"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV 1984)
As we stood in the parking lot outside my daughter's dorm, waves of grief washed over me. Lauren hugged her daddy and then her brother. Finally, I held her for what seemed an eternity ... no words, just tears.
When we began the drive home, I prayed for her, just as I had every day for the last 18 years. I knew it was time for the next phase of God's plan for her life. But the ache in my heart was deep.
As time passed, I learned to accept, and even embrace, our new normal. I enjoyed the extra time I got to spend with my husband and son.
But I couldn't get used to not encouraging Lauren in her faith face-to-face. We sent her to college with a Bible and a devotional book. But when she lived at home, we did these activities together. In the mornings, we read a devotion and I prayed with her most every day, from the time she was born till the day she packed her bags to move out.
Questions filled my mind. Without me, who would do this for her? Would she do it on her own? What if she turned away from her faith we'd been building for so long?
My questions prompted me to pray very specifically. I prayed for Lauren to make her faith her own, as I'd been training her to do all these years. I asked the Lord to work in her life in very real and personal ways, just like the times I'd pointed out for her to notice in her childhood. I prayed for His Spirit to stir her heart to read her devotional book each day, and I pleaded with Him to meet her in the pages of His Word.
God answered my prayers in a way only He can do. Lauren had been studying for her economics exam for days. She was worried she would fail because she'd been struggling with some of the concepts. My daughter texted me and a few good friends to pray. I wrote her back my prayer and a verse the Lord laid on my heart, Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths" (ESV). As it was sending, I prayed for Him to use this verse to encourage her and give her confidence as she walked into her exam.
I woke up the next morning to find this text from my girl:
"I opened my devotional and today's truth was Proverbs 3:5, exactly the verse you gave me!! ENCOURAGEMENT."
God taught me such a powerful lesson that morning. My role as a parent is to pray for and with my children and to model, to the best of my ability, what it means to be a godly woman. I was not perfect and often missed the mark. But when we do those two things, God fills in the rest. I only have them at home to teach, guide and train in God's Word for a short 18 years. But they are His for all their lives.
God showed me through a few minutes of texting that Lauren's faith was still building. On her own, she asked for prayer (which meant she too was praying), and she was reading her devotional book with no prompting from home.
If you have kids at home, pray for them, read God's Word with them and rest in knowing God is with them. You are building a firm foundation. You are paving a pathway that will lead them in the direction they should go.
Dear Lord, help me to train my children in the way they should go. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, lead me as I lead them. Draw each of us closer to You as we walk together in faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond: Read Lamentations 2:19. Prayerfully ask the Lord how you can pray for the children in your life.
If you are a parent or grandparent, pray specifically for one of your children. Ask God for wisdom to guide you on how to pray and share with that child you are praying for him or her.
Power Verse: Lamentations 2:19a, "Rise up during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children." (NLT)
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Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org