By Autumn Hardin at (in)

The wind blew dust all around us on a warm June afternoon in West Texas. We stood in the driveway, watching as our moving truck pulled out and ambled down the road. After weeks of packing and days of loading, Kenny and I and our three kids, the dog, and a fish, climbed into our jam-packed minivan and began the 1,100-mile cross-country journey toward the new adventure to which God had called us.

Change is often good, with lots of hard thrown in.

These transitions come with some smooth places as well as some bumps and potholes in the road. We had traveled this road before, and I knew we would be okay. But our kids? They were fourteen, twelve, and ten. They loved their school, their church, and their friends. As much as they understood the vision and God’s direction for our family, this was still painful. The loss they felt was great, and we as parents felt responsible.

So, like any “good mom” would do, I set out to “fix” this for them. I created activities, set up play dates, looked for sports and music lessons and other fun for them to join. Some of that is helpful and good, but I quickly learned that I could not make this transition for them. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t make them connect. All my love and encouragement didn’t take away the sadness they felt and the tears that fell as they watched on social media as their friends went on without them. I cried too as I realized I did not have the power to establish them in this place. Only God could do that.

And so, I began relearning a valuable lesson. My kids are His first.

My job as a mom is to love and encourage them, to teach them to love Jesus, and to pray. I had always prayed for my kids, but now I began to pray purposefully, strategically, and scripturally with fresh focus and fervor. When my younger daughter struggled with fear, I prayed the words of 2 Timothy 1:7 over her: God has not given her a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.

For my older daughter needing guidance, I prayed Psalm 25:4-5 and asked God: Show her your way, O Lord; teach her Your path. Guide her in your truth and teach her, for You are God her Savior and her hope is You all day long.

I prayed that God would raise my son up to be a courageous leader like Joshua and like Daniel, that he would resolve not to defile himself but to stay faithful to the Lord in this new place.

I realized with fresh vision that prayer is the real work.

Prayer is our defense against the enemy who seeks to steal our peace and joy, kill our hope, and destroy our relationships. I was reminded that God is the One who establishes His plans, and I can trust Him with my kids and their future. In Philippians 1:6, Paul writes,

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

God will complete what He has started in my kids’ lives, just as He will in yours and mine. The pressure is off. He is our faithful, covenant-keeping God, completely trustworthy and sure. We can put our hope in His character and His word.

Since starting this journey, we’ve now survived the freshman year, the first year of middle school, and the last year of elementary school. Actually, thanks to God and a whole lot of prayers, I think we’ve done more than just survived. Sure, there are still some bumps in the road and a few tears here and there, but we’ve all learned to trust Jesus more, and I’ve learned a thing or two about prayer along the way.

Prayer is powerful. Prayer changes things, but most often it changes you and me.

What do you need to stop trying to control in your own strength and start praying about today?