A few months ago, I went on a trip with friends. Together, we spent a handful of incredible days without a single person demanding a single thing from any of us. It was glorious and I am still overwhelmed with gratitude for the time away.
However, my trip ended bittersweetly. The morning I was scheduled to return home, my phone blew up. In the span of a few minutes, I received an email, text message, and voicemail — all informing me that my oldest daughter’s school was on lockdown and that the district would keep us posted.
Keep me posted?!
As you can likely imagine, I immediately freaked out. I texted my daughter and asked if she was okay. I called my husband and asked if he knew anything more than what I’d read in the text message. He did not, but thankfully, my daughter replied quickly and said she was fine.
But still, what is “fine”?
As the day wore on, I learned that the issue had been drugs rather than violence, and my daughter was physically safe. But during that lockdown, she was stuck in a rather upsetting situation that began with bullying and ended with shouts and tears and countless hurt feelings.
I was miles and hours away, and my daughter needed me. I couldn’t get to her and, in her anxiety, she could not understand. She was not okay and, therefore, I was not okay — and I couldn’t do a thing about it.
Except pray. I could pray. And I did pray, a lot.
At every opportunity, I talked with my daughter on the phone and in between those tearful conversations, I prayed. I asked God to comfort my daughter (and me), to make His presence known and felt, to help her get to sleep, and help me calm down before my final flight. And while it was a rough day for both of us, we made it. God was with us, and we made it through.
Now, don’t get me wrong. She was still upset. I was still shaken by feeling such intense fear and concern for her while so many miles away. The next day when she told me every little detail of her horrible, no good, very bad day, she cried — and I cried too. Praying didn’t magically erase every problem or pain. But when I couldn’t fix what was hurting my daughter, praying reminded me that even separated by miles, we weren’t alone. It reminded me that God was with us both.
I’m so grateful we are created and loved by a God who wants to hear our prayers. I’m thankful He loves us so much He will meet us whenever we need Him and wherever we are — whether that’s in an airport far from home, the floor beside your bed where the kids can’t see you from the door, or the parking lot where you wait for the end of soccer practice or band rehearsal.
This world can be frightening and parenting (as well as marriage, ministry, friendship, or simply being a human) can be challenging. So many situations leave us feeling helpless and overwhelmed, convinced there’s nothing we can do to help. But the most important thing we can do when we feel like there’s nothing we can do is to pray.
No matter how unprepared or ill-equipped we feel, no matter where we find ourselves — in the break room at work, in the middle of a long list of errands that won’t run themselves, or in our child’s bed after another nightmare — we can pray. In every situation God is with us, ready to listen and comfort and guide us. He’s with us and saying, “Come to me . . . ”
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)