The One Thing I Need to do as a Mom


I prayed for this.

This girl of mine brought home stories from kindergarten about this friend and that friend and her BFFFL (Best Friend Forever For Life) and what top-secret info they had shared with her on the playground.

She learned words I didn’t want her to know.  She learned attitudes.  She learned meanness.  She learned insults.   She learned that when you spell S-E-X you should whisper.  She learned far more than a five-year-old needed to know.

I visited her classroom and passed out snacks for a class party, listening into the conversation at her little table….

The kids interrogated me about why I wouldn’t let my daughter watch certain shows on TV.  I felt like I was in a courtroom and this group of kindergarteners were trying to break me down under cross-examination.

By her second grade year, I finally spilled it out as a prayer request in my small group.  My girl was fiercely loyal to friends who were tripping up her heart, and she just followed along after them like a blind sheep following another blind sheep off a cliff.

Dear Jesus, please help my girl choose good friends who are kind and who will spur her on to excellence, who will help her make good choices and encourage her to be her best, and who won’t lead her away from you.

Now I watch her playing with her friends, and I gush out gratitude because God so graciously answered my prayers for my girl.

She has gathered around her the nicest group of quirky, funny, playful, kind, encouraging, creative, sweet, and thoughtful girls, and each one of them is a reminder that God hears our prayers for our children.

He had built that shelter around her heart when she most needed it.

And I am thankful.

Sometimes it’s wearying, to keep praying when we don’t see the answer and to persevere on our knees when we don’t see results.  Praying isn’t an insta-fix or a quick solution.

And some days I’m overwhelmed with my failings and failures as a mom.

I get caught up in what I didn’t do.  I beat myself up over what I forgot.  I stress over what fell by the wayside.  I feel like it’s never enough and I should have done more.  I said the wrong thing.  I stepped in when I should have let my child handle it….or I didn’t step in when they needed me to handle it.  I regret a decision and I wish I could take back what I said.

But what I need to know—-what moms need to know—-is this:

What matters most as a mom is time on our knees for our children.

We don’t have to get wrapped up in programs, extras, Pinterest-activities, decorations, household management strategies, and developmental milestones.

We don’t have to compare ourselves to any other mom or our kids to any other kids.

We care for their needs.  We love them.  We encourage their hearts, and sometimes we also stress and fret ourselves into a blubbering mess over our kids.

Yet, we can trust God to care for our children. He knows them and He loves them even more than we do.

So, the best we can do for them is give them to Him.

I read the Psalms of David often, and pray through them, but I notice this one emptiness in his prayer life…..I don’t see him pray for his kids.

Mary prayed for Jesus.

Zechariah prayed for John the Baptist.

Abraham blessed Isaac.

Jacob prayed over his sons and his grandsons.

But David?

In Facing Your Giants, Max Lucado writes:

Aside from the prayer he offered for Bathsheba’s baby, Scripture gives no indication that he ever prayed for his family. He prayed about the Philistines, interceded for his warriors.  He offered prayers for Jonathan, his friend, and for Saul, his archrival.  But as far as his family was concerned, it’s as if they never existed.”

David gave his kids a kingdom.  He gave them power and financial success.

Maybe he should have given them the gift of a praying parent.

This is the gift I hope to give my children:

Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at every street corner (Lamentations 2:19 NIV)

Originally published April 22, 2015

Dear Catherine: Why You’ll Get a Stethoscope for your Fifth Birthday

Dear Catherine,

You’ve been asking me for months for a stethoscope for your birthday.  A REAL one.  One that allows you to hear your actual heart beating actual beats.

I’m not surprised.  You’ve been telling me for two years that you want to be a nurse or a doctor when you grow up.

I know how these things work.  Kids might spin through a dozen potential occupations by the time they enter college and then change their major five times as an undergraduate and still go on to graduate school uncertain about their future.002

But this is your constant so far.  And I see it in you, that remarkable blend of gentle compassion and courage that you’d need to care for others.

So, I bought you that stethoscope and I made sure it was pink, your favorite color.

It’s because I’ll probably call you “Baby Girl” even when you get married and when you cradle your own newborns and even when you watch your children get married and then gaze on your grandchildren.

You will always be “Baby Girl” to this momma of three stair-step daughters.

Yet, here you are five years old.  Somehow you’ve grown in a flash and now you’re headed off to kindergarten.  You’re always pushing and pushing to grow taller, to learn more, to be bigger, to get older.  As distant as it seems now, that future isn’t so far off and, oh, “Baby Girl,” I want to help you become all that God intends for you to be.

Maybe, just maybe, you’ll need that stethoscope.

In a month-and-a-half, I’ll no longer be the one person you spend most of your time with.  You’ll be sitting in classrooms, learning from teachers, making friends and standing your ground when kids are mean.

I’ll miss you so.

But you are ready.

You picked out your outer space backpack covered in sparkly stars.  You’ve toted that new backpack and the matching lunchbox all around town ever since we bought it.

You’ve cheerfully done what you call “my homework” every day this summer, running through a series of activities you picked out yourself to practice math and reading and then playing a tune on the piano.

You’ve read me those books aloud and we’ve cheered you right on as you learn new words.

More than that, you’ve bounced into offices and classrooms with confidence and excitement. You’re not afraid of school buses, classrooms, or hallways, not the cafeteria or making new friends.

That’s the courage and the bravery in you.

Others may first see your gentleness and sweet spirit.  You’re a bucket of joy, just spilling out enthusiasm all over the place. You’re quick to clap your hands and explode into a crazy story about something that made you laugh.  You’ll jump and dance and your eyes grow five times their normal size when you’re excited and you wave your hands wildly when you talk to us at the dinner table.

But oh, girl, you’re a powerhouse of strength and resolve, standing up for what is right against kids who are far older and bigger than you and who try to manipulate you or even say they hate you.  It’s already begun and you’re already standing ground.Catherineballet

We gave you the name Catherine, a woman of strength and authority.  You are that.

Yet, your name means “Pure.”  You keep asking me what that means exactly. Pure.  That’s hard to define for a five-year-old girl.

I tell you how it’s loving what God loves and hating what God hates.  It’s being passionate for what’s right and good and true.  It’s running far away from sin and when you do mess up, it’s running right back to Jesus with a heart of true repentance because you want so much to please Him.

You are that, too. Your name is a perfect fit.

You are always thinking about God and you are quick to pray.  You have compassion for the hurting and you are a gentle and thoughtful friend.  You are fun and you are funny.  You are strong and gentle at the same time.

For your fifth birthday, Baby Girl, I pray this for you:

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Matthew 5:8 NIV).



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 book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Back to School: 5 Ways to Bless a Teacher


School supplies hit the shelves of our local Wal-Mart en force a few weeks ago and it is taking ALL of my mom self-control not to delve right in and buy every Sharpie marker, Post-It pack, and notebook in every color and pattern.

At least I have a few weeks to work my way through the supply list for my kids’ school because summer doesn’t end until after Labor Day for us.  Moms in other parts of the country, however, are on the final countdown to early wake-ups, packed lunches, homework and making it to the bus on time.

So, it’s time to start prepping for back to school season…for all of us really, whether our schools start in August or September…. because it can’t possibly be too early to pray for our kids, their teachers and school staff.  To be honest, I’ve been praying about what teacher my kids will have since March.

It’s not just our kids we want to bless as we send them off for a day of learning outside of our homes, though.  No matter what kind of school our child attends, there are teachers and leaders who impact their lives.  Homeschoolers have Awana, Scouts, and church leaders.  Private and public school students have a whole team of educators and administrators who impact their lives, too.

As I drove home from Open House the first year my children attended public school, God cut through my anxiety about teachers, bullies, academics, mean girls, and more to remind me:

This isn’t just for your kids.  This is for you, too.

My kids are my mission-field.  Their teachers and school staff are part of that ministry.  They pour themselves into my children and I want to pour myself out in blessing and encouraging them right back.

Here’s what even crazy busy moms and others can do to bless our teachers and schools.

  • Pray for them:  While we can’t solicit prayer requests or set up prayer groups in the public schools, moms can still get on their knees for students and teachers.momsinprayer You don’t even have to pray alone.  For two years, I’ve prayed with a local group of moms through Moms In Prayer International. We met once a week to pray for our own kids and the schools they attend.  Each week, we asked God to give wisdom strength, energy, and joy to the teachers, administrators and other school staff. To find a group for your school or to learn how to start one, please visit Moms In Prayer International.
  • Volunteer: This isn’t just for stay-at-home moms!  There’s a great deal of flexibility for school volunteers. You could help with the school newsletter, serve on the PTA, man the prize table at a school carnival, shelve books in the school library, listen to children read, walk kids back and forth to testing or pictures on special schedule days, make copies, and more.
  • Send Supplies:  We all get the lengthy school supply list at the beginning of the year, but keep in mind that supplies need to be replenished over time.  Many teachers and teaching assistants buy glue sticks, pencils and other supplies with their own money.  Here are some supplies you could send in (depending on grade level):
    • Pencils
    • Paper
    • Notebook reinforcers
    • Dry erase markers
    • Glue
    • Tissues
    • Clorox wipes

You can also periodically check with your child’s teacher to see if there’s anything he or she needs.

  • Show respect:  Let’s face it, when we think there’s a problem, we Mama Bears can be pretty tough.  Remember that the teacher you are talking to is a person with feelings, too.  Be sure to handle concerns appropriately.  You’re much more likely to have success that way.
    • First of all, don’t believe everything your child says. Give the teacher a chance to tell his or her side of the story, as well.
    • Let your child try to handle things on her own if possible.
    • Ask questions rather than making assertions and demands.  Teachers are professionals who likely have valuable input.  Try asking:Blessing a Teacher
      • How can we have more success this year?
      • What do you think we can do differently at home?
      • What can we change in the classroom?
      • What behaviors are you noticing in the classroom that we can address?
      • How can we work together to solve this problem?
    • Never show up at the classroom unexpectedly to talk to a teacher and don’t try to hold an impromptu conference on Back to School Night or during Open House. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to give you their full attention or even remember later what you talk about during those busy times.  Always ask for a separate conference time—maybe even over the phone—at their convenience to talk about your child.
    • Don’t teach your kids to disrespect teachers by criticizing them at home in front of your children.
  • Be an encouragement:  If you need some ideas for teacher gifts, consider handmade presents, snacks, chocolate, gift cards to area restaurants or Starbucks, or lotion.  I’ve posted my all time favorites on Pinterest here: best gift, though, is a thoughtful, personal thank you note telling just what you appreciate about them as a teacher.  That’s something that fits every budget and that they can cherish forever.Teachers probably hear plenty of times through the year what’s wrong.  Let’s be sure we take the time to tell them what’s right and to thank them for it.

It’s more than a little scary to entrust our kids to teachers and school administrators that we don’t really know.  That’s such a powerful reason to be in prayer for them and to try to make this relationship a successful one.  Ultimately, we can be a blessing to teachers by keeping in mind what Paul said: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24 NLT).

What are your best tips on how to bless our teachers and schools?

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 November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Online Prayer Meeting: We’ve Got To Pray

“You know what we need to do, girls?  We need to pray.”

I find myself saying that more and more to my kids.  I never expected that the problems of a preschooler, a first grader and a second grader would be beyond my ability to fix so much of the time.  I never imagined how much of motherhood is spent on your knees. 

We’ve prayed for stolen glue sticks, mean girls, renegade classmates who won’t behave in art class, forgotten homework, lost lunch boxes, friends whose parents are divorcing and other friends being teased on the playground.

When you open the floor to prayer requests from kids, they’re willing to be downright honest, maybe even uncomfortably truthful at times.

If their parents fought, they’ll tell you.  If their grades are bad, if their teacher is tough, if their friend is sad, if a bully is mean, you’ll hear about it.  Children will spill it all out there.

We seem to learn privacy and shame over time, learning to keep things quiet, afraid to ask for prayer for our real problems because others might know the truth: We don’t have it all together.  People might judge.  The gossip chain will be initiated. It’s teenagers who start sharing “unspoken” prayer requests and adults that simply  remain silent when the Bible study leader says, “How can we pray?”

Until maybe the crisis is undeniable and so great we finally confess that we need prayer, desperate intercession on our behalf because the truth is—we’re broken and there’s just no hiding it anymore.

I’m saying this now to you as you sit here reading this blog, maybe munching away at your lunch or settling down to read your email messages at the end of the day, or grabbing a few minutes in between phone calls or during your toddler’s nap time….

“You know what we need to do?  We’ve got to pray.”

I left church yesterday overcome with sorrow at deep hurts that I can’t fix, far beyond the stolen glue sticks and renegade classmates of my children.

And me, all by my lonesome self, can sit here at my kitchen table with my Bible and prayer journal and pray for these friends.

And I will.

Scripture, however, reminds us of the power of praying together.

When Esther prepared to enter King Xerxes’s presence uninvited, placing her life in jeopardy in order to save her people from mass genocide, she didn’t just pray on her own.

She organized a nationwide prayer meeting, instructing all the Jews of Susa to “fast for me.  Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  My maids and I will do the same…” (Esther 4:16 NLT).

Jesus didn’t just fall to the ground in the Garden of Gethsemane alone as he waited for his betrayer to arrive with an army of soldiers and an unwelcome kiss.  He took along “Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed.  He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:37-38).

Paul, who seemed so confident and capable in ministry and who always seemed content and able to rejoice despite circumstances, wasn’t afraid to ask the church in Ephesus to “pray for me, too.  Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan…” (Ephesians 6:19 NLT).

So rather than bowing my head alone, I’m asking for you to do something totally different with me.

Let’s pray together.  Would you join with me in prayer today?  I have some folks on my mind and heart.  You probably do, too.

Just leave a comment on the blog or Facebook this week saying, “I’m praying, too” or something simple like that and then spend some time this week in focused prayer for others.  It’ll take just a second of time to post that comment so we know you’re praying.

And if you have a prayer request, don’t be afraid or ashamed, please share that with us, too.  You can leave a comment here on the blog—even anonymously if you wish—and you can keep it simple, “My marriage.  My job.  My kids.”  We’ll join with you on our knees today and ask God for help.

Or, you can email a prayer request to me here:

We’ve got to pray, friends, and not just individually, but together.  Please take just a few minutes and join in our “online prayer meeting” today.
Here are some prayer prompts.  Please share if you have any other ideas of how we can pray…
  • For marriages: For husbands and wives to pursue marriages based on Ephesians 5:22-33.  For faithfulness, love, affection, honor, making marriage a priority, friendship, spiritual unity, and for freedom from abuse.
  • For depression and spiritual stagnation: For revival and a return of joy, for friendship and God’s Word to come alive for them again.  For hope.
  • For finances: For freedom from debt, steady work and well-rewarded labor.  For wisdom and abundant blessing. For those looking for work.
  • For children: For salvation, for the wayward child, for restoration of broken relationships, for wisdom to make wise choices for our kids, for help guiding them spiritually.
  • For churches/ministries and pastors/ministry leaders: For God’s vision for 2013, for strength, energy, refreshing, wisdom, and clear direction from God—for their families and their finances and health.  For God to fill them up as they pour themselves out.
  • For caregivers: That God would bring peace and freedom from pain to their loved ones, for salvation for those suffering, for strength for each new day for the caregivers themselves.

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 © 2012 Heather King

Weekend Rerun: The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms

In just over a week, all three of my kids will be heading back to school.  Yes, all three!  My baby girl is starting preschool this year. 

So, in the days ahead, I’ll be sharing some new thoughts and re-running some of my past posts about school and life and all the lessons therein.  I hope you enjoy!

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms

Originally posted on September 1, 2011

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Luke 22:42

I’m a mom who likes to think she knows best for her kids.  So, with all my “Mom-Knows-Best” skills, I signed up my middle girl for our church’s private kindergarten the week that registration opened.

For months I prayed the kindergarten class would reach the necessary enrollment.  I stressed and worried and spilled over all my freaked out mother concern to anyone with a listening ear about how my daughter’s life would be destroyed at five years old if they cancelled the class.

Slowly, I transformed my prayers.  I whispered what started as an uncertain and half-hearted, “Not my will, but yours be done.”  Over time, I began to actually mean what I prayed.  It was a radical shift for me and not a holy place I often reach in this always-in-control life of mine.

Then I picked up the ringing phone and heard the official news. No kindergarten due to low enrollment.

Off I sped to the local public school and registered my little girl in a building and system that seemed too big and unknown.

And I prayed, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

Then began the stress over her teacher.

I prayed for that one special teacher who would connect with my daughter and make her first year of elementary school as exciting and engaging as possible and who would expertly work with her strengths and weaknesses.

We walked into the classroom on open house.  I wasn’t sure what to think and my child did what I had feared all along—she fell back into herself and shut down in an instant.  (Followup note: We ended up loving this teacher.  God answered my every prayer for Lauren).

In that moment, I was ready to do anything—unregister her, ask for a move to a different class.  Right away, I prepared to step in and assume control from a God who seemed to be messing this all up.

Then I asked myself–-Had I not prayed all along for the best possible teacher and environment for my daughter?  Could I trust my God to know what is best for my precious girl? Could I place her in His hands?

I whispered in my daughter’s ear as we sat in that kindergarten classroom, “Lauren, I have prayed for you every day that God would give you the right school and the right teacher.  He has brought you here so we will trust it’s going to be perfect and wonderful.”

And I silently prayed, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

We so often model our prayers on The Lord’s Prayer, the “our Father who art in heaven” that Jesus taught to the disciples.  And so we should.

That prayer with its “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” echoes Jesus’ own words.  We can thus imitate the very prayer of our Savior Himself as He bowed low in Gethsemane, submitting His own desires to the perfect plan of the Father.  “Not my will, but yours be done,” He prayed that night.

It’s unlikely that you are struggling with the same issue as me.  Maybe your kids are grown and married.  Maybe you’re single.  Maybe you’re still rocking an infant at night.

Even so, perhaps you and I are in the same place.  We, with all our knowledge and expertise, think we have formed a perfect plan and then God intervenes.  He declines to give us what we want.

He tells us “no.”

Maybe you, like me, are less likely to react with the submission of Jesus and instead throw temper tantrums like Jonah.

The prophet Jonah had a plan, too.  He had a successful prophetic ministry to the Hebrew people.  Yes, Jonah had a good thing going and his plans for his life probably included retiring after a fulfilling career as the voice of good news to his own nation.

Then God commissioned him to be an evangelist to a pagan nation that had long been the brutal enemy of the Hebrews.

You likely know the story.  He ran away from God, spent three days in a fish’s belly, and then after being vomited up on shore, finally obeyed God.

To a pagan nation, he preached coming judgment and they repented.  Even the king donned sackcloth and ashes.  It was one of the largest revivals in history—a whole nation turning to God in the course of one day.

Did Jonah rejoice?  Did he give praise?

Jonah 4:1 says, “but it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.”

We could get angry, you and I, when things don’t go our way.  We could stomp away from God’s plan and cross our arms in defiance.  We could run, fast and hard, jumping onto the first ship out of this place.  We could obey, but with an attitude.

Or we could pray, “Not my will, but yours be done,” and trust that our Heavenly Father knows best.  We could remember His promise to work “for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).


Live in my area and want to pray for your kids’ school year?  Everyone is invited to are invited to Newington Baptist Church on Tuesday, September 4th at 10:30 a.m. for First Pray–a time of encouragement and prayer for our kids, their teachers, principals, and school staff.  Won’t you join us? 

For working moms, you can email me your child’s name, grade, school and homeroom teacher and we’ll pray for them, as well:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.