I was at a local thrift shop, running in for a quick peek, while my teens waited patiently in the car. I was excited to find 4 place settings of the Happy Holidays Christmas china with scalloped edges that I collect. As I stood in line, the woman in front of me was having a conversation with the cashier; they were discussing their grown children.

“Please pray for Jim–he has arrived at a fork in the road and I’m praying for guidance and discernment for him.”

And the cashier replied: “I know exactly what you mean, and watch my children go through these same challenging times. How old is he?”

“Late 30’s.”

Cashier: “Yes, my son is in his 50s. We have to pray and trust the Lord with them, don’t we?”

Y’all, this interaction poured warmth and love deep into my soul. This is a conversation that two women have on elementary playgrounds, over coffee during the teen years, on the back deck as their children marry, over the phone when the grandkids come, and in thrift shops when children face mid-life crises. The burdens of our children come and go, and we are witnesses of them over a lifetime.

We never ever stop being a praying mother.

That day I was reminded again that the heart of a caring, engaged mother stays present and prayerful into the deep years of white hair, hip replacements, and Easy Spirit tennis shoes. Other callings may come, change, and end. Some are for seasons, and then God calls to something new, but the call of motherhood is from child’s first breath to mother’s last breath. In the midst of our own mid-life changes, careers, or ministry expansion, receiving times of greater freedom with our schedules, we will always have the opportunity to stay present, watchful, and prayerful over our children.

When mine are in their fifties and I am in my eighties, I hope that I’ll pray with the heart of a nurturing, engaged mother, sharing those burdens with other mothers, always invested in the growth and goodness of my children.