My oldest is 7 and fascinating. When I pray for her, I can visualize scenarios where that daily prayer may apply. I imagine those moments at school, parties, with current and future friends. I pray for times when she’s into boys and confused about friends and jobs. It isn’t very hard to imagine what she may need from God through me during those situations. She’s fairly easy to figure out right now. I usually know when she needs a firm tone, I know when she needs a hug, I know when she needs unbreakable eye contact and me not to interrupt.
My other sweetheart is almost 3. She’s already in the throes of threenager-ness and things are very different. For her, I’m praying daily that she’ll learn patience and sharing, and know that the toilet will not eat her, so actually sitting on it without screaming would be GREAT.
She also is a complete mystery, constantly changing. She needs a firm tone, except when she doesn’t. She needs lots of hugs, except when she doesn’t. She needs to laugh about things except when she really doesn’t. She needs to talk about it except when, oh no, don’t talk about it. Parenting her takes more attention, more patience.
As I was reading through parts of Isaiah in prep for this post, I noticed something I hadn’t before. Isaiah seems to cover all kinds of reactions. It describes how God will avenge our foes so we needn’t worry. It tells us to watch ourselves because lo, it will not be pleasant if we don’t turn from wicked ways. It tells us to be encouraged, God reigns!
After taking a break for a couple days I came back to the book right before my 39th birthday. Thinking about being one year from 40, I turned to the 40th chapter and read this:
“Comfort, Comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord ‘s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord ; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.’ Isaiah 40:1-4 ESV
I read those verses 5 times and each time, I was comforted. It seemed different than what I’d read before. I imagined it as, “There, there, it’s okay. Don’t cry, God’s got you. Look! He’s gonna make the rough parts smooth! Look! He’s going to lift the valley! Let Him dry your tears, it’s going to be fine.”
While I do not lament aging at all, I sometimes get in a “What have I been doing? Look at how old my kids are and I still haven’t taught them so much!”
I realize God gives us what we need when we need it.
Sometimes He convicts. Oh, that necessary, firm tone can really sting. Sometimes He goes before us, defending, fighting that necessary battle. And sometimes He shows us that while life isn’t easy, He holds us close. He still says, “Shhh, I’m here, I’ve got you, I’ll smooth out the mountains and the valleys.” He always picks the right one. And with His help, I can know better what my girls need in the moment. Sometimes I pick the wrong reaction, but the cool part is, God never does, so I can always go to Him for help.
I’ve started incorporating this into my prayers lately — asking for discernment, that I may know what my kids need from me in each situation instead of just going with what pops up first. And already I can feel my reaction time slowing, which is a really good thing. Instead of instantly reacting, I can look at my beautiful threenager or 7-year-old and figure out what would be the best course of action for that moment. And we’re all a little happier and grace-full because of it.As moms, we can trust God to give us what we need when we need it. #prayersforgirls Click To Tweet
A Slowing Prayer
Dear God, it is so easy to get wrapped up in our initial reactions. Slow us down, so we can know what You would have us do, so our girls can thrive and learn from us what grace really looks like. In Jesus’ name. Amen.