Prayer for the weary parent

Lord, I am so tired. Yes, of course I love my children. I adore them. I’m grateful for them, for their own unique quirks and personalities, for the ways they make me laugh, for the joys they’ve brought into my life. I sometimes look at them in wonder—usually as they sleep—amazed by Your creation. ...

Read More

[Also posted at Internet Café today]

Lord, I am so tired.

Yes, of course I love my children. I adore them. I’m grateful for them, for their own unique quirks and personalities, for the ways they make me laugh, for the joys they’ve brought into my life. I sometimes look at them in wonder—usually as they sleep—amazed by Your creation. Awed by their perfection. Humbled by the powerful emotions they bring out in me. Honored to be given the chance to be part of their life, to be in a position to influence and teach and guide.

But at the same time, I’m weary. It’s hard to be a parent, to make decisions that aren’t easy and won’t make me popular. It’s difficult to enforce the rules, day after day, to monitor behavior and ask them to pick things up and remind them to do homework and to not take it personally every time they resist. To not be hurt by disrespect and disagreement and rebellion, whether large or small.

It’s exhausting, constantly fighting to get my kids to see reason. It’s challenging to know that I can’t make all their choices for them. I can’t protect them from bad decisions, I can’t ensure they never face harsh consequences, and I can’t do everything for them.

And really, I don’t want to. I offered them to You when they were born, and I trust You to lead them and take care of them. I want them to learn from their experiences and I believe they are strong enough, smart enough, and capable enough to succeed (in all the different kinds of ways we measure success). I don’t want to overstep my bounds. As my friend Lisa told me once, our job as parents is to put ourselves out of a job. To teach our kids what they need to know to live. To love. To respect and honor and obey and be productive.

And to lean on You. Because if there is one thing I do know, it is that life is hard. Even when it looks like we have it all together. The only way to get through is to turn towards You, to allow You to teach us individually, personally, in whatever ways we each learn best.

So, Lord, help me lean on You today. Let my kids see that even though I’m not perfect, my mistakes are made out of a desire to protect them, which stems from the amazing depths of the love a parent feels for a child. Let them see that, no matter what they face, it’s better to go through it with You than without You. You can lift the burdens which are too heavy, and enrich the good moments beyond measure. You will shine light into the darkness that they will inevitably face. You will reveal that which is a mystery in the right time. You will endure that which seems too hard to bear. And You will emerge victorious, with them by Your side.

While I wait, while I watch them develop into the people You knew they would become, let me be gracious. Let me cheer them on and not drag them down. Let me hold my tongue when they need to listen instead for You. Let me be a safe place for them to return, an unending source of love to come home to. Restore my weary soul, physically and emotionally. Remind me that You are in control so I don’t have to be. Show me how to relinquish my grasp on their lives and live in faith, how to turn my worrying into prayer.

As You help them grow, do the same for me. Because if anyone understands the turmoil of a parent’s love for a child, it is You. If anyone knows what it means to watch our kids go through hard things and not step in, it is You. If anyone understands the unending, deep and passionate and desperate love we feel, it is You.

The enormity of that takes my breath away, and I know once again the complete truth: We could not be in better hands. Thank You, Jesus. I love You.

Facing Your Giants

a pseudo book review* *My friend Peggy talks about “nuggets” — the best part of a message, what she takes away from it. My “pseudo book reviews” are just that: the one or two things I will remember, maybe all from one chapter. It may be a particular phrase or thought that changed the way ...

Read More

a pseudo book review*

*My friend Peggy talks about “nuggets” — the best part of a message, what she takes away from it. My “pseudo book reviews” are just that: the one or two things I will remember, maybe all from one chapter. It may be a particular phrase or thought that changed the way I see something, or a quote, or a new take on Scripture. The nuggets are the very best parts. I’d love to hear your take on any of these books, too!

71tEqv6TwXL._SL1500_If you don’t know the story of the Brook Besor in 1 Samuel, it goes something like this. David and his 600 men returned from the war front to find that the Amalekites had destroyed their village, looted it, and taken the women and children. David went to God, who told him to go after them. The men are exhausted, angry, and about to give up. In fact, 200 of them do. When they reach the brook, these soldiers dismount and lie down to rest. Can you imagine — too tired to go after their own families?

I bet you’ve been that weary before. I know I have.

David continued forward with the rest of the men, eventually catching up to the raiding party (with the help of an Egyptian slave they’d left behind) and killing or scaring off the Amalekites, rescuing all the women and children. Every one. Their wives and the ones of the men who were still hanging out at the brook. Probably playing poker. On their way back, victorious, loaded down with loot, David’s men were furious that the other 200 men were lazing around instead of helping, so they decided to keep it all for themselves.

But David wouldn’t hear of it. He gave the men at the brook an out (announcing that they had stayed with the supplies), respecting their weariness and helping them save face. And then they all shared equally in the spoils.

Max Lucado wrote, “Isn’t that what the church is intended to be? A place for soldiers to recover their strength?” And then, “I wonder how many could do the same. Too tired to fight. Too ashamed to complain. While others claim victories, the weary sit in silence. How many sit at Brook Besor?”

It was like neon lights went on, flashing the name of a friend before me. I do some work with this person, and I’d been feeling unusually frustrated at what I saw as her failures. I was feeling particularly self-righteous at that moment. Not only was I working my butt off, but I felt like I was picking up her slack, too. She was the bottleneck in my productivity. For the past few days, I’d really struggled with this situation.

And then I read this:

If you are listed among them, here is what you need to know: it’s okay to rest. Jesus is your David. He fights when you cannot. He goes where you cannot. He’s not angry if you sit….

Brook Besor blesses rest.

Brook Besor also cautions against arrogance. David knew the victory was a gift. Let’s remember the same. Salvation comes like the Egyptian in the desert, a delightful surprise on the path. Unearned. Undeserved. Who are the strong to criticize the tired?

Are you weary? Catch your breath. We need your strength.

Are you strong? Reserve passing judgment on the tired. Odds are, you’ll need to plop down yourself. And when you do, Brook Besor is a good story to know.

The flashing lights in my head (notice this! notice this!) showed me two things:

A) My friend was one of the weary at that time. And it was OK. My job was to respect her, honor her for coming as far as she had, and know that after she rests, she’ll get up and start moving forward again.

And B) Since when did I start thinking of myself as the strong one? I’d been struggling for literally years, weary as all get out, feeling like I couldn’t find my way back to God — and then suddenly, just like that, I found I was there. Back. Walking with Him again. It didn’t look exactly the same as it used to. But He was there again. (Truth be told, He had never left. I just refused to recognize Him for a while.)

Thank You, Lord, for the way you speak, for the way your Word is living and active and penetrates to the very core of my soul. Thank you for defusing my frustration, showing me my errors, and helping me see that I already have everything I long for: You. Beside me. Always. Even on the days (weeks, months, years) when I find myself collapsed on the banks of the Brook Besor.

This website and its content are copyright of Kelly O'Dell Stanley  | © Kelly O'Dell Stanley 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match