My baby starts school next week, and I’m overflowing with all the emotions.  Proud of the ways she is growing up.  Excited for this new adventure for her.  Eager to see her personality continue to form as she’s exposed to so many new things.  Worried her sensitive heart might not be handled with care.  Guilt that I haven’t been a good enough, present enough, fill-in-the-blank enough mom.  Concerned about all the things she can and will be exposed to.

I know this is “just” preschool, but it is the very first step that she will take alone.  For the first time, I will walk her to the door and then turn around and leave.  And now, for the rest of her life, she will be discovering a whole new world that I am not a part of, nor do I control.

As much as she’s learning newfound independence and change, I have to figure out a new role, too.  I don’t want this end of an era to pass by without marking it.  I don’t want to have to learn how to trust God with my baby when she starts going home with friends or gets her permit or moves out.  That’s too late.

So, as I’m learning to relinquish control, and as she is learning to take those brave steps alone, we turn to the Life Giver, the One Who holds the world in His hands.  

God, give her the courage and strength and boldness to be her own person, apart from our walls of safety.  Give me the strength and faith to allow her the space to grow beyond our walls.

God, give her a hedge of protection for her safety and innocence, but allow enough adversity to come her way so she can learn how to stand with her own two feet on the Rock of her salvation.  Give me the wisdom to know when to step in and protect her from pain, but also when to stand by her side, direct her eyes to You, and allow her to learn from the disappointment.

God, give her an ear to hear Your truth more clearly than anything else competing for her attention.  Give her a clear mind to separate facts from agendas, to separate truth from opinion, and to see Your hand working in it all.  Give me the words to say when she comes asking me the hard questions.

God, give her a passion and heart for the hurt and lonely.  Give her clear eyes to see the opportunities she will have to show Your love and light to her classmates.  Give me opportunities to reach out to her teachers and the other parents, joining with her in spreading Your love.

God, give her the gift of understanding and a clear mind as she’s learning, but help her to not become obsessed with grades and performance.  Give me the gift of encouragement as she navigates hard lessons and patience when she’s had enough.

God, give her an even greater sense of Your presence when she’s alone.  Give me an even greater sense of Your peace when she’s not with me.

God, I rest in the knowledge that You have called her to be salt and light to this world.  What is salt if it is not applied?  What is light if there were no darkness to illuminate?  I pray she adds salt to every conversation, every recess, every confrontation.  I pray she adds light to every agenda, every influence, and every situation that was meant for evil.

… And God, please help her wake up in a better mood in the mornings because mama don’t have time for that.