By: Cheri Fuller
"Prayer, even prayer for what God desires, releases
power by the operation of a deep spiritual law;
and to offer up what one loves may release still more."
Worry to Wonder
As mothers, we have a desire to protect and care for our children that seems to come with the job description. But sometimes that caring can turn to clinging. A crisis occurs. Your child is hospitalized. The television news flashes a picture of a child kidnapped in your state or shot in a school. You become preoccupied with what might happen. You check every hour during the night to see if your baby is still breathing; you don’t trust anyone to babysit. Or as a mom of teenagers, you’re constantly worried about the possibility of your daughter or son getting in with the wild crowd.
When these kinds of issues plague you, here are some ways to move from worry to wonder:
Release your children into God’s loving hands. Praying the prayer of relinquishment as Dana and I did, essentially entrusting your kids to God, is not easy. In fact, I think letting go of our children is perhaps the hardest work of motherhood, and it may happen in a watershed moment or step by step. It may happen when your children drive off for college with all their gear, iPad, flip-flops, and many pairs of jeans piled in their car. However it occurs, releasing them to God does open a door for the Lord’s power and presence to come into our children’s life and the situation, and in the process we begin to be freed from chronic worry about them.
And whether you never have to go through a medical crisis with your child or not, there is a time for all of us when God asks us to do what Hannah and Abraham did: give Him what we love the most.
As Karen Mains says, “It’s important for parents to walk to this spiritual altar, to offer their children back to the Lord. For many of us, this begins when they are infants. We give them to God in a dedicatory service or through a christening ceremony. We give them up to the Lord, sometimes on that first day of school watching them walk away from home, looking so small, so vulnerable before the enormous destructive forces that range the world. We suddenly realize we are not all-powerful but are dependent upon supernatural intervention to protect our children from oncoming cars, from cruelty on the playground, from harsh teachers. At each point of our children’s growth, they leave us by degrees, and we must learn to give them again into God’s hands.”
One way to move toward the goal of releasing your fears and your kids to God is to reflect on how faithful He has been in the past. Make a list of all His past goodness. Deena, a mother of three, hadn’t ever been fearful until she had children. That changed when her infant Caitlin’s lungs burst due to pulmonary hypertension and she had to be airlifted to a Houston hospital in critical condition. At that point, Deena realized how little control she had and was led to entrust her baby’s medical problems to God’s care. But when she got Caitlin home after many weeks in the hospital, this young mother found herself protective and clingy.
When fear and worry started to grip her again, Deena made a habit of sitting down and jotting on paper all God’s past goodness in their lives. “Doing this reminds me who my children are, who God is, and what He’s done,” she says.
“I remind myself they’re God’s children, and I’m more a caretaker for them than an owner—there’s a big difference! He’s their heavenly Father, the One who created them and promises He’ll work everything in their lives for a pattern of good. And then I think of the many answered prayers, how Caitlin recovered, of the blessings that came out of difficult times. . . .”
As Deena continues listing God’s goodness in this way, it’s as if He loosens her grip, finger by finger, on the situation and the anxiety so she can trust Him in the present. As she says, “Sometimes I have as tight a grip on fear as it does on me!” Then she’s freer to open her hands and heart, lay her children and their problems before God, and experience His comforting presence.
Meditate on scripture to help keep your focus on the truth instead of the things that are worrying you. Pick one verse each week to add to your “Peace Packet” that specifically applies to your children or your concerns about them. (See verses at the end of this chapter to help you get started.) God’s promises remind you how much He cares for you and your children. They help you remember that the One who created our children loves them more than we ever could and that they are secure in His loving, strong hands. The Bible gives us promise after promise and countless prayers that help us pray in agreement with His will and purpose for your kids.
Accept God’s plan when it’s different from yours. Pam had been able to care for her daughter Jan since she was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy as a baby. But when she was sixteen, doctors recommended she be placed in the Children’s Center, a special needs long-term care facility in their city. She’d prayed to be able to take care of Jan as long as she lived. She never wanted to put her in a residential home. But because of her daughter’s critical medical needs and her growing size, Pam could no longer care for her at home. God knew this mom’s heart and her limits, and she increasingly began to realize that’s why He made provision for her to be cared for in a better way than she could give. For Pam, accepting that provision brought a leap in faith and peace. She’d worried about her daughter’s suffering, afraid of not being there for her if something happened, and more. In fact, the only way Pam wasn’t overwhelmed by these possibilities was to keep her eyes on God’s promises and, as she puts it: “When I can’t trace God’s hand, I can trust His heart.”
On those days when Pam saw her daughter suffering and didn’t understand, she mirrored God’s word back to Him, such as: “Jan’s times are in Your hands. . .let me trust those times to You, Father” (Psalm 31:15). or “Thank You, Father, that You have given Your angels charge over Jan to guard her in all her ways” (Psalm 91:11). As she prayed the promises, God increased her joy as she learned to trust Him one day at a time.
Besides visiting Jan daily at the center, Pam found tremendous ways to help the other parents of handicapped children there and began to work part-time for their church. God further widened her ministry by opening up opportunities to speak to women’s groups and write a beautiful book about Jan’s life. Through seeing Pam’s life unfold, I’ve been reminded that when we let go of our expectations and are open to what God has planned, He doesn’t do less but more, Ephesians 3:20 says. More than you could ever ask, think, or imagine, according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Provide a prayer cover for your children. Praying for your children helps you put them in God’s hands, not only in a crisis, but in everyday situations as well. Besides your own prayers for them, join with a prayer partner. Two close, faithful prayer partners have been a great source of strength to Dana; one lives 250 miles away, but once a week at 6:15 in the morning they meet by phone for a powerful time of praying together. If possible, link up with another mother who has walked with God as she faced adversity with her children. These mothers really know how to pray for you and your kids!
Prayer networks are also important when there are ongoing needs or crises—whether it’s a prodigal son in harm’s way or a child with medical needs like Soren. Their local church, Dana’s Bible study group, and her Moms in Prayer group has been part of that network to support Soren in prayer. They also developed an electronic prayer network where they share prayer requests and praises with hundreds of friends and family here and around the world through e-mail. This enabled them to send on-the-spot requests from the Mayo Clinic and receive wonderful notes of encouragement while walking through some of the most challenging of times. Fear is banished and peace fills this mother’s heart when she knows others are lifting her son to the throne of grace for God’s mercy and help.
Is it your prodigal teenager that keeps your heart anxious? Never give up on a child in sin. Instead of giving up hope, ask God to give him a hunger for righteousness, take the blinders off so he will see the deception of Satan, and flood him with friends who will influence him positively for Christ. As Jean Fleming says, “Even when it seems God doesn’t hear our prayers for our children, we must keep on praying persistently. Prayer may be our most effective ministry in our children’s lives.”
“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” (Isaiah 54:13 NKJV)
Lord, I thank You for Your promise that You will teach my children and guide them in Your ways, and great shall be their—and my—peace.
“For this [child] I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:27–28 NASB)
Lord, just as Hannah dedicated her son Samuel to You, I dedicate and entrust my child into Your faithful, loving hands. As long as he lives, Father, he belongs to You and is dedicated to You.
Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer. (Psalm 94:19 TLB)
© 2015 by Back to the Bible.
“From Replacing Worry for Wonder, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”