When my first batch of kids were littles, I had the usual set of worries that come in the motherhood package. Can I teach them what they ought to know? Can I keep them safe? Will they survive the teen years? And I prayed the usual prayers to cover these apprehensions.
I also harbored an irrational fear that they would be terrorized by being separated from me somehow. I don’t believe I had any particular good reason for it, nor did I overthink it too much. The visual in my head was that of a mother hen keeping her chicks close by and under her wings.
My prayer to cover this angst was - Lord, please keep them from being terrorized. I figured He knew what I was talking about, even if I wasn’t sure myself. Somehow we managed to get through their childhoods with no terror by separation. Over time, as they grew and became more dependent on themselves and less on me, the fear of my offspring being separated from me diminished. Which was a good and natural process because, eventually they had to launch.
During the years leading to that inevitable day of first flight from the nest, my prayers morphed into petitions for them to grow into healthy, happy, productive adults. No matter what paths they chose to take, what I wanted for them was full lives, armed with integrity and positive attitudes to get them to their best selves and an abiding faith that God knew the count of every hair on their heads.
When the next wave of kids started making their appearances my prayer life had to morph yet again, though these were really just addendums to the long uttered pleas for safety, health and positive steps to their best selves that had become something of a mantra.
Now, at this stage, taking time to reflect on all this, I realize that mostly what I wanted for my progeny was for them to make it through this messy, often challenging, sometimes scary life with some vague goal of ‘good’ attribute added on. A good life, well-lived. Honestly, looking at this objectively, I can’t say what that means exactly. Seventy two years in I’ve had my share of scare, fear, desperation, loss, devastation, even a few moments of terror. What got me through to this moment, has been faith. Faith that, no matter what comes, God knows what’s going on, He knows what He expects from me even if I don’t. But faith isn’t faith if you already know the outcome. It’s believing that, in the storm, He has you and there’s a plan, a reason, an outcome that will add to you, if you accept that you need adding onto.
As I age out and my grands are launching, my prayers have been seriously fine-tuned. First, and foremost, I want my kids, regardless their ages, to fall into faith - real faith. Not good-for-goodness-sake rhetoric kinda faith - that sort falls away just as soon as conflict shows up. Real faith trusts completely that leaning in on God’s perfect will isn’t always going to make the road smooth but it does help you over the ruts and pot holes to the smoother patch.
Lately, my prayer has been seriously simplified to this - Thank You, Lord, for getting us this far, open our eyes, minds and spirits to the real You… and deliver us from evil.
[Which is way different than troubles, btw]
Happy Mother's Day!