Praying with children increases confidence
Warrior Moms, recently, my 11-year-old son entered 6th grade. He’s in middle school now! It’s hard for me to believe. It seems like just yesterday he was a cute 2-year-old, wearing a Christmas sweater with a red, green, and brown truck embroidered on it. Jacob is an awesome kid. He’s kind, funny, thoughtful, hard-working, and just all around awesome. All moms talk this way about their children, and all moms worry a little bit when their children enter a new school or a new challenge.
My mom-concerns are further compounded by the fact that Jacob has been diagnosed with Ushers Syndrome. He was born profoundly deaf, and at 5-years-old, we were told he’d also be blind by the time he turned 10. He received a cochlear implant (an electrically implanted ear) at 18-months-old, which allows him to hear electronically. His central vision works so he can see. His peripheral vision is impacted, which means he turns his head a lot to compensate. Still, he can see today. I say all of that only to say that due to the external piece of his cochlear implant, which looks like a big hearing aid with a lot more components (a coil, a transmitter, which is held to his skull by the internal magnet and the external magnet on the transmitter), and his glasses, let’s just say, I was hoping the kids would be nice to him and would not make fun of him.
I remember when Jacob was first diagnosed as being profoundly deaf. I instantly worried about how he’d be treated at school and in the world. I cried a lot about it, actually. And then, when they told us he’d go blind soon, and he received his thick glasses, I cried again. That was all a long time ago, however, I was a Warrior Mom now. I didn’t cry about it, daily, anymore; I had turned it all over to God. Now, I resorted to faith, not fear. Besides, Jacob has always done well. He’s always had friends, played sports and been a happy kid. Plus, nobody has ever made fun of him. I know; amazing isn’t it?!
So, why was I getting all emotional about him being in middle school? Well, I remember middle school. I didn’t like middle school. Plus, my husband teaches middle school. He talks about how the kids act. My 9th grade daughter just completed her middle school years. She has told me how the kids act too. In fact, we just wrote a book together about it (Through the Eyes of Faith). And since the county just built 2 new schools, we were districted for the new high school and the new middle school. All Jacob’s friends from his elementary school were districted for the old middle school. We lived right on the other side of the new county line; he’d be bussed to the new middle school, alone.
Fear pounced on my shoulders, grabbed my head and heart and shook them back and forth for a moment. I was dizzy with anticipation of how the new kids would treat my son. I wanted to save him from this new, scary, challenge. He’d had enough challenges in his life, Why this too?! I was a Warrior Mom now, however, so I stopped the madness, and I prayed and gave (actually, threw it like a grenade without a pin) to God.
“Here, God, please help me with all this!” I said aloud.
God said, “Pray with Jacob.”
To which I replied, “I do.”
To which God replied, “Pray with him with his cochlear implant on – aloud – so he can hear you.”
“Okay, God,” I said.
I guess I had been praying with him lately after he’d taken his implant off, so he could not hear me. It had just been a busy two weeks of school, homework, and getting ready for bed. It seemed Jacob had taken his implant off, had placed it in the dry-box, and was in bed before I got in his room to tuck him in. I still prayed for him while kneeling next to his bed, but he couldn’t hear me. I didn’t think this was a big-deal, however, because God taught me a long time ago that you don’t need ears to hear God. Silence didn’t separate my prayers from God, nor did silence interrupt the fact that Jacob knew I was praying for him. I was familiar and comfortable with the silence. Plus, since the days and weeks had gotten busy, and the silence of deafness had become more like a close cousin to me, rather than a fearful stranger, I couldn’t figure out why Jacob needed his implant on when I prayed for him.
As I thought about all of this, God said,“It will give him confidence.”
“How?” I asked.
Quicker than I questioned, I understood.
It hit me like a flood. By praying aloud with Jacob, Jacob will experience going to God with all the issues of his days, his fears, his dreams, his needs, his hopes, and all the rest. By me saying prayers to God with Jacob hearing every detail of the prayers, this will help him turn it over to God. If I show my confidence in God to handle Jacob’s issues, Jacob will, in turn, learn to have confidence in God too. As a result, Jacob will be less worried about how he will act, what he will say, and if he’ll survive his 4th period class. Since Jacob will be relying on his confidence on God, he’ll be less likely to worry about his own inabilities. Jacob needed to hear the details of the prayers in order to remember to trust God when he endured the details of his day.
This all reminded me of a study I wrote this past summer about “I Am.” I studied everywhere in the Bible where “I am” was mentioned. I learned something really cool. When we focus on who God is, we are less likely to focus on who or what we are not. God was showing me the same concept about prayer. When we go to God with our burdens, we free ourselves up from the energy and time it takes to try to figure out how to carry those burdens on our own. In our freedom, we are more likely to be our natural selves.
Kids have a tendency to get caught up in wondering how the cool kids will like them, how they can be a cool kid, what they will say at lunch, who they will sit with at lunch, how they will figure out their locker, or where their class is, if someone will be mean or nice, and on and on and on. When we pray with our children, we show them, by example, that going to God with it all, frees us up to be who God intended us to be: a child that depends on God for all of it, relying on the confidence we have in Christ – not self. When we remove the self out of confidence – we are free in Christ – to live – and dream and hope – and live by faith – not fear.
I understood that while it was good that Jacob and I had learned to be comfortable in the silence of deafness, listening and communicating with God in our hearts, it was still profoundly important to teach Jacob to voice and confess his concerns to God on all occasions, thereby increasing his faith and his confidence in Christ. It’s funny how I got so comfortable with deafness that I forgot to utilize my physical ears and my physical voice to edify my profoundly deaf, now able to hear with his cochlear implant on, son. I must remember that when I overcome a huge obstacle – like deafness – or fear, I must not settle in and set up camp on the plateau of the mountain of life. God wants me to continue to climb to the next level. Most importantly, I must teach my children to keep climbing, continually going to God and talking to Him about it all with profound confidence that He is able to do all that He said He would do.
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Warrior Moms Unite!™
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.