I have found that as a mother of a soon to be teen, things can get overwhelming if you allow them to. I have had to constantly remind myself of who I am, and Whose I am. I am a daughter of the King. I am seated in high places in Christ (Ephesians 2:6).
I…. We… are not defeated in this part of our journey. We are not left in chaos. We are not left in darkness. We, my friends, are positioned to make things happen. Let me share with you how that worked for me this summer and how I will use what I learned to pray my son through this upcoming school year.
I was a teenage mom. As with many teenage relationships, they do not last. I was a single mom for 2 years before I came to the Lord in 2003, and for 4 years before I got married in 2004. When my husband and I came together, we each had a son. My husband and I have learned so much about step-parenting and God’s amazing love, grace, and restoration power throughout our last 7 years of marriage. In the near future, I will share more about some of the challenges, hurdles, obstacles, and victories that come with step-parenting.
But for now, I want to share how I kept myself sane and steadfast on God’s word, through another ‘shared custody summer’. For us it’s simply a one week off, one week on schedule during the summer. For others, their children are away a full month, an entire summer, holidays, 6 months. The number of custody schedules out there vary dramatically.
Prayer, It’s The Number One Step
Although there are things you may not be able to change, you do have a secret weapon… it’s called prayer. What I love about prayer is that it has the ability to go places I can’t go. It has the power to change things I cannot change. It has the ability to drive out fear, worry, and anxiety. And it leaves us with peace and inexplicable joy.
This summer instead of feeling overwhelmed and thinking, ‘oh-no, here we go again… an entire summer of chaos, and going back and forth’, I chose to take action. First I prayed. Then I allowed God to minister to me through His word. and He led me to these particular passages.
Psalm 16:5, “You guard all that is mine.”
Psalm 46:2, 10, “Though the earth be removed and the mountains fall into the sea, do not fear. Be still and know that I am God.”
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
Making It Practical and Applicable
When I created the summer visiting calendar, I printed off a copy and simply numbered the days going backwards (I believe I started with number 67 or something like that) and then I numbered each day, 67, 66, 65, 64, 63, 62,61, 61… and so on until I reached the number 1, the day when our ‘summer custody schedule’ is over. Each day, I made a commitment to pray for my son, declare God’s word (based on the scripture He already gave me), and cross off the number I had written down. So when day 67 came, and I took time to pray, I crossed off 67. The next day, after I prayed, I would cross off the next written date, 66. And so on.
Summer is now closing, and I have two more days until I reach day 1. Looking back, I know (because I can see in front of me) that one, I’ve faithfully lifted up my child in prayer, and two, that God has guarded all that is mine! There has been such freedom and peace in simply handing over the situation to God each day.
Here’s a close-up to give you a better idea of how the numbering worked.
This is what the calendar looked like hanging up on my kitchen board. Every time I washed dishes, I looked at it and was reminded that God guards all that is mine!!!
Simple and effective.
Take What You’ve Learned And Use It
I will be using this same idea to pray my child through his 8th grade school year. Circumstances do not allow me to homeschool him as I do my Kindergarten daughter. And so, I must continue to trust that God guards all that is mine and that He will lead and direct my son.
Before school begins in our district, September 4th, I will be doing the same thing with the school calendar. I believe there are 180 school days, so I will take the school calendar and on September 4th, I will write the number 180 in the corner. I will then number backwards all the way to the last day of the school year, which will numbered as Day 1.
I will be accountable. I will be purposeful. I will not tire in lifting my children up to the Lord. And when the enemy comes whispering his lies, I will remind him that the prayers of the righteous availeth much (James 5:16)!!
I really loved this countdown, and it could be used in so many ways:
- countdown to an important event
- countdown for the rest of the year
- countdown for a time of specific prayer for your husband
- countdown for a time of specific prayer for friends, family, pastors, church
- countdown for the new school year
So how about you, how do you pray through different situations?