But from the grandmother perspective I also know this is only the beginning of years of having to step back and trust that my child is safe in God's care: from learning to walk often with bumped foreheads to going off to school with the threat of bullies, distracted teachers and learning challenges, through sports, jobs, dating, engagements, marriages and now their own parenting challenges. It never occurred to me that in addition to helping my child grow, my child was helping me grow.
Now I see nothing in my life that has helped me more to grow closer to God. As a parent I became far less certain that I have all the answers and have become more grateful that God does. I became more aware of how little authority I had over the well-being of my child who over the years was so quick to climb to the top of the refrigerator or the school and am so grateful for each day of life we share. I became overwhelmed as we faced life's losses and challenges, but learned that God is faithful in tending me, and also my children during dark and challenging days.
If you know me long enough, you will hear me say this: "I can't imagine raising a child and believing I am alone to care, instruct, tend, help, comfort and love. Even caring family members are not enough." You see, for me, it is essential to my personal survival and for being a capable and effective parent to remember these things: (1) I cannot mess up so much that my child is lost to God, and God's healing, love, faith, hope, discernment, joy and purpose. (2) God has no grandchildren and loves my child with a perfect and complete love without any help from me. (3) God welcomes my prayers for my children I believe mostly so that my relationship with them is what He wants it to be--because my prayers change me. God's care for them does not depend on me pleading, bargaining or haranguing, but rather it is my blessing to pray for my child.
So today I ask you join me in praying for parents everywhere, whether they are separated by work or illness or conflicting responsibilities, to turn their hearts and fears over to a God who loves their child as much as they do, but loves with perfect understanding, wisdom, purpose and love. (Oh, and that is how God loves me too!)