An epidemic of growing up

Isaiah 40

We have an epidemic of growing up going on over here.

Some of that is reason to rejoice, like the end of another school year ushering in summer break.

But some of it I feel the need to grieve over a bit, like how two of my daughters have long since passed the age of 9 and 9 is a big deal to me.  Bigger than 10. Bigger than 11.

Nine is the halfway point to their 18th birthday and halfway through the time I’ll have with them at home.

When my girls turned 9, I found myself clinging even more to family time so I could treasure it and enjoy it while it’s here.  Of course, they wanted more friend time because they’re growing up.

Then there’s my two-year-old son, who has always called his big sister, “Tat Tat” instead of Catherine.  It’s just the cutest thing.

“Tat Tat go to dance?  Tat Tat go to school?  I want Tat Tat home.”

Seriously.  Adorable.

But lately he transitioned to calling her “Caperine,” which is still kind of sweet but loses some of the tenderness of a nickname.

I’m sad.  I really loved hearing “Tat Tat,” and it’s just one more reminder that he’s not a baby anymore.  It’s a little letting go of something we’ll never get back again.

And then there’s my oldest girl making tough decisions.   I’ve told her she’s old enough now to be personally praying over her choices and looking to God for guidance.

So, I’ve watched as she’s sent in form after form with middle school decisions.

Plus we’ve talked round and round and we’ve prayed and prayed over her choices about her activities.  If she does this, then she can’t do this and this.  So, is it worth it?  Or should she do something else instead?

I want the decision to be hers. I want her to own it, including all of the consequences involved.

But this is a tough one.

She asks me what I think and the truth is I don’t even really know. I acknowledge the difficulties because there’ll be a bit of sadness and loss either way.  You can’t do everything and these are all good things.

Many years ago, when I had just two kids who were both under two years old, a lovely older woman told me, “It’s harder to be a parent of adult children than it is to be a mom with young kids.”

I think I blinked two tired eyes at her in disbelief.

Now I understand a tiny bit.  This is what she was talking about, how it stretches us as moms and weighs heavy on our faith to let our kids make their own decisions and then handle the consequences of those decisions.

That’s starting to make a bit more sense now.

This week, I read in Psalm 127:

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate (verses 3-5 ESV).

Mostly I hear these verses quoted when people talk about the blessings of having a large family with lots of arrows in the quiver.

David Jeremiah, though, said:

The psalmist says our children are like arrows. And what does an arrow do? It goes to a place we can’t go, to accomplish a purpose we can’t accomplish (Hopeful Parenting).

He also quotes Stu Weber:

“…our children are the only messages we’ll send to a world we’ll never see. They are the only provision we have for impacting a world as a distance.”

I need the reminder just now that I’m not losing these “arrows” of mine as they grow up and they grow into independence.

No, I’m sending them out.

They go where I can’t go.  They accomplish what I can’t accomplish.

They head into a future I can’t fully inhabit and have impact beyond my abilities to impact.

So I value this brief time with my children all the more because as I pour into them and teach them and pray over them, I prepare and equip them to hit the targets of God’s good and perfect will and plan for their lives.

But it also helps me let go a little.

I still mourn some. I mourn not getting to make decisions FOR them or even WITH them, but instead allowing them to decide.

I mourn the loss of “Tat Tat” and other marks of babyhood.

But I find myself letting go and trusting God.

He is with them.

He can teach them and carry out His will.

Their faith becomes personal and that brings me joy.



Dear Daughter: To Lauren

Dear blog friends and followers,

Today’s the day we plan to meet our baby boy for the first time!

So, just a reminder that this week 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.

Don’t be too impressed that you’re seeing this post on my delivery day.  I’m not live-blogging during a C-section.  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 today and for the rest of this week!



Dear Lauren,

You taught me that my heart could expand.

Just days before you were born, I panicked, wondering, “What if I can’t do this?  What if I’m Mom enough for this one child, but not two daughters?”

And then you were born, this perfect little round-headed, bright-blue-eyed baby girl.  You captivated my heart and I learned for the first time how God loves us all, not more, not better, but every one of us specially.

We had worried over you for months before we held you in that delivery room.  The doctors and nurses thought you would be too small, maybe you weren’t growing, maybe you were under stress.  We’d been heading to the office for extra tests and extra ultrasounds.

Yet, you were a surprising and unexpected mystery even then. Every guess and estimate about your size was wrong; you were so perfect, and we were so thankful.

We’d been praying for you all those months before you were born and even now we’re still clasping hands together and praying for you.lookingatdad

And, in many ways, you are still a bundle of mystery and surprise. No one has ever described you to me without using the word ‘unique.’

You surely are.

I remember the first time you toddled over to me, transferred “air” into my palm, and told me to eat the food you’d made.  I’d never seen imagination at work that young before.  You were pretending long before  your older sister ever was.

She played with her farm animal toys by lining them all up, sorted and in categories.  You, however, could spend hours on the floor with just a toy horse and a toy farmer, creating intricate scenarios, exchanges, interchanges, and relational situations.  Even now, you can disappear into your room for an entire afternoon and create a story-line to rival the greatest novelists and playwrights.

We secretly watched you as a toddler, making funny faces in the mirror, and you’ve entertained us for years with your mimicry as you copy cartoon voices and foreign accents with ease.  You and your dad can put on quite a show around our dinner table.

God gave you this astonishing mind that remembers everything, orders the world into patterns, soaks in all you see and hear even when we think you aren’t paying attention, and solves the most complicated puzzles without any effort.  Still, you’re never really out to win awards, show off, brag, or gain attention.  What you do is simply because you can, simply for the joy of it.

You teach me how to rest…how to lounge in pajamas or comfy clothes, snuggled into a blanket to enjoy a book or a movie and take time just to breathe, and you remind me of the power of a deep belly laugh, a funny story, or a silly joke.

You aren’t a fan of super-serious conversations, changing the subject if our discussion digs too deep and giggling when I’ve lingered too long on my Mom Soapbox.

But here’s the truth I need you to know…..

You are loved and treasured, you—uniquely you.  Even when we’re instructing or disciplining, guiding or correcting, we love you fully, completely, and passionately just as God has made you.  008 You don’t need to be the same as your sisters; you don’t need to achieve the same things or pursue the same activities.  Lauren, you are loved as you.

You are the boss of your emotions.  They shouldn’t hold you captive, shouldn’t dictate your behavior or your decisions.  Fear especially will destroy your joy in this life; don’t give in to it.  Overcome.  Take charge.  Push yourself to achieve and explore, not without fear, but in spite of fear.

Choose good friends and take the lead when it comes to doing what is right.  Show compassion, generosity, grace, and love for every one you meet, but remember that the very best friends aren’t just fun or funny.  They are the ones who encourage you to do your best, make wise decisions, and be more like Jesus.  Choosing good friends….and one day choosing whom you date and choosing whom you marry….will determine so much of your future.

Discipline trumps talent.  Every time.  No exceptions.  The reason we push and nudge you is because we see your potential.  God has given you astounding gifts and talents, but they will remain useless and undeveloped without self-discipline and determination.

Don’t give up when the work is hard or takes time away from fun.  The best things are worth working hard for; they are worth all the practice, studying, and sacrifice. 

All of those prayers offered for you as two expectant parents worrying over their unborn child continue even now.  As we ask God how to be your mom and dad, we marvel that we’ve been entrusted by Him with the gift of you.  We so quickly bow our heads and pray…

Because we love you…

Because you amaze us….

Because you have so much potential….

Because we want God’s best for you.

Before you were born, your daddy chose these verses to pray as a blessing over you:

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them
(Psalm 145:17-19 NIV).

Take this to heart, my Lauren, my daughter.  God is with you always, perpetually near to you, ever faithful and unceasingly gracious.  Remember to turn to Him.



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