October 2020 Prayer for our Children
Nehemiah 8 v 10b
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
Finding joy today
In my sermon last week I was talking about a sense of déjà vu. How as we enter this new mini lockdown there is a feeling of been there done that got the T-shirt. Despite some blessings in the midst of the last lockdown, most of us faced challenges which were not so pleasant, including those of us with school-aged children at home and trying to balance so many things.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about this second lockdown from our family’s perspective. I’m quite relieved to not have to rush out to school early each morning and am relieved that schools being off will hopefully help curb the rate of infections. However, I also am finding it challenging to know how to balance work commitments with caring for the children in such a way that is helpful for them and us. Other parents I have spoken with feel similar frustrations and at times battle the feeling of guilt when their children have been watching too much TV etc. For other families I know there are financial concerns too as job situations have been changing.
As I consider these things my mind wanders back to a Mission Africa trip I went on to Nigeria many years ago. While on this trip one of the things that struck me as quite remarkable was how many of the women went to work in the fields with their young babies strapped to their backs in beautifully coloured wraps. The women were bent over working away for hours on end and the young children were content being close to their mums feeling the rhythm of their bodies moving and hearing their heart beat close to them. The mums would often sing praises to God as they worked and part of the reason was to soothe the children as they snuggled in to them. Some of the older children were also used to help with childcare and went about their day playing away with a baby strapped to their back. Some of these ‘older’ children were as young as 5 or 6 year-old. I couldn’t believe how responsible a 5 year-old girl could be helping to care for her baby brother or sister.
There are clearly big differences culturally between the situation of these Nigerian ladies and our own circumstances, however in some ways during these difficult days of lockdown I can see some similarities and find myself inspired by these women and their ability to multitask – their ability to care for their families while also do their daily work or duties. Not only that but their ability to be joyful unto the Lord in the midst of it all. Yes they could have got more work done without a baby strapped to their back. Yes they could have had more quality time with their kids if they didn’t also have to hold down a job at the same time. But they made the most of the challenging situation that they found themselves in - and they even found contentment and joy in the Lord in the midst of the everyday struggles.
It’s my prayer for us all this month, that whatever challenges we are facing in terms of parenting, our job situations, or health that we might realise it’s ok to not be superwoman or superman. That we might realise that these unusual days may mean a less-than-ideal set-up at home but that in the midst of all of that we can still know contentment and a joy from the Lord and His presence with us as we balance all these things. Maybe we could even start by singing a song of praise at home. Let’s raise a Hallelujah!
We know that the situation we find ourselves in at present comes with various challenges. For every family reading this we pray that they may know your help at this time and a sense of contentment & joy even in the midst of the storm. Help us to just do our best and hand over the rest to you. As your word says in 2 Cor 12 v 10 I am content with weaknesses […] hardships, […], and difficulties for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Together we raise a hallelujah, we sing in the middle of the storm trusting that hope will arise. Amen