There they go. This year, it’s one boy starting the third grade and one little girl starting first. And as I walk away from the school today, I feel my influence as a father beginning to slip.
It won’t be long, I know, until these children will have competing influences in their lives, and I am on many occasions going to lose that battle. I pray, Father, for the grace to humbly and wisely accept this reality and to know the right hills to die on.
Help me, Lord, not to be consumed with what hair style or backpack I think is most appropriate. Help me instead to focus my energy where you focus yours – on the hearts of these children you have entrusted to us. Help me, in a daily increasing way, to model the kind of love and devotion you feel for your children.
I pray that I would be able to somehow hold these kids tightly and loosely at the same time; that I would be fiercely protective and yet instill a sense of personal responsibility; that I would be quick to forgive and yet appropriate in discipline; that I would be conscious of the fact that these children are not me and therefore do not have the same giftings, interests, and passions that I do.
It is through this great responsibility of parenting you have handed to me that I feel an acute sense of my weakness, knowing that almost hourly I am falling short. It’s as I seek to share the gospel with these children that I become ever more conscious of my own need for that same gospel.
I confess that as my influence begins to wane, I feel a sometimes overwhelming sense of powerlessness, and yet I reminded in that powerlessness of your sovereign and loving hand that guides and leads for our good and Your glory. Thank you that you never sleep and that even now there is a wary divine eye on an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee. I don’t give these children to you, Father, for they are yours; but instead I pray today that they would grow in their awareness of your great love and care so that when they do not think of what their daddy might think about a given situation, they would instead of what their Father would.
In Jesus’ name,