I don’t know if her eyes could sparkle any more brightly. She jumps in the hammock with me, bringing a blanket and jackets for us to keep warm.
“Can I snuggle with you?”, she asks
How can I resist her? “Of course!”, I say.
She snuggles in deep and we gaze at the clouds passing by in the sky. Her mind fills with questions: “Why are the clouds different colors? Why are they moving so fast? Is the moon moving too?”
She talks and babbles, finding animals amidst the clouds: camels missing humps, pigs on their back, and alligators without tails.
She whispers, “I love you so much mommy.”
Last week she casually mentions that she can put herself to bed. She doesn’t, of course, but all the same, I can sense her growing up. I can see her desire for independence and a change happening inside of her.
She comes home from school, with endless energy, declaring she loves school and wants to be there forever. Both of my girls run away to play with each other , best friends who haven’t seen each other all day.
All of the emotions course through me as she runs off to be with her little sister. I never knew the transition would be so hard, watching her grow up. I miss her even when she is around.
I go to the garden and start cutting the lavender, determined to gather something beautiful in a moment that hurts so much. The mason jar I place the flowers in has an old sticker on it. I try to rub it off, but it’s too sticky. It’s not just a sticker: it feels like I’m trying to rub something off of my heart, something I was made to never have removed.
I am reminded of what God revealed to me years before:
These little ones are God’s children.
They have never been mine, they have always been His. He formed them, and knit them together in my womb. (Psalm 138:14) I get to serve them, love them, and spend my days with them. It’s a privilege that He has entrusted these little ones to me.
I hold my hands out open to the Father. Often, I want to close my hands over my children,my dreams and my plans. I want to close my hand, hold them tight, and never let go. The only way I can release my children is to place them in the hands of the Father. I know my Father is good. He has good plans for my children, for me, for all who believe in Him. I can trust Him.
And I pray. I pray as much as possible and as often as I remember. I pray Scripture out loud before my little ones leave for school. It comforts me, it comforts them, and I rest securely knowing that my Father hears every word.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
We can all offer a prayer as we place our children in God’s hands. Sometimes we pray during bigger transitions of first grade and later on, college. Other times, it’s prayers for them during the seemingly mundane trips to a soccer field or band practice. We pray to the God who hears us. He knows our deepest fears and our greatest longings. He loves our children even more than we do.
Lord Heavenly Father,
You are the God who hears and the God who sees. I ask that you watch over our children spiritually, physically, and emotionally. May the sun not harm them by day or the moon by night. Watch over their coming and going both now and forevermore. Hem them in before, behind, above, and below. Help them to know how much you love them, that nothing in all creation can separate them from the love of God. May they in turn love you with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. I ask that they will bring glory to your name. Help them to be lights to those around them. Help them to not be ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for everyone who believes. Guide them and direct them Father. May your name be written in their heart and spoken in their mouth. Help them to be filled with your Holy Spirit and listen to the Spirit even when they are young. Help them to know, believe, and live for You and you alone.
In Jesus most precious and holy name, Amen.
*scripture in prayer from Psalm 121:6, Romans 8:39, Romans 1:16, Matthew 22:37, Psalm 139:5
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