Releasing the Good to Receive the Greater

Our kitchen looks out onto our backyard. Our girls typically play outside while I get dinner ready. One afternoon, I hear wailing just shortly after they ran outside to play. Braced for blood, my oldest comes in muttering, “my bush, my bush!”

While she was at school I cut back all the bushes, including her beloved butterfly bush, and the sight of seeing its bare branches devastated her. The loss that comes with pruning is hard, it feels harsh.

I’ve been studying the book of John recently, specifically John 15. Jesus knows He’s about to be crucified and here we have some of His final words to the disciples, “I AM the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

He gets straight to the point, expect to be pruned. Verse two has given me a few sucker punches over the last few months. I like to hold onto what I have because it doesn’t require the pain that comes with pruning.

But I knew what the bush needed, I cut back her bush because I knew it would grow bigger and produce more blooms as a result. I explained to her that our job is to to take care of our bushes, because an untended bush indicates an uncaring gardener. We could let it grow without pruning but that wouldn’t be best.

I need this reminder often, God is a caring, good and gentle gardener. He isn’t willing to let us grow out of control. He prunes with grace not a hacksaw.

But I have to release the good to receive the greater. I have to let Him prune back what might be hindering me from receiving more of Him or my fruit from flourishing.

Let’s pause for a moment today and ask Him to help us release the good so we can receive the greater.


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What Happens When a Mother Prays

I don't know where this Mother's Day finds you in your motherhood journey, but I hope this will encourage you to keep "praying the prayers only you can pray." (as my friend Monica says)

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My eyes brimmed with tears as we pulled out of the pre-school parking lot and I heard her sweet voice reciting the ABC’s. A simple prayer whispered in sorrow, answered abundantly.

Being a mother is one of the greatest and simultaneously, one of the hardest roles we walk in as women. And rarely does it look anything like we imagined.

I entered motherhood, a former teacher, full of grand ideas of what our pre-school years would entail. I love to teach, so what could be better than teaching my own children. When obedience took me outside the home, those plans withered. It sounds silly now, especially since I know how frustrating teaching your own children can be at times, ha! But in that moment, it felt like such a loss. In my grief, I remember whispering, “God, I can’t do it all - I can’t teach her everything and work.” I prioritized, reading, play and sowing Biblical truths and trusted the rest would come.

As I heard the letters tumble from her mouth, I knew it was such a simple request, but He had heard it. And that marked me, because if He had heard and answered such a basic prayer for her to learn her ABC’s before she was three - how much more would He answer.

I grew up sitting outside the door to my mother’s prayer group. I had seen and experienced what happens when a mother prays, but that day, the weight and power that my prayers held became tangibly real to me.

Fellow momma, whatever the role looks like for you today:

A mother in waiting

A mother of littles

A grieving mother

A spiritual mother

A grandmother

A mother of tweens or teens

A mother of adult children

Our prayers matter. Our prayers will outlast the years we walk this earth and echo into eternity. Every prayer whispered in grief, sorrow, joy, fear, love, desperation and hope is heard by our Heavenly Father.

The prayers of a momma are mighty.

When we pray, we invite God to move.

“When we get on our knees, God extends His powerful right hand on our behalf.” - Mark Batterson

Throughout scripture are countless pictures of men and women coming to God and inviting Him into their mess. Motherhood is messy. It’s impossible to get out of it without mud on our white jeans, but that was by design. We are broken and sinful trying to lead broken and sinful children, it’s a beautiful mess that points us to Jesus and pulls us to our knees.

When we pray, we invite God into the brokenness and mess to work in the hearts of our children like only He can. We can’t control their salvation, their obedience, every choice they make or their circumstances. But we can partner with God and ask Him to move.

When we pray, the plans of the enemy fail.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” Ephesians 6:12

We are in a spiritual battle daily and so are our children. Prayer is our greatest offensive weapon in pushing the enemy back in the lives of our children.

When we pray we can see where the enemy is attacking or may attack and partner with God to push him back. Prayer releases God to fight for our children.

"Prayer is how we see heaven invade earth. It's what opens up the floodgates for God to come down and be involved in our everyday circumstances." - Priscilla Shirer

The work of prayer is done in the unseen hours and moments of our days and the fruit doesn’t come overnight. Your prayers are mighty momma, keep pressing in.

Happy Mother’s Day,



How I'm Praying for My High School and Adult Children

I have watched today's author parent from a distance since before children were even on the table for us. I have gleaned wisdom from her writing and encouragement from her faithfulness. Autumn writes at ParentCue, a blog to encourage and equip parents. Her post today will encourage you no matter what season of parenting you are in, to sow the seed of prayer for your child.

I’m a “fix it” mama. Sibling argument? I’m there to mediate. Upset stomach? I have medicine for that. Shoes have a hole? No problem. I can buy new ones. Difficult homework? We can figure it out together. (thanks to YouTube tutorials)

Yep. I was pretty good at the whole “Mom to the rescue” thing up until my kids entered their pre-teen/teen years, and then it all came to a screeching halt. For the first time, I was faced with things I had zero power to fix.

Broken heart? I couldn’t mend that. Hard time making friends? I couldn’t produce friends like a new pair of shoes. Poor body image? Have you ever tried to change the way a person views themself? I was at a loss on that one too.

Then there was the time... 

he didn’t make the team,

she didn’t feel pretty enough,

she was searching for purpose,

he/she drove away by themselves for the first time (and every time after that),

she saw the mass on the cat scan,

he suffered from anxiety,

she felt depressed,

he/she was living in the consequences of a bad choice,

she was processing hurtful words from a person I had no control over…

(deep exhale)

At some point, I took my “Super Mom” cape off and embraced the fact that life had suddenly become a lot bigger than Band-Aids and notes in their lunchbox – a lot bigger than me.

The teen and young adult years aren’t just hard on kids. They’re hard on moms and dads too. They can leave us feeling as left out and not good enough as they do our kids. We have less time with our teen and young adult kids because they naturally want to hang out with friends, they’re driving themselves to practice, they go to work after school or they live in a dorm 2 hours away. And because we can’t just fix the things they’re going through, or even know all the things they’re going through, we can feel like we’re not doing a good job as a parent. It’s clearly a wrong way to think as I type it out, but I have felt it nonetheless.

For these reasons, I have never prayed more for my kids and myself as I have during their teen and young adult years. Prayers that in the past I would keep to myself I now share with close friends and ask them to pray with me. (Boy does it help to know others are going through the same thing.) My prayers have become more desperate – a heart crying out because it needs God to do what only He can do.

My prayers have become a continuous conversation versus just during my quiet time or before my kids go to bed. (That whole “pray without ceasing” thing… yeah, I get it now.) I find myself praying in my car a lot and as I’m falling asleep. There are even times when I park my van and pray over my kids’ day as I stare at their school (even though they drove themselves earlier that morning). I’ve prayed on my front porch as I’ve watched my older two leave on a date. (Watching my son drive off with someone else’s baby girl or a boy I kind of know drive off with my baby girl triggers intense prayer time!) Sometimes I text my kids what I am praying for them because the days of kneeling by their bedsides are slowly fading.

I will always pray what our family has said since they were preschoolers. “Love God. Love people.” It’s really all we’ve ever wanted for our kids. It’s what has hung over our front door for probably 15 years now. It’s what I would say to them as they got out of the car when I dropped them off at school.

But as my kids have grown, now ages 20, 18 and 15, so has the prayer list.

I now pray for the person each of them will marry,

that my kids will be the one as they wait for God to bring the one,

for healthy friendships,

God’s guidance as they pursue college and jobs,

God will protect their minds and hearts as they live in the world but not of the world,

they will love how God made them,

trust God’s plan when things aren’t going “right,”

make wise choices,

have the courage to be who God made them to be,

and choose joy in the midst of confusion and hurt.

Along with my prayers, I continue to encourage my kids to talk to God. Only now, instead of prompting them to thank God for their food or say a prayer before bed, when I see their hearts are heavy I’ll mention something like, “Why don’t you drive down to the lake and spend some time with God?” Or I’ll ask, “Have you talked to God about it?” I know that as important as it is for me to pray for my kids, it’s just as important that they go to God on their own behalf.

I’ll also share with my kids what I’m experiencing as a parent. I’ll tell them I wish I could fix it but I can’t. But what I can do is pray, and I am praying. I remind them that God loves them, even more than I do. He has a plan and the power to do all things. I trust that God hears me and in His perfect timing all things will honor Him. I tell them God’s way is best and I want God’s best for them. (I need to hear all these things as much as my kids do.)If you find yourself in a place where “all you can do” is pray for your kids, please know you are doing something very powerful. It’s not an immediate fix like the things we used to do when our kids were younger, but our words are being heard by the Creator of all things, the One who loves our children more than we do, the One who has the power to heal, mend, restore, defeat, resurrect, provide, protect, guide, counsel, change – anything we need, God’s got it!

Keep praying, mom and dad.

Keep sharing your prayers with those closest to you.

Keep talking to your kids about what you are praying.

Keep encouraging them to pray.

Keep trusting that in God’s time He will have His way.


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How I'm Praying for My Middle School Child

I'm extremely honored to have my sister-in-law sharing with us today. She parents with intentionality, grace and laughter and I'm grateful to have a sideline view to learn from her. She is the founder of PLAtime Box and writes there about how to intentionally engage your child's heart. Her post will challenge and encourage you as you pray for your child this year.

Middle School is a unique stage of life for our kids and if we are honest, probably one we look forward to least. All of the stereotypical awkwardness and hormones, wrapped into a three-year stint of eye rolls and moodiness can send parents reeling down a checklist of what lessons we’ve missed and all the things we need to cram in their brains to survive the world.  But as my husband and I have been living through this phase with our oldest child and preparing to start our second child this year, I can say that middle school has afforded a tremendous amount of growth not only for my kids but for me as well.

Below are some things that I am praying for my kids as they move through the growth spurts of this middle school season. However, I am sharing the two-sided prayers I am praying for both them and myself as we all experience these growth spurts together.   The “TOP SIDE” is some of what I am praying for my boys and the “FLIP SIDE” is some of what I am praying for myself.  I do pray for their friendships, protection, hygiene, navigation of their romantic feelings, and dealing with fear but the following three topics hold priority.

1. HEARTS SOFTENED TO GOD AND HIS WORD (Hebrews 3: 4, 6, 8, 12-14)

TOP SIDE: May the boys’ hearts be soft to Your Holy Spirit and to Your WORD, not hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  Please grow their hunger for You and Your WORD.  May Your Wisdom be their foundation in decision-making and may they depend on You to decipher escapes from the enemy’s schemes.  (I Corinthians 10:13)

FLIP SIDE: May I be soft and quick to remember that only You, God, can restore hearts (Psalms 23:3)-even the hearts of those I love so much-these children You have placed in my home.  May I be soft to Your Word and Work in their lives, not manipulating, forcing and fabricating but encouraging and spurring them on in their journey with You.  May I not be hardened in seasons of my boys’ sinfulness but rather hold firmly to You – not being shocked or taking personally their humanity but moreover remembering Your Redemption. May I not forget You love them most and have Best Plans for them far above anything I could ask or imagine.  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

2. AUTHENTIC INTEREST  (based on Philippians 2:1-18)

TOP SIDE:  First, may the boys respond to Your interest, God, in their lives. Second, may they be softened to their parents’ interest in them; I pray for openness and authenticity to their dad and me but most importantly to You, God. May we be a practice for the communication of both joys and sorrows but may we not take Your place –may they communicate most with You. I acknowledge that during the tween/teen developmental phase, it is a challenge to be interested in someone other than self, but I still pray that they will grow in their desire to know Your interests and grow interested in those as well.

FLIP SIDE: May I be genuinely interested in their lives. I believe this requires Your intervention, Holy Spirit, because it can be unnatural for me. “Adulting” can be loud and overwhelming but may “responsibilities” not prevent me from seeing the lives of these two teens that mean so much. Above nosy, deeper than curiosity, and not driven by fear, please help me be authentically interested.   It is not always easy to empathize with what they see as problems or what they find astounding.  May I remember how You bend to hear my prayers and how Christ stooped low to come and die for me. May this Remembrance help me to be more like You in listening to and understanding these boys You and I love so much. (Psalm 116:2)

3. THEIR SIBLING RELATIONSHIP (Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 18)

TOP SIDE: Bind these siblings together in You. You gave them each other in a way unique from other friendships. May they cling to the good in each other and resolve to strengthen one another’s character; may they make a common practice of pointing each other to You. Most likely, they will have this sibling relationship longer than the one with their parents, their spouses, or their own children!  One challenge is that they have each other now while they are immature physically and spiritually, leaving room for much emotional damage.  LORD, help them grow and nurture their relationship here in these few years they have left under the same roof.  It is a ripe place for the enemy to plant perception weeds of competition, rejection, and judgment.  However, it is an even more amazing place for You to strengthen their thoughtfulness, forgiveness and conflict muscles to prepare them for all future relationships. May the enemy’s efforts fall flat and may Your values grow strong in the kids. May they have discernment to refuse his attempts and cling to the good You reveal.

FLIP SIDE: Give me guidance to know how and when to create environments that facilitate the relationships between these siblings. Help me to invest time, energy, and resources in shared experiences, which support their relationship. Help me to refrain from unintentional comparisons and guard my words. Help me to discern how and when to mediate and when to refrain and allow them to work through conflict.

This year of two middle-schoolers will possibly double the infamous drama, the joys and the sorrows in our house!  I am so very thankful God is bigger than middle school-even the middle school painted by our media and all the messages this world sends to those attending. Middle school is a great time to watch all the detail He adds in the heart, mind, and spirit of 12-15-year-olds, even as He adds those astounding physical transformations to their bodies! May we, their parents, remain in His creative hands as well!

Farah Isbell is an ASHA certified Speech-Languagae Pathologist and owner of PLAtime – a strategy for increasing relational consistency and communication between parents and children.  Through Christ, God changed her life and all she ever thought it would be and graced her with a wonderful husband of almost 18 years and three children- two boys and one girl.  You can read more about parent-child interactions at the Blog on

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How I'm Praying for My Upper Elementary Child

I haven't met today's author in person, but she makes me laugh often and is a breath of fresh air on my weary parenting days through her podcast Surviving Sarah. I have been so encouraged by her sharing about praying for her daughters. Her post will encourage you if you have an upper elementary age child! 

The upper elementary years can be so enjoyable. For the most part, kids that age are all about fun experiences, friends, and competition. They are happy to race you in Mario Cart or go with you to the zoo. Your kids still want to talk to you and spend quality time with you—which is  blessing as you are on the brink of the teenage years.

I don’t know about you, but my memories of early elementary are few and far between. But I do remember a lot from third grade forward. In fact, some significant moments happened to me while I was in upper elementary school. We moved to a new city and I went to three different elementary schools in one school year. Making friends was difficult. There was an already established group of girls in school and church so breaking into that was hard. And it was in fourth grade that I was called fat for the first time. As I consider those memories, it adds weight to the age that my oldest is. Significant, pivotal moments happened that altered my thinking of the world and of myself. 

Remembering my own experiences have shaped how I pray for my daughters. What I’m praying for my upper elementary age daughter centers around identity/worth, confidence and wisdom.

Not only do I pray about these things during my own prayer time, but I try to pray about one of those things each day as I put my daughter to bed. Trying to teach a 9 year old how to take every negative, untrue thought captive is difficult. For my daughter, faith is harder to grasp. She believes that Jesus died for her sins, but understanding the process of sanctification is a whole other ballgame. Because of that, I hope that modeling how to pray about those things will help her to one day understand it for herself. 

Just like how I believed lies about my worth and identity because someone called me fat, I can recognize the lies that come out of my daughters mouth about herself. “I’m the worst kid.” “I just can’t do anything right.” “I mess up all the time.” “No one likes me.” “I’m not good enough.”

Doesn’t it break your heart to hear your child voice the lies that swirl around in their head? “Father, thank you for making her wonderfully unique, there is no one else like her. You made her on purpose for a purpose. Thank you for giving her the ability to feel strong emotions. Use that one day in order to help others. You gave her a fun-loving personality and the ability to notice other people. Thank for making her so unique.” (Psalm 139)

I’ve noticed since second grade a level of insecurity in my daughter. I’ve watched her realize that she isn’t great at everything. That realization has led her to not want to try different activities. She allows insecurity to direct her steps. This year, I’m praying for her confidence. That she will discover something that she enjoys doing and that her confidence will build. I want her confidence to be strong before going into middle school. Another way of praying about confidence is praying that she will understand that God can make her capable. I bet you know this to be true for you, too. You don’t feel capable when you look at others and compare yourself. But no matter who you are, God can make you capable and confident for whatever lies before you. “Father, help her find something that she enjoys doing and let that build her confidence. Make her strong and courageous knowing that You will never leave her. Give her a confidence that comes from you.” (Joshua 1:1-2, 5-6)

I feel like this phase before the teenage years is a time when you as the parent must start coaching your child to recognize wise versus unwise choices. That’s because you still have some control over them plus they still want to be around you. When my daughter gets in trouble for her sass, I talk to her about making a wise choice with her words. Or when she wants to treat her sister poorly, ask “What is the wise thing to do?” I’m trying to help her see that it comes down to wisdom. Wisdom to know how to respond to someone who has hurt you. Wisdom to know what to say in response to something critical. These years are our practice years before becoming a teenager so when she is faced with much bigger obstacles, maybe there will be a loud voice in her head asking, “What is the wise thing to do?” “Father, will you grow her in wisdom and stature. Help her make wise choices when it comes to her words and actions.” (Luke 2:52)

I heard once that children determine their worldview—the way they see the world—by the age of 9. If that is true, these upper elementary years are crucial. I want my daughters to know that their worth is based on what God says is true, that God makes them capable and confident and that if you ask for it, God will give you wisdom.

What about you? What are you praying for when it comes to your upper elementary age child?

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How I'm Praying for My Lower Elementary Child

I love getting to watch Sarah and her husband parent with intentionality. She writes about their parenting journey at and I'm honored to share with you today how she is praying for their two elementary aged boys. 

This August our family enters a new stage of life. The stage where both kids are in full day school. It is a totally new season we dipped our toes in two years ago when my oldest started, but in just a few short weeks, we are jumping in with both feet.

Like anything in the parenting realm, the feelings are mixed. There is a taste of freedom just ahead that is nearly palpable. And a sense of sadness, that a stage of life I have spent nearly eight years in, a stage that I imagined and dreamt about since I was young girl myself, is about ready to come to a close. And with every stage change, and phase shift, this one included, there is the lingering feeling, “did I do it right?” and then, “how do I make the most of what’s next?”

I am definitely feeling the pressure this summer as time goes barreling towards what’s just ahead. Because it feels like I have the chance to get this really right, to have as few regrets as possible, and who doesn’t want that?

I have very specific goals of what I want to be praying for and praying about at the start of this season, things I have already started to pray for them both—and things that are unique to each child’s age and personality.

I am praying for their peers, and the friends they find themselves drawn towards at the beginning of the school year. Praying they have confidence in picking friends, being a positive influence on others and that they show leadership in making good choices with these friends.

I am praying for their teachers. That as they spend eight hours a day under the care of another adult—who may like them a lot, but I’m pretty sure doesn’t think they hung the moon, like I do— that their teacher will have insight into what makes them tick, what makes them excited to learn, hesitant to try, fearful to do and energized to practice. I’m praying that their teacher has this insight into my own kids, but also the other children in their class, to best be able to lead the tribe entrusted to their care for the next nine months.

I am praying for them to be challenged but that their confidence isn’t dismantled. For them to be stretched but not broken. Some of my prayers are driven by fear, some by hope, and all with possibility.

When my oldest started kindergarten I remember wanting him to have an idea of the things I was praying for him—without overwhelming him but also while cluing him in to the intention I had for the hours he would be spending away.

So our family settled on a phrase. My husband and I asked ourselves the question: What are the most important things we want to our kids to know when they leave the house everyday? What do we want to stick? Because I couldn’t quite give a transcript of the prayers I was a praying every day, but I wanted my boys to know what exactly what I was hoping for them—and even more than that, the role they could play in making it come to fruition.

So we landed on three things. Every day as we would head out the door, or as they got out of the car, my husband and I would call out three things to the kids. The same three. Every day.


“Be brave!” we yelled.

“Be kind!” we called.

“Be wise!” we encouraged.

Those were our three things. The things that dominated our praying and our conversations and our hopes and intentions for the little boys we were responsible for raising, but who we were passing off into the hands of other adults to be educated in other spaces.

We wanted our kids to know they can be brave. Braver than they probably think they are. That courage means speaking up for the kids who aren’t picked right away for the team, and for trying things they think they won’t be good at right away.

We wanted our kids to be kind. To teachers. To peers. To themselves. To not allow untrue messages they may hear from others, or may tell themselves over not doing as well as they wanted, to control their thoughts or dominate their behavior. To remember each person they engage with is a human with feelings, who was made with God’s image in them, and to treat them accordingly.

We wanted our kids to be wise. To try hard things—but not stupid things. To learn the subtle difference between the right thing and the smart thing. To know that just trying to avoid wrong is the lowest bar possible, and we expect more. That being wise means thinking more and taking your time, but it’s always worth what is asks of you.

There are hundreds of other things I have in mind for my boys this coming year. Hundreds of things I will add to my prayers about what I would like their experience at school to include. But I’ll clue them in to these three every day. More than once day. And when I see them miss an opportunity to do those things, I will remind them of the values we strive to demonstrate. And when I see them do it well, I will point it out so they can see where they are winning.

Every year is a chance to feel overwhelmed and under equipped to handle a new season of life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It can be a chance to re-center your goals, refocus your hopes and clue your kids into the things that matter to you and your family, and then begin pursuing them together.

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How I'm Praying for My Kindergartner

Thanks for joining me on this blog series. I'm excited to share a little bit with you from my heart as first time "big school" mom. I hope this blog series encourages you in how you can pray for your child this school year.

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The words “first day of school” carry a heavier weight this year. We have tiptoed into the school world with pre-school but now my oldest is starting Kindergarten. She is fearlessly excited about the adventure that awaits while I try to hold back an ocean of tears at every mention of it. I’m not even sure she will hold my hand the first day, she is braver than I am, but maybe she will know I need it.

As I prepare to walk her through those big Elementary school doors, down a wide hallway filled with faces I don’t recognize, I am reminded that when I can’t be with her, her Heavenly Father is with her and when I can’t cover her with my arms, I can cover her with my prayers.

Here are three ways I’m praying for my Kindergartner this year:


I met one of my closest friends on the first day of High School. Her mom had been praying for a “kindred heart” friend for fifteen years. Getting to experience the fruit of her mom’s prayer in our friendship compels me to diligently pray for my girl's friendships.

I’m praying for the friendships she will form with the kids she sits next to. I’m praying the playground will be a place she learns not just to climb the monkey bars but also how to be a good friend. I’m praying for her kindred heart friend.

#raisingellie’s friendliness is a reminder to me to always invite others in. I pray she will be drawn to those who need a friend and will be kind to those who aren’t always kind to her.


#raisingellie asks a lot of questions. Sometimes we have to tell her “no more questions” because our ears get tired. But I love her inquisitive mind.

My prayer as she learns about her world this year is that she would ask a lot of questions. I’m praying a love for the truth would be birthed in her and that we would help her learn to guard her mind with God’s Word.


Honestly, many of my prayers are driven by fear. It’s hard to release the baby that made me a mom into the wilderness of the world. I wish I could protect her longer.

This year I’m praying for what is best for her, even when that means failure and rejection because even though I wish I could protect her from that I know it will develop her character.

As that first day draws closer and closer and the “what if” thoughts creep in, I am reminded that prayer is the foundation in which all the seeds of our parenting are sown. I am not alone in this, God is with me and with her.

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How I'm Praying for My Pre-Schooler

I'm excited to kick off this blog-series with this post from my friend Whitney. She is the founder and visionary of Imperfectly Brave. I love the way she loves Jesus, her girls and champions women. I encourage you to get to know Whitney and how you can be a part of the Imperfectly Brave community.

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She’s recently discovered imaginary friends, actually an imaginary family to be exact. Her caterpillar family lives in her princess tent to the left side of her room. She puts them to sleep at night and sometimes her caterpillar mom needs certain items brought to her (what a luxury), which means the caterpillar home becomes quite full on occasion.

I find myself smiling as I peer around the corner, watching her care for these invisible creatures. I never want this imagination of hers to go away, but rather for it to flourish and develop into a deep, abiding creativity that pulses through her life.

So I pray right there at her door that she wouldn’t lose her wonder and imagination in a world of desks and a flurry of activities. That she would see crayons as pathways to farmable artwork and center activities as ways for her to get her hands dirty and explore. I pray she doesn’t lose her innocence this year, not even when she shares about her made-up world. But that she would believe whole-heartedly in her thoughts and ideas that others might believe with her – not dismiss her and her blow out the spark in her eyes.

And then there was the time she and I stood with a poster board sign that read, “Two Blondes Lemonade Stand.” We were perched on the sidewalk of a somewhat busy road, sweating and waving, with hopeful hearts of a Barbie waiting on the other side of all this hard work.

Cars zoomed by with lots of waves but hardly any stops. My heart grew anxious. “Would business build? Don’t people care anymore?” My mind whizzed down a path of negativity and harsh statements. And I looked at my little girl, digging down deeply for optimism and joy and said, “Don’t worry, they’ll come.”

She looked right back at me and said, “Of course, mommy. They just aren’t thirsty, yet.”

Again, I found myself praying right there on the curb with sweat beading at the back of my neck, “ Lord, thank you for her simple heart and the good she sees in everyone. May it not be lost this year. May it waltz through the halls with her and into the playground. And when no one wants to play with her, may she still see the good. May the love she receives in our home be love enough to bind her identity securely. And may I keep learning from her and continue to see the good.”

It’s as if the prayers I pray for her often turn into humble reminders for my very own spirit.

Like when she prayed at the table and said sweetly, tenderly, “God, thank you for this food. Thank you for this very beautiful day. Thank you for my family. I hope you have a good day, too, God. Amen.”

My husband and I locked eyes. How kind of her. “I hope you have a good day, God.”

Unselfish and unfiltered, never once have I prayed for God to have a good day. Now don’t get me down the path of theological debate. That’s not the point. The bottom line is she cared about God, too. She didn’t just ask and ask and ask, she thought about Him.

What a beautiful reminder for my somewhat selfish heart.

Moms (and dads), we can pray for our preschoolers to be saved. We can pray for them to hide God’s Word in their hearts. We can pray for their obedience (and Lord knows we need for them to be obedient!) We can sit on couches and teach them to fold their hands and give away their cares to God. And all of these are good – some of them the best – things we can do for our children.

But today I am praying for her wonder not to be lost in hallways. For her pure heart to give way to lifelong friendships and for her simple love for God to teach me in the way everlasting. I’m praying in doorways, on sidewalks and on couches.  And He listens and longs for that wonder to last – because it’s the same wonder that builds our faith and helps us walk in the mystery of Almighty God.

Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to me, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Get all of the posts from the How I'm Praying for My Child blog series.