Monday, August 12, 2013

Praying About My Parenting

Today I feel overwhelmed as I sit to write this. Not by the usual things that exhaust me and cause stress.  But rather by how much there is to pray for! The people I know needing prayer, as well as those things in my own life, the sheer volume is overwhelming.  I can, of course, pray for all these things, but that is the very reason my prayer life lacks depth lately - too much.

Overwhelming my head with too many thoughts prevents me from really connecting, really crying out to the Lord. It also makes it so much harder to see the fruits of prayer. This 30 minutes, after the kids are in bed and Bruce is sleeping on my lap and I am free of distractions, is focused on going deeper into just one thing.

My husband called earlier on his break and asked how the day was going.  "Just ignore Dean screaming in the background" I replied sheepishly, "I won't let him play on the Nook till he cleans up his toys, so he's mad." I'm embarrassed. Here my husband is, working hard, on very little sleep, without complaint. Then here I am, unable to "keep the kids under control (my words, not his)."

I do not envy my husband's position as the head of our home. I do not want the burden of providing financially for the 6 of us and I lack the emotional strength to be the spiritual head of our family.  It occurs to me that while he works, I have been saddled with the task of raising our children.  While this is a tremendous blessing and often a lot of fun (even on the worst day, it is more enjoyable than any other calling I could be given, and more rewarding), it is also a bit terrifying.

I am responsible, in large part, for the people these children someday become! This is not a nature versus nurture debate, rather a realization that I play a large role in who they will be as adults. My husband is a good man, a faithful provider who adores his children and spends as much time with them as he is able, but the bulk of the child rearing is up to me.  This is my work, my job. The overwhelm I felt a few minutes ago has got nothing on what I'm feeling now!

It is clear that I must focus tonight's prayers on God  equipping me for this amazing calling. We started school today and since educating my children is part of my parenting responsibilities (as we have felt called to home school) I better pray about that while I'm at it. I am reminded of King Solomon in 1 Kings 3:

One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you.”
Solomon answered:
My father David, your servant, was honest and did what you commanded. You were always loyal to him, and you gave him a son who is now king. Lord God, I’m your servant, and you’ve made me king in my father’s place. But I’m very young and know so little about being a leader. And now I must rule your chosen people, even though there are too many of them to count.
Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don’t, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours.

 I too need wisdom to run this household and raise these children.  I need the wisdom of a king! Lord, would you equip me with patience and wisdom? Give me empathy and tenderness when I discipline, that I may train them up in the way they should go without tearing them down, as they are still so fragile. Please help me not to yell, to keep calm and be consistent.  That I would respond appropriately and quickly. Give me guidance to know how to handle any challenge that comes my way.

Would you give me an extra dose of adrenaline to make it through the day (not just tomorrow but each and every day)? Strength and energy are often lacking, and my parenting is sub par when I am tired. Lord, I ask for your help sticking to our routines and schedules, free me from distractions. Give me the self control to keep my computer off and not be tempted to check emails when it is "their time." Help me have the energy to take the kids on a walk, as they beg me to do, rather than telling them I'm just too wiped out.

Allow me to be an example in my words and actions - that they see me reading your Word and praying, being kind to others, honest, and hard-working. I pray that I could emulate all the things I want them to be! Guard my tongue from unkind words or yelling. Let them see me putting my words into action and leading this home in the role as wife and mother as You have called me.

Equip me for their special needs and learning styles. Give me creativity, wisdom, and patience as I teach. Give us the ability to overcome the hurdles that come with learning disabilities and ADHD and ASD.  Do not allow any of us to give up but rather give us strength to persevere when we struggle. Enable me to stay on track each day - but not so rigidly tied to a schedule I am inflexible when they need flexibility or change.

Let me be present with them, where they are at, and not distracted by my miles-long to-do lists. Let me show them they are precious to me and I care for them immensely.  Help me, Lord, to pause and display love, taking the time to hug and snuggle and have quality time with each one. 

Help me keep them safe. Give me a keen eye and swift reaction when danger is near. These children are so delicate, and there is so many dangers and illnesses out there; would you protect them and keep them 
safe? Watch over us when I'm driving or supervising a park playdate.

And while it is important to foster independence and responsibility, please help me balance that fairly. That I do not overburden them with chores or use harsh words when gentle correction will do. Give me wisdom to know what builds character and when it is time to let them be little.

I praise you, Lord, that I can come to you with these requests.  The responsibility of parenting is great and I cannot do it on my own.  Enable and equip me for all that you have called me to do.  Know, dear God, that I am grateful that you have blessed me with this great responsibility!