The solitude of the ten o’clock hour is something I look forward to each night. Not because I don’t love the voices that vibrate off the yogurt smudged walls of my home. Not because I don’t enjoy the daily recap conversation with my husband. Only because then, at ten o’clock, it is quiet. I can turn off the outside noises. I can sit down and stay seated. I can breathe, deeply, and feel safe and secure in my own home.
I am grateful for that.
After I use all my willpower to get off the couch and prepare for tomorrow’s adventures, yet before I close my eyes for the night, I creak open the bedroom doors of my children and see them sleep. Sometimes it’s just seconds, but sometimes, especially the times when the noises outside are loud and frightful, I stay awhile, and I watch them dream.
That is when I pray for my children. I pray especially hard on those nights.
I pray they know they are loved. Like really loved. Loved through mistakes, and screw ups, and really regretful choices. Loved when they feel unlovable. Loved when they feel unworthy. Loved when they grow too old for hugs, hand holding, and happy dances in our pajamas. I pray they know they are loved in that kind of way.
I pray my children are happy. That happy that comes from only a place Jesus can fill.
I pray for their friends. I pray they find accepting friends. The non-judgy, non-jealousy, non-Hawkeye kind of friends. I pray their friends can take a joke.
When the outside world screams so loud that the ugliness is the only thing visible, I pray my children see hope. Even if it’s just a sliver.
I pray they see the sunrise and lift their eyes to the vastness of the sky. I pray they hear the wrestle of the leaves in the wind and are reminded that power can be as strong as a sweet fall breeze. I pray they taste vanilla ice cream and the nostalgia of their Great Grandpa Lynn pulses inside them and they remember the connection to generations past.
When someone tells them, “No.” Or tells them, “You can’t.” I pray they ask why. I pray they prove them wrong.
When their neighbor is left out, bullied, or persecuted, I pray my children will hold out their hands.
I pray they walk the road less traveled. Even if that road is just across town.
I pray for their courage, because Lord knows it takes courage to grow up today. Courage to keep their clothes on. Courage to work hard and to be a part of a team. Courage to listen in a culture of opinions. Courage to be humble. Courage to say thank you. Courage to praise Jesus on Sunday and say Grace before dinner. Lord, I pray for loads and loads of courage to grow inside those sweet dreaming babies.
Closing their doors, thanking God again and releasing my fear, I realize I am not just praying for my children.
I am praying for me.
To be the love, the hands, and the courage I hope my children to be. I pray it starts with me.
Look, an hour is coming and has already come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world! John 16: 32-33
Have courage, friends. And don’t forget to pray for yourself too.