As mamas, sometimes we do things over and over and over, hoping for a certain result but never knowing if our efforts are making a difference at all.
We have to wait and wait and wait, hoping beyond hope that the things we are praying and pouring over our children are sinking in and actually changing something. Day after day passes, and we continue in this marathon of parenting. We keep doing the same things, over and over, reminding ourselves somehow that small things done consistently reap great reward……but deep inside, we often feel like our efforts are for naught, our words falling on deaf ears and our prayers falling back to earth having changed nothing. It’s a thankless job, and not only are we left with the hollow feeling that we aren’t appreciated, but we often wonder if we’re doing a good job at all.
Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?
Am I teaching her what she needs me to teach her?
Am I making big mistakes I don’t even know about?
But day after day we plug along, driven by our love for our children, our dreams for their lives, and our faith that God has it under control. And sometimes…..sometimes He reminds us that He hears every prayer.
Since Leah first began a mother’s day out program when she was two, I have spent a few minutes praying with her in the car before dropping her off. I pray for things I know she has on her mind, things she has going on that day. Some of the requests change day to day, but the bulk of the prayer has remained the same over the past three years: “God, help Leah to remember she belongs to you, and help her to show your love to the world. Let her shine because of You.” Day after day, year after year, I have prayed some variation of those words, never certain whether anyone could see the love of God in her once she got out of the car. (We never really know how our kids are when they’re away from us, do we? Scary.)
Year after year…all the way through elementary school…the same essential prayer: “God, let her shine.” It’s a simple ritual, praying as we fly into carline, but it’s one I hold dear. If I forget or we’re running (particularly) late, I’ll assure her that I’m going to pray as soon as she gets out of the car and I do. Why is this so important to me?
When my girl finished pre-K, I was given an amazing gift. It was simple, really, coming only in a flat thank-you note sized envelope, but it meant more to this mama’s heart than most anything.
It was an end-of-year note from Leah’s teacher, telling me how much she loved teaching her and enjoyed having her in the class. One sentence, though, jumped out at me: “Leah truly shines with the love of God.”
I wept when I read it. Yes, any mama would love to read those things about her child, and it made me feel good. But so much more than that, it made me understand that my prayers – my consistent, unrelenting prayers for my daughter – were being answered. I had been heard, and God was working.
Gratitude overwhelmed me, and before I could fully process the weight of what Mrs. Driesen had written, I was breathless with a question: What else ought I be praying for my daughter?
If God heard and answered that prayer, what other prayers might He love to answer? If God granted my deep desire for Leah to reflect heavenly love, what else might He be waiting to do? If my Father in heaven saw His daughter’s pleas as acceptable, what else might He want to hear from me?
It’s humbling. It’s convicting. It’s breathtakingly challenging.
As Leah has begun sixth grade this year, we have begun another year of car line prayers. You can be sure that I’m still praying for God’s love to radiate from my little girl. On top of that, though, I’m considering the other amazing things He might long to do in and through her. She is in a whole new world – new to her and, in large part, new to me – and God has a purpose and a plan for her in that place. My job is simply to usher her into the plans God has for her, through my teaching, my love, and – yes – my prayers. I’m still learning what that looks like, but I’ll be praying that God will show me. I believe that He will.
If you’d like to know more about praying for your family, check out my book, I Don’t Know What To Say: Praying God’s Word Over Your Home and Family. Click here to find out more.