Adoption and foster care may lead us to places we never imagined. It’s no ordinary life, my friends. Would you agree?
Our children existed before we knew them. They grew in the warmth of another woman’s womb and were delivered into her arms. We may know details of that day or we may only imagine it. They may have been with their first moms for a few hours or a few years. Some of our kids may have had many mothers as they moved from one foster home to another.
Days or years may have passed before we arrived on the scene and stepped into a river already flowing with experiences, good and bad, for our little ones. Their eyes have seen things we’ll never know about. Their brains have been influenced by their environments and their hearts shaped by all that has happened.
Perhaps they lived in a country across the world where their lives were drastically different from ours in nearly every way. Or maybe in another part of our city where the culture is nothing like the one in our homes.
So much rushes through our minds as we try to sort out the details and parent these children. How do we know what to do when we don’t know their stories?
I have good news. There is One who knows every detail of our children’s lives. He knit them together in their mothers’ wombs. He has a plan for their lives that is good and He chose you to be this child’s mother, either for a short time or forever.
Having parented children I birthed, adopted, and fostered, I can confidently say, parenting is a complex and challenging calling. I often find myself telling God, “I just don’t know what to do.”
Prayer is for needy hearts. Prayer is for helpless people. Prayer is for the weary.
Needy. Helpless. Weary.
Some days that sums up foster and adoptive parenting.
Our lives are filled with tasks, appointments, and needs – so many needs. How do we make time for prayer?
In his book, A Praying Life (which I highly recommend), Paul Miller writes,
Learning to pray does not offer us a less busy life, it offers us a less busy heart.
I couldn’t love this more. I seem to have plenty of time to worry and talk to friends about my parenting challenges. I also spend hours researching problems I’m facing with my kids. Apparently, I’m not too busy to pray, but prayer requires me to get quiet, and that is a challenge.
1. We need wisdom.
The Word says,
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
I need wisdom and I’m guessing you do too. I’m desperate to hear from God, sometimes because there are so many options I don’t know what to choose, and others because there are no options left and I am at the end of myself. But God says He generously gives wisdom when we ask. I need more, so much more, of that.
2. We need hope.
I need to be reminded that God is in this with me and He has a good plan. My life is not random and my child didn’t just happen to end up in my family. Even when I doubt myself, God has confidence in me. He chose me to be my child’s mother. And He chose you to be your child’s mother – you were made for this job.
3. We need an awareness of God – we are not alone.
In the middle of the night when the world is sleeping and we’re lying awake with the weight of worry on our chests, we need to remember we aren’t alone. When we’re about to walk into a hard meeting, or maybe just a hard conversation, we need Jesus. Prayer leads us to the arms of our Father and reminds me of His constant presence.
4. We can be honest.
Good news – we don’t need to act holy or clean ourselves up before we pray. Prayer is a “come as you are” affair. God knows us, really knows us, so we might as well pour it all out, every thought, fear, and doubt. Nothing surprises God, not one tiny thing. And He loves us no matter what.
5. We’ll find rest.
Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Mt. 11:28
When we take all of our worries and heaviness and lay them down before the Lord, our hearts and minds can rest. Of course, this laying down process is continual – each day and sometimes each minute. I find myself praying, “I give this to you,” each time the worry comes back to my mind, which is often when something is weighing on me.
How to Pray When Life is Overwhelming
You may agree that prayer is important, that you need wisdom, hope, God’s presence, and rest, but how do you pray when life is chaotic or so busy you hardly have time to sleep?
I completely understand.
In this season of my life, I often have time to pray in the quiet morning before my family wakes. I keep a simple prayer journal and pray for Russ, my kids, family, friends, struggling marriages, people who are grieving or facing illness, and much more. I pray for YOU too.
But there were years when I was consumed by my life – I was overwhelmed, broken, and sometimes scared.
In my next post, I’ll share three ways of praying that carried me through those years.
Know that as I write this morning, I am praying for you, friend. You are a good mom doing good work, sometimes in very hard and uncertain circumstances. It’s hard and beautiful – and God has you.
Have a friend who needs encouragement? Please share this with her! Click on the links at the bottom of the post to share on social media (which is a big help to me), or email her a link.
Don’t miss the follow-up post: 3 Ways for Moms to Pray Through the Hardest Days.
Speaking of prayer, I’m praying and thinking a lot about where to put my energy and time to best serve you. In the midst of podcasting, writing books, speaking, blogging, and more, one of my favorite things to do is write my weekly email to my inside circle of readers.
I would love to include you!
It’s short and sweet, I promise you can read it in just a couple minutes. I share all of the important news with my emails subscribers first – and with a book coming out in the next year, I hope I’ll have lots of great news.
My email subscribers always have the first opportunity to be part of what I’m doing.
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Courage and hope, my friends.