Just love them. And pray.

I used to pray, “Please God, make me into the mom these kids deserve.” I had three young, healthy, exuberant kids. They were thriving despite the fact that their mom was floundering.

That was seven years ago.

Today, those kids are (almost) 8, 12 and 14.

God’s done a work in me that only God could do. If I ever doubted His existence, which I did, I doubt it no longer. Only God could transform my entire life — my mind, my marriage, my morals — the way they’ve been transformed.

But lately, instead of praying, “make me into the mom these kids deserve,” I’ve found myself praying, “HELP!”

I’m scared. The stakes are high. I remember my attitude as a pre-teen and young adult. I was invincible. Rules were meant to curb my enthusiasm. And everyone who wasn’t for me was against me.

So now I look at my kids and realize that even if they don’t have the gigantic chip on their shoulders that I did, some of their classmates do. And those peers are the people they are hanging out with 8 hours a day, trying to emulate, looking for approval from… these kids are good, sweet kids, but some of them are hurting and some of them are just stuck in the mindset that I was at that age.

My husband and I spent the weekend having long conversations about cellphones and social media. First we talked with each other, then we talked with our kids. They are by no means out of control, but some tweaking is sometimes necessary. (Not to be confused with twerking, which is never necessary.)

Anyway, I say that to say this. I’m wondering if you’ve ever had a near panic attack wondering if your kids are going to make it through. Whether they are little kids, medium kids or big kids, I think our parenting hearts never fully release. If that’s you, maybe this prayer I keep recycling will help you the way it helps me when I mistakenly believe I’m in control.

Here it is:

“God, you created them. You are their original parent. As much as I love them, I know that you love them more than I ever could. So I thank you that I can trust you to take care of them in ways that I cannot.”

As desperately as my control-freak instincts want to wrap them up in foam blocks and follow them around, I know that’s not possible. So what do we do?

I go back to the advice of the first pediatrician my first child ever had: Just love them. And pray.

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