Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Parenting in Different Seasons


As I write these words on Monday evening, my house is extremely quiet.

Our two teenage daughters left for camp this morning, and it's been rather eerie to be home in the silence after six weeks of one or the other or both of them being home all day every day.

About four hundred miles away sit my brother and his wife, parents of a four-year-old, a three-year-old, and five-day-old twins.  I'm guessing their house is a bit noisier than mine at this point.

No matter where you fall on the parenting spectrum, God is using where we are to teach and refine us, wanting us to seek Him more, rely on His grace, trust in His care.

For me, that looks like praising God that our girls arrived safely at camp this afternoon.  It means trusting that He's going to keep them safe when they hike and swim and jump off high places.  It's praying that God will speak to their hearts through the daily teaching and preaching of His Word, that they'll make good decisions, have nice girls in their cabins, and interact with a counselor who can guide them through any difficulties.

I'm guessing my brother's situation may look more like praising God for healthy babies, trusting Him for strength to get everyone fed and cared for, and praying for a little sleep!!

Most likely, your situation this week looks different than either of ours.  But whatever the age of your children, the struggles you're facing, the milestones you're embracing, God meets us where we are and wants to guide us down the path of loving our children and helping them to know Him.

So today, let's praise and trust and pray for our children as we parent them for His glory.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday Salutes

Alexandra talks about Life After Vacation (or, How to Re-enter Well).

Elizabeth says, Mamas, Please Quit Mourning Your Children Growing Up.

Did you hear or read President Bush's speech at the Dallas Shooting Memorial Service?  Full of good quotes, but these two were my favorites. "Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions." And, "At our best, we honor the image of God we see in one another. We recognize that we are brothers and sisters, sharing the same brief moment on Earth and owing each other the loyalty of our shared humanity."

I've been behind on listening to my podcasts lately, so this one's a little old (from June 27th), but I have to recommend Love in the Midst of Alzheimer's by Robert McQuilkin on Focus on the Family.  His story of love and faithfulness in caring for his wife for many years was very touching.

This Brownie Ice Cream Cake with Rolos needs to be on my table soon!  :)

And finally, I have to give a personal salute to Sues for introducing me to Crocs sandals!  When I mentioned in this post that I would be shopping for a new pair of sandals, she commented that she'd been living in Crocs sandals this summer, so I checked them out.  I actually found this pair in Shoe Carnival (and I had a $10 off coupon, too!)
They are very comfortable and perfect for a summer sandal, so thanks, Sues!!

 Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I'm On His Mind

"O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me....thou understandest my thought....and art acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether."  ~Psalm 139:1-4

This very familiar Psalm reminded me again this week of God's love and care for me, not just in a general sense, but in a very personal way.

He knows me like no one else does.  He alone knows my every thought, my every action, and my every word.  And in spite of all my failings, He loves me.

As I read further in the Psalm, I'm reminded that there's nowhere I can go that He's not with me.

He made me, just the way I am, to accomplish His purposes.  He knew just what I would be, even before I was born, and He has great plans for me.

Let's be comforted today, that whatever we are facing, whether it's a day of hope and promise or a day of doubt and uncertainty, God knows, He cares, He's here.

Monday, July 11, 2016

10 Prayers to Pray for Your Daughter

What's one of the most important things you can do for your daughter, no matter how old she is or what stage of life she's in? 

If you've been reading here long, I think you'll know that my answer to that question would be to pray for her.

I write about prayer often here on the blog, even sharing written prayers, like my prayer for wisdom in my parenting, and how I pray God's blessings on my family. (When I searched the word "pray" in my parenting blog posts, it brought up 400 posts that include that word!)

That doesn't mean that I'm always as faithful in praying for our children as I should be.  All too often, I skim though my prayer time quickly, ready to move on to the next thing.  Yet I know there is so much I want to seek God for when it comes to my daughters.  I have seen prayer at work in their lives - and when I look back over my own life, I know that much of what has come to pass has been because of parents who consistently pray for me.

I've created this list of ten areas in which I want to pray for our girls.  I'm hoping that this list will be a reminder to me of requests to bring before God. I've included the Bible passages from which I gleaned these prayers, as I love the idea of praying God's Word back to Him.  You may also want to frame your own prayers from these verses, or add/substitute new categories that fit what you would like to see God do in and through your daughter.

1.  Her purity.  Ask that God will keep our daughters pure in thought and in action.  Just living in our culture will expose her to wickedness and could tempt her to lower her standards of what is right and wrong.
Lord, help my daughter to keep her heart clean before you, to recognize temptation and to run from it, recognizing that God's will for her life is for her to be pure. [Psalm 51:10; I Corinthians 6:18; I Thessalonians 4:3]
2.  Her faith.  This covers her walk with God, the state of her soul.  First of all, has she accepted Jesus as her Savior?  That is the first step she needs to take.  If she has, I can pray for her spiritual growth.  Is she spending time with God on a regular basis?  Is she maturing in her Christian faith?
May my daughter walk in truth, resting in Jesus as the author and finisher of her faith, and growing daily in her relationship with Him.  [3 John 4; Hebrews 12:2; Colossians 1:10]
3.  Her attitude.  Pray for her to have a sweet spirit.  Many verses in Proverbs emphasize the importance of accepting correction and instruction, so we want our girls to have a teachable spirit as well. 
Help her to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.  May love, joy, peace, patience, humility, and self-control mark her attitudes and her actions.  Let her be willing to listen to those who have her best interest at heart.  [Galatians 5:22-23; Proverbs 19:20]
4.  Her friends.  As women, we know the important role that friends play in our lives.  In every stage, the people that our daughters choose to be around can either build them up and encourage them, or lead them away from what they should be.
May she have loving and faithful friends that build her up and encourage her in her Christian walk. [Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 27:6, 17]
5.  Her influences.  While friends are a significant influence, there are other things impacting her life.  Teachers, coaches, books she reads, music she listens to, movies she watches - all of these are speaking into her life. 
Help her to seek wise influences, to discern when evil is involved, and hold on tightly to things that are good.  [Proverbs 13:20; I Corinthians 15:33; I Thessalonians 5:21]
6.  Her thought life.  What our daughter thinks about will eventually come out in her actions.  How we want to cover her thought life in prayer!  What she thinks about God, about herself, and about others will cause her to make daily choices that can be either helpful or harmful. 
Draw her to think on things that are good and praiseworthy.  [Philippians 4:8]
7.  Her focus.  What is important to our daughter?  What is she working towards?  How does she use her time?  We want our daughter to focus on building into her life things that will last forever. 
Let her lay up treasures that are eternal, recognizing that we are only pilgrims here, and setting her affections on things above.  [Matthew 6:19-20; Hebrews 11:13; Colossians 3:2]
8.  Her priorities.  We all know that our lives can get out of balance when we don't put "first things first."  Focusing on knowing God, building relationships, setting good goals, having healthy habits, and developing her God-given talents are all things we want to encourage her in.  Let's pray that she will know how to keep her priorities in order.
Help her to seek first to know God, to serve God and not wealth, to value relationships, and to live out God's calling for her life.  [Matthew 6:33, 24; I Thessalonians 5:11; Ephesians 4:1]
9.  Her service.  I have prayed specifically for God to open doors of opportunity for our girls to serve in different ways.  Then, as they get those opportunities, I pray that they will do it with right motives and for God's glory.
May my daughter use the gifts you've given her to serve others, doing her service from a heart of love with pure motives, as if she were serving Christ Himself. [I Peter 4:10; Matthew 25:40]
10.  Her future.  No matter what stage our daughter is in, she has a future.  Right now, my daughters' futures include, among other things, a week of teen camp and a new school year as 10th and 8th graders.  There is so much to pray for just right there!!  Yet their future also may include college, a husband, a career, etc.  Not a day goes by that I don't want to pray for all that my girls have ahead of them.  How thankful I am for a God Who holds all of their days in His hands!
Direct her steps, giving her confidence to know that your plans for her are full of goodness and peace, and beyond anything she can imagine for herself. [Proverbs 16:9; Jeremiah 29:11; I Corinthians 2:9]
I've created a free printable list of these ten items that you can use as you pray for your daughter.  Click here to get a printable PDF.

Let's ask God to burden our hearts to pray for these precious souls He's entrusted to us!

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Saturday Salutes

Baseball game (and fireworks!) on July 3rd

Nancy gives 5 Rules for Family Meals.

Bonnie writes On Turning 39....and 5 Ways to Embrace Our Age.

I enjoyed seeing Leanne's 10 Ways to Wear a Black Skirt.

Debbie lists 50 Frugal Summer Activities.

I'm back with a verdict on the No-Bake Summer Berry Icebox Cake I made for July 4th - it was SO delicious!!  We ate it up unbelievably fast; it could definitely become a summer tradition!  Next I think I should try Christy's Family Favorite Oreo Ice Cream Cake.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Show Your Children Their Heavenly Father

Whether we're parenting teens or toddlers, may we seek opportunities today to show them their Heavenly Father.  From His grace to His goodness, His providence to His protection, His love to His longsuffering, may we, through our words and actions, teach them about Him.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What Did Noah Find?

It's been a part of every summer that I can remember...a week of Vacation Bible School with Bible lessons, missionary stories, crafts, and the mandatory snack.

We held VBS at our church last week, and I taught a group of precious 3rd and 4th graders about Noah each night.  Our theme verse was Genesis 8:6, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."

While there was judgment coming and a world full of wickedness around him, Noah didn't find condemnation.

He found grace.

I'm reminded, then, that Noah wasn't perfect.  If he had been, he wouldn't have needed grace.  But God saw him where he was.  He saw that Noah's heart was bent toward pleasing Him, for it's said that Noah walked with God.

Not only that, but Noah was willing to stand alone, when the Bible says about his fellow man that "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

What all did it mean, this finding of grace?  It involved love, forgiveness, a plan for his physical salvation from destruction that included a procedure to follow and hard work.

Finding that grace led to the next step - obedience.  Verse 22 of chapter 6 says, "...according to all that God commanded him, so did he."  Again in chapter 7, verse 5, "And Noah did according unto all that God commanded him."

God gave detailed instructions for building the ark and Noah built it just as he was instructed.  Did he understand why everything had to be done exactly the way it was?  I wouldn't think so, at least not at the beginning.  But this wasn't Noah's rescue plan, it was God's, so he did it God's way.

I found grace the day I got saved.  Yet I still need his grace daily to follow the plan He has for me, to obey the commands He has given me to follow.  Just as in Noah's case, I won't always understand the direction my life is taking, but His grace will lead me on.  God has a plan for me to fulfill that will ultimately benefit not only myself, but my family, if I will just follow what He lays out for me to do.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Saturday Salutes

I enjoyed Fiona's list of feminine rituals.

Christy shares One of My Greatest Secrets to Wedded Bliss.

If you're looking for a simple 4th of July dessert, try this Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake.

Merry lists My 5 Fave Ways to Have a Fantastic Day (reminds me of my fun goals for July!)

Sarah tells How I Transitioned to Farmhouse Style and Easy Ways You Can, Too! 

Here's a picture of that Icebox Cake I'll be making this weekend.  I'll let you know how it turns out!


Hope you have a wonderful July 4th weekend!!

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