I’m a “fix it” mama. Sibling argument? I’m there to mediate. Upset stomach? I have medicine for that. Shoes have a hole? No problem. I can buy new ones. Difficult homework? We can figure it out together (thanks to YouTube tutorials).

Yep. I was pretty good at the whole “Mom to the rescue” thing up until my kids entered their preteen / teen years, and then it all came to a screeching halt. For the first time, I was faced with things I had zero power to fix.

Broken heart? I couldn’t mend that. Hard time making friends? I couldn’t produce friends like a new pair of shoes. Poor body image? Have you ever tried to change the way a person views themself? I was at a loss on that one too.

Then there was the time he didn’t make the team,

she didn’t feel pretty enough,
she was searching for purpose,
he/she drove away by themself for the first time (and every time after that),
she saw the mass on the Cat-scan,
he suffered from anxiety,
she felt depressed,
he/she was living in the consequences of a bad choice,
she was processing hurtful words from a person I had no control over . . .

(deep exhale)

At some point I took my “Super Mom” cape off and embraced the fact that life had suddenly become a lot bigger than Band-Aids and notes in their lunchbox—a lot bigger than what I could easily fix.

The teen and young adult years aren’t just hard on kids. They’re hard on moms and dads too. They can leave us feeling as left out and as inadequate as they do our kids. And because now we can’t always provide a quick remedy we can feel like we’re failing as a parent. It’s clearly a wrong way to think, but I have felt it nonetheless.

For these reasons, I have never prayed more for my kids, and for myself, as I have during their teen and young adult years. Prayers that in the past I would keep to myself, I now share with close friends and ask them to pray with me. (Boy does it help to know others are going through the same thing.)  

My prayers have become more desperate—a heart crying out because it needs God to do what only He can do.

My prayers have become a continuous conversation . (That whole “pray without ceasing” thing. . . yeah, I get it now.) I pray as I’m falling asleep. I pray in my car. Sometimes, I drive by their school, just to pray. I pray on my front porch as they’re leaving on dates. (Watching my son drive off with someone else’s baby girl or my daughter with a boy I’m just getting to know triggers intense prayer time!)

Sometimes I text my kids what I am praying for them because the days of kneeling by their bedsides are slowly fading.

I will always pray what our family has said since they were preschoolers that they would “Love God. Love people.” These words have hung over our front door for the last fifteen years. It’s what I would say to my kids when I dropped them off at school. But as they have grown, now ages 20, 18 and 15, so has the prayer list.

I now pray for . . .

healthy friendships
the person each of them will marry
guidance as they pursue college and jobs,
protection for their minds and hearts as they live in the world, but not of the world,
courage to be who God made them to be.
wisdom in their choices,
trust in a bigger plan when things aren’t going “right,”
joy in the midst of confusion and hurt.

Along with my prayers, I continue to encourage my kids to talk to God. When I see their hearts are heavy I’ll mention something like, “Why don’t you drive down to the lake and spend some time with God?” Or I’ll ask, “Have you talked to God about it?”

I know that as important as it is for me to pray for my kids, it’s just as important that they go to God on their own behalf.

I’ll also share with my kids what I’m experiencing as a parent. I’ll tell them I wish I could fix it but I can’t. But what I can do is pray, and I am praying. 

If you find yourself in a place where “all you can do” is pray for your kids, know you are doing something very powerful. It’s not always a quick fix like what we could do when our kids were younger, but our words are being heard by the Creator of all things, the One who loves our children more than we do, the One who has the power to heal, mend, restore, defeat, resurrect, provide, protect, guide, counsel, and change.

Keep praying, mom and dad.
Keep sharing your prayers with those closest to you.
Keep talking to your kids about what you are praying.
Keep encouraging them to pray.
Keep trusting that in God’s time, He will have His way.