A few weeks ago, I sat at the bottom of the bed with one of my four daughters as I tried to understand what seemed like a rough week for her.
It was only eight months after her mother and my wife of fifteen years and twenty-seven days, Wynter Pitts, suddenly and unexpectedly went home to be with Jesus. Needless to say, it was a place I had sat with her dozens of times before, as we’ve had plenty of moments just like this one over the last several months.
As we talked, I did what I knew to do best. I’ve prided myself as a Dad who has been able to bare the load. I’ve always been confident in my ability and the role that God has put me in. With each of my girls, I sense my calling and feel equipped by God to walk in it. I don’t say that arrogantly because any confidence I have has come only from my trust in the Lord.
But this moment was different. As I spoke with confidence about a good God who knew what He was doing when He took her mommy home, I sensed that my charisma was falling short.
I knew that the conviction of my heart was not shared and in a moment of truthfulness, she shared that she was finding it hard to believe that God was good.
I wish I could have said that I crushed the moment. I wish I could tell you that I sympathized with her and held her tight until she felt God’s compassion for her running through me. Unfortunately, I cannot.
Sadly, I looked at her comment as a reflection of my ability to parent. Her feelings deeply affected my own and so I ignored her needs and made the moment about me. Frustrated by her honesty, I gave a half-hearted response that deteriorated her trust to be able to share the truth about her emotions and to confide in me.
The next day I happened to be attending a leadership cohort that God graciously led me to the month after Wynter passed away. I sat there in disbelief as it seemed as if the curriculum knew all about my reactions the night before.
That meeting felt like an intervention and with each comment, scripture and story shared, I diagnosed myself with what had caused my anxieties and feelings of inadequacy the night before. Co-dependence.
It was a word I had never really understood, but sitting in that cohort it all made sense. I began to realize that instead of being the parent and trusting God to be God, I was acting as if it was my sole responsibility to fix my daughter’s feelings. That weight was too heavy, so when I realized I couldn’t do it, I began to internalize regret, sadness and even frustration that was not mine to bear.
I sat in that meeting and silently thanked God for bringing to my attention something that needed to be dealt with. I repented of my lack of trust in Him and for exchanging my trust for control.
It was time for me to surrender, again….
I say again, because her mother and I surrendered each of our girls to the Lord even before they were born. And we would hold each other accountable to surrendering them to Him each and every day that He had entrusted them to us. Somehow in the chaos and grief of the last eight months, I stopped doing that.
I knew what I had to do.
I went home and I pulled a framed prayer in my master bedroom off the wall. It was a prayer that Wynter and I had written together for her ministry, For Girls Like You. That prayer would become a book, She Is Yours: Trusting God as You Raise the Girl He Gave You. Wynter and I had encouraged thousands of parents with this prayer and now it was time for me to internalize it anew.
I turned it over to the back and dated it April 3, 2019 along with her name as a sign of remembrance of my surrender, prayed it aloud and placed it back on the wall.
The prayer reads:
I release my daughter into Your care.
I surrender my desire to control her.
I surrender my desire to manipulate her future.
I surrender my tendency to overprotect, shelter, and suffocate her.
I surrender my desire to be her best friend, first.
I surrender my own dreams for her.
I surrender my need to be her source.
She is Yours.
I’m totally open to You, dependent upon You, and desperate for You to be in control as I let go. I’m relying on the fact that You are God and that You have created my daughter for Your purpose and for this time.
I pray that You will draw her to Yourself.
I pray that she will delight in You.
I pray that You will be patient with her.
I pray that You will provide for her.
I pray that You will bless her.
I pray that You will use her to be a blessing to others.
I pray that You will mature her.
And ultimately, I pray that she will show Jesus in her very being.
I trust in Your sovereignty. I wait in expectation for Your providence.
Lord, she is Yours, and I trust You with her.
I just pulled that prayer off of my wall again, this morning. I dated it, prayed it aloud and placed it back on my wall again. Again it was a sign of surrender. It was a moment where I would…
Praise – Praise God that He is Sovereign
Confess – Confess my well-intended sinfulness of control
Give Thanks – Thank God that He is in control and I am not
Intercede – Ask God all over again to give my girls all of the things that He can, that I’m powerless to provide. To be with them in all the places I cannot go. And to use them in ways that I can never imagine outside of His creative power.
- In what ways do you need this prayer today for you as a parent and for your child?
- In what ways do you need to memorialize and mark this moment?
- In what areas of your life are you co-dependent with your kiddos instead of being completely dependent upon God.
Remember, they are His and your surrender today is a step in stewarding well the gifts that God has given you in your children.
Moms can find out more info about the book, She Is Yours: Trusting God as You Raise the Girl He Gave You, and sign up for a free devotional on this topic at www.sheisyours.net
When your child is at school, surrender them into God’s care by praying for them. Join a Moms in Prayer group
Before taking your child to school, tuck one of these Scripture Prayer Cards into a backpack or lunchbox. During the summer, you can put one under his/her pillow.
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Jonathan Pitts is an author, speaker, and the executive pastor at Church of the City in Franklin, Tennessee. He previously served as the executive director at the Urban Alternative, the national ministry of Dr. Tony Evans. Jonathan has co-authored two books alongside of his late wife, Wynter Pitts. He is also President and co-founder of For Girls Like You Ministries, an equipping and resourcing ministry for tween girls and their parents. Jonathan is the father of four daughters and was blessed with fifteen intentional years of marriage to Wynter.