Late at night, the hallway light falls softly on their faces. It is quiet, and all my children are asleep. I can see their long lashes lying lightly on their cheeks. I can hear their breathing, strong and deep. The rooms fill with the smell of their bath soap, and all is quiet and calm. In this moment, God and I meet together to talk about my kids. And just like that, their rooms become a Holy Place.
From the womb, our children are carried by our prayers as well as our bodies. We dream the best for our children and seek to bring them to know their Heavenly Father. From birth, I have quietly stood next to their beds in the dark and prayed for them one by one. I have placed my hand on their heads, backs, or hands and asked God to watch over my four children. I have offered up my concerns for them and asked God to fulfill his promises.
I can pour myself into my children, love and adore them, and teach them right from wrong, but this does not control the myriad of occurrences that will also shape them into who they will become. I cannot keep them from hurt. I cannot make them choose well. I cannot protect their hearts or their minds from harm. But I can pray. I can pray with them when they are awake and over them while they sleep. I can pray for them while they are at school, off with friends or riding on their bikes. I have prayed for their teachers, their friends, their future spouses. I have prayed over their heartbreaks and their successes. I have wept over them, dreamed over them and sometimes stood in wordless, silent prayer over them, trusting God to know my heart.
I can, every day, open my fists and release my babies into the loving hands of their Creator. Trusting God. That is really where the whole thing sits. What I have learned in my years of parenting is that I control very little of what happens in the lives of my children. In taking my concerns to God, I am trusting Him to protect them, to strengthen them and to guide them to the place where He needs them to be. It is not an easy thing and my heart breaks with each tear they shed.
Yet even from this close-up-place, I can already see the way my prayers are being answered in their young lives. I am not only heard when I make my requests to God, I am answered. I see it when they grow in faith. I know it when they struggle and begin to heal. I believe it when small but tangible miracles show up in their varied experiences. And I can feel how it changes us--how it changes them and how it changes me.
I could spend my time worried over the pain my children will face or I can turn each worry into a prayer for my child to find blessing. Taking that time to invite God into what we are doing and living in our ordinary life impacts our family and our home. And it helps me remember the truth that these children have been entrusted to me but they are totally his. God loves them first and best and I can trust these precious children into his care.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Rev. Deb Koster