

May I always listen to that still small voice that tells me to walk into the room without warning. Let me not avoid that nagging Holy Spirit prompting that gnaws at my heart when I think about what could be on that screen or under that bed or on that phone or in that drawer. Please let me forget my coffee cup in their bedroom and walk in at just the right moment to know what they don’t want me to know. Let them ask me to help put away their laundry so I might find what they most want hidden. Lord, even if I don’t have the strength to intentionally look for what I don’t want to find, make me accidentally stumble across it. Don’t let me hesitate because of anxiety or a fear or not knowing what to do next, just let me help reveal what you know has been hidden and trust you for the next steps.

May I wake in the night with a holy nudge to go check on them. Let me catch a snippet of that conversation outside their bedroom door. Don’t let me turn and walk away, but hold me fast until I know what they need me to know. Don’t let me worry about privacy when it comes to matters of safety, but remind me of the agony of a guilty conscience and the relief of sharing a burden. Remind me that they are still children even when they seem so grown. They need my help to navigate life even if they don’t always know how to ask for it.

Lord, let the parents around me be wise and aware. Make them not afraid to tell me and let me be open to what they say. If I don’t catch my child, please let another parent be the one and help me to not be defensive when I find out. Please let my children be terrible liars and let their friends be worse ones. Don’t allow me to be more concerned about my reputation than I am about the hearts and choices of the children you’ve entrusted to me.

May they believe against all logic that I already know what happened and tell me the details I need to hear. Let my eyes see into their souls until they feel compelled to unburden their hearts. Let their consciences keep them awake at night until they know their only relief is to confess to you and to me. May I never be afraid to confront the truth, even when I know it will break my heart.

Let me be brave when they tell me what I don’t want to hear. Let me respond with grace and with justice. Make me bolder than I feel, more willing to forgive than I thought I could be and more able to communicate your holy standard than I dreamed. Don’t let me fall into the trap of helping them avoid consequences, but let me be focused on helping them learn even when the cost is high. Remind me that this lesson may prevent them greater heartache down the road. 

Lord, have mercy on them and don’t let them get away with anything that could hurt their souls. Let my children be caught in the act. And please, let me be the one to catch them.

Amen. 

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Maralee Bradley

Maralee is a mom of six pretty incredible kids ages 8 and under. Four were adopted (one internationally from Liberia, three through foster care in Nebraska) and two were biological surprises. Prior to becoming parents, Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and had the privilege of helping to raise 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her family a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries and doing it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood on "A Mother's Heart for God" and what won't fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at www.amusingmaralee.com.