At last year’s dance recital, I had two lovely ballerinas on the stage, one two-year-old son sitting on his dad’s lap, and one precious daughter who didn’t want to do ballet, but felt left out for not doing ballet.
She really preferred tap dance, but when our studio stopped offering that, she never picked up another activity.
And I wasn’t in a rush to fill the schedule.
After the recital’s grand finale, though, my non-dancing daughter said, “Everybody in this family is into dance except me.”
Now, I questioned the accuracy of this statement. Neither her dad nor I could be considered “into dance” by any outrageous stretch of anyone’s imagination.
Still, she felt left out.
I started praying right then. How can we encourage her to be active? How we can find her “one thing” to enjoy and participate in, Something that is “hers”?
She gave me a list of possible interests:
- Tap dance (at another studio if I could one one).
This list held a few surprises.
So, I prayed some more. God, please give us clear guidance. I know you love my daughter. What is your best plan for her?
Schedules started rolling out and I checked them faithfully. Every time a basketball activity was offered, she was already busy.
Karate, on the other hand, fit perfectly in the fall schedule. So karate it was.
I didn’t stop praying of course. I signed her up and kept right on giving this to God–would she like it, like her teacher, like her class? Would she feel comfortable and have fun?
That first night of karate, I started getting the text messages from my husband as he sat with her before class began.
She knew a few kids in her class already.
Not only that, the very first thing the instructor said to her was, “You’re tall. You’ll need a different t-shirt.”
This child is endlessly obsessed with her height and how much taller her sisters are and how she hates being short.
So, this guy pretty much made her day. Maybe her whole year.
She ran over to her dad, “He says I’m tall!!!”
She burst through the door at home and told me, “Mom, he said I’m tall!!”
She told her friends at school the next day how the karate instructor said she was tall.
God knew the precise encouragement that would bless this girl-of-mine.
Will she be the next black belt in karate? Who knows? She’s only had one class that was “awesome” and we don’t know if that will change.
This I know, though: God is so faithful to care for our families when we turn them over to His care.
In his book, Hopeful Parenting, David Jeremiah writes:
Observe the instruction to families in the Bible and you will notice one recurrent theme…All these instructions to the family wrap around a core of faith in God and Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote in Ephesians:
- Children, obey your parents in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1)
- Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).
- Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25)
When I wrestle with how to love my husband well, how to be the wife I need to be…how to be more gentle as a mom, more patient, more willing to listen more and talk less, and when I seek how to pour into the hearts of my children, I am relying on Christ to build this home.
And He is reliable.
I can strive to love them on my own, but I am not enough for this job. I am faulty and will fail.
He, however, is more than enough.
For some of you parenting through a tough season and praying for a prodigal, I know praying hasn’t seemed to work….yet. Happy endings and fairy tale conclusions aren’t promised. You’re not praying about after-school activities; you’re on your knees for so much more.
But don’t give up. Even when you can’t see anything changing, please keep praying.
Your prayers matter.
And all of us, wives, grandmothers, parents of littles and parents of grown children, can shift our perspective when we remember this:
The person who sleeps next to you at night and eats across the table from you each day is eternal (David Jeremiah, p. 222).
We are doing far more than making meals, scrubbing toilets, packing lunches, or paying bills.
We are worshiping the Lord, and we are engaging in an eternal ministry by building into others in eternal ways.
And we are doing this “in Christ” and “like Christ” and with His help always because we can’t do this on our own.