Sunday, April 15, 2012

Six months....

It's been six months since we moved north.  In so many ways, I can't believe it's been that long.  And in others, it feels like so much longer.

I knew saying good-bye would be so hard.  But I forgot how hard it can be to say hello, as well.  I'm still working on that part.  My friend put it perfectly... "it's hard when you come back and life has gone on without you, but there's still not really anything at home for you yet..."  God has to tear down the old in me to make way for the new....which is awesome in its own way, and still so HARD.

I think I'm at that funny in-between stage where I WANT the kinds of relationships we had in Omaha, but I feel like I'm betraying our history and our friends there by "moving on".  It's ridiculous, I know, but that's just how I'm wired.  (And NO ONE has made me feel that way -- but THOSE relationships were absolutely IRREPLACABLE to me, and it's hard to imagine finding that again.)  I also have to remind myself that it took us four years to build the kinds of relationships that make good-bye so heart-breaking.

The kids are so much more resilient than I am -- they have settled in so nicely here.  Samantha definitely still has moments where she is missing her friends and those she was closest to in Omaha.  Some friendships really are priceless and you can't find a friend THAT amazing -- but those are the times we are thankful for things like Skype, cell phones, email, and (gasp) snail mail!  Samantha is super involved in school -- book club, spanish club, writer's roundtable, etc.  She loves to be active and in the middle of everything.  (Hmmm....can't imagine where she gets that from!)

All 3 of the big kids are playing soccer this spring...which they ALL love!  It's awesome to see the huge smiles on their faces when they're playing.  Easton thinks he's a part of the action from the sideline, too -- that kid has quite the foot!  :)  

With school out in mid-May, we are all EAGERLY awaiting days where we can spend the afternoons on the boat and at the pool.  The boys are enjoying learning to play golf with daddy, and Easton thinks our morning bike rides are the best thing ever.  He misses our weekly Bible study time, though -- he wants to see his friends!  :)

The kids have all picked out vegetables that they are going to care for in our garden and Hudson insists that we can use his combine to harvest our plot.  :)  Some things never change....!

 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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.  :)