Let’s be honest: there are advantages when the kids grow up and move out.
- LESS laundry, dirty dishes, messes, expenses
- MORE privacy, quiet, freedom, money
Yet, I miss them so. And I worry about their trajectory as they encounter influences, challenges, and circumstances that I cannot navigate them around or through.
Another truth: for all their bravado and rush to launch, leaving their nest, with its firm foundation, unsettles them as well, whether they admit it or not.
As generations of parents before us, we now walk the tightrope of helping enough but not too much. I neither want to drive them crazy with my interference, nor do I desire to get in-between them and the adult lessons they need to learn. If I zip in like Superman (or SuperMom?) and save the day every time they get themselves in a pickle, I cripple more than empower.
What is a Mom to do?
If you have read this blog at all (or the title at the top of the page) you can anticipate the answer: MOMS, WE NEED TO PRAY!!! Don’t be offended by my “yelling” --it is for my own benefit as well as yours. No matter how much I preach prayer, I still must remind myself daily to actually do it.
Neither shielding my kids from their consequences, nor criticizing their choices expresses love. Rather, love finds its best proclamation in prayers. Born out of my deep affection, prayer tills my child's heart, preparing it for the Jesus seeds that have been or will be planted there.
What Does Paul Say?
Paul had many disciples, but it appears his most dedicated protégé was Timothy. Tim faithfully helped Paul, and Paul looked on him as a son. The more Timothy matured, the more they were separated, as he embarked on his own ministry. Sounds a lot like parenting, doesn’t it?
This was hard on Paul, but also on Timothy. Scripture contains two letters that Paul sent to encourage and instruct him.
If I could chat with Paul today, I am positive we could commiserate on the challenges of launching a child, even one who seems to be “doing well.” The ancient Roman Empire was no more hospitable to Christianity than our current surroundings. Timothy faced opposition from within and without the Church.
I would ask, “Paul, how do I help my adult kids keep going? How in this world do I encourage them to follow hard after Jesus? You have never been reticent to give out advice, Paul, so lay it on me.”
After patting me on the head, the Apostle Paul might just point to the second letter he wrote to Timothy, and say, “Sweetie, I already wrote it down for you right here.”
What To Do?
In 2 Timothy 1:3, Paul tells Timothy two things he does:
- I thank God
- I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day
In my book Unceasing: A Parent’s Guide to Conquer Worry and Pray With Power, the Very First Thing we learn to do in our parental prayer life is to thank God. Every day, all day, and for every. single. thing.
Philippians 1:3 states, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” Think about this for just a moment. If we thank God in EVERY remembrance, that does not only include the pleasant stuff. We must also express thanks when we remember something they are doing wrong, or a foolish activity, or even something we are just afraid they might be carrying out. Each little thought about our child that flits through our mind, good or bad, should be met with thanksgiving.
Step One: Thank God.
"What next, Paul? The end of verse three states that you constantly pray. By constantly, do you mean all the time? Like, ALL the time?”
Paul might answer, “Do you have another definition for constantly? Because I thought I was being pretty clear here."
I admit, “constantly remembering you in my prayers night and day” sounds not only exhausting but also intimidating. Yet, when I relate this to the constancy of motherhood it becomes clear how this works.
Every moment, while my kids resided at home, at least part of each brain cell was thinking about them. Constantly.
No wonder my brain wore out.
I could be washing dishes, while listening to the brothers “discussing” Matchbox car ownership in the other room to gauge the exact moment mediation was required.
While reading a book to the toddler, I monitored the teenager’s computer screen.
While talking to a friend, I listened to outside play. Certain cries could be ignored, while others required Olympic-level sprinting.
Deep REM sleep was no competition for the sound of the middle-of-the-night run to the bathroom of my child hit by a stomach bug.
And, I could be deep in my own project when a sixth sense prodded me, so I would ask, “What are you doing???” (Insert the “mom” tone that requires an answer pronto) without looking up. My kids would look at each other astounded. “How did she know?”
Constantly. I mothered constantly.
Now, in the exact same way, I can pray constantly. I don’t have to get on my knees, fold my hands, bow my head, and close my eyes. To constantly pray is to meet each thought as it arises with a call to the Lord.
When a worry pops up, I thank God for my child and then I ask Him to care for this issue.
When they act all grown up, and say something stupid, I thank God and ask Him to convict their little ole heart.
When they don’t call for weeks on end, I thank God and ask Him to be present in their lives.
When they share a challenging work situation, or a class they are struggling with, or a confusing relationship, I thank God and I ask Him to work in the trouble and to show Himself strong on my child’s behalf.
When they voice theological doubts, or liberal viewpoints, or lukewarm thinking, I thank God and ask Him to cause His Word, which my child has been taught, to do its work.
As I wash dishes, I pray.
While I drive, I pray.
When I lay awake in the night hours, I pray.
Constantly is not so much every second, as it is “all the time.”
Moms, all we need to do is apply our well-honed skills of reserving a half of every brain cell for our kids. But instead of monitoring for physical harm we are now knocking on heaven’s door, asking the Lord of the Universe to intervene in each and every situation.
Next week we will discuss Paul’s exact prayers for Timothy, but for now, let’s help each other pray CONSTANTLY for our kids.
Please share below in the comments ways you try to pray constantly for your kids. And let’s pray for each other at the same time we pray for our kids.
May our Mama hearts be as alert and as diligent as our Mama ears ever were. Constantly.
If you want a proven framework to launch your parental prayer life, check out my book Unceasing, available at Amazon in print or ebook form. You can the click the Amazon affiliate link below the cover picture and it will take you directly to be able to purchase it.
Let me know what you think!