Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My New Prayer

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Sometime in my history, someone, somewhere said something that struck me. It was beautiful, and it went something like this:

A dishwasher is a woman's best friend.


While that is true (especially since I'm on day 14 of a dishwasher-less life devoid of healthy, moisturized hands), it's not the beautiful thought I was remembering.

I was remembering when I heard from a mother of a small children that she always prays for the future spouses of her kids. She prays for the husband her daughter will someday meet and love. She prays for the wife her son will some day woo and charm. It really made me consider the unknown impact of prayers and how comforting it would be to know that there was some other mother out there, praying for my children without yet knowing anything about them other than that they existed.

In my over analyzing mind, I thought of all the people that my children would come in contact with over the years who would influence and change their lives, whether obviously or by some small unknown measure. I thought of all the people's lives my kids would impact, just by brushing up against their society and imparting some bit of influence, whether good or bad. (Surely they'll only ever impart goodness, right? Right??) I thought of how big our decisions seem in this light. Every choice we make has the possibility of changing someone else's life.

How amazing would it be if we lived knowing that truth?

Yesterday at the library, I briefly met a woman who seemed to live in this way. I was only around her for a few minutes, but each time she spoke or moved, she exuded a calm, loving, supportive presence. She had her small children with her, two of whom were little boys. Adorable, active things with rambunctious smiles and handsome faces. Her life wasn't abnormal, her kids weren't perfect; in fact, she'd admitted to having a stressful morning. She wasn't magical...but then again...she was. In the small amount of time I watched her with them -- guiding or praising or gently encouraging some desired behavior -- I could so plainly see that she got it. She understood that each word she said and each touch she gave would leave an imprint in her children's lives. She seemed to know that those kids would in turn leave their own wake of influence wherever they walked in the future.

I don't know if she also understood that she'd leave an imprint on my life. I wanted to be more gracious. More gently encouraging, and less brusquely demanding. More supportive and less distracted. More aware of the ways I could both lovingly shape my children's world and proudly watch my children shape someone else's world.

While encouraging her 2 year old son to share a few of the trains he'd hoarded at the train table, she simply and gently reminded him not to throw the train at Mia, because she was 'a lady. We treat ladies with extra kindness.' She didn't panic when she saw his arm begin to move too quickly. She didn't grab the train in fear that he'd not heed her reminder. She spoke calmly, almost breathing politeness into him from herself, and sure enough -- he slowed down and handed the train over with a shy grin. She'd taught him well.

This single encounter was what reminded me of the mother who prayed for her baby daughter's future husband. I thought, this is the kind of mother I hope my future son-in-law has. I pray he has someone in his life who's so willing to teach love and respect.

So now, not only will I try to whisper an occasional prayer about the men who will someday share my daughters' lives, I'll also pray for their mothers. Because we need all the help we can get, don't we?


  1. Such a sweet idea. Thanks for sharing!

  2. oh wow such a good point. and what's that saying? something about how you can tell a good man by the way he treats his mom?

  3. i have thought of these things too... now that my oldest is 11 I feel like I have some perspective too on "her" life. the friends she has had etc... some of them I know we were meant to be there for and help out etc. I often think of the people she has met etc.

    and btw we have no dishwasher

  4. Let me tell you, as the mother of three daughters....I have been praying for my future sons-in-law since my daughters were born and we are seeing those prayers answered!! Our middle daughter, age 22, will be marrying a wonderful young man in May. He is absolutely perfect for her. Our youngest daughter has a very steady boyfriend and though they are only freshmen in college they are very committed to the Lord and to each other. I would anticipate that this will be SIL #2 and he is also just right for my daughter. His parents love her.

    Praying for your future SIL's is worth every moment of time it takes.

  5. When I was fresh out of high school, I was part of a young adult group at church whose leader once mentioned to us briefly that he and his wife prayed for the future spouses of their children. At the time, I was naive and thought little of the idea, but now... Now as I watch my little men grow before my eyes each day, now it just seems so very important, doesn't it?

    Bravo, Sarah. Seriously, one of the best posts I've read in a long time.

  6. Oh, I love this post. Such magic...

  7. Wonderful post! It's also a great reminder of a moment of contact with a person can make an impact; on you, your daughters, and all your readers.

  8. I'm so glad I read this. I have been struggling lately with desiring to be the type of mother that you saw at the library and the reality that I'm not there. I am trying to choose my words more carefully with my children and not raise my voice, but it is SO. HARD. Thank you for this beautiful reminder and the example of this mother that I pray God will turn me into.

    And yes, I think praying for our future in-laws is a fabulous idea. I've done it every once in awhile when I remember, but this was a great challenge to make it more of a priority!

  9. It is so easy to forget that the sometimes seemingly trivial things we do as moms are shaping the next generation -- what we do really does matter in light of eternity! Thanks for that reminder Sarah! I need it every day!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?