I am such a "how to" kinda girl. Just tell me "how to" do it and I will follow. I am a rule follower, for better or worse, to the -nth degree! So, when I was pregnant (actually even prior to), I was reading book after book on the topic of parenting, babies, and behavior modification.
But, truly the best parenting advice I think I have ever gotten was found in a book on prayer that I read in June: A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. I highly recommend this book (for more than just parenting advice!). My journal is filled with quotes and thoughts that still are bumping around, having their effect on me.
His advice was very, very simple--- not particularly profound, nor was it new; but, his testimony was extremely significant. Paul Miller says, "I do my best parenting in prayer". Yep. Okay, sure. Yes, I know this one. Right?
Yesterday, my budding teenage daughter shared with me that she didn't feel "close to God" lately and that she really had no desire to be close to Him.
Not too shocking, really. I feel this way sometimes. Don't you? And, it is nice to have safe relationships where we can share.
But, this was my girl. My sweet, faith-filled, Jesus-adoring girl...
What?!! Seriously my insides, my gut, took a literal jump and I almost instantly felt sick with worry and fear. Those moments, you know, when you want to scream and yell "no!!"... but, you valiantly nod sympathetically and say, "Can you explain what you mean by that sweet-girl?".
I wanted to scream. Run. No! Beat her into submission (well, okay, not really beat her... but make her submit and make her love God)
...seriously, though, my pulse was racing as I listened to her talk about her lack of desire and inclination toward God! I was afraid.
In that moment, we did had a good talk, I think. And, I did do a little "parenting" out-side of prayer--- good stuff, learned skills, that have been handy from those other books---
---but last night, as I lay in bed afraid for my sweet girl's soul and spirit, ... this thought came to my mind, "I do my best parenting in prayer." Yes!! What a freeing thought!
Now, THAT, I can do!
I began to talk with my Father, her Father, our Father. In my mind's eye I was reminded of a moment 12 years ago, while living in Central Asia, where she had a high fever and we were not near a doctor. I remembered rocking her, entrusting her, singing over her... a little, helpless babe in my arms... and I remember the peace of release. I could even remember the song that I sung over this amazing gift, my baby girl. "Sweet mercies fall from Heaven, let your mercies fall from heaven, sweet mercies for today---shower them down Lord as we pray!".
Last night, I did some really good parenting.
I lay in bed and prayed. I plead with my loving Father and rested in His deep, abiding, faithful love over my sweet girl. The same kind Almighty God who delivered her from that fever 12 years ago, or the croup 2 years later, and the pneumonia at age 6... this same loving, tender, listening Father heard my cry for my daughter last night.
Now, I know... or am learning to know... "how to" do better parenting in this important stage of her life. I am going to pray. A lot!