I remember a day, not long ago, when I had three toddlers scurrying about my feet. I held an infant. I looked as overwhelmed as I felt. I had taken the kids to a friends' farm. They were loving the goats. I was doing the round-the-clock work of encouraging, disciplining, chasing and protecting when my friend said something I'll never forget.
"Leah, you're doing a good job. You really are. These kids are beautiful. And, also, God can fill in the gaps."
She went on to explain that whether we have one kid or twelve, we're going to need to count on the Lord to be the superhero in our story. There will be days when we're not with them. There will be moments when they have to make a choice on their own. There will be school curriculums and advice from coaches and storylines on TV shows that they will have to navigate and discern by themselves. And while God trusts us with these kids, He is well aware that outside of His merciful help, we are up against an impossible task.
She was one click ahead of me in the parenting department as she had elementary and middle school kids at the time. I will forever be grateful for the wisdom God shared through her in that moment.
Isaiah 40, verse 11, says this: "He gently leads those who are with young." He doesn't lead us critically or impatiently or harshly. He leads us into this impossibly giant job with gentle grace.
Do you need that today?
My friend was right. He is able to fill in the gaps. I pray it a dozen times a day. "Lord, hear the words that I can't." "Father, see the hurts that I miss." "Spirit, impart the wisdom that I don't have."
The fact that He trusts me with these four lives is astonishing. He gave them to me and I want to live up to His faith in me to raise them well. Also, I'm so glad that He can cover the parts that I miss. I'm so grateful that IN HIM, this impossible job becomes possible.
Today, I'm praying protection over your teenagers, driving cars. I'm asking for the Spirit's wise counsel in cafeteria conversations and social media interactions.
I'm praying wisdom over our middle schoolers, reading books and watching TV and spending time with coaches and friends and teachers and other parents who don't know Jesus.
I'm praying the Father's heart over our elementary kids and the opportunities they'll have today to be selfish. I'm asking that the next sibling fight that erupts will evaporate as the peace of the Lord descends.
I'm asking God to calm little hearts and send extra sleep and for the Spirit to speak peace to fears and pour out an extra measure of obedience.
Every time I whisper, "Lord, fill in the gaps", I feel such relief. He is able. He is constant. He is everywhere. He is a good counselor, an ever-present help in times of trouble.
Today, I'm the one with older kids. If you're where I am or even a few steps ahead or behind, I encourage you to take up this prayer, "Lord, thank you for these kids. I can hardly believe that you trust me with them. I also recognize that you are God and I am not. It is such a relief to be able to trust in You to fill in the areas where I lack. Thank you for your grace and for your consistency. Thank you that you are always near. I trust you to fill in the gaps."