"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. " 1 Samuel 1:27-28
I crawled on my knees, for what seemed like forever, after my babies were born. As soon as they got past the sleeping/eating/sleeping routine and stayed awake to play for awhile, I was on the floor cooing and playing with them while they got their necessary social and physical exercise. Then they became mobile and I was on my knees making sure the house was baby proofed, crawling with them, chasing after them and picking up the debris (also known as toys) they left in their wake.
Prior to babies, a pair of jeans lasted me a few years. Post babies, they wore out at the knees after only a year. I remember reserving one pair of jeans as my "good jeans"; the ones I only wore out in public or on a date with my husband because they didn't show where my knees were.
As my children grew into adults, I often missed those days of raggedy-kneed jeans. I didn't so much miss the physical exhaustion after a day of crawling on my knees but I did miss the uncomplicated simplicity of those days. Now don't misunderstand me. I'm quite aware of how exhausting it is to keep a household running in the midst of children at your feet, or running to and from school activities, or balancing work and home. I've been there, done that and wore out the T-shirt. But there were days I missed deciding whether to pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich verses a ham and cheese sandwich for my kids' lunches.
It wasn't so much the complicated decisions I had to make but the decisions I had to step back and let them make for themselves that made me wish for simpler days. There comes a time around adolescence where us parents can only set boundaries and pray that what we taught them stuck. What our children choose to do, whether inside or outside of those boundaries is totally up to them. It's unnerving when their choices are not the best ones. It's heart breaking.
It's those times when I found myself back on my knees. But this time, instead of crawling after them, I was crawling toward Jesus' feet. I was on my knees praying for them and our family; praying for God to pierce their heart with His Truth and to place someone in their life to redirect their path. There were days, weeks, months, and years when I wondered if God even heard me. He did.
Like Hannah in 1 Samuel, who prayed earnestly before God for a child, God blessed her with Samuel. God reminded me of this story during difficult times with my own children. I too had prayed, very specifically for my children...their looks, their personalities, even their birth order. I'd offered them back to the Lord as infants, thanking Him for His faithfulness. But, as they grew, I'd forgotten that they weren't my possession but God's. I'd forgotten that He had a plan for THEM which may not coincide with the perfect plans I had in store for them. So, I had to let go of them, my dreams for them and offer them back to God.
When my children were small, I wore out the knees of my jeans from crawling after them. As they grew (and even now) I wore out the knees of my jeans from praying for them. Now instead of saving one pair of jeans as my "good" jeans, I relish those "holy," raggedy-kneed jeans because they mean my children are covered in prayer.