Heavenly Father,
Since my children were spread out in ages, there were children in our home I was actively raising for over 33 years. Parenting has been a huge part of my life. Of course, you never stop being a parent but it definitely changes when they move out to begin their own lives. I never dreamed my house would stay clean, I could enjoy quiet, and every moment was not taken up washing clothes, doing dishes, making meals, being chauffer, trying to settle sibling squabbles, and wiping noses. Now I find myself in the role of being a “parent encourager.”

I cannot count the conversations with my adult children who are now parents (and parents of the children in my work in child care) as they vent their joys, frustrations and struggle with what they think are failures. So often, they look completely exhausted, frazzled and defeated when they begin their conversations…then as they finally begin to recall the cute things their little ones did or admire the good qualities they notice in their teens, it all becomes worth it. They are once again recharged and ready to go back at it again. They don’t need my advice as much as my encouragement. They are in the trenches…they are doing what needs to be done to raise incredible adults.

Father, I look back at my active parenting years and stand amazed at what we had to endure. I look at these incredible adults who I happened to give birth to and help through their formative years. I can’t believe I had anything at all to do with the amazing people they are today. I even admire what they do as parents. Some things they have carried on from our parenting, and other things are different. Most of that is due to the fact that their children are unique individuals created by You, knowing they would need these specific parents to help form them.

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs there is. There is no guarantee they will be thanked. It takes great sacrifice. It costs more than can be calculated. You learn as you go. Parents become the expert on their particular children. It is exhausting yet their children are depending on them. Father, today I pray for and lift up parents who are actively giving it all they’ve go to parent. I pray they don’t do it alone. May they come to You, Lord, for all they need- refreshment for each day, wisdom from Your word, eyes to see progress, a heart which hears past angry outbursts, amazing grace to forgive their children’s mistakes, strength to teach them right from wrong, wisdom to know they need You and to teach their children that they need You, as well. Father, You are our Ultimate Parent who knows what it is like. I know You will encourage parents today.

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“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

“Be imitators of God, therefor, as dearly beloved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 (Just as our children learn by imitating us)

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, which parents can I encourage today?

Heavenly Father,  I recall my dad talking to me one time about “investing” in his children. It hit me the wrong way when I first heard him use the term “investing” when speaking of my brothers and me. At the time, being a very young adult, that word seemed a little cold and calculating—probably because I had only heard it in reference to money. But I am beginning to understand my daddy’s investment…

                Yesterday was my last day of a 25-plus-year career I had spent investing in the lives of little people. I spent at least fifteen years loving, nurturing and teaching other people’s children through my in-home Child Care. Then I just chose to leave a job where I continued to love on countless precious little ones from 6 weeks old to six years old in a wonderful Child Care Center. That’s a lot of noses and bottoms which have been wiped, dirty bedding laundered, meals prepared and dishes washed , boo-boos treated, temper tantrums calmed, tears hugged away, silly songs sang, books read over and over, bubbles blown and popped, potty training with accidents and success, teaching to share and take turns, helping them learn to be caring and respectful, helping them realize responsibility, discoveries about butterflies, plants, dinosaurs, weather, firemen, building and art… (and their families loved and prayed for!)

                Most of those little people who run to hug me when I walk into the room will not remember me 5-10 years from now…but I know the other teachers and I have invested more than they will ever know into their lives. Then there are my own children, grandchildren and great grandchildren! For over 34 years, I had children underage at home. Now there are grandkids in and out of my care on a regular basis. Even when they are not in my presence, I am still investing love by praying for them daily. As my children and grandchildren have grown to be amazing big people, I am blown away that my little investments had even a tiny impact on who they are and who they influence! The more I invest (even in seemingly insignificant ways) the pay-off is occurring in eternal dividends I can’t even begin to count. Just a little peek makes me realize I am so richly blessed!

                Father, You invested in us first! You knew there wouldn’t always be immediate return for the precious investment of Your Son Jesus Christ. No one understood the price of Your loving investment poured out for us when it was occurring. We still cannot count the riches of how Jesus’ life, death and resurrection continues to grow, flourish and multiply in our lives and those we touch! Father, thank You so much for investing in us when we didn’t deserve it, understand it, or even acknowledge what You’ve done for us. Lord, help me be one that keeps passing Your great blessings along. The more we invest, the richer we discover we’ve become spiritually.

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”    John 3:16

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:9-12

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, how am I investing the Love You have poured into me?

Heavenly Father,

Some of the sweetest testimonies come from the youngest in our lives. One of my dear teacher friends told me she had taken her six year old nephew and another six year old, Warren, who is the son  of our Kindergarten teacher (and like another nephew to my teacher who was driving) to see Christmas lights. These two rambunctious boys wrestled all through the park as they walked through the lights. They were still wrestling in the back seat on the way home. Warren karate chopped the other boy and told him that he was dead. The other boy said, “No! I came back to life!”

Warren stopped and looked seriously at the other boy and said, “No! The only person that ever came back to life was Jesus.” He explained that Jesus is special. So the other boy asked him what makes Jesus special. Warren looked right at him and told him that Jesus is God’s Son and Mary’s son and He was born and died for us—that’s what makes Him special. The other boy said, “That’s cool!” Then they proceeded to karate chop each other.

Father, how I praise you for those who are ready and willing to share the good news of great joy for all people at every opportune time they can. Put those opportunities in front of me. Let me recognize them, use them and trust You with the results—just like my young friend Warren! I know it is not up to me to save people. Only Jesus can do that. It is up to me to deliver the message, to drop the seed of the good news so You can make it grow in others’ lives.

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“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”  Luke 2:14

 

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’”  Luke 2:10-12

 

“But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things He did and the children shouting in the temple courts, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant. ‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants You, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” Matthew 21: 15-16

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, do I know You? Do I praise You?

Heavenly Father,

It is the first snow fall of the year. Yes, it is beautiful, but as an early childhood teacher, it may mean a really wild day at school today! There is nothing like a class full of little kids who are seeing or perhaps playing in the snow for the first time! If we don’t take the kids outside, they will be super-hyped-up, looking at the snow through the window. If we make snow ice cream, they will be super excited about their first real “snow cones!” If we take them out, there will be 12 sets of wet shoes or boots to take off, a dozen freezing noses and sets of red hands, wet clothes and coats everywhere! Snow is exciting in our warm climate state. It is lovely and pure to look at when it is outside; yet it sure can bring a mess inside!

Hopefully, it will also provide good sleeping weather at naptime! How many minutes til naptime? Give me strength, Lord to make it until naptime and please let them sleep today! I need some You time, Father. I need some quiet alone time with You! Even if there is a room full of babies or preschool kids—if they are sleeping, I can get a moment of sweet alone time with You. I can handle the afternoon with a room filled with rambunctious little ones, if I can get a few refreshing moments with You.

You are the one who gives me Your peace, refreshment, strength, eyes to see and enjoy the beauty of snow out the window and even tracked all over the room. You are the One who lets me enjoy such crazy chaos and love each of these spectacular kids with all their unique idiosyncrasies. You are the One that gives me the supernatural strength and patience to care for each one of these precious children…but please let me have a few moments of quiet prayer time with You!

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“Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”  Psalm 51:7b

“’Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow…’”  Isaiah 1:18

“I pray that out of His riches, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:16-17

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me take some quiet moments with You today…