My Child Isn’t Talking to Me

My_Child_Isn't_Talking_to_MeBeing a teenager can’t be easy. I vaguely remember being there and it wasn’t always a walk in the park. However being the parent of a teen isn’t a breeze either, and this is completely new territory for me. There are days when we’re all laughing and having a blast. Then there are other days when nothing I say can bring a smile to their face and all I get are grumbles. Today is one of the hard ones. For whatever reason, my child isn’t talking to me.

I know what you’re probably thinking. In theory, this seems a simple problem to solve. We sit down, talk with our kid, they answer our questions, and we move forward together after a quick pep talk and a hug. In reality, this can be quite a challenge. Often, our child doesn’t wish to talk. Talking is out of the question. This makes figuring out the issue significantly more difficult. In fact, sometimes trying to force our children to talk can create even bigger issues. Our children become more grumpy, mean, and feel pressured. They just want space and we’re invading. What then? How do we deal with their lack of desire to communicate or even be pleasant?

Prayer – You’ve heard it before. You’ll hear it again. From now till kingdom come. Prayer first. I can do nothing. I cannot change this little person’s heart. But God can. I need prayer. Prayer for me; prayer for my child; prayer for the situation. I pray and keep on praying until the Lord resolves the issue. And then pray He help us continue on in peace.

Set Aside Emotion – This hurts, I’m not going to lie. I haven’t done anything wrong. We’ve even made a point of reaching out to our child. Their harsh words and actions slice us to the core, bringing pain. As much as this cuts, we need to push our feelings to the side and handle the situation maturely. This isn’t about how our child makes us feel; this is about our children being separated from us and probably God. This is about much-needed restoration.

Evaluate – So let’s be honest with ourselves. I might not think I’ve done something wrong, but perhaps I’ve done something which unknowingly bothered my child. This doesn’t justify their actions, but might contribute to the current situation. On the other hand, maybe this has nothing to do with me and my child has a physical need. This might be a spiritual battle. Here’s a tough one… It might be that my child’s personal choices during free time are affecting them. What are they watching, listening to, and reading? To the best of my ability, I need to evaluate what’s been going on and try to get to the bottom of it.

Reach Out – Even if my child responds unfavorably, I need to make an attempt at showing love and letting them know I’m here for them. It might be a hug, a kind word, a smile, or a note to say I care. I will continue to act gently towards them so the doors of communication are left open. I’m here, ready when they are.

Keep Trying – It would be grand if my child immediately apologized and everything was restored after a smile from me and a few well-placed words. How I wish this happened more often. Instead, we try. We try again. And we keep trying. We ask the Lord to show us when to speak and when to remain silent; allowing Him to reach their hearts. No matter what, we don’t give up.

Allow for Space – As just mentioned, sometimes the Lord needs us to remain silent. We let our child know we’re here for them. We smile often and ask them to join in. Then, we step back and let the Lord work. God wants this relationship restored even more than I do. I need to trust He is doing the work and be open to His leading.

Be Chill – When our child finally does wish to talk, or of their own accord involves themselves in an activity, we need to not make a big deal of it. For my kids, this tends to draw attention to the child who simply wishes to fly under the radar. Instead we act calmly and, afterwards, gently – privately – thank them for joining in or let them know how much we had fun with them. Inwardly, I’m soaring and feel like dancing. But on the outside I’m chill.

By nature I’m a people-pleaser. So when my child isn’t happy I take it personally. I evaluate and re-evaluate what I did wrong. Then I get angry when I come to the conclusion I haven’t done anything wrong and my child is just unhappy with me. These are natural reactions, but neither are helpful or healing. Through the leading of Christ, I am reminded to pray, set aside my personal feelings, and focus on the needs of my child. In Him will this relationship be restored and my kiddo once again made whole.

Being a teen isn’t easy. They have a lot going on both mentally and physically. Being the parent of a teen can feel like a struggle. It helps to remember this is just one day of many. By the grace of God we will see this through and come out to the other side.

“And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
~ Isaiah 54:13

Your Turn!: Sometimes I feel alone in this struggle. How do you handle difficult parenting days?

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How Are We Measuring Success?

How_Are_We_Measuring_Success?In this vast world, filled with goals and achievements, how do we measure ultimate success? Is it measured by how much money we make, how much of an education we received, or by the amount of toys that surround us? Are we successful because we get what we want or perhaps because we are happy? Is it something other people can see in us or is it something only we can know? As my children grow and continue increasing in wisdom, I hope they come to a full understanding of what success truly means.

Success is the accomplishment of a purpose. As Christians, the ultimate purpose for our lives is to reflect Christ and to share Him with the world.

“But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,…”
~ Acts 26:16

It will not matter if my children make tons of money, that they attained a college degree – not that I am against college, mind you – nor that they have all that they want. True success as a Christian isn’t about any of those things. Ultimately, the most successful life they can live is one sold out completely to God. A life in which all things are done, first and foremost, for Him.

For some, this might include making quite a bit of money. That would be a blessing. For others it might be obtaining that higher degree. Excellent! These are each small measures of accomplishment or success, but they are not the final goal.

The measure of my children’s success will be seen in the lives they lead. Are they achieving all they can for the kingdom of Christ or are they seeking their own purpose? Are they good husbands and wives; good parents; and good friends?

I pray as we move through the fullness of this homeschooling year I will help them to further understand the purpose for their lives and help them to achieve success. Our desire is for each area of focus to be solely founded upon God. May this help me remember that our children’s education needs to be founded on Christ and Him alone. Anything else is simply foolishness…

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
~ Psalm 1:1-3

Your Turn!: What is your measure of ultimate success?

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Can Siblings Become Best Friends?

Can_Siblings_Become_Best_Friends?There are some people who will only be in our lives for a brief moment, friends who will be there for a short while, and yet others who will last for the long haul. Amidst the vast – or very few – friends we have, usually one or two rise to the top and are termed the “best”. In our own home, we have encouraged our daughters to find “best friends” in each other.

Having three girls in the house and all close in age, that isn’t unexpected, is it? Now I understand not all of us like our sisters, much less are each other’s best friends. But perhaps growing up in a Christian home where this is encouraged and nurtured will move their hearts where ours was not.

While our girls are encouraged to have friends outside of our family and to nourish those friendships, we highly stress the importance of sisters being their “best friends”. Others might be “close friends”, but none should be more important than their own sisters. Spending our homeschooling day together, playing, and being creative all helps them to further their relationships and strengthen the bond between them. They share secrets, surprises, and sorrows; all of which help to cement their friendship.

This does present a slight problem for my son though, being the only boy in the house. He, on the other hand, has needed to find a buddy. Generally, my husband is his best pal and he probably will be for some time. But my boy has several close friends he enjoys as well. It is a blessing to see them playing, reading, and relaxing together.

While my brilliant plan might not work… I intend to fully continue encouraging my girls’ friendship, lending a helping hand from time to time and watching it bloom.

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
~ Psalm 17:17

Your Turn!: Do you encourage siblings to be “best friends”?

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Would You Rather Be a Mule?

“A mule is an animal with long, funny ears
He kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny and his brain is weak
He’s just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
And, by the way, if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule”

~ Swinging On a Star, by Frank Sinatra

Rather_be_a_Mule?Most days, our kids do just fine with their learning. We eagerly race to the table and settle in for a few hours of focused lessons. I wish could say that everyday was like this. However, on occasion, my babies can be quite stubborn. What’s a parent to do?

On mornings when our children just won’t budge, dragging their feet to the table or perhaps making life miserable for themselves while trudging through their work, I have two options: I can get mad or I can figure out what is causing the trouble.

Not Enough Sleep – A frequent cause of stubbornness seems to stem from lack of sleep. They kids stayed up too late the night before and are, therefore, having a harder time focusing on today’s activities. The remedy: Give them a lighter load today, get them to bed on time, and then try again tomorrow. This usually does the trick!

They Have a Need – Rushing through their morning routine, especially when they sleep in later than they should, sometimes the kids choose to skip out on breakfast. (Um… sorry guys, you probably inherited this from me.) My kids are having a hard time because they have a physical need like food, a drink, or even exercise. The remedy: Figuring out what their body needs, giving it to them, and trying again!

They’re Irritated/Frustrated – Sometimes it takes just one thing to set our kids off. It could be harsh words spoken, a shirt that’s too itchy, or pencil being tapped on the table. The remedy: Identify the offending factor and remove it immediately.

They Need Help – Did the work I give them seem too much? Did they not truly understand it? Kids will often dig in their heels when they are really begging for help. The remedy: Sitting down with them and walking through their lessons. Ask them questions and help lead them to the answers.

They’re Intimidated – Similar to needing help, new lessons can often be intimidating. Instead of pushing forward with anticipation, our kids can drag their feet expecting to fail. The remedy: Encouragement. I need to help them see this is a challenge needing to be conquered, not the end of the world.

Too Much Work – I have grand visions for my children’s lessons. Once in a while, my visions are little too grand. My kids balk at the amount of work or time stretching out in front of them. It seems I have overwhelmed their minds and overburdened them. The remedy: Ease up! I need to restructure the lesson, reducing where I can.

Of course, there are times when my kids are just being stubborn for the sake of being stubborn; this is a character issue which needs to be worked out. However, with prayer and a quick evaluation of their needs, I can better help them move on from this obstacle.

“Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.”
~ Psalm 32:9

Your Turn!: I’m sure your children are never stubborn! But, for the sake of argument, if they were to exhibit such a trait… what is your plan of attack?

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I Just Don’t Want To

I_Just_Don't_Want_ToIt happens from time to time. It’s becoming more common as my children grow older, and begin to express personal desires and opinions. We’re getting ready to walk out the door and someone announces they are no longer interested in participating in our planned activity. No reason, no rhyme. Only a curt, “I just don’t want to!” What’s a mom to do?

I’ll be honest, these situations are hard for me. I dislike changes in plans as it is. Then we heap on a desire to not participate? This is not good! Before the problem escalates, I need to pray for wisdom and then ask myself the following questions:

What is really going on? Who knows what’s going on in their heads? I don’t! And I won’t until I ask. This might be rebellion or simply a genuine lack of interest. Before I can determine a course of action, I need to communicate with my children and seek out truth.

What’s the most important thing? Yes, the field trip would be fun, but is it worth the kicking and screaming to get out the door? On the other hand, while it might be easier to not make my children get out of bed, we understand church is non-negotiable and like-minded fellowship is vital. Each situation will be different, but the end goal the same. We ask the Lord what is most important and act upon it.

Is there a lesson to be learned? Whether by me, or my child, perhaps the Lord has something to show us. Maybe need to learn how to pick my battles. Perhaps my child needs to learn the disadvantage and consequence of missing out, or the benefit of being made to participate. First, I need to identify the lesson and then move forward.

While I’m never excited to hear my children announce they suddenly do not wish to participate, I’m learning to no longer take these decisions personally. Often these circumstances are opportunities for growth and lessons we all needed to learn. Through the Lord’s leading I am learning to listen, understand, and lead my children with grace. It’s not always easy, but it’s well worth the effort.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:”
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

Your Turn!: One of your several children adamantly decides they do not wish to participate in a given outside activity, how would you handle this situation when both parents had planned on attending and no babysitter is available?

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He’s Building a Cathedral

Building_a_CathedralThe waking of children, cleaning of the house, cooking of food, running of errands, character building, discipling and homeschooling keep me tied to the moment. I can get bogged down in my day-to-day experiences to the point I lose sight of my overall goal. It’s as if they are walls surrounding me, preventing me from seeing beyond the day’s activities. I can become overwhelmed, disheartened by thinking I am not making progress but instead spinning my wheels. Then the Lord gently reminds me these daily responsibilities are important and necessary. I might not see the end picture, but He does. He is building a cathedral, and no cathedral was built in a day.

The Lord has great plans for my children. I know this because God’s Word speaks to this truth. But what about those times it feels as though nothing is being accomplished? We are still facing the same issues we were last week, or last month. We get frustrated with one another. Even when we conquer one area of concern, another is soon to follow. What can we do? How can I to realign myself with God’s Word and once again focus on the Lord’s purpose for our family?

Prayer – Whether it’s lies from the enemy, hard truths which need to be faced, or just a difficult day needing to be dealt with. I am going to fail if I do this on my own. Before I turn anywhere else, I need to fall on my knees and seek the Lord. With Him all things are possible.

Encouragement –  The Lord has given us friends and family to edify us during these moments of discouragement. They pray for us, perhaps show us where we have deviated from the plan, and come alongside us to work together toward the end goal. When I become overwhelmed by the cares of today and lose sight of the bigger picture, it’s these like-minded Christians I need surrounding me.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back – While this seems discouraging, in truth we are still making progress! What might seem like a setback could in fact be additional lessons the Lord feels we need in order to perfect the lives He is building. The goal is righteousness, which often means practice, practice, practice. We need to think positive! Progress is progress, no matter how slow or tedious it might seem at the time.

This is Only Phase One – The building up of these children does not end with us parents, though we ought to be the ones laying a solid foundation for the work which will continue throughout their lifetimes. When I become overwhelmed that my children are not perfected today, He reminds me the job is not done. He is still working in each of us, myself included.

This is Not My Project – Though this was just mentioned, it’s worth repeating. I am not in charge. God is. The Master Builder has given me – a poor layman – instructions and objectives. My job is to carry those out to the best of my meager ability, understanding He is not only working through me, but cleaning up after my messes, laying groundwork for future accomplishment, and perfecting these little people. If this is His work, I need only be faithful and trust in Him.

My prayer is that the Lord continues to help me see as He sees. To no longer be bogged down by day-to-day responsibility, but rather be invigorated by each act of service knowing there is a greater purpose. His purpose. I may not see the bigger picture; the final plan. But I can rest in knowing the One who does.

No matter where today finds each of us. May we seek Him wholeheartedly. May He fill us with His presence, renew our minds for the task at hand, give us strength beyond our ability and peace which surpasses all understanding. When we stumble and fall, may He lift us higher than we could imagine. And when we lose sight of His vision, may we move forward in faith. These children are not our own, but His. May we embrace the blessing of assisting in His building of their lives.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11

Your Turn!: If you could give up one daily household task, which would it be?

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When Conversation Becomes Gossip

When_Conversation_Becomes_GossipLet’s face it; we aren’t going to like everyone we meet. In fact, there are some people we are going to dislike. We don’t agree with everyone’s choices, some people flat-out confuse us, and others are just obnoxious. When possible, it might be best to keep our opinions to ourselves and bite our tongues.

There are times when someone’s actions or habits demand a response. Someone says something or acts in such a way and we feel the need to explain to our children, sharing the worldview or character traits which brought about such behavior. However, generally speaking, when we make comments on how others live their lives, what we are really doing is gossiping. We don’t like how someone did something and feel the need to give our own opinions. We can’t believe so-and-so had the nerve to do thus and so; so we spout off about their actions. We aren’t looking to make moral evaluations and warn our children of future dangers, we are being mean and unkind.

Our children learn from watching us; what they see us do and say. If we are being unkind toward others, they will begin to copy the model set before them and develop the bad habit of gossiping about others. They will learn to be critical, judgemental, unkind, bitter, and lack grace. While I highly advise using life experiences as teaching tools, we need to be sure we are evaluating for the sake of character training and not merely being critical. Pointing out unwise decisions helps our children make sound future choices. Condemning people with our words teaches nothing except unkindness.

Let us be careful with the way we choose to speak about people, both in private and in front of our kids. Let us speak with grace and mercy, dealing with others as Christ has dealt with us.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
~ Ephesians 4:29

Your Turn!: We were always taught, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Do you agree with the sentiment? Please share your thoughts.

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When Big Summer Plans Amount to Something Small

Big_Summer_Plans_Amount_to_SmallMy children long to know what we’re doing this summer. A grand adventure seems to be called for. All of their friends have announced their fantastic plans: vacations to exotic locations, camping with other friends, road trips, and more. These all sound wonderful, but with a work schedule which doesn’t let up and a budget which cannot afford such luxuries, our big summer plans are going to amount to something small.

Truthfully, this breaks my heart. I’d be lying if I said I don’t want these things for our children or myself. Like most parents, I would love to give these experiences to my littles and explore the world with them. Unfortunately, that’s just not where we’re at. So what can I do? Begin with prayer, and ask the Lord to lead.

Start with a Heart of Gratitude Unfulfilled desire can easily lead to a heart filled with bitterness and anger over what we don’t have. Instead, we need to choose look around us and be thankful for all we’ve been given. We have a lovely home, good food to eat, too much clothing, and plenty to keep us occupied right where we are. It’s good to have goals, but we must remember to be content with what God has given us already and be thankful for all He continually provides.

Plan for the Future If there is something important we wish to aim for, then we should also be willing to do the work needed to make it happen. Vacation trips don’t just fall in our laps. So, we’re researching, planning, and minimizing to make these happen in the future. Some of our goals are more easily attained while others might take years to accomplish. With a visual guide and plan in place, everyone becomes excited to see progress and help with cutting back.

Turn Off and Tune Out the Buzz If Instagram squares start causing discontent and Facebook posts bring us down, it might be time to remove ourselves from the action for a little while. These feeds can be lovely sources for ideas, but when inspiration becomes frustration we need a break.

Make the Most of Right Now Traveling to Europe isn’t in the cards right now, but there is plenty of opportunity for adventure all around us. Even when budgets are on a budget, there are still many ways to take advantage of the season. With a little creativity, planning, and a Google search or two, we could be having all kinds of fun.

Remember, Sometimes Small Amounts to Something Big While we’d all love grand adventures, it also helps to remember the little things in life which add up to big memories. Roasting marshmallows over a fire pit we built ourselves, sleeping in tents in the living room, homemade ice cream, free concerts, library events, kitten cuddles, and so much more. These aren’t far away adventures, to be sure, but grand none-the-less. I can’t provide exotic locations every summer – okay, not even every third summer – but I can take each day and make it memorable in its own way.

The desire for adventure remains. Through prayer, planning, and the Lord’s leading, perhaps one day we’ll get there. In the mean time, I’ll continue to keep my eyes focused on what the Lord has already provided and be grateful for each new day. Because the truth is, a grand adventure awaits the moment I open my eyes. I just have to be open to the possibilities and live each day with thankfulness.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
~ I Thessalonians 5:18

Your Turn!: If you could plan one grand adventure this summer, what would it be?

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The Read-Aloud Dilemma

Read_Aloud_Dilemma“Do we really have to sit here and listen, Mom? Please!” Four anxious faces stare back at me, waiting for my answer. Our current read-aloud story is supposed to be Robin Hood. The plan was to progress through the book together, taking in the beauty of the words and having an open discussion of ideas. Instead, my kids are hoping I’ll see things their way and the torture will end. We have a read-aloud dilemma and this mama’s praying for a solution.

Our stand-off might leave you with the impression our children dislike books in general. Let me assure you this is not true. Our children read an average of 100-150 books per week. Reading is not the issue. Reading aloud is not necessarily the issue either. We read our history and science lessons together daily and enjoy the experience. So what is the problem?

The Dilemma – The simple fact is reading aloud takes time. We need to be sitting down all together and work through the literature at a pace which will, on average, suit the entire family. This is difficult when you have children in a wide age range and some of your children are exceptionally fast readers. Reading aloud can additionally be challenged by children who naturally have shorter attention spans. Time dedicated for reading together might need to be short, and those children who are steeped in the read might balk at having to stop for the sake of other siblings.

While our children are all willing, and happy, to sit through read-alouds which directly pertain to our “learning day”, when it comes to fictional reads, all patience flies out the window. It seems we need a compromise.

The Compromise – I have reading lists which I’d like our children to work through, literature which would be of benefit or add beauty to their learning adventure. Rather than make them suffer through reading it as a group, these books are provided for them to read at their own pace. Often, our girls breeze through them quickly. My youngest and I slowly meander through his list with dedication, adding fun side trips to encourage a love of reading.

Outside our regular learning routine and during devotions, reading aloud as a family is generally done in the car! Those long drives to nature walks and field trips are the perfect opportunity to pop in a good audio book and enjoy a story. We can also pass around a novel, taking turns reading the book to the group.

The Discussion – As each of our children work through their reads, Mom is sure to keep an eye on progress and engage them in dialogue. We talk about favorite characters, lessons learned, world views, selections which we all found rather dull, passages which were beautiful beyond words, gentleman which were anything but, ladies who needed stiffer backbones, places we wish we could visit, and so much more. We laugh, groan, and sniffle together. As a few of us start in, the rest inevitably chime in with their thoughts or are encouraged to read faster in order to join in the conversation.

One key point I should probably highlight is that all assigned and highly recommended reads handed to our children are books I have read myself. Either I read them before handing them over or have read them in the past. If I am going to have an intelligent conversation with my children about key ideas and plot points, it would behoove me to know what they’re reading. As a side note, I would personally feel a hypocrite if I required my children to read something I had no intention of working through myself. My children take note of this and it makes an impression upon their hearts.

Now, four smiling faces urge me to, “Start the next story, please!” Happy voices remind everyone about our last read, while anxiously waiting to hear what is coming. We all settle in for the drive, and our minds are taken on a journey to another place even as our bodies are being transported on another adventure. Our read-aloud time is no longer a dilemma, but a delight.

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned;”
~ II Timothy 3:14-15

Your Turn!: How has your family dedicated time for reading aloud?

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Why is Prayer a Last Resort?

Why_Is_Prayer_Last_ResortThere seems to be a trend amongst parents commenting on our recent blog posts. Prayer is something we all agree needs to happen, but is often not the first thought which comes to mind when a situation arises. Why do we use prayer as a last resort, when we could be accessing the most incredible resource available?

In our home, the Lord has shown us some unique ways in which to incorporate prayer into daily life. Join us as we review how prayer should not be the last thought which crosses our minds, but the first.

I need to be praying for each child individually. I pray for my children; all the time. At times, I will even pray for a specific child. What I don’t normally do is pray for a specific child all day long. The Lord is prompting me to do just that. Become a prayer warrior for each child individually.

I need to be praying for them on a specific day. If I don’t set myself up on a routine, I can forget what I am supposed to be doing and fail to accomplish what the Lord has set before me. I need to pick a day and dedicate that day to each of my children. For example: Trinity is going to be Mondays, Noel will be Tuesdays, and so forth. This way I form a routine and don’t leave things up to my memory or chance. It is scheduled and therefore it will get done.

I need to be praying for specific things. Each of our children have specific needs and
areas the Lord is showing me needs prayer. Through this dedicated prayer time, I need to be lifting these before the Lord. Here are some of the areas of my children’s lives about which the Lord is prompting me to pray:

  • Their walk with Him. (Never assume our children are saved or walking right with God.)
  • Their relationship with me. (That our relationship would stay strong and God-centered.)
  • Their relationship with their siblings. (That they would speak with love and kindness, putting the other person first.)
  • Their current struggles. (That the Lord would give them wisdom to know what to do, patience to help them work through it, and grace to understand we all fall short.)
  • Their maturity. (That Lord would grow them and make them sober-minded.)
  • Their future. (That the Lord would make their paths in life clear. That they would always serve Him and bring Him honor.)
  • Their future spouses. (That the Lord would be working in that other person’s life. Directing them and protecting them.)

I  need to be praying for my marriage. One of the best things we can ever do for our children is have a loving marriage that is Christ centered. Our children will learn more about life, love, and forgiveness from us, than from anywhere else. Praying for my marriage is essential.

I need to be praying for my husband. Praying for my husband is not the same as praying for my marriage. Praying for my marriage is important, but so is specifically praying for my man. He has his own struggles, dreams, and needs. Those too need to be lifted before the Lord.

I need to be praying for my outside ministries. We serve in a lot of different areas. In order to best serve those ministries, it’s extremely important to be in constant communication with God. If I am not in prayer, I risk overburdening myself and disobedience to the Lord. I need to constantly remember that He is the one leading those ministries. I am only there to help, which I cannot do if I am not listening to Him speak.

I need to find creative ways and times to pray. Through the experience of others, the Lord is also showing me creative ways to pray throughout my day. I tend to be very busy, so it helps if I can pray while I attend to the responsibilities He has put before me. Here are some ways that the Lord has opened up some time for prayer.

  • I pray while washing dishes. (Lord clean the heart of —–. Make them pure before you.)
  • I pray when I cook. (Lord feed —–‘s mind and spirit. That they would hunger for you.)
  • I pray when I clean. (Lord remove anything from —-‘s life that doesn’t need to be there. Help them to be organized and have a clean heart.)
  • I pray while I fold laundry. (Socks: Lord keep their feet on your path. Shirt: Lord touch their hearts. Etc…)
See, this could go on forever. There are many ways we can find in which to be creative about our prayer times; we just need to look for the opportunities.

I have begun to notice that as my children grow older and life seems to get more complex, I have a tendency to take on the struggles of life instead of leaving them where they belong; at the feet of Christ. My family belongs to the Lord. When I humble myself and give them over to God, I can have peace knowing that He is in control. Will you join me in spending dedicated time in prayer for our families? Trust me, you won’t regret it.

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
~ Psalm 145:18

Your Turn!: Do you have a tendency to use prayer as a last resort? What helps you remember to use prayer first and not last?

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