Hannah is a Teenager {Parenting Confessions}

In June 1999 I sat in my office at West Virginia University.  I’d been experiencing migraines and had an MRI scheduled.  But, I was sick.  So sick.

I couldn’t type one more word…I needed help before I passed out.  I went to my friend Robin’s office, describing my symptoms.  We agreed I should go to the hospital.

I was 23 years old.  Steve and I were about to celebrate our one-year anniversary.  I loved my job at the University and had enrolled in a master’s program.  My life was planned daily, monthly, and yearly. Or, so I thought.

As I sat in the emergency room at Ruby Memorial Hospital, I made deal after deal with God.  Please don’t let this be a tumor.  I’d been checked before.  If you make me well, God, I will…do anything for you.  Anything.

The doctor entered smiling from ear to ear.  I will never forget the look on his face, and he said…

Mrs. Farish, you’re not sick.  You’re pregnant.



Was God kidding?  Me? A mom?  It just didn’t seem I could be or should be responsible for another life.

On March 22, 2000, I gave birth to that precious gift from God – Hannah Grace.  After 27 hours of labor, she entered the world weighing 8 pounds and 15 ounces, with a smile on her face and barely a wimper from her lips.

And, that’s how she’s been.  Smiling always, quarreling never.

Most days I look at her and think…could this be my child?  God, what did I do to deserve the gift of Hannah?


Tender-hearted.  Loving. Smart.  Funny.  Graceful. Sincere. Honest.

She loves Jesus more than anyone I know and lives out that faith in our home and community by loving and serving well.

We are blessed to share our world with her.

You may remember that all Hannah wanted for her birthday was yarn for Hats of Hope– a ministry she began to provide hats to those who have lost hair due to illness.  As of yesterday, she had almost 80 skeins of yarn.

The plan was for me to deliver the hats to hospitals in Honduras when I go in June.  Until…Hannah shared with me that she’d been praying and thinks God’s calling her go.

No.  Not happening.  Too dangerous.  Too expensive.  And, too dangerous. Yes, too dangerous.  And, what might she see there?  The hungry bellies and homeless hearts that leave me despairing when I’m there?  Do I want her to know about that?  Do I want her to see what I’ve seen?

Poverty. Injustice.  Despair.


Hope.  Joy.  Love.

Hannah wanted to respond to God – to our teaching of Him.  And, I was saying no.

No was the WISE answer, right?  It’s crazy to take my sweet, innocent child to such a dangerous country.  Crazy.

Weeks of prayer alone and as a family ensued.  To say I wrestled?  Understatement.  Steve and I know THIS decision is huge.  But, we know…

God calls us to crazy.  Noah built a boat when it had yet to rain.  Fisherman dropped everything and followed a man teaching things that many said were crazy.

God was answering all the prayers we’d uttered for Hannah since her birth. So, in honor of her 13th birthday, we are giving her a letter today, honoring her request to accompany me to Honduras…

After much prayer, we have decided you should join mom in Honduras this summer.  This is our commitment to pray for your trip and help you raise funds.  We are proud of you for seeking God and answering his call to a country that is in desperate need of those like you who want to love and serve well.

And that moment in the emergency room when I looked heavenward, saying to God…Me?  A Mom?  Huh?

I still live that moment much.  I daily feel unequipped and inadequate as a mom.  Hannah loves cooking, scrap booking, and sewing.  I love…well, none of that.  Most of all, I want to shepherd her well, instilling a deep faith that won’t collapse at the first sign of trouble.  Steve and I know we can’t do that alone.

I asked 13 women to step into Hannah’s world over the next few months.  Each of them wrote a prayer for Hannah and made a promise to her.  I am so thankful for each of these ladies who have committed to sharing their gifts from and heart for Him with Hannah.

I made Hannah a Prayers and Promises book on behalf of these amazing ladies…

prayer promise book

While I love being your mom, sharing your dreams, praying for your heart, and shaping your faith, I realize that I can’t and shouldn’t do this alone.  In Titus 2, God tells us it’s important for older women to pour into younger women.  So, as you become a teen, I have asked 13 amazing women to write a prayer for you and make a promise to you. 

As you read each prayer, picture her saying those words to you and to Jesus on your behalf.  Having these ladies intercede for you, praying for your life and future is a priceless gift.  I hope you cherish each prayer, reading them again and again. 

With her prayer, each gal also promises to give you the gift of her time…Elaine and Shelby will teach you to bake; Jen W. will teach you about Honduras; Ashley will teach you about health and fitness while Amanda shows you how to mother well.  Jen I. will take you to ride horses and paint.  You and Emily will do crafts; Angie will teach you to cook while sharing some of her favorite worship music.  Sue will teach you to knit, and Lisa will teach you to study God’s Word in depth.  Aunt Dawnna will continue to be your second mom, loving and caring for you.  You and I will also plan a fun day with Sarajane, Kylie, and Maggie while Kay covers you in prayer. 

And, I promise to love you well, praying for you each day.  As you grow and mature, pursuing your dreams and your God, please know deep in your heart that I love you more than words can express.  I thank God for the gift of you. 

Today we celebrate the gift of Hannah and the young woman she’s becoming.  We look back and see God’s faithfulness.  We look forward expectantly with Him as our hope – and Hannah’s hope.

From the emergency room “I am going to mother a child” panic, to the moment we go through customs in Honduras this summer, there is one thing I know…for sure.  He is sovereign over us.  God is in control Hannah’s life.  He has a plan for her life that far surpasses anything I could dream for her.

And so I pray, giving my teenage daughter to Him, trusting the One who fearfully and wonderfully knit her in my womb.  Trusting the One who knew the number of hairs on her head before she was born.  Trusting the One who holds each breath she takes in His hands.  Trusting her to Him.

Happy 13th Birthday, Hannah!  You are loved.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.  Proverbs 31: 25-26


  1. This is so beautiful. Love radiates.

  2. You are blessed. She is truly a lovely young lady!

    • Thanks, Malinda…and we have never forgotten how you poured into our two kiddos when we lived near you:)

  3. As always another beautiful story, thanks for sharing Sarah

  4. Nicole (Gritt) Finch says:

    I only know Hannah through your writings and words on FB but I know that she has a beautiful heart for God. You are blessed Sarah!

    • Mariah cook says:

      This was absolutely beautiful! It brought years to my eyes. I love your idea of having 13 women pray for her, write letters to her, and commit to helping or teaching her something. I so want to steal this for my daughters as well!

    • Thanks, Nicki! She is a gift for sure.

  5. Brittany Bell says:

    You have a beautiful daughter.

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