The Worry Fight

Have you fought a few rounds with worry lately? More often than we would like, many of us find ourselves in the ring trying to knock worry out. We fret about things like beauty, money, success, health, family and …. even worry itself! Gradually, worry becomes a fact of life, part of the human condition, or something we expect to come with responsibility.

We stay in the ring, routinely fighting one worry after another, even though we know our efforts are futile. There’s no winning against worry, and we know this. It doesn’t solve anything, but tossing it around in the ring seems to make us feel productive somehow. Then, circumstances change and our current worry opponent becomes weaker. We’re ready to take off our gloves, but then a fresh worry shows up and relieves the old one. So, we stay in the ring, and we keep swinging.

One day a large, unfamiliar worry shows up in the opposite corner. This fight drags on longer than the rest. The punches surprise us. We can’t stay on our feet. Staggering and out of options, we fall against the ropes.

Where do we go from here? Have you been there? I have. I spent a lot of my life in the ring fighting worry, day in and day out. One opponent after another, I stayed on my feet. But, one day the worry was too big and too unknown. It wore me out. I spent some time hanging on those ropes, searching for a way to end the fight with worry.

I read what God had to say about worry. Did you know the Bible tells us ‘not to fear’ hundreds of times? Some sources say 365 times — interestingly, the same number of days in a year. Regardless of the exact number, it is clear God never intended us to fight with worry at all. How did he intend for us to cope?

Humbly Seek God’s Help

 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 New International Version (NIV)

In Christianity, humility means to hold a modest opinion of one’s importance and abilities in relation to God. Humbly seeking God’s help requires us to overcome any barriers like pride, shame, or even ignorance which stand in the way of our relationship with him. Admitting we cannot find answers on our own opens the door for God to help. Our prayers start a relationship with him, thus serving him in one of the best possible ways.

As we grow in faith, we realize that no problem is too big or small for God. Everything that happens to us concerns him because he loves us, no matter what. We were not meant to handle our problems without his help. However, if we don’t ask him for help, he certainly lets us try (free will). God does not occasionally want our worries. He does not only want to hear about certain things. God wants every concern; he wants ALL our anxiety.

Trust God’s Care and Plans for You

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3: 5-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

When worries weigh heavy on our hearts we try anything to remedy our situation – even more worrying. Urgent situations may cause us to forget to pray or to delay it. We might doubt God’s ability to help us. Or, we might wonder why God would even want to help us. Prayer can become our last resort. Trusting God with “all your heart” means trusting him FIRST, not last.

God wants us to rely on him. We cannot control or fully understand our circumstances, but God does. He has a plan for our lives, and he wants to help us find our way. Prayer provides the time we need to free our conscience and voice concerns. Do our problems magically vanish? No. But, prayer can relieve worry by rejuvenating us with God’s hope and new direction. Scripture brings us reassurance and helps evaluate decisions. We start noticing how love shows up for us in times of trouble, and we may discover how our experiences can help us love others. Trusting God, in good times and in bad, helps us discover paths away from worry. 

Share the Load

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30 NIV

Many of Jesus’ teachings in the Bible use farming metaphors. Farming was a common activity people could relate to. A yoke is a harness worn by oxen to pull a load behind them and complete work. In this Scripture, Jesus asks us to share the yoke with him, so he can help pull our burdens in life. Our troubles may not be removed, but Christ’s strength makes our load lighter and more manageable.

Sharing the yoke allows us to focus on the work we can do and leave the rest up to God. Worry only distracts us from seeing the ways God is helping. Dwelling on the what if’s stall us from walking forward in faith-filled directions. Those directions might include things like asking others for prayers and support, exploring resources, taking care of our health, seeking professional help, or enjoying God in new ways. Focusing on God’s guidance and results, instead of worry, makes us more productive in our circumstances.  

Find Peace and Rest

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT

As God in human flesh, Jesus knew what suffering lay ahead. Praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his crucifixion, he was overcome with anguish and deep sorrow regarding the agony ahead (Matthew 26:36-39). Yet, because of his faith in God’s sovereignty and good, he left willingly with the Roman soldiers who came for him.

His pure heart had never felt guilt, anxiety, or fear until he chose to become sin for us. By accepting our sin while on the cross, he endured not only physical torture, but infinitely worse, a spiritual separation from God (Matthew 27:46). Because of his sacrifice, his believers will never experience this kind of separation from God; they receive the gift of eternal life.

As believers, we never have to endure anything as horrific as Jesus did. But like Jesus, we must remind ourselves not to fear because we also trust God is in control and working things for good. Faith allows us to face concerns one day at a time and remain assured God will meet our needs (Matthew 6:25-34). 

Before he died, Jesus told his disciples he would send peace to dwell within his followers through the Holy Spirit. Our faith ignites the Holy Spirit to offer peace, so even in the most difficult circumstances we know we will be okay. The world cannot offer us that kind of lasting peace.

Fighting worry requires us to bring all our best moves, fancy footwork, and endurance. We’re good fighters, but eventually worry wears us out. Crawling to the ropes, we try hoisting ourselves up. Beaten, tired, and struggling, our minds run out of options.

But wait…someone is on the other side of the ropes. Offering a hand, he pulls us clear of the ring. Turn around. Look at worry now. He’s dancing around, throwing jabs in the air, and searching for an opponent. He can keep swinging. We are done. As our friend and rescuer says, “It is finished”.

When you run out of options, you run into Jesus. 

“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” -Mark 6:50 (NLT) 

Press on in faith my friends.

Dear God,

Thank you for your gentle reminders not to worry. You show love and care for me daily through your blessings, people, and opportunities. Keep my eyes open to the ways you work on my behalf so I do not take any of it for granted. Continue teaching me humility so I bring more worries to you in prayer. When I get caught up trying to fix or control circumstances, help me remember to trust your plans and come to you first not last. Help me focus on what I can do instead of worrying about what I cannot. Lead me in finding the plans you have for me. As I feel and see the way faith lightens my load, I pray my peace will also grow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Related Posts:

Learning to Pray

Psalm 23: A Shepherd’s Meanings and Motivations

Embracing God’s Plan

Trusting God Along the Eagle Trail

Three Ways Gratitude Boosts Faith

Idolatry: Worshipping Family instead of God

 

family-1466262_960_720

Do you worship family instead of God? I did.

While my children were growing up, I gave my family priority over everything else. I devoted myself to their health, their safety, and their happiness. Getting up in the morning, my first thoughts revolved around them. What do they need? Where do they have to go today? How do they feel?

Going to bed at night, they were my last thoughts as well. Do they have friends? Is their school safe? Are they getting sick? What activities should we add or cut?

Like many parents, I did my best to raise them right. I volunteered at their school, taught them values, took them interesting places, hosted playdates, read lots of books, and loved them more than anything else.

More than God.

You see, in those days, I knew OF God, but I had yet to KNOW God.

Amidst the busy schedule of youth, we saved a place for God on some Sundays and for a week during summer’s Vacation Bible School. When I look back on those days now, I can see that I treated God as an afterthought. Worshipping him was something I would “try” to fit in. Faith was important, but not as important as my family. I worshipped my family.

When you worship someone or something more than God, the Bible calls it idolatry. Today, it is easy for many things to become idols. Money, achievements, food, fitness, entertainment, relationships, and family are just a few examples of some things we can unintentionally begin to worship. They evolve into gods gradually as we devote more time, energy, and thought to them. Eventually as idols rule over our lives, they become the cause of struggle or sin.

I know, you might be shaking your head saying, “No way, serving family is a good thing. Surely, God is for that!” Love for family is important, but God wants that love to be drawn out of our initial love for him. As the source of all love, God helps us love our families in deeper, better ways.

How do we change the focus of our worship from family to God?

Make God the Centerpiece

You must not have any other god but me. Exodus 20:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Picture a long table with lots of chairs. Each of those chairs provides a seat for all the important things in life. There are seats for family members, work, vacations, hobbies, dreams, etc. In the center of the table is the most beautiful centerpiece you’ve ever seen. It is extremely long and wide, with fragrant blossoms extending the length of the table, and foliage flowing out to the rim of every place setting.

God does not want us to save him a seat at the table; he wants to be the centerpiece of the table. He wants to be the center of our lives, seen from every place setting and touching every aspect of our days. Becoming the centerpiece means he is involved in everything. And, his love becomes visible to others in everything we do.

When family is the centerpiece of the table instead of God, life can get – well, stinky. Family relationships can start to rule daily life, plans, and emotions. Parents and children both feel pressured to keep the family happy, to live up to expectations, and take care of problems they can’t control. The disappointments cause stress and hurt; they can drive families apart.

When God is the centerpiece of our lives we think of him first. Instead of trying to fix and control things ourselves, we remember to tell him our worries and ask him to guide our family. We listen and watch for his answers. Efforts are made to learn about his ways and his promises. We learn to trust his results rather than our own.

Model God’s Love

We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19 (NLT)

Putting God in the center of our lives helps us love our families the way he intended. This does not mean we love them less; it means we love them differently. Love for family flows out of our primary devotion to God. We love them using our love for God as a reference.

His love provides reassurances and hope we cannot find on our own. Our prayers direct us to people and ideas we did not consider before. Learning about his love teaches us to love family in healthier, more productive ways.

Modeling God’s love means we stop getting too wrapped up in the happiness of others. It means recognizing that each person we care for is on their own unique journey. We can lovingly offer guidance on this journey, but we cannot lead the way. Through love, God grants us free will and extends grace, so we must work hard at doing the same for our families.

Let Go and Let God Work

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

In choosing us to be parents, God hands out some tough assignments. First, he entrusts us with the care of our children. Second, he expects us to model his love well to them. And, finally he asks us to stand back and let him work.

God did not intend for us to raise our children without his help. He has the instruction manual for each child, and he doesn’t even have to read it. Because he wrote it. He knows the plan for all of their days – where they will go, what they will feel, and who they will be. He gives them a purpose and all the skills they need to fulfill it. He will never be surprised by their choices or unsure of their destiny. He has already seen it all played out. He created them, loves them, and relentlessly pursues a one-on-one relationship with them.

Just like us, our children will also have trouble worshipping idols. Unhealthy temptations and addictions are difficult for all of us to resist. Other longings, which seem healthy and positive, like success, beauty, fitness, and love can also get out of control.  As children grow, many things get in the way of a relationship with God. We struggle, and so will they.

Ultimately, we cannot control who or what our children will worship. Like us, they are blessed with the freedom to make choices, to learn and grow, and to discover what faith means. We can, however, control our prayer life, and prayer is a very mighty thing. We can pray they come to know God and develop a relationship with him. And then we rest, knowing that our prayers for them will live on even after we are gone.

IMG_5880

A Prayer for your Week

Dear God,

Blessed be your name above all earthly things. Thank you for the family you have given me and for the intense love I feel for them. Help me as I strive to make you the centerpiece of my life, and guard my heart from worshipping anything but you.

Make me aware of the opportunities you provide each day to model your love. Keep me humble as I display you as the source of this love. Letting go and trusting my children in your care is hard. Reassure me of your plans for them, and strengthen my trust in your care as they walk with you.

I know you are at work in the lives of everyone I love, enlightening them to your plans. I pray that they come to know you in spite of the world’s distractions and whatever else competes for the devotion of their hearts. May they find faith to worship you alone.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Additional References:

For more on the various idols that compete for our hearts, I highly recommend the book Gods at War by Kyle Idleman on Amazon here.

For more on letting children go, read the previous post A Hand to Hold

For more on coping with family transitions, read the previous post Hot from Life’s Kitchen – Platefuls of Transition

 

Hot from Life’s Kitchen – Platefuls of Transition

Short Order Cook

Life’s kitchen serves up some surprising dishes, don’t you think? Sometimes we get something completely different than what we ordered, and there’s no sending it back. Sometimes it’s what we ordered, but man, it’s just so disappointing. Fortunately, at times, we are also unexpectedly delighted by what we receive.

Whatever the case may be, we are loyal patrons. We like the people, the ambiance, and the adventure of dining here. We show up and try to ready ourselves for whatever we get; we know Life’s “specials” often bring difficult transitions.

Lately, I’ve been working my way through a large special order. This fall I became an empty nester. Then, a few months later, without a lot of planning, my husband and I purchased a townhome. Suddenly, it was Christmas and I was getting ready to sell our home. We will be moving soon, and the layout of the new place has required us to get rid of many possessions and replace a few others.

This past weekend we decided to sell our kitchen table. It was a surprisingly difficult transaction for me. “It’s just a table,” you might be thinking.

Well, yeah, but it’s so much more than that. My husband and I scraped together the cash to buy it when our first baby was barely a year old. She was graduating from a high chair into a toddler seat, and the prospect of future family dinners and conversations was exciting. We envisioned our future together at this table, and it delivered.

The table became a hub of all life’s activity for our family. My kids grew up leaning on it – eating, doing homework, laughing and making crafty messes. They used it while conquering each other in Monopoly, piecing together puzzles, blowing out birthday candles, and applying to colleges.

As a family we circled around it to make difficult decisions about jobs, finances, moving across the country, and seeking medical help. A solid platform for whatever came its way, day in and day out, the table supported it’s share of celebration and heartache.

So, yes it’s just a table, but you see how it represents so much more? Believe me, as I thought about this, I was tempted to be sad.

But, then it occurred to me letting go of this table had just as much significance as purchasing it.

Our family is not only moving houses, but moving into a new phase of life. My kids are young adults, with fresh beginnings of their own. A different table not only fits our space better, but represents the next phase in our family’s life.

While you may not be facing the same circumstances I am, there’s a good chance you are in the midst of your own transition. All sorts of “specials” come out of the kitchen in a lifetime – getting a driver’s license, going to college, heartbreak, living on your own, getting married, buying a home, moving, having kids, letting kids go, getting a job, changing jobs, retirement, aging, losses…

Thinking about these transitions made me realize that most of them require us to let go of something or someone, and that can be hard. I have been through a lot of transitions, but this week was the first time I researched what the Bible had to say about them. Here are few Scriptures to help make sense of transitions and letting go:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19 New International Version (NIV)

Change tempts us to look back on what is familiar with longing. The life we knew offers security. We learned to predict our problems, and we knew how to go about solving them. A transition leads to unexpected issues which may require us to reach out to different people, learn new skills, and live a different way. That scares us! But, this Scripture tells us to focus on the new things God is doing in our lives and to stop dwelling on the past. If we set our sights on the new, we will come to see he is making a path for us where we could not see one before. He will make a way. 

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. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Often when we are in the midst of a difficult transition we are blind to any possible good that can come of it. God did not promise happiness every day, but he did promise to work every day for the good of those who love him. Our short term satisfaction is not nearly as important to him as the long term learning taking place in ourselves and those around us. Living in this world shatters our hearts at times, but faith in God’s purposes and his ultimate promise can carry us through. His ways are good. 

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. Psalm 130:5 (NIV)

Have you noticed how transitions rarely proceed according to plan? We think everything is under control, and then it all starts unraveling before our eyes. Worry pounds on the door, and sometimes our doubting hearts throw it open, welcoming the visit. We can choose to bolt the door shut on worry, and visit with God instead.

Remember that he has a plan, but he needs our patient trust to complete it. He knows fear and doubt will come. Rather than succumbing to these emotions, we can use them to build a better relationship with him. He is not afraid of our honest ranting – he welcomes the closeness it brings. If we search for answers grounded in his Word, the result will be hope, not despair. His Word is our patient guide. 

C’mon, pull up a chair at Life’s table. Don’t worry about what you see on your plate. Don’t think about how much better yesterday’s serving looked, or what kind of “special” your neighbor has. Have a little faith in the dining experience.

No worries. If that first bite gives you the willies, then chew it slowly. Smiling your sly smile, look around the table. Because God will never let you dine alone. He’s already there. “ORDER UP!”

Prayer for the Week

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this great experience called life – for it’s easy moments and it’s hard times. While I may wish for an easier path at times, I am grateful for the good you are working in and through me. Lead me into what’s new with confidence by placing skills and people in my path that can help me. Then, show me how to use my transition experiences to help others in similar situations. When I get sad and frustrated, let your Word remind me that you are sitting right beside me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Inspiring Resources:

“Change is the only constant in life.” – Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher

The powerful song “Already There” by Casting Crowns right here.

 

Walking at a Dog-determined Pace

 

IMG_3776For about an hour each day, my old dog determines the pace for my life. She takes me along for “her” walk, and makes me slow down whether I like it or not.

You see, at 14 years, my dog, Dandy, is almost completely blind and deaf. She moves slowly, even dragging her feet at times. I think her loss of vision and hearing has heightened her sense of smell because she stops to sniff EVERYTHING.

Well, friends, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for stopping to smell the roses, but you know there’s just some days when the world is tugging at you to hurry along. There’s so much to be done and only so many hours in the day. My mind gets set on prioritizing tasks and crossing errands off my list.

IMG_4141I want to pull this dog along, but she keeps her stubborn nose to the ground and will not allow it. Then, just as willfully, she decides the walk is over, plants her butt on the sidewalk and simply refuses to go any further. Yes, backwards as it may seem, I am at the mercy of this old dog’s commands. Not such a bad thing…

Yesterday as we wandered, I recalled the Bible story of two sisters, Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). On the way to Jerusalem with his disciples, Jesus was welcomed into Martha’s home. Martha, undoubtedly excited, soon became overwhelmingly busy and distracted while preparing a special dinner for her guest. Meanwhile, her sister Mary, who was also there, sat still at Jesus’ feet listening to what he had to say.Image from page 246 of "When the King came; stories from the four Gospels" (1904)

Well, as you might imagine, it did not take long for Martha to become annoyed. Martha thought it was unfair that Mary was just sitting there, letting her do all the work and she told Jesus as much.

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41 New Living Translation (NLV)

Both sisters certainly loved Jesus and both aimed to please their guest. Martha, however, was so intent on her plans to celebrate her guest that she forgot to actually spend time enjoying his company. Mary gave Jesus her undivided attention, soaking up his wisdom and humbled by his visit. Jesus was not angry with Martha, but gently reminded her to consider her priorities.

“Oh geez,” I thought as I loosened my grip on Dandy’s leash, “today, my DOG is Mary and I am Martha.” She is taking her sweet time to smell this great big world, and I am annoyed because she is not helping me quickly get this task off my list.

Spring is the season of long lists. We get excited to welcome the changes warmer temperatures bring. There are house projects, outdoor activities, proms, graduations, summer vacations, and holidays to plan.

Easter arrives this weekend and people are busy, busy, busy. Like Martha, they are intent on the perfect preparation for Sunday’s celebration. There are Easter clothes to buy, freshly press, and photograph. There are eggs to dye and hide. There are brunch reservations and dinners to plan. And, let’s not forget to mention there is candy, oh yes, there is candy to eat.Easter Eggs

With so many details to attend to, how easy it is to forget to be like Mary. We get caught up in holiday pageantry instead of resting in the meaning of this day – the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, signifying eternal life for all who place their faith in him.

IMG_4094I don’t know about you, but I need little reminders of Mary and Martha now and then, especially in the spring. My dog’s pace tells me to slow down and take the world in. When she stops, I do too. Like Mary, I can rest for awhile and soak up the beauty around me.

People say it’s no coincidence that dog is God spelled backwards – that they have a lot in common. I suppose that’s because dogs love us unconditionally. But, I propose it is also because they both teach us to relax, breathe in the moments, and enjoy whoever stops by for a visit.

I walk at a dog-determined pace. I am trying to live at a God-determined pace. Some days God’s wisdom comes to me. Other days, I am simply humbled by his company…

Prayer for this Week

Dear Lord,

Thank you for little reminders to slow down and focus on what is truly important. Help me sit still at your feet and keep me intent on your teachings. Open my eyes to your blessings that completely surround me. Flood my heart with your love, and instruct me in your ways of giving that love away. When I wander off track, as I certainly will, call to me and I will listen for you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Inspiring Resources:

The song “Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave right here.

IMG_2040

 

A Hand to Hold (letting children go)

BXP46603

Dropped my sweet boy curbside at the airport yesterday. He headed back to college to start the second semester of his freshman year. He gives those kind of hugs that hang on a little longer than you expect them to…the kind that leave you teetering on the brink of not holding it together.

As he pulled his suitcase through the airport doors, I glanced down at his hands, and I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. I flashed back to younger years when his small hand mindlessly found my own as we walked side by side. Whether it was to school, to the movies, to the library, on family trips, or countless other excursions, he always sought out the comfort and security found hand in hand with mom or dad.

Traveling this life on his own now, he maneuvers his way through airports, deals with travel uncertainties, and arranges rides from Uber. All these things send a slight shudder down the spine of any protective mother. It’s strange, this concoction of pride and sadness that wells up in my throat, making it so difficult to swallow.

Letting go of my children was not something I could properly prepare for. I read many books and tried to plan for their departures. But, with years of practice I have learned that there’s just no way to predict what lies ahead on their unique paths, or how my heart will handle the inevitable twists and turns. That’s where God comes in.

God knows how to pull the “un” off of uncertain, and stand me upright again. His Word reminds me of his sovereign plans and great love for us all.

Pulling the car away from the airport curb this week I knew I would need to hold onto Scriptures which steady my feet on parenting’s ever shifting terrain. Maybe these words can help you or parents you know find surer footing as well.

  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation (NLT)

God has great plans for your son or daughter. He wants only what is best for them, and encourages them to move ahead toward a future full of hope. They are meant to encounter people and experiences for both learning and contribution. While they are not guaranteed a life free of pain or hardship, they are promised a steadfast companion who offers enduring peace and eternal life.

  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 English Standard Version (ESV)

Yes, these children will stumble and sometimes fall into deep, deep holes. You will watch it happen, seemingly in slow motion, and gasp as you frantically try to rescue them. The college years are especially treacherous as our children seek to discover who they are and what they believe. These gusty winds, and even hurricanes in life, do not surprise God. He is ready for the storms, and is willing and able to help your family through them. Seek him, trust him, and be incredibly patient with his timing. Keep moving along the path as best you can and pray that one day his answer will come to you.

  • “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3 (NLT)

Letting our children go in a healthy, positive way is probably the most grown-up thing God will ever ask us to do. Assuring them of your love while ushering them toward the unknown is a daunting task. Along the way of childhood days, of little league games, and dance competitions, we forget that they really won’t belong to us forever…that they never really did. They belong to God. He generously entrusts us with their care for a little while, seeking to make us faithful servants and reliable stewards of his most precious creations.

I like to visualize God as a strong, calming presence strolling along the path in front of my son. God’s gaze is set forward, watching for obstacles while his steady right hand stretches back behind him, waiting for my son to catch up. The palm of my man-boy connects with the palm of his Maker, and I just know in my heart, they can take it from here.

Prayer for the Week:

Dear God, Thank you for trusting me to guard and cherish these children as they find their way through life. Hold me steady as I walk the fine line between pulling them back and letting them go. Strengthen my faith as your plans unfold in their life. I pray for your comfort and guidance when trouble arrives. And, I praise you for all you have done. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.