Archive for August 2013

In the News

Egypt.  Afghanistan.  Countries that continue to be in the news.  Depending on the age and sensitivity of our children, we have to be careful about listening to or watching the news together.  However, a couple of recent conversations with my kids have made me realize I need to share more about what’s going on in order to help expand their view of the world, as well as to broaden the topics for which we pray. 

A sweet elderly lady the kids and I visit on a regular basis mentioned that her grandson is stationed in Afghanistan.  She shared a bit about what he has said life is like there for him and the family’s concern for his safety.  Trying to include the kids in the conversation, I asked them to help us remember to pray for him.  On our way home from the visit, we stopped by the library.  What caught my eye on the end of a shelf, but a children’s non-fiction book on Afghanistan!  I grabbed it and at dinner that night we looked at the pictures and read some of the key facts about the country and culture.  It was eye-opening to my kiddos!  I’m thankful that God put that book in my line of sight because I know it helped enrich their understanding about praying for the young soldier.  As my kiddos have grown older (now 3rd and 5th grade), I’ve been missing reading picture books with them.  However, this made me realize that we can continue to look for opportunities to connect our world through juvenile non-fiction to our prayer life no matter how old they get!  The pictures and information are just enough to give us an overview without getting overwhelmed. 

Egypt.  You can’t turn on the news currently without hearing about the unrest there.  According to an e-mail from the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice), “The jihadist Muslim Brotherhood, furious that it has lost power, is taking out its rage on Egyptian Christians.”  Beyond that, I’m not sure exactly what all is going on.  I hope that’s encouraging to those of you who don’t either.  However, I know enough to know that they need prayer…especially our fellow believers.   While the kids and I were unloading dishes recently, something came up about our church building.  I shared how I had heard on the news that 60 churches in Egypt had been burned!  We discussed the emotions that would bring if things were like that in our country.  Sad and scary!   Talking about news like that with the kids helps shed new light on being thankful for the freedoms and safety we have in our country!  We brainstormed ways to pray for them.  What would we want people to pray for us if we were in that situation?

If this subject strikes a chord in your heart and you want to know more how to specifically pray for people in other countries, Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation is an excellent resource. 

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for everyone. 
1 Timothy 2:1


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Good Deeds Day – 2013

After the blessings of trying out this idea for the first time last year, we were all excited to get going on our second annual Good Deeds Day!  Here’s the list we planned in case it helps jumpstart ideas for your family.  After, I’ll share a couple of opportunities that God presented along the way. 

*Had my son’s friend along for the fun to help out his mom who had somewhere she needed to be that day. 
*Baked cookies and took them with a thank you card the kids made to our fire station.
*Made and mailed cards for an uncle who just had lung cancer surgery. 
*Dropped off some old towels at our city animal shelter.
*Loaded coins in the vending machines at Wal-Mart.
*Stocked up on items appropriate for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes while school supplies were on sale (pencils, sharpeners, markers, small spirals, scissors, calculators).
*Bought the magnets for our back-to-school prayer encouragements for the teachers.  We buy them at Mardel, but you can also order them on Amazon.  Search “people magnet clips.”
*Paid for the order of the people behind us in the Chick-fil-a drive-through.
*While driving home, prayed specifically over all the people that would be touched through our Good Deeds Day. 

This year, God added a different component that we will be sure to be prayerful about ahead of time in future years.  He opened our eyes to a couple of unplanned good deeds along the way.  As we were pulling out of our neighborhood, we saw a lady sitting in a broken down car.  Since it’s August in Texas, that’s not pleasant or safe.  We circled back around and asked if she needed help, use of our cell phone, or a ride.  She was appreciative we stopped to ask, but her ride pulled up just behind us.  

The other addition to our day was that God put us in the path of one of our school teachers at the stores we were stopping by!  By the third time, it got to be a bit comical and the kids and I decided we would surprise her with a small gift card.  While I finished checking out at Mardel, the children excitedly went to find her and thank her for being a great teacher at our school. 

And do not forget to do good and to share with others,
for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  
Hebrews 13:16





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Prayerful Parenting – Overcommitted?

Training wheels.  
That’s what a friend of mine said God was giving me after I shared this story with her. 

God has been dealing with me in regards to whether I have overcommitted myself to too many things and that because of them, my parenting has been effected.  The problem is, they are all wonderful, service-oriented projects for which I have a heart.   However, as one of my favorite sayings goes, “Too much of a good thing is bad for you.”   I realized that these “good things” were out of a healthy balance and the “too much” was turning “bad!”  I was perplexed as I wondered what I should cut out and was praying through this process.  God answered my confusion with two different summer commitments that were pulled right out from under me.  He didn’t even give me a chance to say “yes” (which I would have…and He knew I would have)!   At first, I was disappointed.  After all, I do those things because I love serving in those ways.  But then, I realized God was taking the control completely out of my hands so I could get a glimpse at what not over-committing looks like.  What a breath of fresh air and a sweet gift from God!  When e-mails for two more commitments came up (ones that I would normally jump at), I knew God was wanting me to exercise my “no” muscle.  I practiced it as graciously as I could (even though it was difficult!) and found out that one position was already taken care and the other wasn’t even necessary anymore!  Again, God was gently helping me see what I had previously been unwilling to.  I’m thankful for those training wheels and am still a work in progress.  Even though I’m not committing to new things, I need to continue discussion with Him about whether I’m already operating on a level with “too many good things.”  I’m excited to see what my Father is going to teach me. 

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.  Psalm 86:11 (NIV)

One of the most amazing things is to lift up concerns to the Lord and see how He answers them.   As I explain to my kids, the answer may come quickly, slowly, similarly, or differently than we expect.  There are times we may not see how God has worked through the prayer this side of heaven.  But He promises He does hear and is at work. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who[have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28 (NIV)

 I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!  Psalm 116:1-2 (NLT)

That’s why today and next week, I’m sharing a couple of my recent parenting prayers that God has answered in unexpected ways.  I hope that it will be an encouragement for you to lift up those areas where you feel frustrated, stalled out, or unsure what to do. 


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