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Monday, October 12, 2009

Chapter 4: Feeling Love and Accepted

This is a short chapter, but oh so powerful. Do you ever think back at times in your life when you were "rejected?" There are several in my life and most of the most damaging times occured during my middle school or high school years. I can vividly remember a time in 8th grade where everyone turned against me. I probably did something silly or immature to give them something to talk about, but one girl wrote me this five page letter filled with very mean things---I'm talking in detail mean things---about me. She even took her chocolate pudding and drew a picture of me on the letter and wrote "Pudding Tat take That!" Well, I remember sitting in Mr. Davis' class and everyone passing this "letter" around and finally it got to a girl (whom at the time and even up until I was in college thought this person was my friend) and she gave it to me. Every single person that I thought was my friend signed their name to this letter, except for one. Her name was Kelly. I will never forget that day. What is it about rejection that can make someone crumble? I carried this in the back of my mind for a long time. Of course, by the next week, the group was mad at someone else, but the mean words and the "Pudding Tat" lingered. I have forgiven all of the people of course, but again, what is it about harmful words or actions that are hard to forget?

When I think about the rejection that my children could possibly face at different stages in their lives and I immediately want to protect them from it. Stormie Omartian reminds us That even though it is God's love that is ultimately most important in anyones life, a parents love (or lack thereof) is perceived and felt first. Parental love is the first love a child experiences and the first love he/she understands.

Here are some highlights that I want to share from this chapter:

*It is never to soon to start praying for a child to feel loved and accepted--first by God, then by family, then by peers and others. Pray about this concern throughout their lives.

*The feeling of rejection is at the root of so much evil that we hear and read about in our society each day.

*Love and acceptance brings out the best in a person.

*A person may not actually be rejected, but if that person believes they are rejected, the effect is just as damaging as if it were true.

*The love of God can change the feeling of rejection.

"I have chosen you and not cast you away" Isaiah 41:9

"I have loved you with everlasting love" Jeremiah 31:3

"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8

"neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present or things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 8:38-39

*We must pray that our children understand these truths; they are the solid ground which love and acceptance are established in their character.

So how do we do this?

*Ask God to help you really love your child the way He wants you to and ask Him to teach you how to show it in a way your child can understand.

*Ask God to show you how to communicate love to your child.

*DON'T listen to the devil weighing you down with guilt about past failures.

*If you are feeling like a failure in this area, confess your thoughts to God and pray about them, put your fears in God's hands.

*Pray that God's love will penetrate your child's heart, as well as for your love to be perceived and received.

*Children need to see love manifested toward them with *eye contact, *physical touch, *loving acts, *deeds, and *words.

I just loved that part that Stormie talked about. We are such a "lovey dovey" family and I think it is so important. People used to make fun of me because I talk to my sister Sara all the time on the phone and whenever we get off the phone, we say "love you-bye." (I say that with ALL of my family members.) I remember doing that around a big group of people one day and they just looked at me. One person said, "That wasn't Cary. Who did you just tell you love them" When I told them that I was talking to my sister, they looked puzzled!!! I bet I tell my girls that I love them a hundred times a day, my husband too. We all do. I don't think that takes the meaning out of it by saying it a lot, I just think it is important to hear that you are loved.

If you have trouble doing any of the above mentioned, Stormie suggested trying this out...Look your child directly in the eye and gently touch their hand and say, "I love you and I think you are great." See if you notice an immediate change in their facial expressions and demeanor.

*One of God's main purposes for your life is to fill you with so much of His love that it overflows onto others.

*Praying for your child will not only be a sign of that love in your heart, it could also be the very means by which that love is multiplied to overflowing.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chapter 3: Securing Protection from Harm

"Hide them under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress them, from their deadly enemies that surround them." Psalms 17:8-9

This chapter definitely spoke to me. I am constantly hearing about a tragedy, discussing something with friends, or creating something in my mind and then "internalizing" and worrying about it. In Chapter 3, Stormie Omartian reminds us that some of our most fervent prayers regarding our children are about their protection. Then, she asks, "How can we pray about future events when we are concerned about them having a future?"

Here are some of the highlights from this chapter that she outlined:

*Pray for God's protection on a daily basis. Start now! It does not matter how old they are or they aren't even born yet.

*Be specific. Tell God the things that worry you and pray specifically for protection from each of those things.

*Pray alone, with your husband, with family members, friends or prayer partners.

*Being a praying parent does not mean that nothing bad will happen to your child or that they will never experience pain. They will because pain is a part of this fallen world. The Bible assures us that our prayers play a vital part in keeping trouble from them. And when a painful thing does happen, they will be protected in the midst of it so it will be to their betterment and not destruction. (Doesn't that give you a since of peace? God is amazing!)

*Pray for safety in the midst of your problems. Personalize this and tell God the problems and ask for deliverance and protection for your children.

*Disasters happen anywhere. Pray and trust God to answer.

*Things happen when we pray that will not happen when we don't. What might happen or might not happen to our children if we don't pray? Don't wait.....get on your knees now!

The word of God plays a vital part in your prayers and peace. Here are some verses to remember:

"For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone." Psalms 91:11-12

---I have to stop and input a person story after typing this verse. This verse is so true. My six year old has a divine heart for the Lord and the prayers that she prays are so amazing. Most adults are in awe when they hear her. Last December, we attended a Christmas party for my youngest daughters Day Care. I went early to help with the food and Cary brought the girls a little later when it began. As we were leaving the party and walking out to the parking lot, I put Bella in the truck with me and Cary took Sophi to his truck. We were parked across from each other, but a driving section was in between us. Well, there are a lot of cars that use this church parking lot as a street to cut through to get to another street. All of a sudden, Sophi decides to ride with me and she screams, "Wait Mommy!" and begins to run. I turn around and see her running and see a truck driving down the cross through section. Neither saw the other. I began to scream at the top of my lungs. All of a sudden, the truck slams on his breaks and Sophi stops INCHES before being hit. Her nose was practically touching the truck. I am screaming and shaking like a maniac as is Cary. We both race to her and pick her up and I think the driver practically passed out. I am putting her in the car and crying and hugging and kissing and yelling all at once. I am SOBBING because I just witnessed my child almost being hit by a car. This is what she said, "Mommy, why are you so sad? The angel tapped on my shoulder and told me to stop." Immediately, I began praising the Lord. If you don't believe in angels then you may not be touched by this story as I was, but there is not a doubt in my mind that we have Guardian Angels and that night, they protected my sweet little girl.

"He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." Psalms 112:7

"He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man." Psalms 31:21

"God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling." Psalms 46:1-3

If you have this book, there are some really good prayers written out for you to pray. I will try to get the study guide questions for this chapter on either today or tomorrow.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Prayers Needed

Late last night, I found site after site of children and families that are in desperate need of our prayers. I usually stay away from stories that are going to make me cry, but I could not stop reading them. My heart hurt for them as I cried and watched my own children sleep soundly. I am asking that you take a moment and go to some of the websites that I have posted and please pray for these families. We take so much for granted, or at least I know I do, and there are so many that need our prayers. Please tell your churches and prayer groups about these needs as well. Our God is a loving, healing God and I know He is performing miracles as we speak.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wiping off the dust.....

Do you ever feel like you put God on a shelf? Well, when it comes to keeping this blog up, I have done just that for the past several months. Why does that seem to happen? I remember when I first started this blog and we had our first bible study meeting. I had been praying for almost a year and a half that our house would be sold and the next day, that happened. I got so busy with the hustle and bustle of packing and moving, the book got packed away. Then, after moving, I couldn't for the life of me, remembered where I had put it or what box I had put it in.

Things were going good and I was always "on the go" so this area of my life got put on a shelf. It is also really shameful and embarrassing to admit that I had started something and hadn't seen it through. In the beginning, I wanted this blog to be beneficial to moms in hopes that it would not only bring us closer to the Lord, but that it would bless our children as well. I actually found the book about a month ago and I kept telling myself that I needed to go update the blog, but other things always came first. It's funny I found the time to watch Melrose Place, read up on the D2 football message board, and lets not forget Facebook. I always had time to check that. This is where Satan gets us. He creeps in and I pushed this to the back of the shelf. The enemy always has a way of doing that.

God, on the other hand, can overcome the enemy. He always wins, no matter what. So here I am again, wiping off the dust and hoping you will join me in this journey to lift our children up. There are so many things that have come to my attention over the past several months. I mean, the whole Jaycee story about being kidnapped in 1991 and then found. The pit of my stomach hurt when I heard that story and I just couldn't get it out of my head. Can you imagine? That poor girl. That poor mother. Where would you ever get the strength....either one of them. It had to come from the Lord.

When I think about my own anxieties with my children, the first thing I do is run to God. I want God to make it better right then. Sophi began school, a new school, and cried the whole first week. She was being bullied by this little boy and had no friends. As a mother, it was awful. You want to make all their sadness go away. Of course, I lit the rescue fire and asked God to make it better....."QUICKLY".....and then I sent Cary to school to take care of it from there! I asked myself the other day, "Are you still praying for Sophi's school day the way you did the first week of school?" The answer is a sorry no.

Then there is my Cari-Bella. I thought when we passed by the "so called" terrible two's we had made it. Our family would all be back in the same house again and her temper tantrums would be gone. Boy, was I wrong. If I thought she was having fits at two, then I don't even know what you would call it now at THREE. They are horrible. They happen right before school and then right before bed. The crazy thing is that it is usually over CLOTHING ITEMS. I am at a loss. I am not going to go into all the details because I don't want you to think I am a crazy parent with a crazy three year old, but what three year old goes hitting, spitting, kicking crazy over the color of clothes? I had to ask myself what had I done to her self esteem. She tells me that some colors do not make her beautiful. Cary and I have told her over and over and over again that beauty is not in what you wear, but what you are on the inside. Now, in three year old terms, it is "Your kind words, nice manners, pretty smile, kind heart.....etc" But why is this happening? Again, I light my rescue fire and BEG God to help me through this! Please don't let my sins and shortcomings fall on to my children. I had a big wake up when I realized that I wasn't praying for each one the way I should be praying for them.

We all have issues with our own children (or at least I hope that I am not the only one) but my issues PALE IN COMPARISON to other issues out there. Disease, missing, sickness, runaways, I could go on and on. You turn on the tv, computer, or open up a magazine or newspaper and there are problems with children all over the place every day. Children we know and ones we don't. What are we doing to conquer these problems? The one thing that we all can remember is that there is no problem too big for God to handle.

Last night, I was at my bible study and I want to tell you it is the very best one I have done. If you have never done the Beth Moore study on the Ascent of Psalms, "Stepping Up," you must. It is wonderful. Anyway, we were in the scripture talking about the journey Jesus took to the temple in Jerusalem with his parents when he was 12 years old. (Luke 2:41-52) To summarize what happens in these verses, After the Passover Feast was over, the group began their journey home. After some time, Mary and Joseph realized that Jesus was not with the group. They traveled for one whole day before they realized their son was missing. They went back to look for him in Jerusalem and it took them THREE days before they found him in the temple. Beth Moore brought out a point about what must have been going through their minds for those three days. Can you imagine??? Beth said that Mary was probably frantically telling God, "Help me please, you give me your son and now I have lost your child!" As a mother, we can't imagine. It doesn't say a lot in the bible about how God worked in Mary's life after Jesus was born, but I can only imagine that he wanted her to turn and look to Him for guidance on how to raise her child, Jesus, just as he wants us all to.

I have to ask you to forgive me for being such a slacker in keeping this blog going and to continue on this journey with me to pray for our children. I am going to do my very best to keep things posted every Monday. Please, help and hold me accountable for this. I know some of you are still reading and have told me that you are way a head of me, some of you have told me that you are waiting for me, and some of you don't have a book. If you don't have a book, that is ok. I am really going to try and summarize each chapter and then include the questions. Take time to look over the previous posts and then I will add chapter 4 on Monday.

I haven't done any updates on the children that we are praying for, so if you know of any that need our desperate prayers or your children's names are not on our list, please let me know.

God bless,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chapter Two/Releasing My Child Into God's Hands

Before I get into Chapter 2, I want to give a great big PRAISE THE LORD! On Tuesday, little 4 year old, Lesley Perez was abducted from Hidalgo, Texas. She was playing baseball with her 12 year old sister and other friends right across the street from her house. A man, which we now know to be a sex offender-carnival worker, circled the neighbor hood several times. On the last time, he jumped out of his truck, struck the 12 year old girl in the face and snatched little Lesley and drove away. Apparently, he had been targeting the little girl. The 12 year old sister helped the FBI in identifying the man and little Lesley was found!!! The headline of the local paper read, "There is a God!" Yes, there is and I want to say Praise the Lord one more time!!!

Is that not a parent's worst nightmare? As I watched the story unfold, I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach thinking about that little girl and her parents, but also my children as well. One of my best friends here in Texas learned several years ago that sexual offenders can and do target children. I am not going to get into the details, but because a neighbor was "aware of the surroundings" she called the police when she noticed someone unusual parked in the neighborhood and he was caught. He had hours of my friends daughter on video tape along with two other little girls. The worst thing....this man didn't even live in the same town.

As I think of the two stories above and my own children, I had to ask myself, "Do I release my children into God's hands? or Do I think I have everything under control?" I have to say because I am constantly afraid of all the bad things that might happen and I tend to be a control freak, I would have to go with the second! God doesn't want us to do this. I think when Stormie Omartain was writing this chapter, God knew I was going to read it one day. I felt like they both were speaking right to me!

I was also reminded of the story of Hannah in the bible. She prayed so long for a child and when God gave her one, after he was weaned, she took him to the church to live with the priest, Eli. (He was just a toddler!) Can you imagine that? Hannah did that to fulfill a vow she made to the Lord and Sammuel grew up to be a great prophet. Hannah had complete trust in the Lord and her child was blessed. What a great example of "Let go and let God."

Here are some of the things that I highlighted from Chapter 2. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me!

Do you have peace about your children or are you concerned with everything?

Our children are a gift from God and He cares even more about them than we do!

Don't strive to parent by yourself, enter into a full partnership with God.

Whenever you have a fear about anything, take it as as sign to pray. If you don't have peace right away, call a prayer partner and pray together.

Release your child to God and ask Him to be in charge of their life.

No matter what stage of life your child is in, when we release them to God, they are in good hands! (What a great comfort!)

We don't want to limit what God can do in our children by clutching them to ourselves and trying to parent them alone.

You will be ruled by fear if you are not positive that God is in control of your children's life. SURRENDER your hold on your child and allow God full access.

When we release our children into the Father's hands and acknowledge that He is in control of their lives and ours, both we and our children will have greater peace.

God is everywhere. God can see everything. God can know everything. We can't.

Prayer for our children begins with releasing them into God's hands!

**Read the prayer on page 36. It is powerful.

"Whatever we ask and receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." 1 John 3:22

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chapter One Study Guide Questions!

Please look over the following questions and feel free to respond in the comment section. If you do not have a study guide, copy these down in a journal so you can come back and refer to the questions/answers throughout this journey!

Becoming A Praying Parent

1. List three traits you see as your child's best qualities.

2. How could these good qualities become liabilities if they are not covered in prayer?

3. List three biggest concerns you have for your child.

4. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by any of these concerns? In what way?

5. Does your child have any negative character traits that need to be covered in prayer? What are they?

6. How could these negative traits be turned into positive qualities or assets in your child's life?

7. Look up James 4:7 and underline it in your Bible.
Who are you supposed to resist?
When you resist, what will happen?
Do you believe that you can successfully resist the enemy's plans for your children in prayer?

8. Read Deuteronomy 32:30 and underline it in your Bible.
How many of the enemy's forces can cause to flee when you pray?
Do you believe there is power in praying with other believers for your children?
Why or why not?

9. In what ways do you feel you have done a good job as a parent?

10. Do you feel you have ever made any mistakes as a parent?
If so, make a list of what they are and what you would have done differently. Write a prayer asking God to redeem those situations.

11. Do you ever feel guilt as a parent?
Why or why not?

12. Is there anything that you would like to change about yourself or your life that would alleviate the guilt you feel as a parent?
Explain in your journal and write a prayer to God asking Him to help you make the changes.

13. Do you feel that you generally expect a lot of yourself?
Do you expect yourself to be a perfect parent?

14. Read Romans 8:1 and underline it in your Bible.
How are we to walk in order to be free of feeling condemnation?
How are we not to walk?
Write a prayer in your journal and ask God to help you walk free of condemnation.

15. Read Ephesians 6:12-13 and underline it in your Bible.
Whom are we wrestling against when pray?
What are we supposed to do to withstand them?
Write out a prayer asking God to help you do that, especially with regards to your children.

16. Read 1 Peter 5:8-9 and underline it in your Bible.
Who is your enemy and the enemy of your children?
What is he constantly doing?
What are you to do in response?

17. Read Luke 10:19 and underline it in your Bible.
God has given you authority over all _____?
That means for your children and yourself.
Do you see the enemy trying to threaten your child in any way?
If so, what way?

18. Read John 15:5 and underline it in your Bible.
How does this verse apply to you as a parent?
Are you able to fully depend on God to help you raise your children?

19. Read 1 Peter 4:8.
What will cover the places where we miss the mark as parents?
Write out a prayer asking God to help you love your child with such unconditional love that it smooths all the rough places, heals all wounds, and covers your weakness.

Again, please feel free to respond in the comment section for an "online" discussion!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Chapter One/Becoming A Praying Parent

"Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children."
Lamentations 2:19

Today is Monday.......Are you praying for our children???????

I really enjoyed reading this chapter. I highlighted some of the main points of the first chapter. Did you relate to something that you read in this chapter? Did something in this chapter help you in regards to something you are going through right now? Did you make a detailed list of things about your child to pray about? Are you using a journal and if so, have you had any prayers answered yet? Are there children that you know of that are not covered in prayer? If so, please let me know, so I can add them to our list. ****Please go to the comment section to discuss or elaborate any thoughts concerning Chapter One. Tomorrow night I will post a few things from the study guide. Remember, you can comment anonymously. It will be VERY boring if I am the only one to comment or share. I learn from others, so please help me out!

*Parenting: We feel successful when all is going well and we feel like a failure when all is wrong.

*God is the expert parent. Turn to Him for help, one step at a time.

*Praying can make a positive difference in our children's future.

*It's never too late to start!

*At every stage in their lives, our children need prayers. Cover the details of our children's life in prayer.

*Without God, we are desperate to repeat the mistakes of our past and to mimic what we've observed.

*God wants us to entrust our children to Him on a daily basis. Then, He can take care of our worry and fear.

*God will take our burdens and provide wisdom, power, protection, and ability.

*Our jobs are to discipline, teach, nurture, "train up a child in the way he should go," knowing that "when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

*We can cover our children in prayer and release them into God's hands. Then, he will release our minds from that particular concern.

*God doesn't promise that nothing bad will never happen, but praying will release the power of God to work in their lives and give us more peace of mind.

*Don't force your plans on God. Ask God to show and help you pray for your child.

What Is Prayer and How Does It Work?
*Prayer is acknowledging the and experiencing the presence of God and inviting His presence in our lives.

*Seek God's presence!

*God can give us the means to overcome any problem.

*God will give us the power to bear everything we are praying about.

*Major Key to God's Power: Praying in the name of Jesus!

Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you." John 16:23

*Praying in the name of Jesus gives us authority over the enemy.

*God knows our thoughts and our needs, but he responds to our prayers.

*That doesn't mean there is an immediate response, but our prayers are never lost or meaningless.

*If we are praying, something is happening whether we can see it or not.

*All that needs to happen in our lives cannot happen without the presence of God.

Begin With A Personalized List
"He has blessed your children within you." Psalms 147:13

*Every detail in life is important to God.

*Pray for concerns of the moment, the future, and the effects of the past.

*Make an extensive, personalized, and detailed list for each child.

*Include concerns for each of your children.

*God knows the needs of your children and what challenges they will face in the future.

God's Word As Your Weapon
"God's word is living and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword." Hebrews 4:12

*When we don't pray, we are sitting on the sidelines watching our children in a war zone.
When we do pray, we are in the battle beside them covering them with God's power.

*Encourage your children to learn and quote, "I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

*When you pray for your children, incorporate the verse, "The righteous cry out and the Lord hears and delivers them out of their troubles." Psalm 34:17

*Gods word: guides us, speaks to us, reminds us He is faithful, builds faith in our hearts, and enables us to understand his heart.

"Get behind me, Satan! For it is written you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve." Luke 4:7-8

"If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." John 15:7

*Resist the devil by praying for God's direction. If we Watch Him, Walk with Him, Wait on Him, Worship Him, and Live in His word then we will WIN this battle for our children!

*God has a perfect plan for our children's lives, but Satan has a plan too. A plan to destroy by using any means possible. DISSIPATE Satan's power by prayer! "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7

*Pray with fervency and passion for our young ones and look forward to prayers being answered.

When Answers Don't Come
*The hardest part of praying is waiting for our prayers to be answered.

*Don't give up when things seem hopeless! Stand strong and say, "I've only begun to fight!"

*Your fight is not with your child, it is with Satan. He is the enemy not your child. Stand strong in prayer until you see a break through in your child's life.

*If there is anger or unforgiveness, tell God. If you feel disappointed or hopeless, state it clearly. Ask for God's forgiveness and ask Him to guide you toward your next step.

I Said "Praying" not "Perfect"
*None of us are perfect, so how can we be perfect parents? It's becoming a praying parent that makes the difference.

*If you know of a child that does not have a praying parent, step into the gap and answer that need. YOU can effect a change in the life of any child you care about.

*Submit yourself to God and ask Him to help you become the parent and intercessor that He wants you to be!