The sun is setting as the final inning begins. My 10-year-old son stands up to pitch. His team is up by two runs in their end-of-season tournament. As I watch him walk to the mound, my motherly heart wants to rescue him from the weight of expectations. So much is riding on him. My stomach is in knots as I watch his first pitch.
“Strike!” the umpire yells.
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.
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 the Lord 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. (Phil. 4:6–7)
The Lord 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 for him. From simple prayers, “Please, let him throw a strike,” to my heartfelt pleas, “May he turn from his sin back to you, Lord,” I can carry my hopes and burdens to the Lord. In every season of motherhood, the Lord invites me to prayerfully trust in him as I watch my children grow.
Front-Row View of God’s Work
Our prayers bless our children in innumerable ways. They have a front-row view as the Lord uses our petitions to accomplish his purposes in their lives. As our children see us pray, they learn to pray themselves. Praying together as a family provides a sweet time of fellowship. Through prayer our children come to see that every gift is from God and that he works even our trials for our good.
In addition to building up our children, prayer builds and grows our relationship with God. Time spent communing with the Lord nurtures an inner peace that protects and quiets my heart in the swirling seas of motherhood. In the mystery of his providence, God uses my prayers to work his will and to give peace to my soul. I can let go of my fears and enjoy the game.
“Strike!” the umpire yelled 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 the one who directs all things according to his perfect plan.