I’ve always been a praying person, raised in the Bible Belt, in a family of strong faith. But the meter really spiked since becoming a mom almost three years ago. I speculate, that even the least religious of us, find ourselves whispering a plea to God, a generic higher power, our spirit animal Taylor Swift – SOMEONE in moments of desperation. It doesn’t always take much, especially those first few nights home with a newborn, when you find yourself hovering over them in the dark quiet of night, trying to decipher if their tiny chest is still moving. “Please God, let me keep her forever…”

Sometimes it’s at the end of a long day and you mutter a prayer for self-control because you can’t take one more battle over how the banana was peeled or what color hair tie you used. Prayers for small-ish things, like an extra dose of patience, two hour naptimes, or spontaneous Starbucks delivery. For me, it’s usually a husband home before seven o’clock.

And then there are real prayers, the intentional ones– beyond the quick whispers of thanks, or the requests for day-to-day health and safety. Prayers for guidance, prayers for their futures, prayers for their character. If you’re like me, you wish more for them– not in material things, but in temperament. I always find myself praying that they be braver than I. More confident. More fun. Deeper in faith. But when I pray for them, asking that they would have faith to take them where “trust is without borders,” or the confidence to defy social pressures, or the courage to stand in the gap, I catch myself. Because the reality of those answered prayers might not be what I really want in my selfish mama heart. Those requests I make known, are actually very scary prayers because I believe in a God who has more in store for us than we can imagine. And if I pray them, it might actually happen…

          So, if he’s braver than I, he might climb mountains.

          If she’s more faithful than I, she might serve in Ethopia.

          If he’s full of conviction, he might enlist.

          If she defies social pressure, she might also be an outcast.

          If he’s a free spirit, he might find me boring.

          If she’s independent, it might start with heartbreak.

(I know this to be true because I prayed for my daughter to be confident and she’s a two year old spitfire who barely waves goodbye at preschool. Be careful what you pray!)

If I pray these things, if I really raise my kids to possess deep character and conviction, it also means that I have to relinquish control. And that’s the scary part. I have to realize that raising great kids might not look like what I want on the other side of eighteen. So here’s to the years I have left with them, to shelter and protect and discipline and encourage and hug and kiss to my heart’s abandon. Because I have been praying big, scary prayers for them that part of me hopes God will leave unanswered.

Thank goodness, we only just started preschool!

Kathryn Grassmeyer

Kathryn is a southern transplant, working and living in Northern Virginia with her husband Tyler and daughter Charlotte. She is soaking up life as a family of three before baby #2 arrives this summer. When she’s not blowing noses or failing at potty training, she works as a pediatric physical therapist. Blog: http://www.barefootdaydreams.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarefootDaydreamsBlog Twitter: https://twitter.com/kategrassmeyer