Dear Daughter: To Victoria

Dear blog friends and followers,

We’re on the final countdown to our baby boy’s arrival here and I’m taking the time to finish up those last-minute preparations—like double-checking the hospital bag, stocking up on everything at the grocery store so I won’t have to shop the day I come home from the hospital, and vacuuming the floor one last time so no one thinks my house really ever gets as messy as it really gets.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting some  letters to my children here–one for each daughter and then one for my son–and I hope they bless you, too.

You’ll see posts from me while I’m really still in the hospital, even perhaps when I’m actually delivering a baby!  Don’t be too impressed.  I’m not live-blogging during a C-section or writing elaborate prose from my hospital bed despite grogginess, hormones, and people coming to take blood samples at 4 in the morning (why can’t they do that during the day when you’re in the hospital?)

No, I’ve written all this in advance and scheduled it for the days I’ll be away.  There, I’ve spilled the secret!

I’d love your prayers this week.  We should be meeting our baby on Wednesday (October 2nd).

Many blessings to you while I’m away,

~heather~

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Dear Victoria,

You made me a mom.  God specially chose you for that purpose and what an honor and joy it has been from that first moment I held you in my arms after you screamed and a nurse toweled you off and handed you over to me, a brand-new, uncertain, clumsy, scared-out-of-her-mind, totally-in-awe new mommy.swing

But then, I’d been amazed at you all along.  You taught me about morning sickness (and how you can have it all day, every day), about OB visits, about birth plans, about prenatal nutrition, and how there simply isn’t anything quite so miraculous as feeling a tiny life moving within your very own body.

I’ve been learning from you ever since.  As you like to put it, you “trained me” to be a mom and all that it requires, not just the walking the floor at night with an inconsolable infant, or the diapering and bathing.

No, more than that.

You taught me how to care about another person enough to murder my own selfishness on a daily basis.  You humbled me, showed me all I didn’t know, revealed all the ways I wasn’t perfect and didn’t have it all together.

Nothing in this world has taught me how to pray like being a mom, nothing drops me to my knees faster or more often than my children.  That started with you.

You still teach me now.

How to be a good friend.  How to make people a priority.  How to give generously, unselfishly, and with extravagant joy to others.

How to always give your best effort.  Many people may look at you and be jealous of your accomplishments, your God-given gifts and opportunities at church, at school, in music, dance and theater.  Maybe they’d even foolishly call you “lucky.”

I know the truth.012

I see the time you spend practicing, studying, memorizing, rehearsing, performing, and working when others rush through necessary tasks to enjoy fun and relaxation.  I know it’s never me pushing at you, reminding you, nudging you, or pressuring you.

It’s the way you set goals for yourself–like jumping rope five times in a row, then 10, then 15, then 20…..until you can whip that rope over your head and leap over it 50 times without stopping, all because you decided you would, you made a plan, you worked hard, and you didn’t give up no matter how many times you tripped and had to start over.

But the awards that sit on a shelf or hang from the wall in your room aren’t what matter.  They never are.  It’s about who you are, so much strength of character and the willingness to stand up for what’s right against all that is wrong.  It’s your deep tenderness, the way you sob at sad movies and books and have a heart so compassionately moved by the hurting, the needy, the outcasts, the orphaned.

These lessons that I’ve been teaching you, my Victoria, are ones I’ve been stumbling my own messy way through for too long.  When I speak these words to you, I’m giving sermons to myself reflected in you.

This is what I need you to know:

You are loved, deeply and truly loved.  You don’t ever need to be perfect to earn that from us or from God.  Your value is never about what you do; it’s who you are, and who you are is amazing.

We all need grace.  You’re going to mess up.  You’ll forget sometimes, make mistakes, choose the wrong answer, say the wrong thing, lose control, make a mess, and not be the best at everything.  That’s what grace is for, and when you’ve received that kind of mercy, be sure to give it to others gladly, humbly, and without stinginess.

Don’t allow worry, anxiety, and fretting to steal your joy.  You can trust our God.  He really can care for you and every detail of whatever you face.

Before you were born, your dad and I prayed for you, about choosing your name, and how to be your parents.  We prayed that God would give us a Scripture as a blessing for you, and I remember the night your dad opened the Bible next to me and read these words:

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield (Psalm 5:11-12 NIV).

We do pray this for you, for God’s favor, His protection, His blessing, and that He will fill you with gladness and a song of joy.

Love,

~Mom~

ShabbyBlogsDividerJ

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Praying for Our Kids Through the Day

It’s the Last Day of Summer here in my household.  My kids will speed through the morning routine tomorrow and step on the school bus to kick off the busyness and craziness of the school year.  So, today I’m sharing the reminder to pray with this post from May 2013—-pray for our kids, pray for their schools, pray for their teachers and other school staff.

Originally posted May 22, 2013

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News reports and tears.  How could they not go together at times?

I don’t think my momma’s heart can handle watching the live footage of Oklahoma after a tornado, not when it crushed a school with other women’s babies inside.

Still I wake up this morning and the next and the next and I rush my children through the routine and watch the clock count down the minutes to the school bus’s arrival at the end of our driveway.  I kiss blond heads and say the simple things: Have a good day.  Behave.  Learn lots.  I love you.

The temptation is always there to snatch them up and try to hide them from a world out of control and full of so much evil and such pain.

But here is my daily choice: To parent in Fear or to parent in Faith.

It’s prayer that faith-parenting demands: this incessant and heart-all-in-it intercession for our kids because we just aren’t enough to protect them from everything and we can’t ever do it all right on our own.

Today, I’m choosing to pray around the clock for my kids:

7:00 a.m., before they wake–For Me:

Lord, please help me be the mom You want me to be today.  I give this day to You right from the beginning.  Forgive me for yesterday’ s mistakes and give me grace for a new day.  I trust You for the wisdom, strength, grace, patience, and energy I need to do this most important job.  Thank You for trusting me with the care of this family.

7:30 a.m., as they wake–Praise and Thanksgiving:

Thank You for these children, Lord.  They are so unique.  I see how this one hops out of bed with joy and how this girl drags her blanket and stumbles out to the sofa for a slow move into the day. Help me remember how they are each a precious treasure.

8:25, the school bus arrives–For Safety. 

Lord, I trust them into Your hands today and ask for their safety.  Please watch over them.  Even when they are with me, I can’t get it all right and don’t know how to protect 007them from everything.  Your hands are so much bigger than mine, Lord. Please hold them in Your hands today.  Keep them safe from evil and those who want to hurt them.  Protect them physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

8:50, school begins– For their school (or work);

God, please help my children be seekers of truth.  Grow in them the skills, the knowledge, the abilities they need to fulfill Your plans for them.  I pray that You will choose the perfect teachers who will be an encouragement to my kids, will help them discover the joy in learning, and will know exactly how to guide, direct and care for them today.  Thank You for these teachers, school staff and administrators.  Please give them wisdom, strength, energy, and joy.

12:00, lunch time–For health and physical disciplines:

Lord, I pray that You will be the healer and protector for my children.  Help them to make wise choices about eating, exercising, and their bodies.  Show them how to say “no” and stand firm against addictions and harmful substances.  Give them a healthy body image so they will care for the body You’ve given them, but they will not fall for the lies of this world about beauty.  Remind them that they are beautiful the way You made them.  Please protect them from any struggle with eating disorders.

1:00, recess—For friendships and relationships:  

Father, Proverbs says: “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Prov. 13:20 NIV).  Help my children make wise decisions about their friendships and relationships.  Show them how to love others, be kind to all, reach out to the ignored, the ostracized, and the downtrodden.  Give them compassionate hearts.  But please help them choose close friends who will lead them to Jesus and not encourage or dare them to rebel and walk astray.

For their future dating relationships and marriages, I ask now for wisdom and purity.  Let them be passionate about pursuing You above all and let a passion for You be what attracts them to others.  Prepare them for their future as friends, wives, and moms and give them the relationship skills they need now to fulfill those roles later.

3:45, school ends and afternoon and evening activities begin—For their future:

Lord, You know the exact plans You have for each of my children. I ask that You will reveal their gifts and hone each of their talents so they can use them for Your glory.  Give them hearts that are passionate for You and Your will and help them choose to walk in Your ways in all things.  I ask that You will teach them discipline, faithfulness, and hard work so they don’t give up too soon, but instead always strive for excellence, giving their very best offerings as praise to You.

8:00, bedtime—For their salvation and their walk with God:

Above all, Lord, I ask that You draw the hearts of these children to You.  Help them to know You as their Lord and Savior and let that be personal, real and life-changing.  Stir up passion in them for Your Word, for worship, and for the things of God.  I place them into Your hands again this night, trusting them to Your care.  Please don’t let them be afraid, but to learn to trust You and turn to You for whatever help they ever need.

In Jesus’ name….Amen.

Interested in learning more ways to pray for your children?  My favorite resource is Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying® ParentShe also wrote a book specifically for parents of adults: The Power of Praying® for Your Adult Children.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Praying for Our Kids Around the Clock

News reports and tears.  How could they not go together at times?

I don’t think my momma’s heart can handle watching the live footage of Oklahoma after a tornado, not when it crushed a school with other women’s babies inside.

Still I wake up this morning and the next and the next and I rush my children through the routine and watch the clock count down the minutes to the school bus’s arrival at the end of our driveway.  I kiss blond heads and say the simple things: Have a good day.  Behave.  Learn lots.  I love you.

The temptation is always there to snatch them up and try to hide them from a world out of control and full of so much evil and such pain.

But here is my daily choice: To parent in Fear or to parent in Faith.

It’s prayer that faith-parenting demands: this incessant and heart-all-in-it intercession for our kids because we just aren’t enough to protect them from everything and we can’t ever do it all right on our own.

Today, I’m choosing to pray around the clock for my kids:

7:00 a.m., before they wake–For Me:

Lord, please help me be the mom You want me to be today.  I give this day to You right from the beginning.  Forgive me for yesterday’ s mistakes and give me grace for a new day.  I trust You for the wisdom, strength, grace, patience, and energy I need to do this most important job.  Thank You for trusting me with the care of this family.

7:30 a.m., as they wake–Praise and Thanksgiving:

Thank You for these children, Lord.  They are so unique.  I see how this one hops out of bed with joy and how this girl drags her blanket and stumbles out to the sofa for a slow move into the day. Help me remember how they are each a precious treasure.

8:25, the school bus arrives–For Safety. 

Lord, I trust them into Your hands today and ask for their safety.  Please watch over them.  Even when they are with me, I can’t get it all right and don’t know how to protect them from 007everything.  Your hands are so much bigger than mine, Lord. Please hold them in Your hands today.  Keep them safe from evil and those who want to hurt them.  Protect them physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

8:50, school begins– For their school (or work);

God, please help my children be seekers of truth.  Grow in them the skills, the knowledge, the abilities they need to fulfill Your plans for them.  I pray that You will choose the perfect teachers who will be an encouragement to my kids, will help them discover the joy in learning, and will know exactly how to guide, direct and care for them today.  Thank You for these teachers, school staff and administrators.  Please give them wisdom, strength, energy, and joy.

12:00, lunch time–For health and physical disciplines:

Lord, I pray that You will be the healer and protector for my children.  Help them to make wise choices about eating, exercising, and their bodies.  Show them how to say “no” and stand firm against addictions and harmful substances.  Give them a healthy body image so they will care for the body You’ve given them, but they will not fall for the lies of this world about beauty.  Remind them that they are beautiful the way You made them.  Please protect them from any struggle with eating disorders.

1:00, recess—For friendships and relationships:  

Father, Proverbs says: “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Prov. 13:20 NIV).  Help my children make wise decisions about their friendships and relationships.  Show them how to love others, be kind to all, reach out to the ignored, the ostracized, and the downtrodden.  Give them compassionate hearts.  But please help them choose close friends who will lead them to Jesus and not encourage or dare them to rebel and walk astray.

For their future dating relationships and marriages, I ask now for wisdom and purity.  Let them be passionate about pursuing You above all and let a passion for You be what attracts them to others.  Prepare them for their future as friends, wives, and moms and give them the relationship skills they need now to fulfill those roles later.

3:45, school ends and afternoon and evening activities begin—For their future:

Lord, You know the exact plans You have for each of my children. I ask that You will reveal their gifts and hone each of their talents so they can use them for Your glory.  Give them hearts that are passionate for You and Your will and help them choose to walk in Your ways in all things.  I ask that You will teach them discipline, faithfulness, and hard work so they don’t give up too soon, but instead always strive for excellence, giving their very best offerings as praise to You.

8:00, bedtime—For their salvation and their walk with God:

Above all, Lord, I ask that You draw the hearts of these children to You.  Help them to know You as their Lord and Savior and let that be personal, real and life-changing.  Stir up passion in them for Your Word, for worship, and for the things of God.  I place them into Your hands again this night, trusting them to Your care.  Please don’t let them be afraid, but to learn to trust You and turn to You for whatever help they ever need.

In Jesus’ name….Amen.

Interested in learning more ways to pray for your children?  My favorite resource is Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying® ParentShe also wrote a book specifically for parents of adults: The Power of Praying® for Your Adult Children.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King