Help me to be patient when my kids surprise me with, you guessed it, their fourth outfits of the day.
Help me to be kind when the 6-year-old neighbor girl is distressed because my 5-year-old son is not returning her undivided devotion.
Help me not to be envious of those moms who claim they really do have dish-doing husbands… and help me to remember that, no matter how good their lives look on the outside, they have their own difficulties in their own homes, just like we have our unique difficulties in ours.
Help me not to boast even though it’s obvious that I don’t need as much sleep as most (lesser!) women do (and even though that lack of sleep is so-o-o-o not affecting my brain’s ability to function!), and help me not to boast even though it’s obvious that my kids are the. Most. Adorable. Kids. Ever.
Help me not to be too proud to ask my parents and in-laws advice on something they’ve already been through but I haven’t yet.
Help me not to be rude to the man in the post office who — yes, still — thinks my little baby girl is a little baby boy. Because my kids are watching and learning from how I react to him… the big idiot.
Help me not to be self-seeking, even though I probably will not have a chance today to do most of the things I long to do: like shower. Or nap. Or write a story. Or ride a horse. Or achieve a clean house. Or finish the pile of paperwork on my desk. Instead of helping me to accomplish all those lofty goals today, Lord, please just help me to find contentment in serving my family and winning small victories.
Help me not to get angry when the 5-year-old, who doesn’t know his own strength yet, jumps on me from the back of the couch.
Help me not to keep a record of wrongs against my husband, who indeed cannot dance a lick and who truly won’t touch a dirty dish… but who is a handsome, faithful and gentle husband; a steady provider for our family; who is my best friend; and who is the best daddy three kids could ever ask for.
Help me not to delight in evil when my kids finally drive me to actually bring out the wooden spoon and render punishment.
Lord, help me to rejoice in the truth that these children are a gift from you, and remind me to be humble, because there are people who have asked for gifts like these but have not yet received.
Lord, help me to protect their innocence for as long as possible. In a world filled with “worldliness” and easy-parenting distractions like TV and playtime with other kids, help me to continually patrol the content that’s going into my kids. Give us the strength to go counter-culture and provide for them a Biblical worldview. And give me the strength to fight off the scourge of busy-ness that drives a wedge into so many families.
Oh Lord, help me to trust that their lives are in your hands. Not in mine, even though I rescued the 1-year-old from choking today, and not in my husbands’, even though he amazingly caught the 3-year-old when she fell into an upright culvert last year. We can’t hold them any more than we can hold time. These kids are yours; we only have them on loan; heaven is their real home. Thank you for entrusting them to us.
Help me to never lose hope that you hear my prayers for them, Lord… and help me to hold fast to the hope that my prayers are making a difference for them, now and in the future.
Finally, Lord, help me to persevere in this wonderful race you’ve given me to run. Yes, I’m tired, but help me to lift my eyes regularly to see the big picture: that I am raising up eternal beings, and that I must discipline them now so that they turn out to be decent adults, but also that I must be careful in doing that so that we can still be friends… forever and ever.
And above all this, Lord, help me to love. Just love. Amen.
© Tami Blake
*Photo credit to Kristy Kohl Myhre, CowgirlCavvy.com, header and truth photos; a circus employee with a Polaroid camera, kindness photo; Robyn Huber, Nazack Photography, envy photo; Beau Blake, boasting, pride, anger, evil, and perseverance photos; Mae Spannagel, rudeness photo; Christy Stensland, selfishness photo; JENuine Photography, LLC, record of wrongs photo; Asher Blake, protection photo.