The 3:00 a.m. Parent Prayer


Well, we are all awake right now — so we might as well talk.  The brain, or the heart, or the gut has pulled us awake and we turn over to check the time, knowing it can’t be time to wake up yet, and yet we are wide awake.   It’s 3:00 a.m. – Are you kidding me?

So, I might as well ask,  How are you doing?

What’s keeping you awake right now? What visitor has come and rested on your chest and poked your soul awake? Maybe you are thinking about your kid and you realize that you are out of control of the decisions they make, the challenges they face, the heart ache they feel and yet at the same time you are tethered to them and your heart aches. Maybe you are afraid, or angry or fearful.  Maybe you have piled on worst case scenarios in your mind,  like blankets, one on top of the other, and now your body is so heavy it can not move, with the weight of it all.  May you want to fix something that can’t be fixed.

Maybe you are little annoyed that you are awake at this hour.  I mean, those nursing days are over!  We shouldn’t have to have sleepless nights anymore, right?  I don’t have an answer for you, except for maybe some sleep medication.  But let’s talk about the heart of the matter – which is your heart.  Look you birthed that kid.  You were responsible for their helpless bodies.  You kept them alive.  You managed what they ate, what they watched, what they read, when the slept, what they wore and where they went.  And now?  They don’t tell you jack.

I am not here to give you some pithy advise.

I can’t tell you that limiting screen time, or taking their phones at night, or control their social media, or making sure they don’t have a Finsta account, will save them from the trials and tribulations of adolescence.  I can’t tell you to be stricter, have more consequences, teach them to do their laundry and cook meals, and take on a summer job will secure their professional future.  I won’t tell you what to do, or how to do it, or  give you some sarcastic anecdote about how I have this figured out, and you don’t — because I don’t have this figured out. Let’s just put that on the table – I don’t have answers.  I will know how to parent teenagers when I no longer have teenagers and I can look back and say,  “Oh! So that’s what I missed.”

I can tell you what I am learning.

What I am learning in all of this is that I am watching a person evolve before my eyes and become an adult, and becoming an adult means experiencing life, and life is messy.  The only way to become an adult is to live life.  We cannot protect our kids from life if we want them to be an adult.  Here is what life looks like.  Life looks like making a ton of mistakes.  Life looks like getting your heart broken. Life looks like making decisions that aren’t healthy.  Life looks like losing life. Life looks like failure. Life looks like forgiveness. Life looks like joy.  Life looks like hard work.  Life looks like unfairness. Life looks like empathy.  We want our kids to have full lives.  We want them to live fully. This means it’s going to hurt.

So, my early morning riser, what are we going to do as we lie here and try not to check our phone?  I think, the only thing I can recommend is a prayer.  It could be the Serenity Prayer.  That’s always my go to. – God grant me the serenity to accept  the things I cannot change.  That’s usually as far as i get.

The other prayer I would recommend to you  is the one I often say that goes something like this:

God, you know my worries and fears.  You know that I am freaking out over this and there is nothing I can do about it.  I would like for you to please take this worry I have and fix it, so that I can sleep and everything will be alright.  Thank you. Amen.

.But wait, that’s not how this works. I know, God, that you aren’t my personal fixer and that while I would like to pray this and you would make all my dreams come true, I know that’s unfair to you and our relationship. I know that you are in a relationship with me and my children. I know that you made us. You made me and you made them. You know them completely. You know me completely.  You know every part of me.  You know every part of them.  You hold them as you hold me.  You hold them. You have a hold on them.  You behold them.  God, remind me this morning that you always hold your children.  You do not let them slip through your fingers.  While this worry of mine is distracting and it’s making me very sad, angry, or fearful and seems so huge, your hold is greater.  And one more thing, remind me that you hold me too.  And God, please quiet my mind and take these random thoughts, so that I may sleep.  The alarm goes off in just a few hours….  Amen.

Hang in there, friend. You are not alone.

Good Night.



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