What are the two top things a mom prays for her kids? I'd venture to say their salvation and their spouse.
My son, Michael, asked Jesus into his heart at the tender of age of 5 (those sweet memories are for another blog post) and he will soon marry his college sweetheart.
When I began going to God many years ago, asking Him to prepare just the right woman for Michael to be his wife, he was in no way interested in girls. Now he is smitten! To be honest, his wedding day is sneaking up on me far too quickly. After Georgia football has owned him for the past 5 years, certainly I would get him back for a few ... before sweet Audrey claimed him as her own, right?
I absolutely adore the future Mrs. Bennett. But my introduction to the "other woman" in Michael's life provoked a strange feeling in me, I must admit.
His freshmen year, I remember walking into his college dorm room with his favorite cake that I made for his birthday. Only to find that another cake was already there. White on white. Who made Michael's favorite cake? Surely not one of his football- playing roommates. Little did I know it was the girl I had been praying for!
But as I think about what praying for Michael's wife has really produced, it is this:
A change in me.
Isn't this how it works? We pray for someone else and the Spirit starts working on us.
So here are a few things I've learned while praying for my son's wife—
1. I've gained a greater kingdom perspective
I've learned that God is in the business of building his kingdom and not my own. In His timing and not mine. I've asked God "to not awaken love before it so desires" (Song 2:7) in Michael's heart, and now God says it is time. It is time for Michael to be more fruitful as a man of God with a wife at his side than without her, for "two are better than one because they get a better return for their labor" (Eccl. 4:9). (You see, I always feel better about my kids growing up and leaving me when I have a Bible verse to back it up!)
2. I'm becoming a better woman
In describing to her son with vivid living color the qualities of an excellent woman, the mother of King Lemuel asked the question, "Who can find a virtuous wife?" (Prov. 31: 10). It was not easy in the Old Testament days to find a wife of noble character, nor is it today. So if Michael were to find a woman that fit this description, she would be a rare find!
Yet the bigger question God posed to me was this: Would Michael know what to look for in a wife? I realized a large part of his knowing would be the type of woman he found in me.
What did he find when I was in the kitchen at 6:00 AM making his lunches, up late with him when he was sick or confronted with circumstances that did not go my way? A joy-filled woman? Did I open my mouth with wisdom and was the law of kindness on my tongue when I had to discipline or instruct Michael as he was growing up? Did he find me hungering for and seeking after God, reading my Bible and trusting Him?
To be honest, some days yes and some days no. But the desire to model to my son that I needed Jesus just as much as he did kept forgiveness flowing between us and our relationship real.
3. I've become a better wife myself.
"She does him good and not evil all the days of her life" (Prov. 31:12 ).
What mom does not want her son to have a faithful woman stand by his side to the very end? Yet, I found the more I prayed this for Michael's wife, the more the Holy Spirit whispered—"This needs to be a bigger priority in your marriage, Beth. Find creative ways to bless Jon, focus on him, do what he likes and help him succeed in ways he never could if he were not married to you."
4. I'm learning to let go and smile!
She smiles at the future (Prov. 31:25 ).
I'm learning to smile even though my son is leaving to lead his own home. I'm learning to smile when I think of someone else making eggs for him in the morning, folding his socks and watching him light up at a good home-cooked meal. I've seen God's faithfulness these past 23 years and I can't help but smile believing "that the Lord will bless my latter days more than the former" (Job 42:12).
Yes, He is showing me that my best days are ahead! I have had the privilege of planting God's Word in the soil of a young boy's heart, seeing it bear fruit and now smile, thinking that the union with his wife will produce even greater things for the kingdom.
Looking back, I see now that praying for my future daughter-in-law was not about Michael finding the perfect person. (Although I believe he has!) It was about me following Jesus more fully, offering up my fears and pride along the way, and letting His Spirit refine me so that I could fully enjoy this season of life.
July 11 is going to be an awesome day and I will be full of thanksgiving and praise to God for "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord" (Prov. 18:22).
Beth Bennett is a Certified Christian Life Coach; Director of Coaching with Ministry Ventures. This is adapted from her blog.
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