Every night, I try to pray over my babies as I put them to sleep. When I do so, I find myself going through a list of wish-fulfillment. I mean, who doesn’t want good things for their children? Sometimes, I find that my prayers seem to be a way to try and manipulate and control God. Other times, it is out of genuine belief.

Here is what I try to pray for my kids (obviously not all-inclusive) and the thoughts that go through my head while praying:

1) That they would be healthy and live long, meaningful lives. Not really sure what that means or looks like, but I’ll know it when I see it.

2) That they would be spared suffering. But then I think that a life without suffering tends not to produce people of character, hope, or perseverance. So then, I think, perhaps just enough suffering. Not too much that it breaks my children, but not too little that it breaks them a different way.

3) Crap. Perhaps I should just pray for resilience. That they can bounce back from things. But then, I don’t want them to be too self-reliant and not ever learn to trust in God. Or be too glib.

4) I want my kids to be smart and work hard. To know that just because you’re smart and things come easily doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have to work hard and settle for just getting by. (That would be my entire academic career. Oh, let’s call a spade a spade. My entire CAREER, too.)

5) I pray for my kids to have their heart take after God’s own heart. That they love the poor, are humble, and have compassion. That they see beyond the physical.

6) I pray for my children to value the insides of a person. To want to be a person of character as well as seek people who have character.

7) I pray for my kids to be incredibly good looking.

8) I pray for them to be funny – both to me and to people in general.

9) I pray for them to choose to believe in God and Jesus not because they were force-fed it as children, but because they have vibrant, full faiths of their own.

10) I beg God to protect my children from evil. I ask God to protect their hearts and their spirits and their physical bodies.

11) I pray that DD knows her value as a person and as a woman and doesn’t throw herself away at “inessential penises” (to quote Daughter of Smoke and Bone). Of course, I realize that I presume she is going to be heterosexual – which is somewhat of a prayer only because anything else will be hard for her. (See item 2. However, if she is something other than heterosexual, I will always love her and support her and who she is meant to be.)

12) I pray that DS also knows his value as a person – and becomes a man who values women and isn’t threatened by or use them. (Same thing goes for heterosexuality assumptions, here.)

13) Inevitably, I pray God helps me be a good parent.

I can’t remember any more off the top of my head, but like I said before. Not all-inclusive. What do you pray/hope for your children?

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Tonight, DS gave DH a roll call of all the things he loves. Basically, he loves EVERYTHING. Lol. He loves everyone in his life and the characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender, all his trains and cars and toys, etc. What a wonderful life he has – to love all that is in it. Makes me all misty. ๐Ÿ˜€

Short of regular “church” attendance, how do you go about teaching spiritual matters to your children? (eg: existence/non-existence of God(s), prayer, meditation, why is there evil?, you know, easy questions) At what age did you start? I am less interested in the outward manifestations of “religion” than the inner processes. Thanks! (Oh, and of course, keep it civil please. Now, go!)

I know. It’s another “Daddy” post. Some really close family friends came over this afternoon to drop off some yummy treats they picked up in Taiwan just for us (ok, for DS) and we got to talking about our families. I am so honored that my friend’s wife (and now, my good friend) was willing to confide in me some of her family’s drama (very similar to mine). I am struck anew – and I don’t know why it always surprises me and yet fails to surprise me – at how many families have fathers who just suck shit. (Seriously, there just isn’t any better way to put it.)

The cynical part of me is like, “Yup. Go figure. Another asshole, cheating, adulterous dad.” The hopeful part of me is like, “Damn. Another family torn apart by a cheating, adulterous, asshole dad.”

Hmm… both parts sound kinda similar.

Anyhow, I am just so grateful that DH is a man of good character. Though it is early on in our marriage and life together (10 years is nothing in terms of a lifetime), I am confident that my children will not have to suffer in the same ways that I did. I will invent NEW ways for them to suffer! BWAHAHAHA! (Wait – no.) I am determined to break this cycle THIS generation. That DH and I will carve out a new and whole family out of both of our family dysfunctions.

Of course, my children will realize eventually that DH and I are human and will fail and disappoint them constantly and surprisingly. But I beg of God all the time to shield my children from violence, adultery, and whatever else my father inflicted upon my brother, mother, and I.

I often have to remind myself that not only does that mean being grateful for DH’s character, but for ME to also be a person of great character. That’s a little harder to come by. But for my children, I will do no less.

Just finished I Love You And I’m Leaving You Anyway by Tracy McMillan and I feel all sorts of sad. I just want to grab my babies and hug them and kiss them and protect them from any possible hardship, suffering, or sadness for as long as possible. I know it’s impossible. However, I will do everything in my power to limit the deep, soul-crushing, life-altering type of pain my own father inflicted upon my brother, my mother, and I.

Everything my father has done reverberates through me. I beg God that it ends here with me. That my children will know only safety, security, and unremitting, ever-faithful, ever-pursuing love from DH and I. They are precious and deserve to be loved simply because they are.

This evening, my mom went upstairs to pick up DD after she woke up from her nap. Over the monitor, I could hear DD crying angrily and I noticed she didn’t stop even after my mom picked her up. She cried the entire way downstairs until I held her in my arms. She stopped crying almost immediately.

My mom is positive that DD knows that I am her mommy – and that is why she was so angry when my mom picked her up. DD was expecting me and instead, she got her Ah-Ma. That made me hug DD tighter and then all I could think of was all the babies in the world whose cries for their mamas go unanswered (for some reason or another) and then I started to cry.

I pray for all the orphaned, abandoned, abused, and forgotten babies in the world. May God have mercy upon them and shower them with love in some capacity. May my children NEVER have to go through the same. Just the thought of it makes me want to weep all over again. The fear that courses through my veins and the desperate clinging to the hope that God will not put my children through this particular suffering. That I will grow old and watch my children grow old and have children of their own.

God, I believe, help my unbelief. Have mercy on my family.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Go hug your babies if you have them. Go hold your loved ones tightly.

As some of you know, I am an avid reader and one of my favorite genres is speculative fiction. As a result, I end up reading quite a few books based in a dystopia – and lately, they have been really wearing on my soul. I’m pretty sure that the main reason they have been grinding down my soul is because I now have children. The possibility of a future such as The Road (which, I keep meaning to read, but seriously, the idea is just too fucking depressing) just fills me with such deep, profound sadness.

Of course, I am also hypnotically drawn to articles wherein the headlines blare something to the likes of, “Baby/Toddler/Child isย  Raped/Killed/Murdered/Missing” and I have to read it and then sob uncontrollably. DH always asks with such disgust, “Why do you read this crap? You know from the headline that it will be sad and depressing.” To which, I have no good response except that I must.

Which is all to lead into what I mean to blog about tonight. Ever since I became a parent, I am constantly aware of both my intense gratefulness for my children and paralyzing fear (if I let myself dwell upon all the possibilities). They are twinned and I wish they would not be. (Although, one could argue that I am so grateful because I am also acutely aware of all the horrible, gruesome possibilities.)

I find myself sobbing as I hold tightly to DD or thinking of DS (because if I sobbed while holding him, he would be very concerned). Any book or article that I read will immediately feed my fears. When I read about dystopias (shoot, let’s try our current third world countries or the less fortunate in our first world) where children are starving or beaten/abused/sick/dying, etc.

I grab my children and pray fervently for their safety, health, and happiness. I pray, as if by my desperate praying, I cast a spell of protection over my children. I pray to God, begging him to keep my children from harm and suffering. As if my pathetic pleading would protect them. That the sheer act of praying is a talisman, a way of controlling the future and manipulating God to do my bidding. That God is small, petty, and would only do good for my children if I whimper and grovel. Or, alternatively, that God is easily controlled and as long as I say XYZ and do my ritual obeisance, God will provide.

But sometimes, I think that it doesn’t matter if I pray or not (even if it makes me feel better). Because the odds are, my kids will be fine and grow old and be happy. That they will make of their lives as best as they can. That by virtue of being born in the US to two college educated, high-income earning parents, they will go on to have similar trajectories and be set. Of course, it is not guaranteed, but it is highly likely. Because if you truly think about it, good and bad things happen alike to the devout and the apostate. After all, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 3:45, NIV)

But then, I recoil in fear at this thought (that maybe just by voicing it, I am condemning my children to unhappiness and suffering). And then, (if you aren’t already whirling in confusion by my crazy thinking), I try to reassure myself. After all, who do I think God is? A complete asshole? If, God is really a good parent, surely, I have nothing to fear – that even if the worst of my fears should come to pass, that He will be faithful and good? I mean, if all our parental love is modeled after His perfect love, then I should know that His love for my kids (and me) far surpasses mine. “You parents–if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!” (Matt. 7:9-10, NLT)

My brain whirs and I think to myself, I don’t know that I could continue to believe and trust that God is good if anything were to happen to one of my children. I find myself begging God to not test my faith in this manner – for surely I will fail and I would never forgive Him.

It is truly humbling to know that all my professions of faith quell and quiver before the immense uncertainty of life – which can all be neatly laid at the feet of my God. My only comfort is that God knows all these nasty parts of my soul (and indeed, knew them before I ever did), and that He still will be good to me and mine.

โ€œI believe; help my unbelief!โ€ (Mark 9:24, ESV)