For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The End of the 21 Days of Prayer for Our Sons

Today was the last day of the 21 Days of Prayer challenge and, I must say, that this could have gone on longer and I'd not have been put out in the least. I look forward to the next challenge. Anyone have a date yet? ;)

Using specific Scripture passages, we've prayed for a variety of things for our boys. From heart change, to the "fruits of the Spirit," to Salvation, to forgiveness, I prayed each of these things for my boys, and have, myself, further changed in the process. I wrote a few months ago about the change one little prayer brought to our family, and I still see with eyes of amazement that God uses this "simple" medium to bring about such great change in His people.

One of my favorite movie quotes is from Shadowlands where CS Lewis is quoted as saying, "Prayer doesn't change God, prayer changes me." I have no idea if he is the one who actually said this. It sounds like something he'd say, though. And it is very true. Prayer changes us. If we are truly praying, we may never see a change in our outward circumstances. (I think here specifically of the millions upon millions of Christians who have suffered just the last 100 years under various dictatorships.) The thing that will change will be us. This holds true when we pray for our children.

The change is often profound and subtle at the same time. Sometimes I think it would be impossible for others to miss.  Other times I wonder if anyone can see anything at all. But I suppose that's my need for approval "shining" through...and an entirely different blog entry. ;D

On the third day of the challenge, it was the National Day of Prayer.  I went with the three oldest boys to church to participate in the activity (for lack of a better word) there. It just so happened that Day Three of the challenge was "Submission to Authority." What a day to pray for our leaders, you are probably thinking. But as I read through the verses in the chapter that day before leaving for church, I wasn't really thinking about the earthly authorities I should (in most cases) submit to, I was thinking about a Heavenly One that, it suddenly dawned on me, I hadn't. Oh, sure, I'm a Christian. And, oh, sure, I pray about things. But had I really taken every decision, every desire I had for my boys, myself, my family, before God and truly in my heart said, "Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done?" I could not answer, "yes," to that.

For the first time I saw that throughout my entire life I have held on a little to each prayer I presented to God. That part that I thought I could just do something about. Or, more likely, that part I just couldn't trust Him with. I do have trust issues...but I suppose that's a whole 'nother blog entry as well.

As I sat in the quiet chapel at church, I realized that this is probably the hardest thing to pray, ever, in the history of anything. It is just so tough to give, I mean truly give, every single last thing over to Him. We want to maintain some control over things and, oftentimes, we really don't want God to give us what we need, only what we want.

I'd love to report that I prayed that prayer and now it's just the easiest thing to keep praying it every time I pray and really mean it. It's not. In fact, I still feel the same strange feeling inside when I pray it, and even now as I am writing about it. I don't know what it is. Terrified anticipation? But I know the Lord is true to His Word, and that He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it.

I started praying for my boys, and ended up praying for myself as well. And, let's face it, I really needed it. :)

Our pastor read this on Sunday, thought it was appropriate:

I asked God to give me strength. 
He gave me difficulties to make me strong. 

I asked God to give me courage. 
He gave me dangers to overcome. 

I asked God to give me prosperity. 
He gave me brain, brawn to work. 

I asked God to give me knowledge. 
He gave me problems to solve. 

I asked God to give me love. 
He gave me troubled people to help. 

I received nothing I wanted. 
I received everything I needed.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Perspective

On Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
Your words. This shared feast.
If you have five minutes, we double dog dare you to spend it writing here
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.



3. a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; vista

The perspective one gains from a mountaintop view is exhilarating. I know a bit about it as I grew up in the Rockies. To this day I have never tired of a panoramic scene from a mountain turn off or trail. It gives one perspective, they say. The same is true for a spiritual mountaintop. From here I gain a perpective more difficult to acquire while walking in the "valley of the shadow of death." Here it is to easy hear God's whisper, His still, small voice. But I cannot stay here, I live in the valley, both figuratively and literally. 

As  child, while I loved the scenery around me, I never "took advantage" of it. I was always busy with school and friends and TV and music. I never just sat back and really got all I could out of the beauty and peace that surrounded me. This carried over into my adulthood and my Christian walk. In times of spiritual peace, I was too busy to grow and, most importantly, prepare myself for my next trial.

I pray that I have finally realized my error and that this current time of peace will be used wisely to "seek the Lord while He may be found" because I know that it will not be long before I must return to the valley. And the growth I attain now will make the difference in my perspective of my trial....will I shake my fist at God or will I "fear no evil" because the perspective I gained from this mountaintop confirms in me that He is with me and His rod and His staff comforteth me?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Outta My Mind~~Or, How to Be a Proverbs 31 Woman

"Women around the world are IN THE WORD! Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to "


First, a little "mood music" to help understand the post a little more. And it's my third favorite song so I want to have an excuse to listen to it again. :D

What do you feel when you hear the term "Proverbs 31 Woman?" Let me tell you what I've felt through the years, hopefully it won't sound so accusatory. ;)

When I first learned of the "ideal" I was 19. It sounded wonderful to me because I wanted to be a perfect wife. If I could just learn to be exactly like this woman, I knew I would accomplish it. Later, when I was disillusioned, the term was like nails on a chalkboard (yeah, I'm dating myself). I hated it. In fact, I would just plain skip it when it came time to read it for reading through the bible or a devotional. Now that I've made peace with the poor woman I understand what really annoyed me the most about her. She's other focused.

When we read through the list of things she does we see that she is forever doing things for others. Nowhere do we see the line our world, and selfish pride, feeds us that we must put ourselves first. She truly puts the needs of others before her own. In this she is an image of Christ to us.

Christ gave all to save us from our sins. While we were yet sinners He died for us. He didn't wait until we had it all together. And before that, He fed the people. He healed them. He instructed them. In short, He tended to their needs.

We are to be like Christ in our lives. No, we cannot save people from their sins, but we can serve them. We can love them. We can point them to Christ by our Godly living, and our teaching. In this day and age, a person with a true servant's heart is so rare that if we acquire that (and let me assure you I am far from it) then we will stand out from the rest. We are to be a light, a city on a hill. Our light is to shine so that others will see our good works and glorify God in Heaven. When we put the needs of others first, when we serve them (she made portions even for her servant girls), then we are a true Proverbs 31 woman.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Dessert first...well, that's what got made first. :)

Williams-Sonoma now has a line of Gluten-Free mixes. The kids were dying to try the Red Velvet. 

Cupcakes take less clean up, you know?

Yes, it's true, I really need to get my regular camera fixed. :/

And this time, the camera really didn't do it justice.

This idea is based on something I found, surprisingly (haha), on Pinterest.

First we had to make up for not having Braniac's birthday (due to my bronchitis).

A giant coloring book. He thinks it's pretty perfect.

I have a long comment to make can see Thing 2's hands are rather blurry. That's coz he gets more excited about other people opening gifts than he gets opening his own. I don't have to re-read Love Languages by Gary Chapman to know that "gifts" is his love language. Giving & receiving are his favorite things to do. :) Seeing how he wants to be a missionary I am going to have to instill in him an ability and desire to make homemade gifts. :D

So, I made out like a bandit. A nice picture frame to put the picture they took at church in. :) (ps the bad grammar is intentional...just to bug you.)

A nice pillow that Thing 2, of course, picked out. This thing is really comfy. Can sleep for hours on it. :D

Another pillow from Thing 2. He bought this with his AWANA bucks. He and Thing 1 always do that with their "church money."

I also got some nice crocheted kitchen towels (I love crocheted towels) which my mil made. And a nice check which I will use to pay off the rest of high school camp, the deposit for school, and send Thing 1 to summer camp. I used to say that with any money I got I'd buy book and if there was anything left I buy food and clothes. Now I say I get stuff for my kids and if there's anything left I get something for the house. :D

Friday, May 11, 2012



Where do we find our identity? 

The simple answer is obviously in Christ. 

But life is not simple. 

So often in our busy days of teaching and cleaning and correcting and chauffeuring and shopping and cooking and bathing (did I cover everything? :D) we lose ourselves. Somewhere, somehow, we get this idea in our head of the way things ought to be and we think this isn't it.  We sit down at the end of the day and it hits us that we have failed our children. Our teenager really isn't interested in taking that missions trip. Grade schooler #1 is forever hitting his brother in frustration.  Said brother complains and whines incessantly. We forget to go over the verse for Sunday School with our preschooler. Our 3yo cannot communicate verbally and so cannot move up from the nursery to Sunday School. And don't even get me started on the trips to the dentist where you cannot hide the fact that you never remember to floss their teeth (see, I knew I  had forgotten something in that list). All these things seem to work against our ability to remember in whom our identity lies. 

We are children of The King. 

Not just any king, but the Creator of everything. 

He calls us to leave behind our earthly ideas of perfect children imparted to us by books, our own notions, and even our parents. He knows they will not be perfect and He does not judge the way the the world judges us. He takes our seemingly feeble attempts at raising our children and HE makes something of it. 

My pastor likes to talk about Marathoner Faith. Faith that's in it for the long haul. Parenting is like that marathon of Faith. If we remember that our identity is in the One who gave us these children to raise for Him we will have the strength to run this race. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

21 Days of Prayer for Our Sons Link-Up

I've been writing about each day of the 21 Days of Prayer for Our Sons, but for this link-up I'm just going to write about the event & prayer in general.

I love prayer. It's the most incredible gift. Think about it. The God who created all promises to hear us and answer according to what He, who knows everything, says is best for us. There's no man-made god who promises that. Sure, sometimes our God says, "no," but that's because he knows that there's something better down the road.

I prayed for another child through years of secondary infertility and God always said "no." Finally God said (or so I imagine) "OK, she's ready for the child I have planned for her. The child that will help her learn to fight instead of letting other people dictate her life." ;)

I've learned a lot about prayer over the years. The most important thing is that prayer is not a way to boss God around. He's not our cosmic butler. And when we pray we can't just tell Him what to do. We must submit as even Christ submitted and said "Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.". That's a painful prayer to pray. I've prayed it under daunting circumstances and can definitely see how Christ could have sweat blood.

I've learned, too, that prayer is powerful to I've been so pleasantly surprised over the past year. What actually started as a prayer for my son, has radically changed me. What a blessing it's been to see my own heart of stone softened by God's hand. All because I started praying for someone else. Now I can pray for others more readily. It has started me down the path of healing from past hurts. It has made me able to, while not condoning the sins of those who hurt me or my children, forgive them and realize that the pain they inflicted was born of their need of a Savior and a need to submit themselves to Him entirely.

So, as we moms pray through this month, may we find our own selves radically altered at the end. Ready to live completely different lives in the service of our God and King. Then our boys will be able to see how a changed heart, obedience, and submission to God can affect them for good.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Real

Are you "real?" 

When the world suggests that we be "real," they actually mean, "do/say whatever you want, d*** the consequences." 

As Christians we need to be a different kind of real. 

We should not be concerned with getting out all that's inside us, but really loving others, really reaching out. 

We live in a real world, with real people, who are really possibly going to spend a real eternity in a real place called Hell. 

How will they hear the truth if we won't speak it? 

Why would they listen to us if we won't love them? 

Real Christianity hurts. 

It's painful. 

Our hearts break when those we love reject what we are trying to say to them. 

But that shouldn't stop us from being real. 

Only real people will be able to impact this really evil time for Christ. 

Be real.

Obedience and Submission to Authority--Days 2 & 3 of 21 Days of Prayer for our Sons

I did actually write something up yesterday but I didn't like it much and was too tired to change it by the time we got home from AWANA. Since obedience and submission both stick in the craw of a red-neck, I guess I'm not too far off putting them together in one post. :)

In all seriousness, we red-necks just simply cannot stand to be told what to do. We don't like the government doing it, and, unfortunately, we don't even like God doing it. Like many people, we ignore the parts of scripture that bother us and enjoy the parts we feel benefit us.

After spending most of my life doing that, God has finally brought me to a place where I realize that not only is it wrong, it's extremely detrimental to my children. Over the past year we have actually been learning to submit together. It hasn't been easy, but lately it's been better. 

It's amazing to watch God work and change people's hearts, especially when those hearts belong to your children. They aren't perfect, and I remind them that I know they never will be, but that God forgives them. 

Our children do need to learn to obey and submit or they will have a hard time in life (trust me, btdt). Sometimes we get so caught up in making them perfect in the eyes of those watching, family members, church leaders, teachers, etc., that we forget that, while the reality is that people will judge us based on our children's actions, we should not so much worry about what others think, but whether our children are truly submitting and being obedient, or just doing it because they have to. We don't want them to be sitting down on the outside while standing on the inside.

Yesterday one of the moms at the 21 Days of Prayer high school FB page talked about how she had made bad decisions when she went off on her own because her parents weren't there to lecture her. I really liked her idea that we need to help our children understand that their disobedience is not so much against us as it is against God. I can really see how this can help prepare them to make right choices on their own when Mom & Dad aren't around. Our children's decisions in life should be based, not on experience, but what God's word tells us.

I think the best part of this advice is that it is a constant reminder to me as a parent that these children are not mine. God has entrusted them to me to raise for Him. Like Hannah with little Samuel, one day I will have to release them and go home where all I can do then is pray for them. Wouldn't it be better to start that now than wait until the time comes? Then I can more than "hope" they will do OK, I can trust them to do the right thing. I think I might sleep better at night. :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Heart Change--Day 1 of 21 Days of Prayer for Our Sons

While I don't know if I'll blog every day, I had a few seconds and hadn't blogged in a while so...:D

When I read through the list of things we'd be praying for each day, this, more than any of the others, stuck with me. Obviously, none of the others matter, or can happen at all, without this, but that's not the reason. The reason is, well, to be honest, I wasn't raised that way. I love my grandparents very much, and do not doubt their salvation, but to them being a Christian was sometimes akin to being an American, it was just something you were. Being a Christian wasn't something that radically altered your day-to-day living. It didn't really change the way you looked at the world (that was politics) and it didn't change the way you treated others (that was rearing, and we were rednecks).

After I was saved, or returned to the Lord, or whatever you want to call what happened to me when I was 19, I knew there was more. I saw it in the people at my church. I heard it from the pulpit. There was something else. Unfortunately, like an addict, I stayed around the people who had influenced me prior to this point and their version of Christianity was similar to my grandparents', so I never truly kicked my bad habits.

This continued into my marriage, into my parenting, and right on down the line until about 3 years ago. It was then that things began to happen that forced me to see that I was in great error. After that I began to pray for change. And, not surprisingly, change happened.

As I wrote earlier, this experience is why I signed up for this round of the 21 Days of Prayer for Our Sons. I have seen God work amazing things and I know that as we pray through this month for our sons even more amazing things will happen. We serve a great and powerful God who can even change the heart of a stubborn, willful, etc., woman after 40 years. If He can do that, He can do it in my kids too. :)