Monday, August 15, 2011

A New Chapter...

Lots has been happening in the Walters household in the past six, first trips to camp, new jobs, start of school...  It's been quite eventful and not the least bit dull!

The biggest news, however, is that with the "new job" comes a new chapter for the Walters Yankton, South Dakota.  After four years in Omaha, we are moving north!  The company my husband works for hand-picked him to make changes and get their South Dakota branches profitable again.  This is a HUGE deal and is essentially fast-forwarding his career ahead 15 or 20 years.  He'll be second in command, and I couldn't be prouder of him.  He has worked incredibly hard to get to this point.

Our departure is bittersweet for me.  While I am thrilled for the opportunities this offers our family, I am heartbroken to leave behind our family and friends.  We have been incredibly blessed with friends that we consider family, a church that we all adore (the kids actually told us how much they missed our church when we missed one Sunday due to vacation), and a school that is out of this world!  We are also leaving holes in the places we're leaving -- whether at church, on the PTO Board, MOPS Steering, caring for nephews, 

I know that God will provide all of these things for us -- and even those that we can't begin to imagine we need -- in Yankton.  But it is still hard to say good-bye.  

We're not going anywhere for a while -- the kids are registered for fall activities, and we thought it was only fair to let them participate in those activities since we sprung this move on them 2 days before school started.  They have days where they are so excited to go and can't wait to be there, but then they have moments where they are sad that Grandma and Poppa won't be just 12 minutes away or that Nana and Grandpa Steve will need to drive 30 minutes more to see them.  

So now the focus of my days is on getting the house ready to be listed this week, and then keeping it clean with four little ones running around.  :)  And it'll all work out in the end...

Here's to new adventures, and incredible friends that we are eternally grateful to have -- and keep -- in our life.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day Twenty-one -- The Power of Forgiveness: Humility

Can you believe it is day 21?

The LAST day of our prayer challenge.  How are you feeling?

I am a whole mess of emotions today.  Thankful -- that I participated in this challenge and was able to lead you through it.  Relieved -- it was a commitment!  But a commitment that I intend to renew every day for as long as I'm a mom.  Sad -- that this wonderful challenge has come to an end.

What an accomplishment!  Think of all the work that has been done on behalf of your sons!  Congrats!!

You might have noticed that there are actually 22 prayers in the Warrior Prayers eBook.  Brooke chose humility as the last day's topic because it is such an amazing posture of the heart.

She said, "Scripture just seems to scream God's favor over those who are humble in heart.

  • James 4:10 says that if we're humble before the Lord, He will lift us up.
  • 1 Peter 5:6 says that if we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God He will exalt us.
  • Most importantly, in Psalm 149:4 we find that it is the humble who are adorned with salvation.
Did you see that?  A humble heart is required for salvation.  Just as Jesus humbled Himself unto the cross, we must admit that we're sinners, admit that our own way isn't the right way, and humbly ask for forgiveness before salvation comes."

In addition to the humility associated with salvation, we are trying so hard to teach our sons (and daughter) that ALL of their gifts come from Him, and all of the glory for those gifts and talents must be given to God.  

Do you show humility before your sons?  Do you always have to be right?  Do you always have to win?  Pray and ask the Lord for specific ways you can show humility today so that when the time comes, your sons will know how to show it too.  

"Be completely humble and gently; be patient, bearing with one another in love." - Ephesians 4:2

A few of you have asked for a list of the group's members so that you can continue to pray for them.  I will try REALLY hard to get those up by the end of the day.  If not today, look first thing in the morning.

One last thing. 

I would like to encourage you to share specific ways that this challenge has been meaningful to you. Comment below, or share on the Facebook group page. 

I would also encourage you to pray and ask God to give you at least three specific things you can pray every day for your sons as a result of this study.  

Congratulations on finishing this amazing prayer challenge -- and please, keep praying for your sons.  You can't make a mistake in praying for your children!  Parenting is such challenging, heartbreaking, heartwarming work -- and we really cannot do it alone.

May God continue to work in the hearts of you and your sons.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day Twenty -- The Battle: Heart Change

Today's focus is on The Battle: Heart Change.  If you do not see this chapter immediately following the prayers on salvation, check the front of the ebook.  As you read, here is some encouragement from Brooke.

"The most foundational thing we can ask God for in the lives of our sons is heart change.  The Word says that what's in the heart eventually comes out.  Bad stuff in the heart?  Bad stuff comes out.  Good stuff in the heart?  Good stuff comes out.

I heard an illustration of this concept once from a pastor friend.  He held up a Styrofoam cup with a little water inside and proceeded to ram his hand against the cup so that the water splattered everywhere.  Then he asked this questions:

'Why did water come out of the cup?'

So what do you think?  Did the water come out of the cup because he rammed his hand up against it?  Certainly a possible answer.  But consider this: could it be that the water came out of the cup because there was water IN the cup?

Think about it ... if the cup had been empty when he rammed it, nothing would have come out.

And so it is with our hearts.  Life has a funny way of ramming up against us.  People pull out in front of you when you're in a hurry.  The neighbor's dog won't stop yapping through the night when all you need is a few hours of sleep.  Your children pick the day after your favorite relative dies to be little horrors ... somehow sensing that mom is frazzled.

Stuff happens.

We get hit.  Probably every day.  But our response to the hits comes from what's in our cup ... or hearts.  Bad stuff in the heart?  Bad stuff comes out.  Good stuff in the heart?  Good stuff comes out.

'The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.' - Luke 6:45"

What comes out of YOUR heart when you get hit?  Our response matters to God and it matters to the people watching and learning from us along the way.

After reading "The Battle" chapter about Eli and his sons, how does it make you feel to know that  godly man, such as Eli, could fail to raise his sons to know and love the Lord?  Comment here our on the Facebook group page.

Today, cover your sons with the ten prayers for heart change.  I know I need that, too.

We have just one more day on this incredible prayer journey, friends, but it doesn't end there.  I continue to pray for perseverance and endurance, and for your hearts to be changed as much as those hearts that you're praying for.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day Nineteen -- When Hearts Change: Salvation

"Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."  - Romans 10:9

There is nothing that weighs on my mind and heart more than the salvation of my children.  There is absolutely NOTHING that I want more for them than that.  Nothing

I can pray for all sorts of things for my sons -- protection, patience, good friends who will be a positive godly influence, happy and healthy marriages.  And don't get me wrong, these are all great things to pray for. God doesn't care how big or small our request is -- He knows what's on our heart.

But seriously?  Until their hearts submit to Jesus, they will continue to choose themselves and their own way. Until they choose salvation, nothing. else. matters. 

In the LG, Brooke shares this:

"Elyse Fitzpatrick, in her book entitled, Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus, says, 'There is no easy way to say it, but it must be said: parents and churches are not passing on a robust Christian faith and an accompanying commitment to the church.

Take a moment today to look long and hard at your parenting.  Is it Gospel-centered, or have you allowed the world's 'stinking thinking' to creep into your home."

To quote from the ebook:

"Day after day you will parent, intentionally seeking the heart of your son.  But until the King of kings and Lord of lords turns his heart of stone to a heart of flesh, your son's actions will be motivated by what is pleasing to him, rather than what is pleasing to the Lord."  p. 15

There is absolutely nothing so important as the salvation of your sons.  NOTHING!!!  Get on your knees and beg for their salvation.  

Today, as you pray through the ten prayers in the salvation chapter, consider whether you've made it a habit to pray for the salvation of your sons.  How has this study changed the way you pray for them so far?  (Comment here or on the Facebook page.)

If you've prayed for nothing else, pray for this for your sons.  Their eternity depends on it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day Eighteen -- When Hearts Soften: Anger

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice."  -Ephesians 4:31

Sometimes it can come in a flash.  One minute things are great.  You are calm and collected.  And then something sets you off -- or too many things piled on top of each other are suddenly too much to bear.  And like a gurgling, bubbling mad hot volcano, anger comes spewing out of you.

It's a visceral, body-consuming emotion.  It tenses every muscle in your body.  Your fists clench in frustration.  Your voice rises, becoming louder with each syllable.  It seems as if we have no choice but to react -- to release that all-consuming, powerful, even BLINDING emotion.

But we DO have a choice when it comes to anger.  As Brooke says in the LG, "We can choose to embrace it and sin.  Or choose to put it away, and instead choose kindness, self-control, compassion and love."

We can choose GOD over ourselves, over anger.  And I want so badly for my sons to make that choice -- for me to make that choice.

I know that so many of us have commented on how God is at work in our hearts just as much as He is in the hearts of our sons.  Brooke shares this for today.  "Man!  It seems like every single thing we've prayed for so far starts with what's in our hearts!  I'm afraid anger is no different.  Today, when you're tempted to sin in anger, ask the Lord to show you the way (He promises He will) and choose grace and love instead."

Today, as you pray the ten prayers in the anger chapter, ask the Lord to do just that -- to show you and your sons the way out when anger rears its ugly head.  He promises He will lead you out to grace and love instead of anger and wrath.

Have you seen specific ways that God has brought something beautiful from a situation you thought was lost with your son(s)?  Recall it here in the comments or on the Facebook page.

Day Seventeen -- Fruit of the Spirit: Self-control

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." -1 Corinthians 10:31

Today is a doozy.  Today, we're covering our sons with prayers for self-control.

I told you it was a doozy.

Especially when it's something I know I struggle with on a daily basis.

And oh, how I wish I could take on that struggle of self-control for my sons.  Anyone else with me?

I want to share with you the encouragement Brooke provides in the LG.  Enjoy.

"What's on the throne of your sons' heart?  I recently spoke at a small local women's conference on the topic of finding balance in our physical and spiritual lives.  Admittedly, this is an area I've struggled with my entire life.  I'm an emotional eater, and my weight has fluctuated over the years to prove it.

I used to think that I could control it by counting calories, or walking four miles a day (yes, I used to do that).  I've tried portion control, diet pills and running, but nothing sticks.  Know why?  Because I love food.  I turn to it for comfort, fulfillment and joy.  And until I dethrone it from Christ's rightful place in my heart, I will continue to struggle.

It's idol-worship, plain and simple (ouch).

Food may not be the area of self-control with which your son struggles.  Maybe he has video games, sports, sex, or money on the throne of his heart.  The key to overcoming our tendencies toward worshiping something other than Christ is to choose to love Him more than we love our sin.  A constant laying down of our desires and picking up of Christ is the only fix.

I wrote an article once on the topic of loving Him more...

It was a hot summer night, and I sat on my bed with a heaping culmination of all I'd been taught.  A moment of rare heart understanding as I realized that life with Christ was not about what I could or could not do, but about loving Him more than I loved my sin.

Loving Him more.

Anything that separates me from God is sin and anything good can be made sin if I love it more than I love Him.  And now, twelve years later, I'm still choosing.

I love Him.  I love Him less than looking my best.  I love Him.  I love Him less than yelling at my kids.  I love Him.  I love Him less than getting even with my husband.  I love Him.  I love Him less than having a published book.  I love Him.  I love Him less than time to myself.  I love Him.  I love Him less than a stomach painfully full of my favorite meal.  I love Him.  I love Him less than getting my own way.

I love Him.

I love Him less.

Every time I love Him less I love something else more.

But He loves me.  He loves me always.

In the moment of choice this knowing of His steadfast, never-ending love is what gives me strength.  This knowing of His great sacrifice for me...and for you.  This knowing of the lengths He would go to love me more.

More than I deserve.

More than I can comprehend.

More than the power of Hell can stand against.

"My Savior's sacrifice paid for all my sin.  So in my suffering I look to the Cross again.  No need, no want, no trial, no pain can compare to this: The wrath of God once meant for me, was all spent on Him.  Before the Cross, I humbly bow.  I place my trust in the Savior.  Your finished work captures my gaze.  You bore the wrath.  I know the grace."
-Before the Cross (Sovereign Grace Music)

Now the little forever soul sits in front of me for what seems like the 20 millionth time today.  And I look at him ... and he looks at me.  And I wonder, out loud, how he could possibly want to choose discipline over joyful obedience.  After days of willful rebellion from two little men, I'm spent and I cannot understand in that moment why ANYONE would choose this chaos -- this misery -- when simple obedience would change everything.  Don't they know the sweetness that would be theirs if they would just obey?

Just CHOOSE to obey?  Sigh.  There's that word again.

That choice to love Him more begins from the beginning ... hearts made to worship Him ... choose Him.  Hearts that are left to themselves will choose our own way every time.

How many times have I chosen my own way when I knew the consequences?  How many times have I forfeited the sweet, peaceful blessings of obedience in order to stamp my feet, cross my arms, dig in my stubborn three-year-old-like heels and have my own way.

And this from a woman who has tasted the goodness of God in the land of the living!

How can I expect my little ones to choose the good all the time when their own mama, a Jesus-follower for over 20 years, still gets it wrong?



And more grace.


and choosing to love Him more."

Today, as you cover your sons in prayer, I will be covering you in prayer.  I think it so true that God is working in our hearts as much as in the hearts of our sons.  Please be encouraged, be strong in your commitment to pray for your children -- no matter what their age is -- and know that I'm asking God to give you the strength you need to persevere in this challenge and to move in the hearts of your sons.

No question today -- let's just pray.  :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day Sixteen -- Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere."  - James 3:17

My husband is tall and built like a football player -- we're talking 6'4" and the ability to lift a truck.  His younger brother is even bigger -- he even cracked his grandmother's ribs with his strong bear hug (true story!).

Upon the discovery that our first baby was on the way, I will admit to laying awake at night wondering if he'd ever figure out his strength.  How could this big, burly, stronger-than-Goliath man ever handle a newborn with the gentleness I knew they would need?

And then delivery day came, and my muscle man turned into muscle mush when he held our first baby in his arms.  The way that he cradled our new child and spoke with such tenderness, sweetly sharing all of the great things he had planned for them to do together...well, I was blown away.

Now, that newborn is 8 years old and that child still needs gentleness -- not just in physical ways, but with his words, tone of voice, the way he approaches situations.  There is definitely a time where our sons need his aggressiveness -- I, as their mom, certainly can't give them the chances to burn of that energy the way their dad can with wrestling, etc.  But those times are balanced by the times when our sons need gentleness and sweet words from their dad, knowing that they have a safe place to fall and grow with him, as well,

Perhaps gentleness is more of an approach to life than a specific characteristic to develop.  My sons wouldn't be who they are (nor would my husband be) without those aggressive streaks they possess -- but I think it's okay to teach them how and when to use it.

Brooke shared this in the LG:

"Since they were born, we've whispered these words into our sons' ears:

God made men to protect women and care for them.  God made you a big brother!  Your job is to protect your little brother, not hurt him.  There's a time to play and a time to listen.  If you can't listen, you have to feel (true in so many aspects of life).  God wants you to use your strength to protect, not to hurt.  Superheroes don't look for fights, but they will fight to protect others.  It's OK to want to be the best, but the best people in life are the ones who serve others.  A gentle word turns away wrath..."

Today, as you pray the ten prayers in the gentleness chapter, consider this thought: Helping our sons to define and set parameters for their aggression can help develop a worldview of gentleness.

So how do you do that?  How do YOU define and set parameters for your sons' aggression?  Comment here or on the Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day Fifteen -- Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

I dream of sons that are responsible and can hold down jobs.

I dream of sons who work hard each and every day to support their families.

I dream of sons who are faithful and 100% committed to their wives.

I dream of sons who are good and faithful to their children.

But Brooke pointed something out.  What we really need to pray about is that our sons would be faithful to God.

"Doesn't this one prayer bring with it the solution to everything else [mentioned above]?  A man whose first love is Jesus, will be faithful in all of the areas above.  He won't be perfect, but he will possess the ability to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be faithful.  It is something worth praying for."

Indeed, Brooke, it IS something worth praying for.  Today, commit to the praying the ten prayers in the faithfulness chapter.

And consider this quote from Paul E. Miller's A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World.  "Mature Christians are keenly aware that they can't raise their kids.  It's a no-brainer.  Even if they are perfect parents, they still can't get inside their kids' hearts.  That's why strong Christians pray more."

Whether you are a strong Christian with your feet firmly planted in the Lord for years, or a new believer who is falling in love with Jesus for the first time, you have chosen to commit to praying for your sons.  That, my friends, is something I am thankful for and rejoice in each day.

How do you exhibit faithfulness for your sons?  Share your thoughts in the comments below, or at the Facebook page.

"Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness ... " ~Joshua 24:14

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day Fourteen -- The Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

Brooke's encouragement in the LG for today is absolutely perfect.  She originally posted it at the M.O.B. Society.  Enjoy!

"What are you aiming for?  When your boys disobey, disrespect, are unkind.  When they seek to understand what's important.  When they notice girls, cheat in school or fight on the bus.  When they're seeking marriage, failing in school or deciding whether to have sex for the first time or not ... what are you aiming for?

I want their hearts.  No behavior modification or fad parenting of the day.  No, I want the hearts of our boys, because God wants the hearts of our boys.  I'm aiming for the heart.  But how?

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's ones and all uncleanness.  So you outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."  (Matthew 23:27-28, ESV)

Looking at parenting through the lens of these verses has changed everything for me.  You see I was a Pharisee.  Boy was my cup clean on the outside.  But on the inside?  On the inside my cup was filthy, full of all uncleanness.

I had everybody fooled, even myself.  I believed that if I did good things, it made me good.  Actually, it's probably closer to the truth to say that if I don't do bad things, I wasn't bad.  I didn't know that no one is good.  I didn't really understand that everyone sins.  And I didn't understand the depth of my own sin until the Lord showed it to me.

Question:  In our efforts to raise our sons are we teaching them that if they do good things they are good?  Righteous even?  If we teach them that being good is all it takes, if our discipline and training focuses on their behavior, how will they know they need a Savior?

Are we raising little Pharisees?  Or are we raising Godly men with a heart for God?  If a Godly son is your goal, you must aim for the heart.  Because unless the heart is changed -- touched -- the behavior will stay the same.  It might look a little different, morph some as they grow.  But behavior is always a symptom of the state of the heart.  What's in the heart, comes out.

"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."  - Matthew 12:34

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What parenting tools have I been using that only focus on changing behavior and not the heart?  Am I willing to lay them down even if they produce what looks like a good child?
  • Reaching a child's heart takes time.  Behavior modification is much faster!  Am I willing to change things about my life so that I have the time to invest int he hearts of my children?
  • Most importantly: Am I willing to submit my own heart to God and allow Him to mold me from the inside out?
Shepherding our boys is not for the faint of heart friends!  Once a week or more I'm tempted to just throw it all out the window (including the boys ... ) and take the easier path.  So what keeps me going?

I want their hearts.  Just like my Heavenly Father wants mine."

Do you agree with Brooke?  Do you want their hearts?  Take a peek at those three bulleted questions.  What parenting tools have you been using that focus on changing behavior and not the heart?  Feel free to respond here or on the Facebook group page.

Pray through the ten prayers of goodness for your sons! Today, I will cover you and your sons with prayers of endurance and perseverance, and ask God to change our hearts.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day Thirteen -- Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

"Love one another with brotherly affection.  outdo one another in showing honor."  - Romans 12:10

Is kindness something innate in us?  Are we born "kind" people?  My guess is no.  We're selfish, sinful beings who mostly want our own way.  More likely, kindness is a learned art...which means our sons are learning it from us.

It's quite challenging to learn how to be kind without receiving kindness.  Our sons are looking to us for show them how it feels to receive kindness.  Only then, can they know how important it is to share kindness. 

Kind is not something that you just are. Kindness must be demonstrated or practiced.  Proverbs 19:22 says, "That which makes a man to be desired is his kindness; and a poor man is better than a liar." It doesn't mean being kind to some and not to others.  Our sons need to know that even a smile to a stranger can be an act of kindness that will drastically change the course of their day.

My son, Easton, is every bit the hustling-bustling, never-ending ball of energy that you expect a two-year-old to be.  But he also exhibits kindness in ways that absolutely surprise me.  He will willingly give his toys to his playmates without prompting.  He is eager to get things that we need.  Easton always has a smile on his face, and he seems to try hard to make his siblings happy.

Why is he, my fourth child, full of kindness at such a young age?  I think he sees it exhibited in his older siblings.  He sees them willing to share their toys with each other and him.  He sees them smile at him just in an effort to make him smile.  Easton knows what it is to receive kindness because he is surrounded by it every day.

Now don't get me wrong -- he most definitely sees his older siblings duke it out over a toy or the last granola bar.  And he sees them treat each other with what is most definitely NOT kindness.  But more times than not, Easton's heart is receiving it, and he's already doling it out in great quality.

In the LG, Brooke's encouragement comes from Sally Clarkson, author of The Mission of Motherhood.  What she shares has actually been posted on the M.O.B. Society, so I'm providing the links for them here.  Take a peek -- she wrote a two-part piece on the kind of hand our sons need.  Both parts are well worth the time and effort spent devouring them.  

Today, cover your sons with the ten prayers in the kindness chapter.  I will be praying this with my sons today, so that they can hear what scripture says about kindness.  

How do you exhibit kindness?  How to you teach your sons to show kindness?  Share your thoughts here or on the facebook group page.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day Twelve -- Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

"But whoever would be great among you must be your servant ... " ~Matthew 20:26

I remember so well when my husband and I first met.  I couldn't wait to spend more time with him!  I knew this person was special and there wasn't enough time in each day for us to spend together.  A little later in our relationship, I couldn't wait to get engaged!  After our engagement, that wedding just couldn't come fast enough.  I was so fired up for the big amazing things (and so lacking in patience) that I could easily have missed the everyday, mundane moments that made our relationship so special.

In the LG, Brooke's encouragement is very much along these lines.  I've included a bit of it below.  

"I'm convinced that God cares less about how much I accomplish in life...the 'great things' I do in His Name...than He does about how I respond to the things He allows into my life on the daily.  Some of the most accomplished in the Kingdom of Christ are those whose names you and I will never know this side of heaven.  And greatness is only measured by how well we respond to Christ in the little things.  Being patient for what God's plan is and not necessarily pursuing our own dreams."

Oh boy.  Those words -- God's plan.  It's so hard sometimes (okay, MOST times) to step aside and let God's plan lead us.  It can be challenging and frustrating to find contentment and peace with life "as is" and to be patient for the things God has in store for us down the road.  

Brooke has quoted Paul E. Miller several times recently on her blog and facebook page.  In his book,  A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, Paul has this to say about greatness:

"Underneath her obedient life is a sense of helplessness.  It has become part of her very nature...almost like breathing.  Why?  Because she is weak.  She can feel her restless heart, her tendency to compare herself with others.  She is shocked at how jealousy can well up in her.  She notices how easily the world gets its hooks into her.  In short, she distrusts herself.  When she looks at other people, she sees the same struggles.  The world, the flesh, and the Devil are too much for her.  The result?  Her heart cries out to God in prayer.  She needs Jesus."

Friends, be encouraged today.  Know that your "ten little prayers" are part of the little things that matter most.  Do you think you're teaching your son(s) that the "little things" are what matter most?

As you cover your sons in prayer today, I will be covering you in prayer for strength and endurance, for God to move in the hearts of your sons, and for patience for all of us.  And for those men who are joining us today -- HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

May our sons be strengthened with all power, according to God's glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy (Colossians 1:11)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day Eleven - Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

Today is another day where I am going to share, word-for-word from the LG.  Today's encouragement comes from Laura Lee Groves, author of I'm Outnumbered! One Mom's Lessons in the Lively Art of Raising Boys.  

"Most of us are actually outnumbered by the males in our households -- for me, it's been five to one!  But it's not just the numbers that bring that sense of being overwhelmed.

For the mom of just one baby boy, a baby's demands can be overwhelming.

For the mom of a toddler boy, the constant busyness, discovery, and rebellion can wear mom down.

For the mom of a school age son, making sure he's keeping up with learning and homework can be taxing and worrisome.

For the mom of a middle schooler and teen boy -- oh, there's so much to worry about!

But you're not the first mom.  It's pretty clear to see we're in this thing called mothering together.  That means others feel -- or have felt -- that same need for peace.

What can you do to help yourself?

First, find someone to confide in -- someone who's walking same path, or someone who has walked it before.  My biggest support when my boys were small were two boy moms whose sons were a few years ahead of mine.  Find someone you can be honest with about the trials of mothering.

If at all possible, step away from the demands -- for an hour, for an evening, even just for fifteen minutes.  Let someone else hold the baby or chase the toddler for just a bit, and don't feel guilty.  If your son is school age, find a project or lesson that Dad or big brother or someone else can step into in your place, and take a break.  Or just step back and give your son a little more responsibility -- see if he can handle it.  We too often see ourselves as indispensable when our sons can do some things on their own.

You can help yourself by shifting your perspective as he grows.  We have to accept that they're growing and changing, and if we resist that, it just makes everything more difficult.  As he grows, do whatever you can to stay close to him.  When he hits those middle and teen years, keep him talking.  Do the one thing you know he enjoys doing, even if it's not your favorite.  Build a bridge, strengthen the connection between the two of you.  Stay close, but don't smother, and love unconditionally.  You've poured a lot into your son.  The proof of the pudding comes as he spreads his own wings and tries them.  Sometimes he has to take a hit before he realizes it's "real world time."  Don't save him every time, or he'll never be the man he was created to be.

And last -- but most importantly -- pray for him and for your relationship.  Pray for the faith to let go, for confidence in your and his abilities.

The One who made you and loves you is waiting to give help and comfort and peace all along the way.  No, He doesn't take away the pain and the frustration, but He gives us a way to deal with it.  When we begin to think about ourselves and our children in His scheme of things, we begin to think big.  We see ourselves and our children in His plan and our "today" perspective changes.

What's important for me to remember?

Motherhood (and fatherhood!) has many demands, but I can't do everything.  In fact, I don't need to.  There's One who knows better than I do and He's waiting to catch me and my son when we stumble.  He gives me grace to do all I can each day ... then His grace provides for all I didn't get to, as well.

It's hard to believe anyone loves my son more than i do.  But He does.

Knowing that, I can "Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.  Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always." (Psalm 104: 3,4)

And I can help myself to peace -- from above.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee."  - Isaiah 26:3 (ASV)

We can seek peace -- from above.  {deep breath}

Are you resting in God's peace?  If not, what is keeping you from doing so?  As you're praying today, ask God to show you ways that you're not trusting Him, perhaps for your sons, and release them to Him, choosing to trust in His plan for their lives.

Question for today:  When things don't go as you planned, and life seems to throw you a curve-ball, what is your heart's response?  Do you get angry with God?  Stop talking to him?  How do you train your children to handle such situations?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day Ten - Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

Today I want to retype for you -- word for word -- the encouragement in the Leader's Guide that Brooke shared.  Enjoy!

"What is joy really?  And if my strength comes from the joy of the Lord (Psalm 28:7), then what does the joy of the Lord really look like?

As I write these words, I'm struggling with a deep desire to be grumpy and complain.  Most days I handle my husband's crazy shift-work schedule pretty well.  But today?  Well, today I feel like complaining.  So how do I find joy and strength from the Lord?  Enough to make me "burst out in songs of thanksgiving?"

How do YOU?

Here's the secret: Focus on Christ.  Focus on what He did for you (and for your sons) on the cross.  I suspect we Christians have a tendency to misunderstand the phrase, "placing our trust in Christ."  Placing our trust in Christ isn't something we did once and never do again.  Salvation may be a once and forever event, but trusting in Christ is ongoing.  Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross to be important enough to change my grumpiness to gratefulness.  Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross to get me through a rough day with my children.  Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross to be enough when I'm enduring tantrums in the grocery store.  Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross when my sons choose their own will ...

'The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.' - Psalm 28:7"

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:  Christ's work on the cross was never intended to be something we took joy in one time and then never again.  Thinking on His work and embracing it with a heart of gratefulness is enough to make even the grumpiest among us "burst out in songs of thanksgiving."  No matter where we are, or what we're experiencing, we CAN find joy in focusing on all that Christ has done and made possible through His death and resurrection.


Have you read the Fruit of the Spirit chapter that introduces prayers for love and joy (and the rest of the fruits of the spirit)?  I cried when I read it -- it hit so close to home.  And I KNOW that I am not alone.  But for me, we HAVE seen years and years of praying change the hearts of our sons, one in particular.  I pray EACH DAY that his heart -- and the hearts of his brothers -- will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit.

So keeping Brooke's story in the book in mind, I ask this...  There comes a time in every child's life, when the sin-nature starts to show its ugly head.  For Brooke and her husband, this came accompanied by a difficult life-altering challenge that made it difficult for them to train their son.  Can you relate?  How did you cope?  Comment below or on the Facebook page.

Today, cover your sons with the prayers regarding joy.  And I will cover you with these prayers, as well.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day Nine -- The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

Do you ever feel like God is just trying to subtly (and sometimes not so-subtly) tell you something?  The past year has been that for me -- regarding the Fruits of the Spirit.  For several months, nearly every bible study and book I read quoted (repeatedly) verses about the fruit of the spirit.  My son's preschool chose the Fruits of the Spirit as their year-long theme (yup -- not so subtle).  And the Sunday School curriculum that was chosen for me to teach guessed it...the Fruits of the Spirit!

It only made sense that this would be an area in which God wants me to cover my sons in prayer.  Perhaps He was using the last year to work on MY heart in those areas so that I can pray for them in the ways they need.  And let's face it -- having a heart full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control pretty much covers everything I'd ever want for them.

"Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love."  -1 John 4:8

Brooke shares this encouragement in the Leader's Guide...

"I've thought for years that love can't really be all that it should be apart from God.  The Bible says that God IS love.  For us mathematicians using the word 'IS' is the same as using the word 'EQUALS'.  In Other words, God and love are one and the same.  There is no real love apart from God, and God is behind all real and genuine acts of love."

Do we use the word "love" too loosely in today's world?  We love our food, cars, friends, shes, fingernail polish, clothes.  But there is no real definition of the word "love" apart from God.  

Keeping this in mind, how can we begin to make changes in our life and our vocabulary to help our sons understand the true meaning of the word?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page!

As you pray the ten prayers regarding love today for your sons, I will be lifting you up.  And as always, let me know if there's anything specific you'd like to me to pray for.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day Eight -- Men Set Apart: Honor

"But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good." -Romans 2:10 NLT

These days, it seems that real-life men who rush to defend the honor of women, children, and others in general are few and far between.  But that doesn't mean that we don't want our sons to be THOSE guys -- those rare diamonds in the rough who DO rush to defend the honor of all.

In the LG, Brooke shares this encouragement...

"I cam across a book recently that perfectly illustrates the type of men I hope my sons will become.  It might surprise you to know that it's written for girls.  The book?  The Princess and the Three Knights, by Karen Kingsbury.  Look beyond the surface moms.  Even you parents of older boys may want to purchase a copy of this book as a gift for your sons.  Its presentation makes it a perfect fit for a girl.  But its message is for girls AND boys.  The only knight good enough to win the heart of the princess was the one who would do anything to protect her.  That's the kind of honor I'm praying for in my sons."

Today, commit to praying the ten prayers for honor.  If you have older boys, perhaps today is the day to clean out your children's book library and give some of those treasures away to moms who need them.  Or maybe you'll tuck the best of them away for grandkids.  And whether your sons are teeny tiny or taller than you, look at the heart of the story and see which ones can teach yours about honor.  It's NEVER too late to learn.

Be encouraged, friends -- God can move in the hearts of your boys.  He can move them in ways we could never dream!  Stay strong in your prayers for these special guys.  I will be lifting you up, as well!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day Seven -- Men Set Apart: Servant's Heart

"The greatest among you shall be your servant."  Matthew 23:11

My mama's heart bursts on Sunday mornings when I see my sons eagerly pitching in to clean up after church.  You see, we are part of a church plant that meets in a local elementary school.  The use of this facility is such a blessing, but requires great service on the part of our members to tear down tables, set up chairs and sound equipment to create a sanctuary each week, and organize classrooms for Sunday School.  As soon as the day's events have culminated, it's time to put everything back in place for the school.

And each Sunday, you can find my sons, smiles spread from ear to ear, pitching in to move tables back, reset school rooms and put things back as gracious guests do.

Are they always so eager to serve?  Most times, yes -- unless it involves cleaning their rooms or the basement.  ;)  (Oh, but those are CHORES and it's not the same as serving, they say.)

Serving doesn't come naturally to everyone.  It's not everyone's gift.  But I want so desperately for my sons to be servants now AND when they are grown -- and sometimes that requires training from us and the Word.

We don't HAVE to serve others.  But Jesus did -- He led by serving.  And He said that if we want to be first, we'll need to be last.  He said that loving others, SERVING them, was serving HIM -- loving Him.

Today, as you pray over the ten prayers for a servant's heart, try finding ways to serve with your family.  Take meals to families in your church who need help.  Help serve soup to those less fortunate than you in a local Soup Kitchen.  Help fill sandbags for impending floods (we live along the Missouri River, and this is impacting many of our family members in devastating ways).  Participate in a Walk for Life for your local Pregnancy Center so they can meet the needs of women in unplanned pregnancies.  Offer to mow the widow neighbor's yard and shovel her snow.  Find ways to teach your sons the value of serving others -- and to do so without complaining or whining.  Serve JOYFULLY.

As you look over today's verses, what stands out to you?  How do you teach your sons the value of serving others?  How do you involve them in serving?  Share your thoughts here or on the Facebook group page.

Please know that I continue to cover you and your sons with prayer.  Is there anything specific you'd like me to pray for?  Let me know!  It's my privilege to lift you up!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day Six -- Men Set Apart: Purity

"And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure."  -- 1 John 3:3 (NLT)

In this area of cyber-space, "in-your-face instant gratification", it's SO incredibly easy for our sons to simply stumble upon sights and sounds that threaten their purity.  Did you know that the average age of porn exposure is now 11 years old?  It's hard to imagine that is just five short years away for my six year old, and yet, I can see how, even at young ages, they could so easily be tempted.

In the LG, Brooke provides encouragement from Hal & Melanie Young.  They are parents of SIX boys and authors of a fabulous resource on raising boys, Raising Real Men.  Read below what they have shared.

"So how do we prepare our guys for this huge battle that is about to face them?  How do we help them be strong and stay pure, so that one day they'll be knights in shining armor for their brides?  We've got to get there first and 'the first with the most,' ... We need to be open and honest with our boys starting while Mama still gives them their bath and continuing through graduation and beyond -- explaining and answering their questions, but especially putting it all in to the context of God's gift for marriage alone.  Establishing that frankness and communication from the very start will really pay off when they enter the testosterone years.  

Understanding what's going on is not nearly enough for our boys, though, especially as they become teens.  We need to prepare them to look for the snares our enemy lays for them, give them tools to help them fight temptation, and make sure they have accountability that helps them stand firm.  Too many mothers we talk to are in denial that their sons are old enough or sinful enough (hint: we all are) to face these temptations.  That's sad, because their sons need their help!

We can help them, too, by praying for them.  We need to pray for protection for them and pray they'll be strong enough to flee temptation -- and pray for the princesses they will one day claim!"
Wow.  These are HARD things that we're talking about.  And hard things to THINK about, especially if our sons are young.  But NOW is the time to be preparing them for what's to come...whether that is tomorrow, or ten years down the road.  NOW is the time for us to be praying for them to be strong against temptation (of all sorts!), and to pray for them to be surrounded by friends who will hold them accountable.  (And praying for God to give us the wisdom and words when speaking with our sons about these matters.)  

What verse(s) in today's ten prayers stuck out to you?  Have your son(s) faced challenges similar to what Daniel faced?  How have they handled them in the past?  How can you help them handle challenges in the future in a way that honors God?  Feel free to comment here or on the facebook group page.  Your thoughts are so encouraging and enlightening to me!  THANK YOU for sharing!

I will be praying for God to give you strength and endurance, and for Him to move in the hearts of your sons.  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day Five -- Men Set Apart: Pride

Encouragement from Melissa Smallwood, creator of Multitasking Mama (as printed in the LG)

Praying for my boys has changed as they have gotten older.  Watching their personalities, talents and spiritual gifts emerge provides the opportunity to pray specifically for the men they are becoming.  My mama heart used to pray, "God, help me be the kind of mom they need," but as they have moved into the tween/teen years that prayer has changed.  "God, help them become the men you created them to be" is what I utter now.

That man may not always be what I pictured in my mind, when they were toddling around and getting into everything.  none of my three boys are anything alike and none of them are what I pictured they would be when they were still small enough to sit on my lap or welcome my kisses.  And that is OK.

Proverbs 22:6 reminds us to "Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Amplified Bible).  Prayers for our sons must be individual to that child and sensitive to the one of a kind man God has designed each of them to be.  Whether my boys grow to be doctors, pastors or drive a milk truck, as long as they are living their lives for God's glory, my mama heart should be pleased and satisfied.

All three of them are uniquely and wonderfully created.  Praying for God to shape their hearts, trusting the master Potter He is, has allowed me to relinquish control of the outcome and cherish my role in the process of learning who they will become.

As they grow, up and away -- as is God's plan -- my heart's cry to Him is that they will lead lives pleasing to their Creator {and that they will visit their mama frequently}.

It's so easy to get caught up in what WE want our sons to be.  Melissa was talking above about letting -- no, ALLOWING -- God to grow our sons into the men HE wants them to be.  (Whoa -- the "control freak" in me is really struggling with this!!  But...there's a huge sense of relief, too!)

My sons are not mine -- they are HIS.  And His plans might be quite different from the plans I see so clearly.

Give it to God.  Give THEM to God.

As long as my sons are living for God's glory, it doesn't matter what profession they choose.  Their identity, I pray will be found in God, not in their career choice.  I WILL love them no matter what they do.  But more than that -- HE will love them no matter what they do.

While attending a homeschool conference, Brook heard Ken Ham, of Answers in Genesis, say "I would rather my children be ditch diggers and love Jesus, than PhDs and go to hell."  What is your response to this quote?  As always, feel free to comment here or on our facebook group page.

Today, I will be lifting you up in prayer, asking that you have strength and perseverance to continue this warrior's journey.  I will also be lifting up your sons and praying that they will be mighty men of God -- that they will be men who love Jesus and turn away from arrogance and a haughty spirit.  I will also be praying for the single moms I know -- that God will bring a godly man in their son's life to show him what a holy laying down of pride looks like.

Proverbs 13:10  "Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day Four -- Men Set Apart: Avoiding Foolishness

I don't know about you, but I am seeing powerful things happen during this prayer challenge.  It always amazes me how God manages to work just as much in my heart as He does in those I'm praying for -- He is SO powerful!

Today's prayers focus on avoiding foolishness.  Brooke's encouragement in the LG is so good that I am literally going to quote it verbatim.  (Why reinvent the wheel when what she shares is SO fitting for today."

"In their book, Instructing a Child's Heart, Tedd and Margy Tripp have this to say about foolishness:
"The Bible's definition of foolishness is concise. 'The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God." (Psalm 14:1)  If there is no God, I am autonomous -- a law unto myself.  There is no consideration in life more profound than, 'What will please ME?'  Children don't say those words, but such foolish thoughts are the underlying justifications for hundreds of impulses every day.  It is expressed in all the acts of disobedience, selfishness, willful temper, and compulsive self-love."  (p 112)

He sits across from me with his head down, this little love of mine who steals my heart and breaks it all at the same time.  I ask him for the fourth time that day to tell me how many kinds of men there are in this world.  his answer?  TWO.  

The foolish man, who says in his heart there is no God, and acts like a law unto himself.

The wise man, who fears God and obeys Him.

Foolish choices bring unpleasant consequences.  But the wise man has security in loving God and all the power of heaven on his side.  And I ask him again to tell me what kind of man he wants to be.  His answer?  THE WISE MAN.

I know there will come a day when my little love will have to own this faith, but I believe with all my heart that teaching both of my sons to think in biblical terms now will help them choose in biblical terms later."

I could NOT have said it better myself -- particularly that last paragraph.  It RARELY occurs to me to help my sons to understand the difference between the foolish man and the wise man using the Bible's definitions.  Two great examples are in Psalm 14:1 ('The fool says in his heart, 'There is no god.") and Proverbs 9:10 ('The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.)  Is this something you do with your sons?  Such great wisdom lies in those two passages -- what other descriptions in Scripture of the foolish man could help your sons to understand that foolishness ALWAYS brings negative consequences?

I've heard it said before that all one needs to look at for convincing evidence of original sin is a toddler.  Their world is all about me -- which is just what the Tripps state in their book.  Whether your son is 2 months, 2 years, or 32 years old, pray that God will change int heir hearts -- that he will give them a warrior's heart that is set apart, just like Daniel's. 

I think question 1 is perfect for today -- Take a moment and think about your dreams for your sons.  BE HONEST.  Do you dream of having sons who are "without blemish of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding, learning and competent to stand in the king's palace?"  Share your thoughts here or on our facebook group page.

As you spend time with your families this weekend, I will be lifting you up in prayer -- asking God to cover you with strength and endurance.  And I'll be praying for those special guys in your life, too -- that God will turn their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh and help them cling to the security the wise man has in loving God and having all the power of heaven on his side.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day Three -- What Are We Aiming For? INTEGRITY!

There are occasions when I look at my sons and see glimpses of them in 10, 20, even 40 years.  I see fleeting moments of them as college students, husbands, fathers, employees. I know what I WANT to see...

I want them to stand up for what is right no matter who is around -- ESPECIALLY if no one is around.  I can't think of a better way to describe an example of living integrity than this.

In the LG, Brook so eloquently shares that as parents, God places us in unique situations that give us opportunities to teach our children about such things as integrity.  She says,

"As our sons see us in situations that demand a choice to walk in integrity we can create natural, life-giving conversations explaining to them why we chose the way we did.  Life i s full of opportunities to choose the easy way instead of the way of integrity, but a man of integrity 'ponders the way that is blameless' (Psalm 101:2).  Pausing to help our sons understand why we chose the way of integrity over what might have seemed to be a better or easier way trains their minds to ponder the blameless way."

Someone once shared with me that a key to raising healthy adults who walk in the faith is for them to see their parents admit they've sinned and ask for forgiveness.  Think back over the last few days and months.  Have you done this?  Show your sons the power of humility and use EVERY opportunity -- EVEN YOUR FAILURES -- to teach them to walk in the truth.

Spend time today covering your sons with the ten prayers in the integrity chapter.  Let them hear you pray these specific verses and prayers over them.

I was moved by so many things in the chapter -- so many ideas that hit me straight in the heart!  How about you -- what moved you?  Which verses to pray through really stood out?  Have you given much thought to what God expects of you as a parent, versus the things that are really His job?  Share your thoughts here or on the facebook page.

I will be lifting you up again in prayer today, asking God to give you strength and perseverance, and asking Him to change the hearts of your sons.  Thank you for sharing this journey with me!

"He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life ... "  Proverbs 11:19

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day Two -- Submission to Authority

A NOTE ON THE BOOK -- Due to a glitch with the eBook store, not all of you who purchased the book have study questions at the end of each chapter.  If you do not, let me know.  As a result, when I identified pages yesterday, some of you may have been totally confused as to what I was talking about.  SO... I will not use page numbers going forward to eliminate confusion.   

As we noted yesterday, every single day for the rest of their lives, our sons will be expected -- REQUIRED -- to submit to someone.  In the Leader's Guide (LG), Brooke says, "From parents, to teachers, to bosses, to government officials, and even to GOD Himself, they will always have someone in a position of authority over them."

Even when they are grown (and perhaps ESPECIALLY when they are grown), our sons will need to know how to submit to authority.  We can MAKE them do that now.  But when they're older, we won't be standing on the sidelines, looking over their shoulder, FORCING them to submit.  

So what are we to do?  The only thing we can -- get on our knees and PLEAD with God on behalf of our sons.  

"But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men." - Acts 5:29

Pray that HE will lay it on your son(s) heart to always submit... God, his leaders with a joyful heart,
... to others out of reverence to Christ.  

When was the last time you told your son you were proud of a choice he made to submit to authority?  In the LG, Brooke says, "Even when they're little our boys need to know that mama sees and rejoices over their wise choices and cries out to God over their foolish ones."  Yesterday, on our facebook group page, Amie White shared that they have found that praise for obedience goes a very long way.  I couldn't agree more.

I want to share a story with you.  This story is not to give the impression that my sons are always obedient and submit to authority 100% of the time.  It's quite the opposite -- submitting to authority is something we and one of our sons in particular have struggled with since, well, birth.  But God is at work in his heart in ways I can't describe.  Back to my story...

Hudson was playing in the back yard with our neighbor boys -- boys who are older than he is.  They specifically asked if they could ride around the block.  I know this is something Hudson wanted to do for a variety of reasons -- to be cool and hang out with the older boys, to be given that independence and excitement to actually ride around the block.  But he's only six, and our block is VERY big and requires navigating some steep hills.

Hudson is a GREAT bike rider -- he can easily ride 20 miles on a family bike ride and we have to work to keep up with him.  But from a safety standpoint, I just feel like he's too young to ride around the block without an adult.  I also knew that the neighbor boys were not allowed to do it, so I said, "No," and headed inside to start dinner.

A few minutes later, I peeked out the window to see Hudson sitting on the sidewalk....alone.  No sooner had I stepped out the door than the neighbor boys came around the corner...from their ride around the block.

After sending the boys home (followed by a quick phone call later to their mom so she knew about their choice), I sat down next to Hudson and asked why he was sitting on the sidewalk. He said, "Mom, you told me I needed to stay in our yard and not ride around the block.  I was obeying."

If you could see Hudson and the long, thick eyelashes and melting eyes this child has, coupled with the sweetness of his obedience, you would have shed a tear or two right along with me.  I pulled him onto my lap (because he still likes to cuddle with me -- aren't I lucky?!) and told him just how proud I was of his choice to submit to my authority -- and just how proud God was of him, too.  We celebrated with high fives, hugs, a phone call to dad to share the great news, and a bike ride around the block with mom after dinner.

Make it a point today to lavish love and praise on your son when he chooses wisely...even in the small things.  

The ten prayers for "Submission to Authority" should be on the page following the "Obedience" prayers.  If you have difficulty finding them, let me know.

And food for thought...In the book, Brooke talks about hearing a speaker say these words: "Ladies, if your man cannot submit to Jesus, he cannot lead you.  A man must be willing to be led before he can truly lead."  How does this change your understanding of the importance of teaching your son(s) obedience?  Feel free to comment here, or on the facebook group page.

Once again, I will be praying for each of you today -- for the strength that you will need to persevere in this challenge and for Him to move in the hearts of your sons.  Please let me know if there are any other prayer requests I can offer up for you.  Anything you're struggling with?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I have been waiting with bated breath for this day.  I feel like a kid on Christmas morning!  Filled with anticipation and excitement for what I’m going to open with each new gift.  Except this time it means something…more.  This time, the gift is not about me.  It’s about my sons, my future son-in-law, my nephews.  And perhaps why this day, this gift of praying over specific areas for these special guys, has me so shouting from the rooftops is because these sweet boys are the next generation of leaders.  And let’s face it – they need these prayers now more than ever before.

Today, and for the 20 days that follow, I will be covering my sons – Hudson (6), Hunter (almost 5), and Easton (2) – as well as the future husband to my daughter, Samantha (8) – and my six nephews (6 years to 6 months) – in prayer. 

They ARE the future leaders, and I want them to be strong godly men who seek the Lord out for guidance, and who hold Him in their heart with every decision and choice they make, and who actively work to glorify God for the blessings he’s given them.

Specifically and often, pray for your children.  In the leader’s guide, Melissa Mashburn of  said, “…from the littlest things to the biggest you could ever imagine.  Even when you make their lunches for school…Let them see you praying for them.”  And pray WITH your children.  Make it part of your routine – at meals, at bath time, bedtime, in the car, before a game or test.  They learn how to talk to HIM through us – teach them!!

SO, are you ready to PRAY?!?!  Grab your Warrior Prayers eBook and turn to page 13:  The Importance of Obedience.

Who hears the word “obedience”, and cringes?  In the leader’s guide, Brooke says, “I’ve heard it said that if a man can’t submit to Jesus, he will never be able to lead a woman (Tommy Nelson, Love & Romance Conference).  No pressure, right moms?”  Oh boy.

Whoever has my commands and OBEYS them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father; and I too will love him and show myself to him.”  John 14:21

Obedience and submission to authority is a normal part of life – it’s a REAL part of life.  There isn’t a day to come in our sons’ lives where they won’t have to submit to someone or something.  I love the last line in the 4th paragraph down… “Training them now to respect authority and submit to it sets them up for success of the greatest kind.”  In other words, let them learn to obey at home – and this means letting them fail at obedience at home, too, so that you can guide them and lift them back up lovingly. 

We are trying so hard to remind our children daily that when they disobey mom or dad, they are disobeying God.  And likewise, when they obey us, they are obeying HIM!  (If you’ve never said this to your kids before, try now!  It’s like a light bulb goes off! )

Training our sons to obey their parents is NOT an option.”  Wow.  SO TRUE!  And so daunting, too!  But here’s the truth – obeying God is intimately linked to loving HIM!  See that italicized portion at the bottom of page 13?  WOW!  I may just memorize this and share it over and over and over again with my children.  And what a great reminder to me, too. 

No matter how hard you try to be good and obey…you just can’t get it right all the time.  That’s why we love God so much!  He knew you couldn’t do it by yourself!  He knew you would choose to sin instead of obey!  … So He sent His only Son Jesus to die for your sins and take the punishment…We need JESUS! 

I think the study questions asked on pg. 14 are such great things to think about.   Let me share a few of my answers with you.
2.) Do you have a plan for teaching your son(s) obedience?  Or are you more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of parent?
We try to operate with the logical consequences idea – a great resource for this is Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours by Kevin Lehman, or Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony.  For example, if you don’t get off the computer when you’re told to, you’ll lose the privilege next time.  Or if you throw the truck, the truck will be taken away.
5.)  Are there any discipline practices you’ve been using that need to be tweaked in order to better reflect the Gospel message?
I think it’s REALLY important to ALWAYS be tweaking your discipline practices, since we should always be learning new things through the Word.  Our children are dynamic, ever-changing individuals, and we need to continue to seek God’s counsel and direction in disciplining them.
How about you?  Any answers you would like to share?  Post in the comments below or on the facebook group page. 

On page 14, there are 10 prayers to pray for your sons today.  You could get up early to bathe your sons in prayer first thing in the morning, or you could pray these prayers one at a time throughout the day.  You could also make the prayers a part of your family devotion, praying these prayers out loud over your sons – let them hear these words cover them!  Or spend some time in prayer late at night. 

If there is anything we can pray for you about, please share it!  It is my honor to lift these prayers up on your behalf.  And I will be asking God to give you strength as you persevere in this challenge.  I will also be praying for God to move in the hearts of these boys.  As we pray for our sons, don’t forget to examine your own heart – don’t forget to ask your Savior to help YOU live out His great love for us.  They won’t know how valuable it is unless they see it in you!

"Children obey your parents in the Lord..." - Ephesians 6:1

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

21 Days Starts TOMORROW!

Can you feel it?  It's almost palpable to me -- the excitement and anticipation for this incredible journey we're about to embark on for our sons!  I am so humbled to lead you through the next 21 days of prayer for our sons. Yesterday, on the Warrior Prayers blog, a guest post by Stacey Thacker (mom of four girls) left me so encouraged.  She said,

Psalms 116:2 says, “Because he bends down to listen,  I will pray as long as I have breath!”  He not only listens – He, the God of heaven, the King of King – bends down low to listen for every word I pray for my girls.  Isn’t that amazing?  No words, great or small have fallen away unheard.

Isn't this wonderful?  We can rest assured and be encouraged that God is bending down, listening to every single word we are offering for our sons.  

Did you know that over 1000 people (moms and dads alike) have committed to cover their sons, nephews, grandsons, future sons-in-law with prayer over the next 21 days?  That is JUST incredible!!  

I would like to welcome you all to our group -- Raquel, Jennifer, Sharla, Amie, Scott, Melanie, Kristin, Rachel, Kristin, Laura, Carrie, Leah, April, Katie, Vikki and Amanda.  I will be posting every day on this blog as we go through the challenge, but I have also set up a facebook group page.  If you are not already added there, please search 21 Days of Prayer for Sons led by Alyssa and I will add you.  

If there are any prayer requests you have, bring them here!  Give us the privilege and blessing to pray for you.  I have already been covering you and yours with prayer as we prepare for this journey, and will continue to do so.  

One last thing -- if you do not yet have a copy of the ebook, please be sure to get one.  You can get download it here or you can buy it on amazon for your Kindle.  If you are unable to get the book for any reason, just let me know.  I may be able to help.  :)

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thoughtful girl...

With the end of the school year literally just around the corner (JUNE 1!), Samantha and Hudson are bringing home copious amounts of paperwork each day.  Yesterday, in my attempt to "sift and purge" through some of these items, I came across a journal that Samantha wrote on February 16.  I wanted to share it with you because it made me think... (and I retyped it just as she wrote it)

"If I won $1,000 in a contest first I would give 300 to the elderly and charity and church.  Next I would help people who need medical attention but can't afford it.  Then I would buy clothes for the people who don't have many clothes.  Last I would buy security systuems for the people who got robbed.  As you can see, I think I have enough stuff and I would like to share."

When I was a 2nd grader, would I have thought the same way she did?  I think I would have wanted to buy a bike or a new boom box or gone to Disney World with my $1000.  Even now, my first thought wasn't to give it away.  It was, "Wow!  That could buy a lot of new running gear or scrapbooking paper...or that Pottery Barn quilt I've been wanting for the boys."  Seriously.  How shallow am I.  God blesses me with $1000 in a contest and I would blow it on things I do not NEED.

But my daughter was willing to give it ALL away to people in NEED.  Not just people she knows -- not EVEN people she knows...people she's never met.  She was willing to give it to people that need in ways she and I have never known.  Trust me, my husband and I do work hard to teach our children about generosity and tithing and sharing and caring for those in our community, and we do try to live what we preach, but we are not THAT great of examples -- believe me.  This is TOTALLY God working in her heart.

So how do you encourage your kids to think about others before themselves?  How do you teach tithing?  What situations do you put your kids in to allow them the chance to serve others that are less fortunate?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Are you up for a CHALLENGE?

Extra, extra, extra!  Are you up for a challenge?  I mean a really really REALLY important challenge, one that is so absolutely vital for your sons?  If so, please join me as I lead a group through 21 days of Prayer for our Sons.

As a mom, I think there is nothing as important as praying for our kids.  I pray daily for our kids, but sometimes struggle to easily connect scripture verses with needs I see to pray for -- and let's face it, I'm a busy mom who honestly really appreciates the fact that someone else (Brooke McGlothlin) has taken the time and energy to write a book geared just toward praying for our sons (and future sons-in-law -- I want my daughter's husband to a godly man, too!).  And you know what -- just because these prayers are geared toward my sons doesn't mean that they don't apply to my daughter, husband and (can it be?!) me, too!

Several of you have already said "COUNT ME IN!"  I don't think you'll regret this at all.  There is something so encouraging and uplifting about having a community come together and pray for the same thing.  Accountability.  Support.  Encouragement.  So please join me -- and so many others -- as we commit to praying for our sons for 21 days.  For more information, click here.

I will be leading you through the 21-day challenge.  Leave me a comment or send me an email if you're interested in participating.  I would LOVE to pray for you and your sons, or grandsons, or any boys you know that you want me to pray for!  You're not in this alone!

I know that I will continue to make mistakes as a mom, but one thing I know I CAN do right is to plead with God for my children, to PRAY for them daily (or more!)  Won't you join me?  It WILL change lives!  :)