We are doing an eternal work (and we have help)

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At last year’s dance recital, I had two lovely ballerinas on the stage, one two-year-old son sitting on his dad’s lap, and one precious daughter who didn’t want to do ballet, but felt left out for not doing ballet.

She really preferred tap dance, but when our studio stopped offering that, she never picked up another activity.

And I wasn’t in a rush to fill the schedule.

After the recital’s grand finale, though, my non-dancing daughter said, “Everybody in this family is into dance except me.”

Now, I questioned the accuracy of this statement.  Neither her dad nor I could be considered “into dance” by any outrageous stretch of anyone’s imagination.

Still, she felt left out.

I started praying right then.  How can we encourage her to be active?  How we can find her “one thing” to enjoy and participate in, Something that is “hers”?

She gave me a list of possible interests:

  1. Basketball.
  2. Karate.
  3. Tap dance (at another studio if I could one one).

This list held a few surprises.

So, I prayed some more.  God, please give us clear guidance.  I know you love my daughter.  What is your best plan for her?

Schedules started rolling out and I checked them faithfully.  Every time a basketball activity was offered, she was already busy.

Karate, on the other hand, fit perfectly in the fall schedule. So karate it was.

I didn’t stop praying of course.  I signed her up and kept right on giving this to God–would she like it, like her teacher, like her class? Would she feel comfortable and have fun?

That first night of karate, I started getting the text messages from my husband as he sat with her before class began.

She knew a few kids in her class already.

Not only that, the very first thing the instructor said to her was, “You’re tall.  You’ll need a different t-shirt.”

This child is endlessly obsessed with her height and how much taller her sisters are and how she hates being short.

So, this guy pretty much made her day.  Maybe her whole year.

She ran over to her dad, “He says I’m tall!!!”

She burst through the door at home and told me, “Mom, he said I’m tall!!”

She told her friends at school the next day how the karate instructor said she was tall.

God knew the precise encouragement that would bless this girl-of-mine.

Will she be the next black belt in karate?  Who knows?  She’s only had one class that was “awesome” and we don’t know if that will change.

This I know, though: God is so faithful to care for our families when we turn them over to His care.

In his book, Hopeful Parenting, David Jeremiah writes:

Observe the instruction to families in the Bible and you will notice one recurrent theme…All these instructions to the family wrap around a core of faith in God and Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote in Ephesians:

  • Children, obey your parents in the Lord  (Ephesians 6:1)
  • Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).
  • Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25)

When I wrestle with how to love my husband well, how to be the wife I need to be…how to be more gentle as a mom, more patient, more willing to listen more and talk less, and when I seek how to pour into the hearts of my children, I am relying on Christ to build this home.

And He is reliable.

I can strive to love them on my own, but I am not enough for this job.  I am faulty and will fail.

He, however, is more than enough.

For some of you parenting through a tough season and praying for a prodigal, I know praying hasn’t seemed to work….yet.  Happy endings and fairy tale conclusions aren’t promised.  You’re not praying about after-school activities; you’re on your knees for so much more.

But don’t give up.  Even when you can’t see anything changing, please keep praying.

Your prayers matter.

And all of us, wives, grandmothers, parents of littles and parents of grown children, can shift our perspective when we remember this:

The person who sleeps next to you at night and eats across the table from you each day is eternal (David Jeremiah, p. 222).

We are doing far more than making meals, scrubbing toilets, packing lunches, or paying bills.

We are worshiping the Lord, and we are engaging in an eternal ministry by building into others in eternal ways.

 

And we are doing this “in Christ” and “like Christ” and with His help always because we can’t do this on our own.

Book Review: 365 Pocket Prayers for Mothers

365 Pocket Prayers for Mothers

As a mom, I’m always on the look out for ways to cover my kids in prayer, and I love the idea of this beautiful book 365 Pocket Prayers for Mothers.  It’s lovely enough to be a gift with its lavender cover of imitation leather, and it’s small enough to slip into a purse and carry with you as a mom-on-the-go.  Personally, I may keep it tucked into a purse or even in the glove compartment of the minivan to pull out any time I’m waiting for my kids outside of school or other activities. pocketprayers

You can pray through the book in order from Day 1 to Day 365, or you can use the index to find prayers on topics that might be on your heart like: worry, feeling burned out, thankfulness, balance, and others.

The daily entries include a brief Scripture verse, as well.  Every few days, you’ll find two especially short prayers for those times that you are rushed or perhaps for the weekends.

I loved the beautiful honesty of the prayers.  They were personal to the three ladies who wrote the book—maybe sharing stories about watching the sunset with family or how a daughter is learning to be thankful.  So, for me, the prayers were less about me saying these same words to God, as they were a way to pray ‘with’ another mom.  I could read the prayer on the page and then continue to pray for my own family in agreement and in my own words.

It’s a great gift for moms maybe for Christmas, Mother’s Day or a birthday…or really any occasion.  But it’s also a prayer book you may want for yourself!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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