A Back to School Prayer For My Children

Dear God,

School starts today. Thank you, thank you (sincere holy whisper). We both know that momma’s bag ‘o summer tricks is plum empty and hiding in the bathroom while my children argue upstairs is not going to work much longer.

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We’ve got brand new school supplies tucked neatly into clean backpacks. The kids each have squeaky new tennis shoes and their first day of school clothes picked out, except for my son who doesn’t care, but you know that already. Thank you for providing every bit of it.

We’ve spent the last couple of days getting ready. And ready or not, it’s time.

There are some jitters, wondering about getting the locker open on the first try, making new friends and who to sit by at lunch. And that’s just me. I know my kids are nervous too. You know I got a little emotional this week as I stepped into their world, walking the halls they will everyday. I have some worries, a few fears because I don’t like the cultural “norms” in our world – many aren’t normal at all in our family.  I am proud of the Godly choices my kids have made but with every new school year, they take a step further away from me and that’s hard for every momma.

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But you urge us not to worry.  So, instead I’m praying this over them today:

I pray you will be near them when I can’t be.

I pray if they don’t feel your presence, they will seek you and discover you’re right there with them.

I pray you will surround them with peace and comfort in every new situation.

I pray when they are pressured, you will help them stand.

I pray they find one good friend, a brother or sister in Christ because it’s hard to stand alone.

I pray that 6 AM won’t come as early this year.

I pray when they fail, they will forgive themselves and try again.

I pray you will give the school nurse an extra supply of patience and bandaids for my second grader.

I pray my kids will befriend those that are new, lonely or both.

I pray they will not sit next the child who has to throw up in the class trashcan.

I pray they will be a blessing to their teacher and not a curse.

I pray you will bless them with Godly teachers as you have in the past.

I pray they will have fun. But not too much, if you know what I mean.

I pray they will let their light shine, quietly or loudly, but in their own way.

I pray homework will be light and not become Home. Work.

I pray that you will help me to trust their choices, let them go even when it’s hard, and pull them close when they need me to the most.

I pray above all, God, that you would use their challenges, disappointments and victories to draw them closer to you this school year.

Thank you for every gift.

Amen

 

edited repost


What Seven Days on A Farm Taught My Son About Life

It was a last minute plan–to send my 12 year old son to spend a week on his grandparents farm. It was the first time for him to go alone, without the comfort (and irritation) of sisters.

Farm days in August can stretch long. But the alternative was another routine week at home, so he jumped at the chance to get away. A couple of days before, my father-in-law hurt his arm badly and was waiting on surgery. My son said “Maybe I can help out.” Which is code for I want to drive a four wheeler or kill something.

(He got to do both).

We met halfway to hand him off  in Dallas and I put the family phone we keep at home into his pocket in case he needed to reach me. But we both knew it was more for me than him.

I knew this would be a special week.

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Knowing my son, I knew it would be special time for his grandparents, too.

Every time I talked to him, I could hear the smile in his voice. I listened to adventures and laughed at his stories.

We only had one text conversation the whole week:

“I miss you.”

“Can’t blame you,” he replied.

“Ha. You’re so funny. What are you doing?”

“Sitting in a hayfield, playing Candy Crush, eating puffy Cheetos with Nanny,” he said.

“I think that’s what Heaven will be like: a serene hayfield, Candy Crush, Cheetos and love.”

“With Jesus.”

Oops. Yes.

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Here’s what seven days at the farm taught my son about life.

  1. Listen to the wiser, older people in your world. They can teach you a lot. People don’t always listen to the elderly, but they have a lot of good stuff to say. He loves to retell their stories.
  2. Hard work produces results. Food you plant, watch, grow, harvest tastes better than any you can buy. He walked the garden rows for hours, filling buckets with vine-ripened tomatoes, snapping off fresh okra and picking cucumbers. It was the best kind of work.
  3. When you don’t know what to do, find something to do. There’s always something to do on the farm. Exploring, roaming, imagining and hard work cures boredom.
  4. Slow down to appreciate the beauty around you. Sitting in a field on a hot August day, watching the wind whip and roll the grass like waves with crystal blue skies as the backdrop is hard to ignore.
  5. Helping others helps yourself. It felt good to help out, to be needed, to learn from someone older willing to teach someone younger. Helping makes you want to help more and that feels good.
  6. Time away from the people in your life makes you miss them. Every time I heard my son talk to his sisters on the phone, I smiled. It’s hard to disagree or argue when you simply miss being together.
  7. Life is better with gratitude. Since returning home, my son has referenced his grandparents dozens of times. He’s shared kitchen and gardening tips he picked up and offers new thoughts on life from their perspective.

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I have no doubt the week changed us all.


WFMW: The God of Second Chances

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I’m happy to welcome this week’s guest post from Lindsey for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

I was not a good mother. Not for a very long time.

Thankfully, He is a God of second chances.

My second chance started on a rainy, gloomy day. My three-year-old son was sitting in time-out for the fourteenth time…and it was only 9:30am. The house was a mess, breakfast was burnt and I hadn’t taken a shower or changed out of pajamas in days.

As hopeless tears started to fall, I decided to cope with my obvious failures by hiding in my dark closet.

It was day 61 of my being a “stay-at-home” mom.

I had been a career girl. I LOVED my job and the validation it brought me. My work reviews were fantastic and I was well liked. By outward appearances I was successful, happy and fulfilled.

The truth was far from that.

I had neglected my marriage and my children for years. Adultery had also led to the implosion of my marriage, a fact that demanded immediate action before I lost everything. So I left that career and walked into the unknown feeling lost, terrified and stripped of my identity. Those feelings grew as the days passed and I fumbled through trying to knit my marriage and life back together.

In that closet I started whispering a small prayer full of hesitant words to a God I barely knew.

I asked for a second chance, for a sign that He was here in the midst of my painful path of obedience.

I asked for a renewed relationship with my children.

I asked for the undeserved gift of many firsts to come to replace all the ones I had missed.

Almost immediately a sliver of light shone promise across my face, as my son peeked into the closet and said “Mommy? Can I come in?” I nodded my head yes and he sat in my lap, talking about the red fire truck he held in his hand. Sharing how it was his favorite toy and showing me all the cool sounds.

As he rambled on with excitement, it hit me.

This was my first conversation with my son that did not involve me yelling at him to be quiet, to obey, or to go away.

Tears started falling again, only this time they were full of joy. God was already giving me a second chance — my first “first” — simply because I had asked.

I’m going to let you in on another little secret…

I am a good mother. And have been for a very long time.

While my path has been filled with bad decisions and sorrowful mistakes, I am confident that I am now an equipped mother loved by a glorious God and am reminded of His love to me every time a new “first” occurs.

My prayer for you is to remember God’s presence in YOUR mess.

He is the God of second chances. And He is waiting to give you yours.

 

Bio:

LH Bio Pic.jpgLindsey believes God-inspired words have the power to bring hope and healing to a broken world. She spends her days loving her family, listening to classical music, pretending to clean, writing to God and helping authors create and share life-changing messages.

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The Truth About Religion

I am a church child of the 80′s.

I wore this pin, remember?

I did all the stuff Christians do.

And then a few years ago, I realized I was spiritually fat.

I was well-fed, plump on a lot of religion, but lacking obedience.

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Faith has always been a huge part of my life. I guess I would characterize myself as full of faith but lacking in obedience. I believed everything Jesus said; I just didn’t always do what He told me.

But when I began to say yes in my mess, that’s when I started to slim down.

Getting fit is uncomfortable. It can be painful and stretch us further then we thought possible.

It makes us stronger.

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When we started rescuing young pregnant girls in Kenya, many orphaned, we hired young and old widows as housemothers to help us help them.  And somewhere in the mix of helping orphans and widows, I discovered the truth about religion.

It’s not so much about what we believe, it’s also about what we do.

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We can’t really separate the two. One without the other is dead.

And when we find a way-some way in our busy lives and busy world- to serve the least of these, we find God. Every time.

When we step out of our comfort zone and serve another human, it’s a spiritual act of worship.

Religion is so much more than a check in a box. It’s being the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s about fulfilling what we were created to do. It’s about focusing on what matters. It’s about bringing God glory.

Faithful widows like Jessica, Winfred and Judy spend their days serving the least of these.

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“Thank you for helping these girls,” Judy grasped both my hands last week in Kenya.

“You’re helping us, too. We love our job and we need it,” Jessica hugged me tight.

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My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7

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As I watched widowed women love orphaned girls and fatherless babies, I saw Jesus.

I found true religion in an unlikely place.

And I’ve never seen a more beautiful site.

 


Coming Soon

There is an amazing story—and invitation behind these pictures.

It starts in a slum at the base of the hills where our new home is located.

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I can’t wait to tell you.

 

Here’s a hint: It includes fair trade, shopping, and empowering another dozen young mothers in the slum with hope, opportunity and Jesus.

 

Coming soon!