My motives for driving my three kids to school each morning are purely selfish. It began two years ago when I made the commitment to myself and to God that I would pray with my kids individually before they hit the door. The idea was not my own and I'm honestly not sure why the desire to embrace them with a blessing before they left me each morning was so strong.
Perhaps it was the college campus shootings that I'd seen playout on the prime time news or a new awareness of my own mortality as a result of my liver diagnosis in 2008. The reason didn't matter, I just knew I had to begin to pray with each of them before they left my care. Now don't get the wrong idea, our house is just as crazy as anyone else's with multiple kids in the morning. I'm not conducting a worship service at the kitchen island, there is no singing or theology, there is yelling and rushing and me standing at the bottom of the stairs pleading with my son to "Hurry Up!"
There are the last minute requests for signatures and the wrestling of water bottles from backpacks that should have been emptied the night before. We pile into the car and have the daily jockeying for the front seat and the regular eye roll from my oldest when I turn off the music and insist that her ear buds come out.
I turn the key in the ignition and we begin our two mile drive to school.
Then comes my favorite part of the morning. It's really a simple routine as a reach back to hold my
backseat passengers' hand and pray for his safety and good health throughout his day. I pray that he has a chance to shine his light and that he has an opportunity to be a good friend and perhaps encounter a situation to help him shape his character. We pray for his teachers, his classmates and for patience and then with a quick parting hand squeeze, it's over. I repeat the process with my front seat rider and after a mini-hug and kiss on the cheek (only allowed if I'm not wearing my red lipstick!) they hop out of the car.
Then comes the selfish part. The nonverbal thread that binds my kids' hearts to mine. The look back. The glance over their shoulder to see if I'm still watching them. The split second look back when their eyes meet mine and they get one last smile from me and they smile back and I know the prayer has penetrated their hearts. It's the moment when I release them to God's care and humbly thank Him for the gift of being a mom.
I'd like to tell you that everytime I pray for them it's sincere and heartfelt. It's not. There are times when it's dull and I'm frustrated with my kids. There are days when I can't wait for them to climb out of the car because the morning has been so stressful, but I pray anyway. The exercise of praying for them is an act of obedience for me and a lesson for them that prayer is our cornerstone. Despite tough mornings and arguments about clothes, homework or school lunches, God is our foundation and when we reach out to Him at the start of our day, things can only get better.