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God is with Me

amys kiddos

I am the parent of two of the most wonderfully different children. My son, age 12, is linear, cerebral, and prone to anxiety. My daughter, age 9, is all heart, spontaneous, and fiercely independent. It’s a challenge to parent that dichotomy with grace and justice.

When my kids were small, aged 6 and 3, getting out of the house in the morning was the worst part of the day. Some mornings, I’d pray just to get through without anyone, including me, having a meltdown. My son had an especially difficult time with the morning. He liked school but needed to be very clear about what was happening during the day. If he didn’t know the specifics (and often he didn’t) the anxiety would begin to get the best of him.

How could I comfort him? What words could I send with him that would keep him going? What did he need to know that would help him get through the day?

I decided to write a litany for our mornings, and say it with them every school day morning for the year. These were the words that I hoped would help them in the most difficult parts of their day.

Parent: When I’m scared,
Kids: God is with me.
Parent: When I’m happy,
Kids: God is with me.
Parent: When I’m having a hard day,
Kids: God is with me.
Parent: When I’m having a super day,
Kids: God is with me.
Parent: All day long, every day,
Kids: God is with me.
All: Thank you God for being with me.

We would gather our backpacks and lunchboxes, put on our coats, take a deep breath, and huddle together, holding hands in a circle. Sometimes the hand holding was a struggle, and there was too much anger to get close to each other. Sometimes we were in such good moods that we would shout our liturgy. Sometimes there was too much distraction to be reverent about the words.

But, every day they left the house repeating those simple words, that—no matter what happened—God was with them.

They knew the words so well, that by the end of the school year, I was able to give them my part, and I had to say, “God is with me”. I needed to say those words too. I needed to confess it, even on those days that I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

Our children live in a fear-filled world. They live in an environment where people go into schools and shoot innocent children and protective teachers. They live in a world where violence is entertainment. They live in a world where storms sweep away children from loving adult arms.

And yet, in the midst of that, they need to know that they are loved. They are loved by us, their parents. They are loved by their faith community. And, they are loved by God, who knows everything about them, who cares deeply for them, and who desires relationship with them.

It gave me comfort to know that, as I was shoving them in the car and rushing to get them to school every morning. Between the snaps of car seat buckles, and rushed slamming of car doors, I could hear them saying in their sing song-y little voices, “God is with me.”

Thank you, God, for being with my children, and all children, in all their highs and lows of daily life.

~ by Amy Yoder McGloughlin

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4 thoughts on “God is with Me

  1. I love this prayer! We do a simple prayer every morning in the car on the way to school: “Dear God, may wisdom, peace and courage be with X, and may the Holy Spirit within him guide his words, thoughts, and actions today.” But I love the simple refrain of your family prayer and how that most-important line must settle into their very bones after hearing it so often. We all need the reminder that God is always with us.

  2. Pingback: March 7, 2013 | Franconia Conference

  3. Pingback: Friday Link Love | MaryAnn McKibben Dana

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