I had the privilege of singing the National Anthem at a Houston Texans NFL game last fall. With the jets flying over just as I hit that last note, my heart lept with pride thinking about the brave men and women who have fought and died for our country. And I thought of my son.
For years I had prayed to be married and to be a mom, but at age 35, I was neither. Throughout my single years, I was a school teacher and counselor. The second year I taught first grade, a beautiful little six-year-old blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy wearing “Osh Kosh B'Gosh” overalls and red tennis shoes walked into my classroom. He stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, my name is Sean.” I had never seen a more beautiful child. After greeting Sean, I stood up and saw his Daddy standing behind him and quickly recognized that Sean had inherited his good looks. I also learned that Sean was being raised by his father. His mom had walked out of his life when he was only three.
As the school year progressed, so did my interest in Sean. I watched one of his particular habits very closely–his love for planes. Sean had a habit of forming his tiny fingers into the shape of a plane and flying them around the classroom while I was teaching. I was constantly saying, “Sean Perry, land that plane!” He would quickly bring his fingers in for a landing, and begin working on his assignment.
Over the years I lost contact with Sean and his father, but I often thought of them. Sean's dad had expressed interest in dating once or twice, but I refused due to “conflict of interest.” Twelve years later, however, God fulfilled the desires of my heart. I was reunited with Sean and his father, and eight months later, Sean's dad and I were married. That beautiful little boy, who never had a mom, was now my son.
I had the privilege of watching Sean graduate from high school and receive a full scholarship to the sixth-ranked academic institution in the United States. The most amazing celebration came the day I watched him march onto the field of the United States Air Force Academy and graduate as a Second Lieutenant. That same little boy who had flown his fingers like a plane in my classroom would now fly planes in defense of our country.
After graduation, Sean attended flight school. It was challenging, especially in the area of landing the planes, and Sean often asked me to pray for him. On the day of the attack at Fort Hood, Sean was due to take his final flight test in Colorado. If he passed, he would fly. If he did not, he would walk away from his childhood dream. Conflicting emotions roared in me. On the same day my son was longing to defend his country, another was snatching lives of soldiers at Fort Hood.
I prayed for 24 hours straight as Sean prepared to take his test. I asked God to help Sean “land that plane.” I had repeated this phrase many times when he was my student, but now, it had become my constant prayer as his mother. I must admit that I worked hard to keep my selfish will out of those prayers. After seeing death steal the lives of soldiers at Fort Hood, I struggled when asking God to equip my only child for battle. I had waited all these years for him, and could not imagine life without him. As I prayed, however, God quickly reminded me that Sean's life was His business, and that He would be in control. I could trust Him.
The following day, I received another text message while sitting in a local coffee shop. It simply read, “You have a divine connection. I passed my test and I will take my first solo flight next Monday. Thanks for your prayers, Mom. I love you, Sean.” As any calm, rational parent would do, I began sobbing and grabbed a total stranger by the shoulders to tell them of my exciting news. “Sean Perry landed that plane!” God had heard my prayers, and His plan for Sean would not be thwarted.
God has exciting plans for your children too! He knew them before the foundation of the world, and His plan is “to prosper them and not to harm them, to give them a future and a hope” according to Jeremiah 29:11. The Bible is full of promises for parents, and we can trust God with our children. Are you worried about your children's salvation? Pray 2 Peter 2:9 over them. God's will is that “none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Are you concerned that they will be equally yoked some day? Pray 2 Corinthians 6:14, asking God to yoke them with believers. Do you want to see your children totally surrender to God? Pray James 4:7 over them. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have as parents.
We must daily submit our children to God. He loves them so much, and His promises stand true. We may not know what the “landing” will look like, but we can trust that our children are flying with the most experienced “pilot” when God is in control. Pray for your children, then trust that God has charted the perfect course as they soar through life.