In an encouraging opinion piece for Fox News, author Jeannie Cunnion shared how God reminded her of something incredible: our lives, and our children, are not truly our own.
“When praying for my kids, I have always used the words, ‘my boys’ or ‘my sons,’” Cunnion says. “There is, of course, nothing wrong with praying this way. God entrusted four boys to my husband and me to raise to His glory.”
One night, however, Cunnion recalls how a moment of crying out to God when she was helpless to guide one of her sons through a “painful hardship.”
It’s then that Cunnion says she “felt the Holy Spirit remind me that these boys are first and foremost sons of God. That as much as I love them and long for them, they were “perfectly and wonderfully” made by God (Psalm 139), they belong to God, and God’s love and desire for them is infinitely more profound and pure than even mine.”
That incredible realization began to totally transform the way Cunnion prayed for her son through his trial. “In light of this truth,” she explained, “I began to pray ‘Your sons,’ rather than ‘my sons.’”
This choice of words might seem simple and insignificant, but for Cunnion it guided her to pray while remembering the truth “that God is their all-knowing, all-powerful Father, and because God is sovereign and full of grace, He can be trusted with the children He has entrusted to me.”
Our children won’t be precious little babies forever, and believe it or not, they won’t always be as easy to redirect back to God when they stumble. Sooner or later, they will experience pain, temptation, and their sinful nature will develop as they age.
This is when it’s the most crucial to remember that they belong, ultimately, to God, Cunnion says. “…When their feelings get hurt or their hearts get broken, when they struggle with substance abuse or eating disorders, when they make wrong choices, or when they simply don’t feel lovable or valuable. When our hearts break for our kids and we long to right every wrong in their lives, we have to remember they have a sovereign and good heavenly Father.”
“Then we are free to pray,” she continues, “‘Lord, they are yours. They belong to you.’”
It might seem scary, for sure, but there is immense freedom in realizing that you do not control the grand scheme of your life or your child’s life. God does. Praying as though you have an ounce of control over these things puts you forever at odds with God rather than in the safest place of all: squarely in the center of His perfect will.
“To say that God is sovereign is not to say that our children don’t have free will,” Cunnion explains. “Indeed, God has given all of us free will. We are all responsible for the choices we make, and our choices matter. However, God is not limited by our choices. He is continually working everything together ‘for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them’ (Romans 8:28).”
Parents, if God left even the best parent in the world in total control of the lives of their children, you can’t begin to imagine how quickly they’d faceplant and fail. Just like with our very salvation, if it were based on our own strength and goodness, we’d be left with a pile of filthy rags.
Why struggle this way? Why not straighten out your mind and align it with God’s will? God gives us a will, a mind, and a ministry, He didn’t design us to be robots. He didn’t design us to struggle through the pain of life, and of parenting, alone either.
“Remembering our good Father’s sovereignty relieves so much of the pressure we experience in motherhood,” Cunnion says. “It’s not all up to you, and it’s not all up to me – and praise Him for that!”
If it were up to us to raise our children perfectly and see to it that they arrive on Heaven’s doorstep, you can bet we’d fail again and again. God didn’t set it up that way. God orders our steps and the steps of our children. When we pray for our kids, let us remember that truth and pray accordingly.