Tag Archives: prayers for children

{in}perfection

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His shoulders slump and his head is down in defeat as he shares with me a repeated sin he committed. He looks frustrated, weary and condemned. I too am frustrated ready to pile on condemning words, until I felt a tinge of compassion fill my heart. I was reminded of the confessing cleansing conversation I had with a friend about my sins just minutes before.

By God’s grace, I knew it was most important to share with my son the spiritual heart of the matter, to tell him the truth about the Truth-Jesus Christ.

To be transparent and share my genuine compassion for his sin struggle because I struggle too. It was a holy opportunity to share the Gospel. To share the gift of forgiveness and mercy that comes through repentance towards God and faith in the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. To share the freedom that comes by power of the resurrected Christ. To walk him to God’s throne of grace.
It was a chance to remind us we’re not perfect and we need a Savior. Any righteousness we have comes from Jesus Christ in us. We are to practice righteousness, press on to maturity, but only God will perfect us until the day of Christ Jesus.
I write this stone of memorial to remind myself, we must practice patience–with ourselves…and one another.

***

When I was a new Christian I was naive to think I would no longer make a mistake. I read  that I was a “new creation” and given a “new heart,”and though I “knew” I was not perfect, I made an expectation for myself that I should be perfect or I was a hypocrite.

This led me to great frustration and even condemnation because I couldn’t understand the continual struggle against sin I was dealing with, let alone the number of times I failed. What I see now is any holiness I have is CHRIST IN me. I have seen my flesh and it’s ugliness to the point I’ve doubted my own salvation! The redeeming part is that my flesh and sin remind me of my need for a Savior. This gives me compassion for those that struggle, beginning in my own family.

A fruitful life comes by a daily walk of abiding in the one who is perfection: Christ.

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Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the brethen.


Sanctifying Second Chances

Pursue peace with all men

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”       1 Peter 4:8

I was giddy to have time alone with God, and was on my way out the door when my seven year old son asks if he could join me. I politely tell him, “Not this time.”

He pleads with me and I shamefully redirect his attention from investing time in our relationship to his inanimate toys.

I leave him. And I began to swat away convicting thoughts replacing them with a justifying one:

I’m home all day with the kids and they see me all the time. I deserve this time…”

I was five minutes out, and I could no longer ignore or numb the conviction of the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart gently showing me I did not choose what was best.  I repented of my selfishness and turned the car around to swoop up the son of my vow.

I felt as though I couldn’t get to my son fast enough and I was full of gratitude, thankful it wasn’t too late to undo my poor decision.

I ran to his room and see him tacking a note to the door.  I got on my knees to look into his hurt eyes and speak to his rejected heart:

I came back for you! God showed me I wasn’t choosing what was best…”

As I say these words I read the note he tacked to the door, which confirmed the urgency of my conviction and his bruised heart:

“I hate Mommy!”

My heart sinks and aches of this revelation and I see his embarrassed look of regret as he tries to tear off the note and I ‘cover‘ the note with one hand and gently place my other hand on his, and say:

Oh this. Yes. I understand my son, Mommy is not perfect, and I did not choose wisely, do you forgive me?”

He nods, and hugs me tightly.

I shove the note into my pocket as a stone of remembrance to remind me not to miss out on future opportunities to sow God’s unfailing love. Holding hands we race to the car as giddy children of God, excited for the opportunity for our reconciled hearts to communicate over coffee, milk and cookies. 

***
I tell my children about God every day. I tell them about His great love and how Jesus Christ laid down His life for the world, so that we can be reconciled to have an intimate relationship with God the Father.  I tell them about the conviction of the Holy Spirit, how He will guide us into all Truth helping us to trust and obey God’s Word. I tell them how Jesus Christ is alive in me.

Yes I SPEAK of God’s love often and God gives me ample opportunities to SHOW my children this type of love…of laying down of my own selfish desires to listen to their hearts.  If you could see more than a snapshot of my life you would see I have missed many opportunities.

For our flesh, to love is easier said than shown–but not for God, God IS love! The same Holy Spirit dwelling in Jesus Christ dwells in me so the Truth is I have what it takes to love the way God has called me to love.

I’m thankful for God’s grace and forgiveness and for His Holy Spirit guiding me into all Truth, and I’m thankful we ‘get to’ show the Lord Jesus Christ to others:

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14

Mother's Prayer Card April 2013 - Page 001


Prideless Parenting

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

We were having an enjoyable time at the beach when my daughter became frustrated because the waves kept washing away her artwork on “God’s chalkboard” {the sand}.  She was tired, hungry and her patience was slim, therefore she did the only thing she could do to express her irritation: she cried. And cried, and cried.  I discovered the quickest way to clear a beach is having a child cry for ten minutes straight. Now was the test…

What was I going to do?

My flesh wanted to satisfy the captive audience around me, and discipline her in public, my flesh wanted to scream. Actually, my flesh did scream {inside}.  Then I held her close to me and I prayed.  I prayed for God’s Holy Spirit to help us both in this witnessing opportunity.  I prayed we would both look only at Jesus Christ and not at each other or our sins.  I prayed we would be still and remain in Jesus Christ remembering God is already pleased with us because of what Jesus Christ has done, not anything we have or haven’t done.  I prayed we would take full advantage of this opportunity to give thanks to God even in this sanctifying moment.  I rocked her in my arms and felt as though everything and everyone else melted away.  I sang softly to her, and I remember I can act the same way inside when something I’ve worked hard on is destroyed or taken.

“Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3

I am on a journey of letting go. God is teaching me to let go of pride and perfection.  God is teaching me to deal gently with others, and to be compassionate as our High Priest Jesus Christ is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.  When these sanctifying moments occur I am learning to silently pray and look to God to comfort my children while restraining any temptation to use worldly things to threaten or console them.  I am learning to wait, be still…I’m learning to hide and abide in my Rock Jesus Christ. At one point my daughter disrespected me during her sorrow and I told her:

“you are not allowed to disrespect me, God says children must obey their parents for this is well-pleasing to Him.  I understand being upset for lost work but now you are crossing over to disobedience and that’s not the path you want to be on.”

She nodded her head. She understood.  Another five minutes of praying and allowing God to comfort her through me and the Hulk {in both of us} was gone.  I now had a calm lamb in my arms remembering the words of Jesus, feed my sheep and ‘tend to my lambs‘, reminding me we are all His sheep in His pasture and He is the one that restores our souls. When my children bicker, cry, fight instead of hearing a whining noise I am choosing to hear little lambs ‘baaaing’ because they are turned over and need help to be restored.  Before God can work in and through me I need to be abiding and hiding in Him so His Spirit can work in and through me for His purpose.

I am letting go of ‘striving’ to be a perfect parent and resting in His grace which is sufficient in all things, even a fit at the beach.  To God be the glory…again, His giving, His glory!


Repented of Salvation Ambition: Remembering We Sow, He Grows

Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

My son recently lost his first tooth! When it was first loose I asked him if he wanted us to pull it out and he gently replied,

“No mama, I want don’t want anyone to mess with it. I want it to come out when it’s time.”

Those last few words stayed in my heart: “when it’s time…”

I thought of how I usually don’t ‘wait’ for the appointed time whatever ‘it’ is.  I’m usually eager to get ‘it’ done! It is from this habit I have another confession…

Confession:

I can become easily distracted and try to rush the salvation of others.

I never thought witnessing could turn into selfish ambition but it can—I now call it “salvation ambition.”  I realize it’s harder with my family because I want them to know God and Jesus Christ so badly, I sometimes over step my boundaries by looking away from Jesus Christ to myself or to their walks with Him.  I anxiously want to know my role, my part in their salvation.

I receive God’s gentle correction when I read John 21:1-23:

Peter had just told Jesus he loved Him and was given instructions to tend and shepherd the lambs and sheep of Jesus Christ and to FOLLOW JESUS but Peter still asks:

Lord, who is the one who betrays You?….Lord, and what about this man?” (20,21)

Peter gets distracted…

What was Jesus’ response?

“…If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

God has been using these passages for the past 2 years to help discipline my walk with Him and stop looking at the walks of others.  Jesus is the path—the Way the Truth and the Life and I need to watch Him and do not look to the left or right but keep my eyes fixed on Him, the Author and Perfecter of faith.

Examining and ‘judging’ the walks of others in my flesh has been a temptation and distraction and I repent…that is one of the reasons I am off Facebook.  God has convicted me to put my face in His book and write about my faith in a book for my children {my journal} to share the stones of remembrances He has given our family.

God has reminded me my role in evangelism and making disciples is to share the Gospel, tend His sheep and lambs, and follow Him.

As I follow Jesus Christ, will there be distractions? Yes! They come in many forms; one for me is selfish ambition.  For example I want my children to be saved.  I ask Jesus, ‘will they be the ones to betray You?”  Jesus responds, “If I want {them} to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

I humbly say to my Savior since nothing is hidden from Him:

But I’m their mama and I love them, and their salvation matters to me because I want them to love and know You, I want them to live with you forever.” There was the selfish “salvation ambition”:

I. Want.

Jesus Christ reminds me the cost of being His disciple:

“…If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”  Matthew 16:24

Did you catch that? BEFORE I can FOLLOW Jesus Christ I must deny myself…take up my cross (crucify myself) THEN Follow Him.  That means deny my ‘selfish ambitions.’

I ask God, “what about when you say to make disciples of all nations?”

He reminds me the making of disciples is not done in my strength but true disciple making is done in His power, the power of His Holy Spirit.  He can use me when I am obedient and empty myself and am filled with His Spirit.  When I am His vessel filled with His Spirit my utterances are His; I don’t move until He tells me to move.

I have a new perspective…

·         My vision is Jesus Christ

·         My goal is obedience to God

·         The strategy: The Holy Spirit

The goal is not forcing salvation on others like my children, the goal is obeying Jesus Christ by humbling myself everyday and following Him.

I must follow Jesus Christ, listen to Him, trust and obey Him so that I can tend the lambs (my children) He has given me and I can intercede and pray for them and ask God to give me opportunities to share the Gospel in deed and truth with them, knowing only He enlightens people, and shines into their hearts giving them understanding of His Word.  Only He draws others to Himself.  God does use human vessels (believers) but it is done in His strength so that the “surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves”.

So what is my assignment?

The truth is, God wants them to come to Him too {Matthew 18:14; 2 Peter 3:9;}. I need to trust in God, hope in Him, wait on His timing and be patient and pray. When the opportunity to be the hands and feet and mouth of Jesus Christ comes I am compelled to sow and water the seeds as He leads praying He will cause a growth.

Jesus I am resting, resting…

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:7-9


Incredible Hulk or Incredible Walk?

“…walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” Galatians 5:16

One day as I watched my son play with the Incredible Hulk action figure, I asked myself:

“Are my kids seeing the incredible hulk or an incredible walk?”

When I was a little girl I was nicknamed ‘little hulk’ because anytime I would get angry I would get a stiff neck, clench my fists, shake and growl.  Instead of turning green I would turn red. My sisters would give a warning to those around, “watch out here comes the incredible hulk!”  My sisters and I look back and laugh at those days…the days I was a strong willed child and did not submit easily.

Today I am not that child, and behavior like that is inexcusable because I have been reborn and I am spiritually alive! The day I submitted to God He gave me a new heart and put His Holy Spirit in me and tells me the way to walk.  I want to be a witness for God and pray my children remember an incredible walk with God, not the ‘incredible hulk’ in me.

This is easier said than done because I still struggle with my flesh…my pride and own selfish desires and expectations, but the more I seek God the more He equips me to identify the signs of when the ‘hulk’ in me is coming out. When my neck is stiff, heart races, hands begin to clench and my voice changes I know it’s time for me to step away and be alone with my Heavenly Father.  I fall on my face and cry out to my Abba for help, asking Him for the grace to walk by His Spirit and to obey Him.  He ALWAYS helps when I am not stiff necked and humble myself–ALWAYS. It’s up to me whether I unclench my hands to receive His grace or not.

God’s Word washes over my heart and reminds me I have already been set free:

“…you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:9-14

I am a daughter of God.  I am made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I am not in the flesh because the Spirit of God dwells in me.  I am to walk by the Holy Spirit because He lives in me! This is a disciplined life, a life of a disciple of Jesus Christ, one who walks with Him.

Today my children are learning through me what it means to walk by the Spirit.  They are learning the Spirit must come before the “fruit.” We are learning together the ‘incredible walk’ is not a perfect walk but a walk of humility, discipline and faith.  I tell them, “Mommy feels the hulk coming on, I’m going to go pray and be alone with God, I’ll be right back.”  They understand.  I pray one day they will be blessed with the spiritual understanding and knowledge only God can provide.

I am praying for you reader.  If you are still in full bondage of being a hulk I pray God shows you His power and love of what He has done by sending Jesus Christ as an offering for sin, condemning sin in the flesh.

For those that are already children of God, my brethren I pray these Scriptures for us:

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” Galatians 5:16

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “1 John 1:8-9

*More Bread to feast on: Romans 7 Romans 8; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 Corinthians 13:11


Which Way Do They Go?

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs 22:6

We were at a closing ceremony for Vacation Bible School when God reminded me how He has blessed me with two entirely opposite children.

The impeccably dressed kids were parading down the aisle of the Church, when my daughter comes out in a beautiful dress walking with proper posture, smiling and going into her assigned spot in the far left corner.  My son on the other hand, wore cotton pajama shorts and a white T-shirt with flip flops and bounced down the aisle heading to his assigned spot in the far right side.  As he tried to move next to the only other boy, two girls created a wall and he joyfully accepted their refusal and turned around and nearly knocked over a huge vase next to him.

When they began singing my daughter sang loudly, doing the hand motions perfectly and smiling with the exception of when she found the time to tell the older girl next to her to scoot over because she needed more room.

My son. He was trying to keep up with the hand motions but you can tell he had a hard time hearing, and he turned around at one point and faced the children and began to pick his bottom in front of the entire audience.  When it came time for the team cheer my daughter said it in unison.  My son was oblivious when his team cheered and when it was silent jumped in the air and yelled, “Go Judah!” All. By. Himself. The audience roared with laughter.

My reaction?

Laughter. I am thankful I was able to laugh. I am thankful it was a day I was not prideful as a mother but humble.  It was a day I chose not to make it about me, or what others thought.  It was a day I chose to accept my children for how God uniquely created them.

I must confess that’s not always the case, but I’m thankful for God’s inspired Word that reminds me:

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs 22:6

This does not say to train up a child in the way I think he should go.  I have fought many useless battles with my son and daughter to try to conform them to the way I think they should go.  The majority of these battles derived from my pride.  I cared what others thought of my children and of me as a mother.  I let my insecurities of motherhood dictate how I raised my children, until I remembered: we all belong to God.  Since He is the Creator I asked Him, “which way do they go?”  Especially since I have two completely opposite children…how do I know which way is the ‘right’ way? Again, God answers through His Word:

The word “Train up” means:

“To narrow; discipline, to dedicate of a house or temple”

And “in the way he should go” means:

‘according to his way’

This means to train them, discipline them in the way God has uniquely designed them.

I have pondered what this means for my children and this is what God has revealed to me:

That has been the foremost training my husband and I have been focusing on for the past two years.  We have dedicated our children to the Lord and have made a vow to train and teach them as God commands in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. We are teaching them the primary ‘Way’ to go, leading them to Jesus Christ each day.

However, God has also uniquely designed them, and blessed them with talents He wants them to use to glorify Him.  He has created them with a purpose and He knows the plans He has for them, but how do I know ‘the way they should go’?

The best way for me to know how He uniquely created them is to pray for wisdom and ask God to show me.  I ask God for wisdom on how I can cultivate an atmosphere to encourage and help flourish the talents and gifts He has blessed them with. I ask God for strength to help me to ‘pay attention’ and be present with my children to listen, to watch, and be around them.

God has taught me, when I listen to my children, I am listening to their hearts because out of the heart the mouth speaks.  What is their heart saying about what sort of discipline they need? All of these are questions I ask my Father in Heaven and when I humbly ask, He gives me the grace to raise them.

I realize by the power of the Holy Spirit I can teach my children about God and Jesus Christ and show my children the ‘Way’ to go, and lead them to the gate and they may still choose not to walk in the way of the narrow path, but I have comfort knowing the Lord hears my prayers and the Words I share with them now, His Word will watch over them even in their sleep and one day when they are awaken God’s Words will talk to them.

My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck.  When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.” Proverbs 6:20-23


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