How to Really Pray for Your Kids

[Note: We are learning how to really live together. This isn't an instruction guide. The posts in this series are my open journal. Please include your thoughts in the comments. Let's find out together how to really live!]

“Mom, close the door.” It was the way he said it. Lip quivering, wringing hands. I knew he needed to talk and as I walked to his bed, holding my breath, mind racing, I knew this would be one of those moments I wouldn’t forget.

As soon as I sat down, he threw his arms around my neck, nearly climbing into my lap and a volcano of emotions erupted. We both held on tight.

It’s not a story that needs to be told here. It’s his. But it involved pressure from the world and one little boy standing up against it.

Oh, my heart.

Immediately, I thought of  I Corinthians 10:13, one of the verses we had just memorized as a family with crazy hand movements to help us remember, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

In learning it, we pretended that “temptation” was a heavy rock trying to crush us, but God, being faithful, helped us escape from the heavy blow.

And so sitting in my 8 year old’s son bed, I felt the weight of the rock. But The Rock was there, holding the pressure at bay. In the scope of his life, this was such a small thing. But it’s in winning the small battles, we prepare for the big war, the one that vies for our very life.

He talked, I listened. I talked, he listened. God was near.

I walked down the steps with an urgency to pray for my children. Not just with them at table and bed, but for them, over them. I try to practice this, but there’s nothing like watching your child overcome that sends you back to your knees.

How to really pray for your kids:

  • Pray over them-at night while they are asleep, in the car before you drop them off, in tense moments
  • Pray with them-ask them to pray, even when you know they will say no, keep asking
  • Pray for them-God loves them more than we do, there are no secrets. I pray for their weaknesses and for mine.
  • Pray in front of them-let them see you pray, on your knees.
  • Pray without ceasing——pray God’s best for them, not yours.
  • Pray to receive God’s best-because odds are there will be valleys that are hard for mommas to cross

How do you really pray for your kids?

an extensive plan with scripture to pray for your kids for a year


How to Really Love Your Kids

I love my kids.

You love your kids.

It’s part of the whole parenting gig.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that what they need in order to feel loved, isn’t always what I give them.

On any given night, my son will press into my busyness, and ask a question that makes me stop in my tracks. “Want to snuggle?” It makes me stop because I always think, what if this is the last time he asks?

I could have spent the entire day doing things for him, but this is how he receives my love: time spent with him and affection.

I run my daughter to school early for Honor Choir, pay a hefty fee to rent her flute every month, buy her what she needs and sometimes what she wants, and I feel like all these things scream I LOVE YOU.

But she needs me to listen. She tells me of her locker jamming, the new science project, the girl who tries to steal answers from her in class.

It’s in these moments, my kids need me to engage to feel my depth of love for them.

  • Discover how your children receive love best? It’s different for each and it unlocks the key to parenting, to really loving them well
  • Engage-even in the most hectic days, I try to engage with my kids before the day is over. Make eye contact, hold their hand, touch them with assurance and listen
  • Let some things go-their hair, clothes, rooms will never look like we want them to. Reserve the fight for the real battles.

This hangs in my kitchen, near the dinner table:

It’s a constant reminder to live in the moment: to say yes, to laugh more, to stop yelling and love them the most when they are unlovable.

How do you really love your kids?

How to Really Fight For Your Marriage

Many of you know our story.

It was painful to live, painful to tell. But with great pain, there is an opportunity for great healing.

And with healing there is testimony.

Through the process of nearly losing my marriage, I learned to fight for it.

With my marriage dangling by a thread, both of us broken and afraid, I remember declaring that I would not give up easily. I threw out all my preconceived ideas about marriage counseling,  not having enough money in savings to afford “help” and I went to battle, not against my husband, but with him.

The very fall of man, put husbands and wives at odds with each other. Marriage is not easy. At it’s best, it’s difficult.

But don’t be fooled:  Satan wants your marriage to fail. He is a vicious opponent without mercy. If you won’t fight for your marriage, he will.
I believe every marriage is worth fighting for and while some have Biblical reasons for divorce, I still believe God can rescue every marriage-IF- there are two willing people and sadly, that’s often not the case.

But if you are married-whatever condition your marriage may be in today-you need to fight for it.

How to really fight: [there are so many ways you can do this, here's what has helped me]:

  • Ask hard questions-Is there intimacy in our marriage? Are there secrets?
  • Prepare yourself for unexpected answers-don’t rule out counseling. It’s not just for broken marriages, it can truly make your marriage better.
  • Trust -Believe in your spouse. Choose to trust.
  • Pray-simply said, hardly done. Pray for your marriage and your mate.
  • Eliminate distractions-turn off cable if it’s unhealthy, throw out edgy movies, only accept purity in your marriage.
  • Don’t condemn-this only causes strife.
  • Submit your marriage and your life to God. We have found the closer we are to God, the closer we are to each other.
  • Forgive-some things seem unforgivable. But in the end, we must forgive. (This doesn’t mean we have to continue to live in abusive, dangerous or unfaithful marriages)
  • Let your husband lead your home, submit to him on the big stuff. If you doubt him, pray that God will speak to him.

If you have an unbelieving husband, practice I Cor. 7.

Our marriage is not perfect and at this rate, it never will be, but it’s real and it’s good and it will last.

How do you really fight for your marriage?

How to Really Love Your Husband

I met him when I was 18 on my very first day of college. We attended a small private Bible School and I was the introvert in the room. He drew me out.

I was immediately attracted to his personality. And then his muscular tan legs. He was fun and social-everything I wasn’t.

We instantly became friends. It was three years before we became more than friends, but there was always a strong undercurrent in our relationship.

Then one day, he graduated from college and left for graduate school, I visited him.

We kissed.

[ELECTRICITY]

We married 87 days later.

I love my husband deeply. I loved him through a very dark period in our marriage. I’ve watched him fight the battle of his life and win. But we’re human. Selfishness creeps in and daily, we must choose love.

The book that made me a better wife: For Women Only, offers startling statistics about our husbands:

1000 men were asked to rate what was MOST important to them-what they really needed the most from their wives, basically, how they felt most loved, the results with #1 being the most important need:

5. I need her to understand my burden to provide/how draining my job is.

4. I need more sex.

3. I need more respect, in public and private.

2. I wish she’d make more of an effort to take care of herself.

And the number one need in the survey (or way we can really love our husbands) ….

1. I want her to know how much I love her.

He loves you. He may not show it the way you want or even need. But at his core, despite poor communication skills or your doubt–he loves you.

And that’s how we can really love our husbands, by accepting and believing in their love for us.

Ten tangible things you can do to really love him:

  1. Kiss him 5 seconds longer than normal.
  2. Pray for him.
  3. Get dressed everyday.
  4. Ask him about his work; listen to what he says.
  5. Let him pick the movie.
  6. Wear that tiny lacy thing in the back of your drawer.
  7. Tell him you respect him-when he least expects it.
  8. Randomly ask him a question about the bills or dinner or anything, naked.
  9. Thank him for leading your family (even if he doesn’t do it like you would).
  10. Don’t criticize him in front anyone-including your children.

How do you really love your husband?

How To Really Laugh

[Note: We are learning how to really live together. This isn't an instruction guide. The posts in this series are my open journal. Please include your thoughts in the comments. Let's find out together how to really live!]

So. The other night one of my kids referred to The Passing of Gas. Only they didn’t quite say it like that. I was offended by the slang word they used and tried to think of a more appropriate word.

Because, y’all, it happens.

But we can still refer to it with class, ya know? Stick with me, there’s a point.

I was at a loss for just the right word and so I asked my hunk-o-man what his family said when such an occurrence happened.

And he looked a bit sheepish, running his thick hand thru his hair.
(He’s a stud, did I mention that?)

“We grew up saying “I let a windy.”

Yes, you read that right,

“I. LET. A. WINDY.”

Alone, those four simple words aren’t funny, but formed together and so unexpected, well, I ROLLED ON THE FLOOR.

ROFL.

We laughed and laughed and hiccuped from all the laughing. It was so inappropriate –this appropriate wording– coming from my handsome MAN. Oh and also, the conversation had to be CHANGEd. Because kids like to talk about this sort of thing.

But that’s how I want to really laugh.

Except in church. Because that is bad, y’all. [sidenote: why do I usually feel this kind of laughter bubbling up IN CHURCH?]

I’m pretty sure I added a year to my life that night because I felt younger and vibrant and happy from all that laughing.

Did you know that there are 42 verses on laughter in the Bible?

Plus, it’s proven to make your health better.

And, let’s be honest, it’s better than the alternative: crying, controlling, complaining…

So, how do we really laugh-not the mechanics of physical laughter, but the letting go:

Live in the Moment

Lighten Up

Let Yourself Have Fun

Live-we only have today-this moment. We spend so much our present worrying about the past or planning for the future that often forget to just stop and live. Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.

Lighten Up-If you like to control things (like me) then it’s time to lighten up. I have missed so many opportunities to laugh because I was sticking to the rules or propriety. I’m learning that letting go of control is about being more carefree.

Let- yourself have fun! If you ask my kids to define their parenting roles, they would say their dad is the fun parent. Mom takes care of everything. I want to change this. I want to give myself permission to leave it all-right there on the table or stuffed under their beds.

How do you (get to the place where you can) really laugh let a windy?

See? That’s funny. You should laugh.