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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How Can We Pray For You?

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
~ I John 5:14

how_can_we_pray_for_youToday we are stepping out in faith. Truth be told, stepping out of a comfort zone. How we’re doing can be a touchy subject and one not easily approached with even our closest of companions. Even so, join us as we ask, “How can we pray for you?”

That’s it. A simple concept, if not always an easy one. How can we pray for you today, friend? Perhaps your homeschooling year is giving you trouble, your routine is still experiencing kinks, or your children are struggling with lessons. Maybe finances are in a jumble, work is slow, or your marriage needs a boost. On the plus side, everything could be going great and you have a prayer of thanksgiving. (Gotta love those!)

No matter what the need, we’d love to join you in prayer. This is what community is for. Share with us how we can pray for you today, and in the coming weeks.

A few guidelines… Not rules, per say, just things to keep in mind.

  • Share only what the Lord has put on your heart.
  • Be careful little fingers what you type. While we desire to lift everyone in prayer, this isn’t the opportunity to bash our spouses or bosses under the guise of seeking prayer. Let’s be mindful of our words; even those which are typed.
  • If you see a request listed which speaks to your heart, please feel free to pray on that person’s behalf.
  • If you do pray for that family, ‘Like’ their prayer to let them know you’re praying.

Let us step out in faith together, lifting one another before our Father in heaven. No matter where we are, there is always a need. What’s yours?

” I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”

~ Psalm 17:6

Your Turn!: Pray with us!

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A Time to Pray

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
~ Martin Luther

A_Time_To_PrayMore and more, I feel the Lord is prompting me to spend time in prayer. Not only praying in general, but to make my prayer time specific and dedicated. Through His leading the Lord is showing me specific ways He wants to me pray.

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 establish a routine for myself, I easily will forget my goal. I need to pick a day and dedicate it to a specific child’s prayer needs. For example: Trinity is going to be Mondays, Noel will be Tuesdays, and so forth.

I need to be praying for specific things. Each of our children has specific needs the Lord is revealing. I want 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. (I never want to assume our children are saved or walking right with God.)
  • Their relationships with us
  • Their relationships with their siblings
  • Their current struggles
  • Their maturity
  • Their future
  • Their future spouses. (May 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 which 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 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 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 the Lord has opened up 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. May they would hunger for you.)
  • I pray when I clean. (Lord remove anything from —‘s life which 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 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 He is in control. Will you join me in spending dedicated time in prayer for our families? Trust me, you won’t regret it.

📢 Chime In!: How has the Lord directed you to pray for your children?

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Praying Dangerously

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!'”
Isaiah 6:8

Praying_DangerouslyHead bowed, words pour forth from my lips. I know what the Lord is asking. My heart is willing, but fear gnaws at the edge of my resolve. I ask for peace; pause for a moment; and pray dangerously.

What does praying dangerously mean? It means we are asking God to use us – every part of us – for His glory. There is nothing we are holding back. We are asking that God take us, mold us, and put us to work for His kingdom. There is no place we are not willing to go, nothing we will not endure, and no person we are unwilling to reach. We are offering all.

How easy it seems to bow our heads and ask the Lord to use us. In theory. But, when God sends us to the furthest reaches our imagination, into dangerous territory, are we still willing to go? When our skeletons need to be brought forth into the light, healing old wounds and speaking of God’s goodness, do we hide?

Sometimes the hardest of all is when God asks us to stay put. But, wait! I thought the Lord wanted to use me? Aren’t I supposed to be in a foreign land preaching amongst the lost and broken? Shouldn’t I be touring the nation, leading thousands to repentance? When we prayed for God to send us, we never envisioned the journey being so close to home.

Perhaps we are willing to pray dangerously for ourselves. But are we willing to pray this for our family; for our children? The thought of my child in danger terrifies me. Persecution is not what any parent embraces willingly. And, yet, I hear the voice of the Lord asking me to surrender. They are His children; He wants to do great things with them.

Would that I make this prayer without fear of the future. Yet I am human. Then, the Lord reminds me I am never alone in this journey He is asking me to undertake. There is nowhere He will send that He will abandon me. There is nothing He sets before me which I cannot do through His strength.

Yes; I ask the Lord to send me and use me. Yet I take heart in knowing there is nothing I am offering which God has not already given. There is no part of myself which is truly mine; all of me already belongs to Him. I am merely surrendering to the knowledge of this truth. I am His to be used as He sees fit; for His glory and His good pleasure. As are my children.

By example, I pray openly before my children for God to use me no matter the cost. My heart open before the Lord, I acknowledge my fear and put my trust in the Good Shepherd. No; praying dangerously is not easy, but absolutely necessary.

“‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.'”
Matthew 11:29-30

📢 Chime In!: How are you teaching and encouraging your children to pray dangerously?

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How Now Do We Pray?

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

~ Colossians 4:2

How_NowPrayer isn’t just important, it’s vital. Our day should begin, end, continue in, overflow with, and be steeped in prayer. As parents, and homeschoolers, it is just as essential to teach our children the beauty of constant communication with God.

Being with our children a great deal of the time, we have so many wonderful opportunities to encourage our children in prayer. By not only praying with them, but teaching them how to pray, we help remove any fear over praying in groups or praying out loud. We teach them the true meaning and value of prayer itself.

How now do we pray?

Constantly – Prayer should not be constrained to mealtimes, during ‘Bible’ time, or before bed. We need to be in prayer at all times, lifting even the smallest things before the Lord. We pray if our children get hurt, if we’re having a hard morning, if we’re trying to make wise decisions, if we’re feeling emotional, if we’re rejoicing over a blessing, and so much more. Prayer is a constant.

Artfully or Authentically? – We need to teach our children to use their own words, and not to obsess over choosing the ‘right words’ to pray. God is interested in our hearts (which He already sees, nothing is hidden from Him). He doesn’t need fancy words, just a humble heart. Now, if you happen to have an extensive vocabulary and using lovely words is natural for you, that’s wonderful! However, children need to understand this is not essential to prayer. God loves to hear even the most simple of words from His children.

Honestly – Sometimes children believe they need to hide what they truly feel; what a great moment to clarify this with our children. (For example: “I’m Angry!” or “I’m Hurt!”) These thoughts are okay to express in prayer and should be allowed. God already knows what they’re feeling, why shouldn’t we be open and honest about it before Christ. What a wonderful opportunity to give our feelings over to the Lord and ask Him to remove them.

Formula vs. From the Heart – There is no right or wrong prayer; no formula by which we are required to pray. There are times all we can pray is “HELP!” God is not looking for a rote prayer, said only from tradition, but honest communication from our hearts. Does this mean repeating a particular prayer over and over is wrong? Not if our heart is truly in it!

Prayer can be intimidating for some, especially young children. It might help to start off with a few guidelines in mind, just to help get them going. A few great examples might be to use ACTS or to use Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).

  • Acknowledge all the Lord is doing and how wonderful He is.
  • Confess your sins and ask the Lord to forgive you.
  • Thank the Lord for all He is doing in your life.
  • Supplication. Ask the Lord to meet your need.

Again, we do not demand our children use these guidelines within every prayer. The act of prayer should come from our heart and be humble communication with Christ. However, especially with young children, it helps to give them a few ideas on what they could pray for and offer helpful suggestions until they feel more comfortable with open prayer.

No matter how we choose to instill the habit of prayer in our children, may I encourage each of us to take this seriously. There is nothing more important we could be teaching our children than to walk justly with God.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6:9-13

🔔Time to Chime In: How do you encourage your children to pray?

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Moms In Prayer

Moms In PrayerIt is never too early to start praying for our children and, conversely, it is never too late!

In the past year, our church has begun to host our own “Moms In Prayer” group. A group specifically designed to encourage moms to come together in prayer for the future of all our children.

Our group meets every Monday, either in the morning or in the evening. We get together and pray for one hour, lifting up our children and asking the Lord to help them in their areas of struggle. 

This group is such a blessing. Prayer can definitely be felt and does so much good. Each day of the week we specifically pray for a different member of our family. (See A Time to Pray.) Once a week, we pick a specific person to lift up before the group.

I would highly recommend establishing such a group in your own homeschooling community or church. Prayer is always a good idea and the encouragement of others helps us to understand we are not alone.

Let the prayers never cease!

Does your homeschooling community, or church, have a prayer group specifically aimed at your children?

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,”
Colossians 1:9

Homeschooling 101: Do All Things In Prayer

On occasion, I have the pleasure of advising families who are new to homeschooling. We talk about how to begin setting up a homeschool routine and the basics of a good education.

Rather than frustrate them with long notes to take, it has been suggested I write these ideas down and make them available at a moment’s need. 

May you find this information helpful and edifying. 

……

Homeschooling101Often in life, we skip over the simple things. We long to rush into action and attack our problems head on, never stopping to first understand from whence our problems arise and how we might best resolve the issue.

Homeschooling is no different. Our first thoughts are towards pulling our kids out of public education and then we run headlong into a series of questions on how to tackle the seemingly insurmountable job of educating our little ones. Where do I find materials? Which curriculum do I use? Will they like it? Will I go crazy? Can we afford this?

Before we lose our heads and become stressed, without even picking up a single book or teaching a single lesson, I suggest we take a step back and start at square one… What does God have to say about all of this?

As in all areas of life, we should start our homeschooling journey in prayer. There is no portion of our lives of which God does not want to be a part. He wants to be the first One we talk with and the One we come to with our concerns. There is no problem too big and no task He can’t figure out.

All Things in Prayer

When we first began, we prayed over everything. We asked the Lord to give us clarity in how our routines should be set up, which curriculum we should use, which activities we should be involved in, and all other areas of our life. We wanted to make sure this was His doing and not something we were trying to control on our own. If we attempted to do this on our own, we knew we would fail.

Beginning our adventure with prayer not only calms our nerves, but helps us gain a true perspective of what He wants of our children’s education.

So, first and foremost, before anything else is done, go to the Lord. Let the God of the universe help you to better understand the direction He has for your life and the ways in which He will direct your homeschooling endeavors.

Veteran parents: For what did you specifically pray?

“In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6

Future In-Laws

WeddingSo often when we think of our children’s future, we think of only them. What college they will go to; when they will get married; who they will get married to; how many grandkids our children will provide us with. How often, I wonder, do we ponder the people our children will marry?

I remember having a very pointed conversation with one of my children who seemed very concerned about the person she would marry. “But will he let me homeschool?” she asked. “Will he let me stay at home, like you do?” she wanted to know.

I remember telling her that I couldn’t give an answer to her questions; those were things she would have to work out with the person the Lord brought into her life. One thing I could tell her was this… pray!

Pray that your future husband will be a man of God, pray that he will be excited about the idea of homeschooling, pray that you will be able to stay at home, and keep praying for the man you eventually marry, until the day you die.

As her mother, and the future mother-in-law to whichever man the Lord brings along, it prompted me to also take a step of faith and do some praying of my own.

I pray that he be a strong Christian. Our faith is the center of who we are. I pray that she marries a man who not only has our same beliefs, but has given himself fully to the Lord.

I pray that he is from a strong family. While this isn’t essential (there are many great men who are not from great families), for his own sake I pray that he comes from a family where he is mightily loved. That he has parents he can count on and who love him unconditionally.

I pray that he is protected. While life is uncertain and all of us face a fair amount of trials, I pray that the Lord would take care of this person.

I pray that he would love my child the way God loves us. Every parent wants to know that their child is greatly loved by their spouse, I am no different. I pray that he would have understanding, compassion, and a great amount of affection for my daughter; not only when times are good, but for the long haul.

While it may seem silly to pray for someone we might not have even met yet, the Lord has told me this is something I need to be doing.

Each day of the week, I pray for one of my children specifically (see A Time to Pray). On each child’s “day”, not only do I spend some time praying for just them, now I also spend time praying for my future in-laws. (Imagine me chuckling as I type that…)

I pray that when the time comes for my children to be married, I would love them as my own and that they would love me in return. I pray that their parents would be as accepting of my child, as I would like my child to accept them. I pray that as my children marry, it won’t be a feeling of loss, but one of gain. An opportunity for us to grow and become larger, where family gatherings are filled with lots of people and lots of love.

Do you pray for the people your children will marry?

 

Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Today we returned to our “regularly scheduled program”; meaning school. Books were pulled out of the homeschool cupboard, pencils were sharpened, and lessons were learned.

For some, the first day of school can be a little bit overwhelming and sometimes even scary! Over the years, there are a couple of tips I have incorporated into our routine to make this first week run more smoothly.

I start the day a little earlier than our kids. Once my kids are up, it feels like the starting line at the Olympics, “And their off!” Getting up even a half an hour earlier than my kids, allows me time to take things easy and enjoy a cup of coffee before madness begins.

I pray, pray, pray. I want to make sure that the Lord is the center of our day. Starting the day off with prayer sets the right pace and tone for our home.

I make sure I read my Bible. Praying is important, talking to God always is, but I want to make sure I am hearing from him as well. Whether from a devotional or reading straight from the Word, I want to make sure I get in some good reading time.

I wake my babies with a cheerful “good morning” and a silly song. I try to wake the kids with something light and cheerful. This helps all of us look at the day in a good light. I usually walk in singing, “Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory!” They laugh, half asleep, and beg for five more minutes. This is usually met with a swift “nope” from me and a quick announcement. They are told they get one hour to get dressed, clean their room, eat, and  be ready to learn.

We start our learning with Bible time. Once the kids are finished with their morning routine, we gather at the kitchen table and tackle the most important subject together as a team. This sets the mood for the rest of their learning.

We start off nice and easy. The first week of school, I try to keep things nice and light. The work is mostly all review, with very few pages to be completed. This eases the kids back into a more formal routine and affords me the time and opportunity to readjust as needed.

We don’t cover all subjects on the first day. Jumping into more formal work can be a daunting task. Going from an easy summer load to a full fall load, all in one day, is like going from 0 to 60 in about 2.5 seconds; I prefer to ease them into it.

The first day of school, we cover just the basics; penmanship, spelling, language arts, oral reading, and “rotations”. Because of our curriculum layout, we won’t even start arithmetic until Thursday! Unit studies and Spanish will not begin until next week.

Starting off “light” gives me an opportunity to monitor how much time those first subjects are taking and adjust accordingly. It also means I have an opportunity to work around our chores and see if our routine is working for us.

We finish the day early. The first week back to school, I want to make sure they aren’t sitting at the table all day long. We try to take a few breaks in-between subjects and we try to finish up our learning time around 2p.m. With plenty of breaks and free time, the kids are less likely to complain about the return of a formal routine and they grow accustomed to longer periods of learning.

With all of these tips to help us out, our return to learning went fairly well. There were a few hiccups, but we will work those out. With much prayer and patience, we are getting back into our routine.

What tips help you make “back to school” more easy? I would love to learn how you “return to your regularly scheduled program”!

Another Exciting Year of Ministry

Most mommies look for creative ways to teach their children life skills, I am no different. Several years ago, having expressed an interest in perhaps trying Girl Scouts, my Bible study leader brought Keepers of the Faith to my attention.

Now, you might ask, what is Keepers of the Faith? Keepers of the Faith consists of two separate programs; Keepers at Home (for girls) and Contenders for the Faith (for boys). Both are Bible based clubs that focus on teaching young people to be Godly men and women. The clubs are run similarly to those of Boy/Girl Scouts; the children attend group a few times a month, they earn badges, and they learn life skills. The difference with Keepers is that we center all we do on the Bible. Our focus is Titus 2; training these young people to be all that God has called them to be.

When Keepers was presented to me, my children were a little young, so I set the idea on the back-burner and set out to pursue other things. However, about two years ago a friend and I began to seriously consider Keepers at Home and actively look for a group. We were made aware of one group, meeting at a local church, but the group seemed a little less active than we would have liked. We were invited to attend a smaller group, consisting of mutual friends; which we tried. As it turned out, that group was mostly preschool girls and their activity level wasn’t quite what our girls were looking for.

On the way home from our second meeting, I asked my daughters what they were looking for. My daughters excitedly replied, “We want to do some sewing. Oh, and some baking! And don’t forget the jewelry making, cooking, and flower arranging!” When I relayed this to my friend, her prompt reply was, “You know the Lord is telling you to do this, right?” I staunchly denied that I needed to have any involvement with running a group. I simply wanted to participate and help out the current leader!

When I got home, my husband asked us how this meeting went. He was treated to the full story and the responses of our girls. He then replied, “You know the Lord is telling you to do this, right?” Oh, man!! It seemed like the Lord really was going to have me step out on a limb.

With much prayer, the Lord showed me what He wanted from the program and how we could make it happen. We started with just some close friends in our home, eight girls in all, and followed what the Lord wanted us to do. We learned a lot in that short five months and my girls were hooked!

Jump to now… We have had so many girls join the group we are now part of church ministry, with about thirty girls in attendance. We meet twice a month, exploring God’s word and learning new skills to help us be better keepers of our homes.

This morning, I had the pleasure of sitting with my pastor’s wife. We went over the upcoming year and all that the Lord has been preparing in our hearts. We shared our vision for the program and where the Lord might be taking it this year. We prayed over the ministry and the girls who will attend; that the Lord would be the center of it all. 

Please join me in praying for this ministry as well! Not just for our group, but for all the groups who will be meeting. That the Lord would be honored and glorified in all we do. Please pray for me, that I will continue to listen to and obey the calling He has given me. Also, if the Lord is willing, that a gentleman from the church would step up and lead Contenders for the Faith. We have not started a boys group yet, but I feel the Lord is leading in that direction.

Do you have a Keepers group? Please let us know, if you do! We would love to hear all the exciting things you have been learning!