My dear children,
You were born exactly when and where the Lord wanted you. His ways are perfect. As your mama, I for one, am blessed with the privilege of having you in my life. A privilege that I am grateful for every day. You truly fill my life with love and laughter. I try my best to show you just how much you mean to me and how deep my love for you is, I really do. But it is difficult to demonstrate how great and vast that piece of my heart is that you hold in your hands. Even the popular quote a beloved children’s book “I love you to the moon…and back” doesn’t even seem adequate. A mother’s love runs wide and deep. And it is true.
I love you, deeply.
But today I felt burdened to remind you of something else as well— I pray for you every single day. This mother’s heart sometimes breaks as I watch you struggle with personal issues and besetting sins, and then I rejoice with you when I see you have victories in certain areas. You conquer your fears with courage and fight your emotional battles with determination. I weep when you weep and I laugh when you laugh. But inner personal trials are not the only conflicts that one frequently encounters during life. Sadly you, like every one else, face external struggles on a daily basis. This is an age old problem, to be sure, but I often reflect on the multitude of complex challenges that you, my 21st century children, have to face. And in that moment, I acknowledge the unique adversities that you constantly confront that past generations never even dreamed possible. I cannot deny that we do live in a great day of opportunity. We absolutely do. Progress and technology can be and is a great blessing. But it can also become our worst enemy when not handled with extreme caution.
So I pray earnestly for you.
Your walk through childhood and adolescence is a hard one. I didn’t have to face half of the issues that you do.
I didn’t have the weight of the worldwide web on my shoulders. Google wasn’t even in my vocabulary. No one had to caution me at the age of ten about the dangers of this powerful thing called the internet, cyber bullying and online predators.
I didn’t have technology at my fingertips and neither did my friends The pressure to fit in and possess the most recent form of tech toy never even crossed my mind.
I didn’t have to face the open attack and onslaught of God’s perfect design for marriage. A man and a woman was still recognized as the union for establishing a home and rearing a family.
I didn’t have to worry about peers with guns, that hurting people would lash out in their pain with awful destruction.
I didn’t have to shield my eyes from some of the open and blatant images that are considered entertainment and channeled into our homes in the name of family television and commercialism.
I didn’t have the drama of social media adding to the already challenging waters of building and maintaining innocent relationships with my friends.
I didn’t have to battle the ever-present cellphone at every turn, hindering healthy, real communication with family and friends.
The list could go on and on.
At this point I want you to know that I am sorry. I have to be honest with myself—and more importantly with you—and admit that I often fail to remember how the world as I once knew it no longer exists. I also have to confess that the passing of time does tend to dim some of the challenges of youthful living. I have forgotten some of what it is like to be your age. And I want to humbly apologize for not always remembering these realities in certain moments with you. Please forgive me.
Times really have changed, and most of them for the good. The nearly twenty-five years since I was your age has resulted in countless advancements in society, education and technology. However, most would also agree that some developments have been our downfall as a nation. Our moral compass has shifted, and we have become calloused to what is appropriate for our eyes to behold and our thoughts to dwell on, let alone those of our children. In turn, our parental blind eye has allowed influences into the hearts and lives of our offspring that are greatly costing them, sometimes everything. We somehow don’t even see the hurt and confusion registering on their young faces and mirroring in their eyes. How did this happen?
Is it because we never took the time to ponder about the days of their youth, the particular issues and influences that are rooted in their generation?
May this never be true in my heart, my sweet ones.
I pray that I will be ever watchful to your needs and attentive to your silent cries for guidance, those moments where you are subtly hinting for a listening ear. I know that you probably think that thirty-four is old, but I can well remember bashfully attempting to bring up difficult conversations and embarrassing topics with my own mom. So I do understand. It’s not always easy to broach issues that confuse and leave one wondering about life. And you know what else? The dirty floors can wait as can the dishes and the laundry. They will always be there, but you will not. My window to nurture and love you through this season of your life, your childhood, is small and growing smaller every day. So if you get nothing else from this letter, please take this promise to heart and know this simple truth without a doubt.
I am always here for you. Always.
And today I want to take my deep love for you to an even greater level of mothering. Today I want to stretch myself as a mom, to learn lessons that I can in turn pass on to you. But how does one do that? How can I better understand the thoughts and issues that shape another person’s life? Moments when I want nothing more than to aptly teach and instruct you through challenging situations? When I desperately desire to find the words to whisper fervent prayers for you, these precious souls at my feet? I think that I found the answer and it really is quite simple. If I want to see the world through your eyes, then I need to put myself where I have never been.
Today I put myself in your shoes.
Burdened for the youth of today. Take a moment to pray for them, please.