The past few days have been HEAVY on my mama heart. I'm typically an upbeat, optimistic, joyful person - but lately have found myself weighed down with the burdens of raising kids in a fallen world. Last week I found out that one of my former students took his own life. A student who sat in my classroom, who joked around with me, who acted goofy and silly with his peers... decided that the best option for him was to end it all. This news came only about 2 weeks after a student from a local high school made national news by killing himself about 3 miles away from my house after being bullied.
This week I've watched high school students face very adult consequences of extremely poor decision making and immediately thought of their parents and felt completely overwhelmed. I'm sure if you asked their parents they'd tell you it felt like yesterday that they were tucking in their kindergarteners after bath and book time.
How can I protect my kids? How am I going to make sure that they know they can talk to me? How am I going to make sure they have great friends? How am I going to make sure that the pressures and temptations of this world aren't too much for them?
The charmed life my family and I live in an affluent, "sweet" bubble is NOT reality. The reality is that our world is fallen. Satan is at large and will stop at nothing to wedge his way in between me and my Savior. He wants my kids for his own and the kids I teach and I get overwhelmed thinking about how I can protect them. There's too much risk, too much temptation, too much "of the world" and I'm left feeling helpless and defeated.
Monday of this week sucked. I was tired, didn't feel great and was in a MAJOR funk about the helplessness I was feeling. The world "got to me" and all I wanted to do was hide under my covers. As I laid there in bed and cried.... cried for my kids, cried for my students, cried tears for myself and how "small" I was feeling amidst big world problems and fears... I felt God tap me on the shoulder and whisper, "It's too much, Andrea. It's just too much. There is NO WAY you can protect everyone. There is NO guarantee that your kids are going to turn out okay. NO contract that says by following me and doing the right things that nothing bad is going to happen to those that you love. But that's why you have me. LET IT GO. Let me take it. It's too heavy for you, but I've got it. I've got your kids. I've got your students. I'VE GOT THIS!"
Well, okay then :) I got up, went to my bookshelf and started searching for the book, "Praying Circles Around Your Children". I opened up the book and opened it up to the part I had highlighted, underlined and starred when reading it several years ago...
“You don’t have to do everything right as a parent, but there is one thing you cannot afford to get wrong. That one thing is prayer. You’ll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent. Prayer is your highest privilege as a parent. There is nothing you can do that will have a higher return on investment. In fact, the dividends are eternal. Prayer turns ordinary parents into prophets who shape the destinies of their children, grandchildren, and every generation that follows.”
And so I hit my knees. I cried out to the one who has volunteered to carry my worries and fears. The only one big enough to heft my doubts and anxieties around for me. I will admit that I don't spend as much time in prayer as I should. I find time for lots of extra things (TV, social media, etc.), and have felt super convicted about making the time to stop, be still and pray.
The past few days I've been setting aside some distractions and have been making a concerted effort to bring my concerns to Him. I've been praying FERVENTLY for my kids, their friends and the kids who sit in my classroom every day. I'm a "doer" - I like my lists and checking things off. I'm busy and scheduled and like to see the end results of my actions. Prayer isn't any of those things and it's definitely something I"m working on.
I was talking with my mom about praying for my kids and knowing what and how to pray for them and she sent me these pictures of notes that she's had stuck in her Bible for 20+ years....
I knew that my mom prayed for me and my brother growing up, and I'm honored to get to pray for my kids in the same way.
I feel like I've rambled today, but sharing what's on my heart has never steered me wrong in the past. I hope that you found some encouragement in today's post and I hope that you find some time to lift your kids up in prayer today.