I have just finished writing out a four page prayer to God. I was thanking Him for taking the negative friends out of my daughter’s life. I also acknowledged how lonely she is and asked Him to bring new healthy friends into her life. I thought I would end with a peace and joy in my heart.
I had accomplished my goal as her mother. I had kept her safe from people who would hurt her. I had kept her protected from people who would challenge her value. I should be awarding myself the mother of the week.
Before I wrote out my prayer, I talked to a trusted friend. She agreed with me. We need to keep our children from non-christians who cause them to question the character of God. She reminded me that we could pray for those people when God brings them to mind.
So why don’t I have peace and joy in my heart. Because these friends ate at my table, had sleepovers and saw me in my morning attire. I spent hours giving these friends rides home and talking them during the car rides. A few these friends called me Justina’s mom and some of them called me “mom”. I grew to care for them.
I can’t just pray that God protect my daughter from pain. I have to pray that God will develop character in my daughter through the pain. I feel her loss and I have to pray that she would experience the joy of reconciliation because we serve a God of reunification. In fact, He sent His Son to the earth in order for us to be united to heaven and all the treasures it has to offer.
So the last two pages of my prayer ended up being a petition to work in these teenagers and young adults lives so that God’s kingdom would be realized on this earth. I was challenged to move toward the uncomfortableness of the cross and away from the safety provided by the walls of religion. The cross is heavy. The cross is covered with blood. It is a reminder of pain. The walls of religion shut out the reality of the struggle that the world deals with everyday.I have to believe in the character of God because I have hope in nothing else.
My nature is to run from conflict and discomfort. I don’t want to pass that on to my daughter. I want her to know the joy of finding strength in the struggle. I want her to grow towards the awkward weight of the cross and stretch her wings in order to find her value in the Jesus who modelled true compassion for all people.
The parenting struggle is real. My job is to fulfill God’s purpose and I can’t pray for God to work in others lives unless I am praying for the same thing in my life.
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.