A Prayer for Mamas to Let Their Kids Struggle - iBelieve Truth - June 17, 2024

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A few days ago, I saw a Facebook post that said “Parents: spend less time removing the mountains in your child’s life, and spend more time teaching them how to climb. You will not always be there…the mountains will.” It made me think about a video of my son trying to climb a small slide when he was around 18 months old. I was filming him, encouraging him to climb as he was straining to figure out how to hold on and pull himself up. He fussed as I encouraged him to keep trying and told him he could do it. He eventually made it up with a sweet look of satisfaction on his face, and I celebrated, telling him “Good job!” 

I remember friends teasing me for being a “mean mama,” letting him cry and standing by while he struggled. Of course, that was all in jest, but in truth, letting him struggle was the best thing for him…because he worked through something hard, persisted, and learned how to climb up on the slide all by himself. I can’t help but smile every time I watch, seeing that feathery baby hair, those bright blue eyes, and his satisfaction when he got it. I miss those baby days.

But the truth is that those days of standing back, watching my kids struggle with certain things, and encouraging them to keep going are not over, and probably never will be. And it is so much harder as they grow older. The stakes are higher, the risks are greater, and the consequences of choices are longer lasting.

I have spoken and prayed with a number of friends in the past months who understand what I mean because they’ve been there too, and maybe you are right now. Your baby, whether 2 or 20 or 40, may be struggling to climb a mountain in their life, and it seems they may never get there. You want to step in and help, to fix it for them, to give them a boost. You may even want to climb it for them. But you know you can’t. So you keep encouraging the best you can with your words, as your mama heart cries out on the inside. 

The hard facts are that in our own strength, we are powerless. And sometimes, our grief, worry, and fear are so great that we don’t even know what or how to pray to the only One who can help them. But as believers, we are not alone. 

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT) tells us, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father, who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying. For the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”

So, sweet mama friends, if your baby is struggling, it may be that you need to let them struggle. The Lord may be working something in them that they will need for the future to make them stronger and more resilient. To build their independence, confidence, and dependence on Him. But you can stay close by, encouraging, reminding them they’re loved, and going to the Lord, if only through tears and groans that can’t be expressed in words, because the Spirit will intercede for you…and them. 

Don’t forget that His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). He is always working (John 5:17), He has called you to be their mama, and He is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24). 

Most importantly, that post said that mountains will always be there, and you may not…but don’t forget that Jesus will. Let them know you are praying for them and point them to the One whom their help comes from. As you look up upon those great hills and mountains in their life, He will be there for both of you.

Dear Jesus,

It is so very hard to see my children struggle, and I don’t know exactly what to pray for in this moment to help them, but I know you do and that you are right here with us. I lay them at your feet and ask you to give them what they need in this moment. Grow their hearts towards you, whatever comes.      

In Your Mighty Name,


Photo Credit: ©evgenyatamanenko

Maggie Cooper, author headshotMaggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years of experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.

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Originally published Monday, 17 June 2024.