Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A mother's greatest weapon

I remember hearing an older mother lovingly speak of how if one child was particularly troubling her, that she would take long walks; mulling over, contemplating, and praying for this dear one. I can see why this would be helpful for the mother and child.

Yesterday I was distraught over an argument had with my oldest daughter. So distraught and full of anxiety, I fled to my closet, quietly crying, searching for the book "Power of a Praying Parent" for verses to comfort me, to help me relinquish my daughter over to Him (again).

I don't know if you've ever been in a place where it feels like no matter what you say, no matter what you do--the circumstances will not change in your power. Yes, I'm sure we've all been there.

And how easy it is to fret and try to take the matter into your own hands--through words, through conflict, through careful, meticulous planning--through manipulation of our Lord.

And when I'm there, which I am in so many instances, I bring out one of the greatest weapons I have as a mother--that weapon is prayer.

An excerpt from the beautiful poem "The Christian Mother's Life" by Mary Van Nattan, says:

Praying mother on thy well-worn knees,
Thy faithfulness down through the years now sees,
Thy children raised upon the word of God,
Walking safe in paths the saints have trod.

(In its entirety here.)

Oh, that I am on my well-worn knees for my children! I have to be, when the daily "have-to's" of life overtake me, I cry out in weakness "Be my strength, Lord, be my strength!". Or the "Jesus Prayer", said by Christians in the Orthodox Church: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us. Elisabeth Elliott says they "pray {this} in the rhythm of breathing, learning in this way to 'pray without ceasing' ". Oh, I've done that, too, for my children, mostly at the kitchen sink.

My concern is almost always for their spiritual development. And I echo this from Ruth Bell Graham:

I may be able to make her make up her bed, and keep her from bad movies. But I cannot make her be unselfish, loving, and considerate. I can--up to a point--take care of the outside. But I am wholly dependent upon the Lord to work in her heart to "will and do" His good pleasure. If only God will enable me to tend to the possible, depending on Him for the impossible.

And that's why I fight my battles with prayer. It's my greatest weapon.


Ann Kroeker said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts (and Ruth's). Makes me think of the verses in John 15, reminding us that He is the vine and we are the branches, and apart from Him we can do nothing.

Even when I do *something,* it is in fact *nothing* if done apart from Him.

Thanks for dropping by my blog during this party! It's great to see what you're doing here, as well. I find your words thoughtful, reflective and contemplative.

Christine said...

I have found myself worrying so much lately that I'm doing the right things, and enough things, to make my children who I think God wants them to be. Thanks for this wonderful reminder that God takes care of the "impossible" not me. Prayer is my gift to my children, and to myself.

The NON-Superwoman said...

Thank you for this. These same sentiments have been on my heart lately.

Kimberly said...

I've never thought of prayer in that light. I have heard it said that we pray, not to change God's mind, but to change our own hearts.

I think that as we watch our children exercise their agency to do things with know will hurt them, we feel some small portion of the anguish or Father in Heaven experiences as he watches us do the same. I think that in becoming parents we come closer to understanding the nature of God.

And even as he gives us agency, we need to follow that pattern with our children. Teach them righteousness, then let them go (while we pray till our knees ache, of course).

Susanne said...

I came back after finding your site through the party and I'm really glad I did. I needed to hear this! Again! :v)

goodlikeamedicine said...

This is such a wonderful post - My husband seems to be reminding me all the time, "You cannot change our children's hearts," but only can I pray for God to mold and soften.... I realize, too often, that this is the case with my own heart - thanks be to Jesus Christ(Romans 7)!

AIMEE said...

The Lord keeps bringing up "prayer" to me in so many places over the past find you talking about prayer today is just absolute confirmation of what He is speaking to me. Thanks Andrea

Anna said...

I heard a story about Ruth Bell Graham from one of her kids...I think it was Franklin Graham. He said that he remembers as a child walking in on his mom several times (more than he could ever count) in her room only to find her on her knees praying. He said what an impact that had on him and his realization of his need for prayer.

Great post Andrea.

bluemountainmama said...

prayer IS our greatest weapon...and very underused in my own life. thanks for the reminder....and i love the excerpt from "the christian mother's life". i'll have to go to the link and read the whole poem. you are so right about the amount of power we have...we can shield them from bad things to a degree and train them in the way they should go, but it's up to God to make Himself known in their hearts. and what a blessing to be able to go to the throne of God and intercede on their behalf. i need to do it more.

Andrea said...

I love that little story you know about Ruth praying for her son Franklin. In the book I am reading by her, it seems Franklin is the one she is always most anxious over--so, that gives me encouragement! :)

Blue Mountain--I love the way you put that: "what a blessing to be able to go to the throne of God and intercede on their behalf."

Aimee--I am glad you found this applicable in your life, now. I'd like to hear how He has brought it to your mind.

Kristi--you are right. He is the only one to change our children's hearts!

Kimberly--I think prayer does change us, too, especially in circumstances with our children. At times I think--Lord, do you know what this feels like, this anxiousness about my child? And, duh, of course He does! It's nice to see you here.

Non-superwoman--glad it blessed you. :)

Christine--it is a constant struggle for me, too--not taking "control"--it *is* manipulating the Lord.

Ann-welcome back. Glad to see you! Love that: the "something" is "Nothing" apart from Him. Good reminder. ;)

Natalee said...

Thanks for this reminder. It really was very refreshing to me to read this post.

Staci said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, you are right, we do have a lot in common :)

Have a great weekend.


Jessica said...

Thank you so much for sharing. My daughter is 11 and there are days when we look at each other and I know we are talking, but I also know we are not communicating. It is nice to know I am not alone and I love all your quotes. They are so helpful. Bless you today.

e-Mom said...

I love Ruth Bell Graham!

And my daughter taught me an important lesson after a disagreement. She said, "Mom, I need you to be strong!" Rather than getting emotional, she wanted me to stay cool, calm, and collected so SHE could do all the falling apart. Her words stuck with me. Blessings! :~)

L.L. Barkat said...

This is good advice for working with our spouses and other family members too. I like how you've expressed it. And, it seems particularly apt for me right now. (See how God uses you in ways you could not predict or manipulate? A wonder.)

Andrea said...

very true. Prayer is our greatest weapon with "whoever"--or even "whatever". Good point.

Holly said...

Gorgeous, Andrea...and so true, so true!!!

So much happens at the sink...


Elise said...

I, too, want my knees to be well-worn, even though it means that many a trial sent me there.
That poem, "The Christian Mother's Life" - simply beautiful.
(Isn't Holly wonderful?)

Katherine@Raising Five said...

I like the "Prayer of the Helpless Parent" recommended by Dennis & Barbara Rainey. I don't know what to do but my eyes are on you, Lord.

Mrs Wibbs said...

Prayer is such a powerful weapon, I wholeheartedly agree. It is all too often my last resort, but what comfort I draw from crying out to my Lord, from sharing my heartaches with Him, and offloading my burden. Every time, He has reassured me that his burden is light and that it is ok to feel what I am feeling. I have been released from the anguish and the doubts that I'm not good enough to raise my three little boys...and instead seen them as He sees them once again.
Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts and battles here! You are a Godly mother and I thank God for you...

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I came here from Amy's Humble Musings. How happy I am that she led us to your blog. It's wonderful.

I'm now a grandmother but I still have one teenager at home. He's great but their are so many pulls on kids today.

Sheila in Seattle said...

I came here from Amy's Humble Musings.

Such a beautiful post. I worry about my sons and they are only 22 months and 3.5.