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“Strike!” yells the umpire.

I breathe a sigh of relief. Once again, he takes the ball in his glove. Over and over he stands resolutely, sometimes throwing strikes, sometimes missing the mark.

All I can do is watch and pray.

As I sit on the sidelines, I realize anew that much of motherhood is about watching and praying. There is so little I can do to protect my children from the harmful realities of life. I cannot prevent skinned knees, unkind words, broken hearts, or painful losses. I can tend to the wounds and comfort the ache, but for the most part I am an observer on the sidelines, cheering them on as they play the game.

Thankfully, I am not left to watch alone, worried and anxious. In a moment, my heart can turn to God in prayer and find peace for all that I cannot control. In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul encourages us with these words:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)

God listens as I pour out my requests on behalf of my children. What a relief to know I can take everything before the Lord in prayer. No request is too small or too great. From simple prayers, “Please, let him throw a strike,” to my heartfelt pleas, “May he make wise decisions,” I can carry my hopes and burdens to God. In every season of motherhood, I always have a friend to turn to as I watch my children grow.

As our children see us pray, they learn to pray themselves. When they are fearful (from monsters in the closet to social anxiety in middle school) praying together helps our children feel secure. Through prayer, our children realize that every gift is from God and we nurture a heart of thanksgiving in a give-it-to-me-now world.

In addition to building up our children, prayer nurtures an inner calm that protects and quiets my heart in the ups and downs of motherhood. God uses my prayers to work His plan and to give peace to my soul.

I can let go of my fears and enjoy the game.

“Strike!” yelled the umpire one last time. As he did, all the boys ran to the mound, high-fiving and celebrating their win. My son stood in their midst, wearing a radiant smile. If I had rescued him from the pressure of pitching, he would have missed the joy of victory. In the maze of motherhood, I cannot always see around the bend to know what is best. How thankful I am that I can turn my concerns over to God, trusting Him with what I can’t control.

What about you? What is weighing heavy on your heart? What are you anxious about that you need to talk to God about today?