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Choosing Life

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Several months back, I was sitting in the car with my kids, waiting for my husband to roll out of football practice when I heard the familiar “ping” of my phone, alerting me to a new text message. As I saw the name of the messenger, I was instantly perplexed and curious. My stepson’s mom, who was disgruntled and at her wit’s end with my teenage stepson, had reached out to me.

I was particularly surprised that she was contacting me, considering our relationship is…let’s just say, less than perfect. Not going to sugarcoat it – being a stepmom for over ten years, it’s no puzzle to me that these complex relationships are a recipe for dissension. Afterall, it’s a relationship that was not in God’s original plan for the family unit (just take Sarah and Hagar, for example). And like Sarah and Hager, the enemy has been at work in this challenging relationship since Jesse and I started dating.

Resentment, blame, unforgiveness, insecurity…just a few of the tactics Satan loves to use for his evil schemes in these kind of sticky situations. Disagreements and false accusations have taken us down this dark road and has allowed room for a lot of hurt and frustration to unvoluntarily pour into our lives over the years. But it has also allowed room for personal growth, character development, and spiritual refinement.

As I read through her parental vexation, I could not help but recall all the verbal wounds incurred over the years at our expense. Every hurtful text, phone conversation, Facebook post. Every insult and attack on our character has been a tough pill to swallow. I was half- tempted to just ignore her plea altogether or respond with a quick, unconstructive tip to send her on her way. But then the Holy Spirit prompted me… why of all people, did she choose to reach out to me? Me!

So I stared at my phone, contemplating my next move. I asked God, “Lord, what would you have me say to her?” And His response was very direct: Speak Life!

Did I want to feed into my human temptation to seize the opportunity and lash out or choose a path that would lead to an eternal reward of faithfulness? Rather than taking full advantage of her vulnerable state and pin-point my tally of her failures and faults, I chose life. Not because I am the picture of perfect parenting, but because I am a child of God. Not because the high road is the easier road to take. But because it is the road He calls of His children.

I told her that motherhood is a challenging, but rewarding calling. That as moms, we battle feelings of failure on a daily basis. That all children have their strengths and weaknesses, as do adults.  I told her motherhood requires grace – lots of grace. And finally, I encouraged her to seek the Throne of Jesus to give His wisdom to parent intentionally, lovinging, and effectively.

I received no reply. But I prayed my words planted seeds of hope into her weary heart.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” -Proverbs 18:21

I am by no means trying to take an opportunity to slander my stepson’s mom. But I am making every attempt to demonstrate the formidable power that dwells within each and every one of us. And this power is not limited to the difficult people God places in our lives, but to those that are right under our roof, and in front of us in the grocery store, and the outspoken neighbor who’s beliefs outwardly defies our personal convictions.

 We speak life by encouraging, uplifting, and voicing the truth in love and grace.

There is a saying I tell my children all the time in order to teach them an applicable example of the power of the tongue: Our mouth has the power to hurt or help. A power that holds the promise of giving life or death. Victory or defeat. Love or hate. We have the power to turn on the light into a dark situation or relationship simply by choosing to speak words of grace and wisdom.

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” -Proverbs 12:18

I once heard a pastor give a profound image of what our words would look like if we could actually see them with our eyes? He went on to say hurtful words are like daggers – knives flying through the air – abrasively cutting, leaving life-long scars. But words that offer healing and affirmation – they breathe life into dry bones – into lifeless relationships and circumstances.

Even if we can’t visibly see our positive words move the mountains in our lives, we can be confident that our words did not fall on deaf ears in the spiritual realm and be certain of the victories we won for Christ by being stewards of our tongue. Interestingly, the tongue is known to be one of the strongest muscles in our body – and out of 650 muscles – that’s some strong competition.

We must diligently discern our words because once they are spoken, they can not be taken back. And the pain caused by harmful words can leave devestaing wounds that last a lifetime. But, if we tame our tongue and use our God-given speech for edification, we have the power to shatter the plans of the enemy, glorify God,  further His Kingdom, and be heirs in His righteousness.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

 

 

 

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Moms In Prayer: Being A Prayer Warrior for Your Kids

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Prayer. It’s not exactly one of the topics that ignites an immediate response in us to jump up and down with excitement. But prayer is probably one of our greatest untapped resource – and it is a resource that is always available. Oftentimes, we view prayer more like a life-line when crisis strikes or a daily redundant task, rather than a powerful, direct line to an Almighty God (who listens, by the way). We know we should pray, but that doesn’t stop us from allowing life be our excuse not to pray.

I get it – I’m a busy individual too – wifing (yes, I just made up a new verb), mothering, blogging, homemaking, and owner of an in-home daycare. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what each of these areas in life demand of me. And I’m confident your life has its fair share of responsibilities too.

Mornings are early and nights are usually late. The fact that maintaining sanity is beyond my own human capacity is becoming more and more apparent with each passing day. I hear you, moms. Life is just crazy-busy. How can we have time to pray?

With our minds constantly on super-drive, it’s so easy to become tangled in the realm of to-dos that we miss out on opportunities in the spiritual realm – intentional, intercessory and fervent communication with God.  And as a result, we miss out on interceding to an Able Heavenly Father on behalf of our children.

Last year, my daughter began the intense, life-changing journey known as Kindergarten. Oh, trust me. It’s much more than plato and carpet-reading time. Those are just friendly distractions to the real situation on your hands – your child is away from you for 6-7 hours a day.

That’s 6-7 hours where I’m not physically present, other influences are shaping my child’s life, and giving opportunity for my child to make her own choices. My single say in all this was the “I love you” note I packed in her lunchbox.

You see, I thought that was the only interaction I had while my daughter was away at school. But I was wrong. Thankfully, so wrong.

I heard about an opportunity for mothers at the school called Moms in Prayer. Even though I wasn’t sure how comfortable I was praying in front of strangers, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to go. I don’t always make great decisions, but when I do, they are truly great! And this was one of those great decisions.

A year later and now leading my kid’s school Moms in Prayer group, this ministry and its purpose has become so near and dear to my heart and has had a life-changing impact on my faith and relationship with Christ. I praise while I wash messy dishes. I repent and unfold my sins as I fold the laundry. I give thanks to God while I’m rummaging through the dairy isle in the grocery store. I offer my prayers of petition during intercession while I’m making breakfast in the moring. Learning to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) has become a way of life. And I am living proof that God hears and answers prayer!

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What is Moms in Prayer?

Moms in Prayer was founded by a woman named Fern Nichols about 30 years ago. Out of the desperate cry of her heart, knowing her two boys were transitioning to Middle School (another defining journey in life), she had a burden to pray for her kids – to make good choices and resist peer pressure. She formed a group of moms who shared in her passion to cover their children in prayer.

Once other women heard of the incredible ways God was answering prayer, other groups formed and now, Moms in Prayer is an international Christian organization in over 140 countries – all because of the vision of one woman and her obedience to Christ. Moms in Prayer meets one day a week for one hour. It is an uplifting time to pray with other moms and share the burdens on your heart – to pray for your kids, their school, their friends, and their teachers.

Moms can make a difference – moms just like you. Find your local school’s group and get plugged in! Your local school doesn’t have a Moms in Prayer group already? Pray and seek the Lord’s will as to whether He is prompting you to begin one! Even your homeschool co-op can start a group! Find out more info about Moms in Prayer here…

momsinprayer.org

We can be busy doing all sorts of things, but if God is not in it and we are not actively seeking God for His will, we are wasting a lot of efficiency.  Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do. Far too often, prayer is our last resource, even though we serve a mighty God who is the Source. We have been entrusted with a high calling to earnestly pray for our children. And they are so worth every second we devote to lifting them up in prayer to our loving and faithful Savior.

“The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

We are not just moms.

We are prayer warriors.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker