Praying for Your Children On Purpose

I’ve gone through seasons of being incredibly intentional about praying for my children — notice I said seasons. I admit, I’ve not been faithful in prayer, as I wish would have when I look back on the fifteen years of parenting that have already passed.

Praying for Your Children

There was this one year that I prayed for each child on a different day of the week. And another year in which I participated in a Moms in Prayer group — and oh my, we saw the Lord move on behalf of our children in amazing ways! But for the most part, my prayers for my children have amounted to something like this. . .

Oh God, be with them. Keep them safe. Help them to be wise. May they love you fully. And may they want to know you personally and make you known.

While this prayer may seem fine, it sort of feels like the cliff notes version of a larger book that should be read in order to get the full appreciation of the content. It’s not all that I can do as a praying mother. And I want that to change.

Lamentations 2:19

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 . . .

Although I have journals scribbled full with pleas and petitions to the Lord, there aren’t enough of those pages filled up with prayers for my children. I think I’ve pushed praying for my children aside because their needs feel so easily met by me at the moment. In light of other circumstances we’ve faced, like family tentions, life-changing decisions, and health crises too many to count, my children are doing just fine. Fine is fine. But for how long?

Their lives will only get more “un-fine” as they grow up, which is why they need their momma praying for them on purpose . . . now. {click to tweet}

So as I turn to face the next decade of being a mother, I want to invest my time in bringing more than passing pleas to the Lord. I want to pause long enough to reflect on their needs and pray for them the way I’d want to be prayed for by others.

I want to give to the Lord what I see in their personalities that need His touch.

I want to talk to God about the struggles they face and the fears they feel.

I want to hand over to their Maker my concerns about their relationships.

I want to yield to the Lord His plans for their lives and get out of the way of the story He is writing.

These desires to pray diligently for my children may be lofty, but I think they reflect the heart of God.

 A longing to pray for our children comes from the Spirit’s conviction and most certainly will face the enemies opposition.

So how can we move forward with a plan to pray for our children that won’t be stumped by fleshy distractions? It think it looks like this:

  1. We need to start with prayer, asking God for His strength to move in this direction.
  2. We need to ask for someone to hold us accountable — someone who shares the passion and will be willing to ask us weekly, “So how did you do in praying for your children this week?”
  3. And we need a simple plan for how to pray, like this resource you can download from moretobe.com, so that we can be intentional.

What do you think, momma?

Will this be the moment in which you decide that you’ll pray for your children on purpose?  Will you embrace the fresh start, here at the beginning of a school year, and set a goal of sticking with it for more than a month?

I hope so. And I’m willing to ask you to hold me accountable, too. I want the next decade of my mothering to be marked by a commitment to pray for my children. Let’s do this together.

Shine Bright & More Beautiful,

Elisa

moretobe.com & elisapulliam.com

 {Don’t forget to grab the “Praying on Purpose for Your Children” download available at More to Be!}

An Encouraging Word for Our Daughters Who Dare to Dream

An Encouraging Word for Our Daughters Who Dare to Dream

I feel rather blessed.

Being the mother of several teenage daughters—young, bright, and beautiful. All of them hoping to get married some day.

These girls dare to dream.

But to tell you the truth, they’ve grown a little doubtful lately.

The girls observe these marriages around them falling apart right before their eyes. They’ve seen the destruction of divorce and have stayed up late comforting dear friends whose parents are parting ways.

Or, they watch while some couples stay together, yet grow increasingly cold and distant. Tension filling the air.

It troubles them to think of their lives ending up in this unhappy way.

It messes with their minds and messes with their dreams.

They’re not little girls anymore and they understand that life is no fairytale.

But they can’t help wondering where did all the good stories go? You know, the ones with a happy ending? Whatever happened to happily-ever-after?

And this is what I say to them…

My dear girls,

I believe in a good God who desires to write a beautiful story for our lives.

Rather than looking at the messed-up world around you, fix your eyes on Him who is more than able to care for you. He is the One you can trust for your hope and for your future.

…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (I Pet. 5:7)

I believe in a God who is in the business of changing people. He can change me and He can move that man of mine. He has the power to transform our marriage into something wonderful and glorifying to Him.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17)

I believe in a God who restores and redeems. He can heal the broken and save the lost. I’ve seen Him turn lives around and rescue marriages from the most impossible situations.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Ps. 34:18)

I believe in a God who sees the big picture. While we might only see the snapshot – what is happening today – He knows what our future holds.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)

Take your dad and me, for example. Here we are, two imperfect people who have learned to love each other—who are still learning to love each other. Look at the good work God is doing in and through our life together. Growing, learning, forgiving and loving some more. This is the stuff that makes for some of the best stories.

This is a real love story.

So that’s the kind of story I’m hoping for our daughters and the kind I’m hoping for you. Not because I believe in fairytales, but because I believe in a good and powerful God.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)

The Jacobson Girls

So go ahead and dare to dream, girls.

Because we know the God who is the Author of the greatest love story – and we are known by Him.

Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women

5 Truths for When the World Seems Against You

The world is a crazy place. Everyday we hear reports of wars, natural disasters, acts of terror and unspeakable crimes against humanity. We need only to open our browsers or turn on the television to be barraged with an onslaught of heartbreaking stories.

5 Truths for When the World Seems Against You

Sometimes, however….sometimes we need only open our eyes in the morning to be faced with unspeakable pain and suffering. Sometimes it is we who are wrestling with the universal question of Why me? and Why do bad things happen to good people?

A close friend received healing from that devastating disease; yet your diagnosis remains unchanged.

A friend announces she is expecting surprise baby number 3 and you’re still trying to keep a pregnancy viable through to delivery – and the cramps come anyway.

You pray with all your might and faith during the company downsizing, yet somehow the guy in H.R. that fibs on his monthly reports gets promoted and your husband gets handed a pink slip.

Things happen in this world – and in our own lives, in our homes – that just don’t make sense. It can be easy to wonder if we’ve done something wrong to deserve all of this. Does God love them more? Is He more pleased with their faith? Am I being punished? Has God forgotten about me?

I’ve realized something as I’ve walked through my own times of unexplainable chaos – and as I’ve walked alongside other friends and family through their chaos. I’ve found that at these times, in the real thick of it, in the fog of grief and anger, asking why often only serves to bring nothing but more doubt and frustration.

Rather than speculating about the reason, we need to be looking at what we know to be TRUE.

1. God is good and sovereign. 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 It is not easy to understand (or perhaps even possible to understand) why God allows the things He allows. He has given mankind free will; and man in his heart is corrupt. But God will never corrupt or change.

2. God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28 What we often stumble over here is that His definition of good and our definition of good are often very different. This takes us back to point number 1. He is sovereign, He holds the blueprints. Your pain, your tears, your confusion will not be wasted.

3. He will never ever leave or abandon any of his children. Hebrews 13:5-6 We often feel abandoned by God, but he promises us here in Hebrews (and in other places in Scripture) He will never, never, never, never, never leave us or abandon us. We do not have to fear over our ultimate fate because He is in control, working for our good, and with us the whole way.

4. He loves you as though you were the only human he created. There is no gradient to his love. Colossians 3:12, 1 John 4:10, John 3:16-17  It can be so easy to feel like God loves others so much more than He loves us. When they get the healing, the new job, the sweet baby, the perfect family…Yes, God gives good gifts to His children, but the presence of good gifts in the life of another does not reflect an absence or decrease of His love for us. Not only does he love us, but He IS Love. Just like water is H2O, God is love. Nothing we could do could make Him love us more, or less. If you need a reminder of what true, real love is like, check out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a and instead of the word “love”, insert the word God. Then remind yourself of points 1-3.

5. His thoughts and ways are not our ways. They are not always easy or comfortable, but they are in the end best. Isaiah 55:8-9 Enough said.

These things, and more, are truth whether we feel or believe it or not. He never promised us we will understand. He never promises physical healing and comfort (Paul’s thorn was never removed).

But He is CAPABLE.

Do not doubt his love for you, or your family. He is not going to give you a snake when you need bread. When things get dark and hard and scary, hold fast to these Truths – and to God’s hand – and you will weather this storm with a sweeter, deeper relationship with, and faith in, Him than you ever thought possible. A perfect, trouble free life? No. But a sweet, strengthening, hope-filled relationship with Him? Oh, yes.

Blessings,

Jen Deibel

The Drive Home: Finding Contentment on the Journey

 

The Drive Home

The questions come to me as I’m driving, running errands, frustrated with everything in my life that isn’t right… isn’t good enough.

What would it actually take?

When would it be enough?

When would I finally be content?

When the to-do list is done?
When the kids mature?
When I can afford whatever I want?
When my house is clean?
When I’m a raving success?

The carrot dangles in front of me as I speed — I never can never quite reach it — perfect beauty, perfect skill, perfect organization, the perfect family… perfection.

Actually, “perfect” puts a wry smile on my face. I’m not even close.

No, I tell myself. I don’t need perfection, I just need a little better.  A little more. That would be enough.

But would it?

And when I slam my brakes for the red light, I see the issue for what it is.

A discontented heart. And it’s ugly.

This isn’t the fruit of the Spirit.

It’s a slap in God’s face.

It’s me telling Him His blessings aren’t good enough, His grace isn’t sufficient, He isn’t enough. He hasn’t given enough. I need more.

And forming such hideous thoughts are like fingernails on a chalkboard.

God, forgive me.

I hold the steering wheel, realizing my flesh can never be satisfied.

Were it not for Christ, I’d be one of the millions enslaved to it — my rotting demanding flesh — trying to escape the deadly downward spiral. Grasping for pleasure, attention, status and possessions. Convinced I could claw my way out of the black hole with more, with better. Striving, panting… yet ending with nothing.

The light turns green and I move on, blinking back tears, remembering that true life is in Christ, that I am found in Christ.

And I remember I am blessed.

Oh how much He’s given me.

He “forgives all [my] sins and heals all [my] diseases…” He “redeems [my] life from the pit and crowns [me] with love and compassion.”  Psalm 103:3-4

My family, my home, my story, my very breath declare His goodness. I dare not forget all that He’s done for me, all that He’s given me, how He gave everything for me!

And even as the question forms in my mind — So how do I handle my constant yearnings for more? For better? — I remember something else…

Every craving reveals my need for him.

I’m hungry for more, for better, because I need more of Him.

He is love. He is peace. He is joy.

He alone is the perfect Father, Friend, and Comforter.

My appetite will never be fully satiated with anything or anyone else.

I turn on my blinker and switch lanes. My heart recognizes this as truth, but there’s a little pang as it turns all that longing toward Jesus.

But I can’t even see you, and I’m still stuck here.

What I remember as I turn the corner is bittersweet.

Complete contentment will only come once I’m face-to-face with Christ.

This side of heaven, I’ll always have a to-do list, a longing, an internal battle with discontent.

But that’s just this side of heaven. My heart’s deepest desires will all be met on the other side.

Who needs junk food when a marriage feast is so close?

No, this drive won’t last forever. Home and all its comforts are just around the bend.

As I pull again into the driveway of my temporary home, I ask for eyes to see my blessings, for more of Jesus, and an eternal perspective.

I ask for help to remember. I ask for contentment.

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits.

Psalm 103:1

*Are you content, friend? Where do you struggle most? How does remembering bring contentment in your life?

Blessings,

Jennifer Ebenhack

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...