Holding On To Faith

Motherhood is a short-term assignment. It’s 6,570 days long. I’ve often heard “the days can be long, but the years are short.” Time has a way of flying.

This year, my sister and I had high school seniors. Jennifer was cheering her last baby bird from the nest and joining the rank of empty nester. I was launching my first baby bird, Faith. Two distinct scenarios with a common thread – release. Would we be ready by August to release our teens from our secure nest? Mixed emotions stirred as we considered the wonder that would fill the busy months ahead.

Jennifer shared a book written by Karen Kingsbury. Tears streamed as I read, Let Me Hold You Longer. The author pointed out a truth – there is an end to each beautiful moment with our kids. She wrote, “Would I have held on longer if I’d known they were your last?”

The book stirred memories of my daughter’s milestones and caused me to ponder the big one ahead. Yes, I wanted to hold her longer. I wanted more time with my graduating senior. With Faith’s busy schedule, however, she was like the superhero Flash. She was here one second, and somewhere else the next. My sister and I hugged and promised to pray for each other and vowed to enjoy the last precious months our children would be home. We needed God’s help to make the most of each beautiful moment.

Shattered Expectations

Then the unimaginable occurred. Words flew across the airwaves—quarantine, COVID, social distancing. My dreams for a memorable school year and making beautiful moments with Faith fluttered to the ground.

My high school senior amazed me with the way she handled being inducted into the “COVID Class.” I knew what she was missing, and anger brewed within my heart. I’d cheered her on for 13 years of schooling, and I could feel her finale slipping from my helpless grip.

Every Thursday, we received the dreaded COVID-19 email. They dropped one event after another from her senior year. Each week, I opened my online calendar and clicked delete to another significant event.

I deleted spring break plans, senior breakfast, the parent-decorated locker surprise, mission and senior trips, prom, and baccalaureate. The list continued growing. Her school promised to keep graduation, but I wasn’t sure I trusted that promise. I knew others were facing significant life-changing situations. People dedicated their lives to walk others through the tumultuous season. I heard the news, but I wanted to hold on to my dreams for my daughter.

Students were missing milestones. Social distancing isolated seniors in a year designed for connection, relationships, and closure. I prayed for the virus to halt. I wanted schools to reopen and for normalcy to return.

Holding On A Little Longer

The day Faith heard there would be no more school was the hardest. Grief hit like a train. Just like that, students had to switch gears and adopt homebound digital learning and Zoom meetings as the new normal.

Moms know life is hard and filled with disappointments. But this one seemed bigger than normal. It felt cruel. We grieved the loss of the dream of her senior year and accepted what it would be.

With our calendar emptied, our habit of busyness stopped. We adjusted to the endless time we now had, and my sister and I realized a great truth. Entangled within the confusion and unknowns, God had answered our prayer for holding on a little longer.

Our family started The Chosen series together. Every night we watched another episode. We started hiking and walking together. We had time for family dinners, board games, and extra hugs. I even dusted off a Christmas gift and learned to use my Instant Pot! The unimaginable had made a way for us to hold on to our Faith a little longer.

The Promise

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV). What the enemy meant for evil, God, in His perfect sovereignty, used for good. He brought good through the trials and confusion of COVID-19. God is a promise keeper. He always brings good. He brings good even when we don’t imagine a way. Even through a virus!

I watched God work for good as my Moms in Prayer group moved to online zoom calls. I purposefully selected the attributes we desperately needed. We confidently prayed God is our peace, God is our confidence, God guards, and God is wise. Our group chose to be laser-focused on who He was instead of the fears that hit us from every direction.

I love how Moms in Prayer teaches us to personalize the scriptures. As I inserted Faith and Logan’s names into the very promises of God, I trusted that even though their senior year ending wasn’t picture perfect, their God was! And His Word stands even when our plans crumble.

When we pray our children’s names into God’s promises, we can be confident that we are praying God’s will.

Join me in putting your child’s name into these verses:

Guide _______ (child’s name) in the way of wisdom and lead him/her along straight paths. From Proverbs 4:11

May the Lord bless _______ (child’s name) and keep him/her; may the Lord make his face shine on _______ (child’s name) and be gracious to him/her; may the Lord turn his face toward  _______ (child’s name) and give him/her peace. From Numbers 6:24-26

Lord, enable _______ (child’s name) to be strong and courageous. Help him/her to not be afraid and to not be discouraged, for the Lord our God will be with _______ (child’s name) wherever he/she goes.  From Joshua 1:9

Help _______ (child’s name) live a clean, innocent life as a child of God in a dark world full of people who are crooked and stubborn.  Help him/her shine out among them like a beacon light, holding out to them the Word of Life.  From Philippians 2:15-16 

I leave you with this prayer:

Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your goodness. You are a God who is not only good, but who can bring good in the middle of trials. As You promise in Psalm 91, You are our protector. As we face the unknowns, You send Your angels to protect and guard us. We find refuge under Your sheltering wings, just as a mother hen protects her chicks.

God, You are in control. When the world faces storms, You remain an anchor. Where there is confusion, You are truth. When we feel loss, You remind us of our gain through Your Son Jesus Christ. Lord, the trials we face develop perseverance and faith. When our hearts yearn for more time, more closeness, You give us a beautiful gift of holding our loved ones a little longer. Oh, how we love You and thank You! In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

Julie Graybill is a wife, mom, prayer warrior, and writer with a passion for making God famous! She’s in her seventh year with Moms in Prayer and in her fourth year as a Moms in Prayer group leader for her daughters’ school.  She loves serving as a Georgia Group Information Assistant to connect inquiring moms to a Moms In Prayer group near them. Julie is the mother of two daughters and married 20 years to her college sweetheart, Nathan. Please visit www.juliegraybill.com to connect with Julie and to read testimonies of God’s ability to bring good through ALL things.

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