Heavenly Father,

For many years I have had Grandkids’ Night where all our grandkids come to our house for the evening and spend the night. Now that we have 16 grandkids and 2 great grandkids, I decided to have a Grandkids camp which lasted 3 days (but I was smart enough to make it a day camp and not all night!) It is very important to me to have an eternal influence on our grandchildren and to lead them to You. As I try to teach, I always learn so much more myself! These are some of the things I learned at Grandkids Camp this year:

  • To always ask You to lead, no matter what! And to watch for Your leading and to follow it! What an adventure to follow Your lead—even when it involves a herd of crazy kids and one crazy Mamaw!
  • To be gentle yet firm—like You are. All your children need both parts of love.
  • To be aware of divine moments that can come in the most amazing forms- like an older grandchild leading the younger ones with supernatural kindness; like a crying “meltdown” that turns into a precious unconditional loving moment; like cousins who were arguing one moment take hands and enjoy one another deeply the next; like one young person who has struggled with anxiety share deep compassion and advise that worked for him to a younger cousin; seeing cousins cheer one another on in a talent show; watching a grandchild see me overwhelmed and stepping in to help without being asked (when I thought I looked like I was handling it fairly well but was so grateful for the help!)…
  • Sharing and respect happen when they are expected.
  • The older generation can still share so much with the younger (thanks for my mom and mom-in-law willing who shared important parts in this camp!…and also some older cousins and aunts and uncle who took turns making these young people feel loved!)
  • Everyone is part of the family despite bouts of yelling, tattling, whining, potty words, hitting, emotions…kids learn to love one another in spite of irritations. Love really covers a multitude of sins!
  • Forgiveness can be taught and learned.
  • Kids can work out their disagreements when they are given a few ideas to solve. Flipping a coin and “Rock, Paper, Scissors” still work! So does one person saying “You go first!”
  • Sometimes kids listen better to kids. I witnessed some true Christian leadership from young people!
  • Children still teach me to enjoy the moment…like getting squirted with water, looking for treasures by the lake, playing with imagination (I just can’t seem to learn video games!)
  • They can also teach me to pray to You from the heart

 

Father, learning can be exhausting! Now that Grandkids’ Camp is over, I believe each child and their grandmother is happy but tired from learning! But my heart is overjoyed by the sweet blessing of every single grandchild (including those who have grown up and a couple who couldn’t come!) I’m also thankful their parents got a little break and I am reminded how much parents need prayer in their critical exhausting everyday role!

 

*****

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”   Deuteronomy 4:9

“Fix these words of Mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Deuteronomy 11:18-19

“I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old—what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.”  Psalm 78:2-4

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, who can I tell of Your wonderful deeds (especially the mercy and salvation of Jesus)?

 

June 21, 2018

Heavenly Father,

When my two oldest children were young, we lived out in the country. Two of their cousins came to stay a lot of weekends with us. All four of them were free to explore a lot of land around our home as long as they stayed together. As soon as they got outside, a group decision had to be made. It was a really big choice for these elementary aged kids. Who was the leader? They solved the problem by coming up with a first, second, third and last leader. The youngest was somehow always last in their decision. There was always some dissension among the ranks. But there had to be a leader. I watched out the window as they headed out to explore in their respective order.

Father, I think back to how many times in my life I wanted to be first leader. I wanted to make my own decisions about which way to go, what activities to explore, and when to go. I tried that enough times now that I have come to realize that You are absolutely First Leader! Your thoughts and plans are so high above mine! You know what is best. Your way has far greater outcome, much richer adventure and much deeper discoveries. Lord, forgive me for all the times I argued with You and bustled my way in front, thinking I knew best. I can look back and see the times I jumped in front of You. I might not have yelled out, “First Leader!” to claim my place as I heard my children do…but that’s what I did.

You have been incredibly patient with me as You let me try my way, then waited for me to call for help because I got way off the path in some new predicament. You even let me learn new things from my attempt at leading (mostly–not to!). Lord, as my life has gone on, I hope I have become much better at letting You be First Leader, and following where You lead. I have been second and third leader many times in my life. That’s OK. I can handle others following me, as long as You are leading. But the older I get, the more I like being last leader! I truly enjoy watching others follow You and take their positions as second and third leader. I truly enjoy the view from the back—seeing others take a following the Leader role. It’s incredible! Not only do I get to see You lead me, but I get to watch You lead others. And there is not as much stress or hurry in last place. I can simply enjoy my walk with You—like I have all eternity on my journey, because I do! I love following You! And I love following You with others!

 

*****

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”    Psalm 139:23-24

 

“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul?”    Matthew 16:24-26

 

“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water.”    Revelation 7:17

*****

Prayer Prompt-

Most Holy God, which place am I in leading?

Heavenly Father,

I have a good seat to look at the challenges dads face day in and day out. I work as an early childhood educator which sees about one hundred plus dads and grandads drop off or pick up their precious children each day. I watch as they often are facing stress from work and other challenges yet they put all that aside to let their child know how important they are to them. They kneel down to their child’s level or sweep them way up to their level so they can see the love in their eyes. They make their girls feel like princess warriors and their sons like little super heroes. Then off they go to provide, protect and teach these little people who have been entrusted to their care.

I have men in my own family who I watch rise up to their leadership role as dads even when it is incredibly hard. I watched my first husband try to fit a lifetime of fathering in before his death at 37 years old; my present husband step in to fill a void that can only be filled by a man; my sons and sons-in-law who give all they have to raise their children; another son who was willing to adopt three young siblings who didn’t know what it was like to have a dad; and my own precious dad who still has an eternal impact on my life…

Father, You are our eternal Father. You created men in Your own image. You designed men with the capabilities to be amazing leaders with Your help. I know dads and grandads often feel like the burden of responsibility is almost too much to bear. They want to take care of their families so badly. They try to come up with the answers, advice, finances, provisions, protection…Father, I hold up dads in all their forms before You and ask that You remind them they do not carry it all alone. You are with them and will provide all they need as they turn to You through Jesus Christ. Refresh them; renew them; empower them through Your Holy Spirit to be the dads and grandads You created them to be. Thank You for all these amazing dads I’m praying for today. Thank You, most of all, Lord, for being my Heavenly Father who has given me life, believes in me, provides and protects me, leads me and encourages me…

 

*****

“Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you will fight for you, as He did in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”  Deuteronomy 1:29-31

 

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me Your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.”   Psalm 27:10-11

 

“”As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Now remain in My love. If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: ‘Love each other as I have loved you.’”  John 15:9-12

*****

 

Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, I pray for these dads…

Gracious Loving Lord,

I have been amazed more than once by a spouse who forgave their marriage partner and kept on loving them even after they were unfaithful. That is some incredible love. I believe it goes past human capacity for love. It has to be Your love flowing through them. In the cases I am thinking of, I have seen the love grow stronger than ever once they get past that huge challenge. The cheating mate sometimes realizes that no one else could ever love them with that type of love. It won’t work if the one cheated on keeps bringing up the offense, always hanging it over their head, like a debt that cannot ever be paid.(Although it takes time for trust to rebuild). The unfaithfulness has to be forgiven and forgotten, which takes time and a lot of help from You, Lord. And the cheating has to stop. There has to be true repentance and sorrow. Faithful love covers a multitude of sins.

Yet that is how You love us, Lord. We belong to You. You created us to be in a forever relationship with You, and yet every single one of us has at some time cheated on You. We’ve been unfaithful. We have loved someone or something more than You. We have even offered our mind, bodies and souls to another god- of money, fame, status, material possessions, drugs, alcohol, entertainment, sexual pleasure, power, reputation- even religion without love for You can be a god…Sometimes we even get so obsessed with other relationships that they come before You. All our other relationships will grow in love when our relationship with You is first.

Father, I know there will be temptations to cheat on You because even Jesus was tempted (although He was the only One who remained true without sin). Lord, help me realize those temptations for what they are. Forgive me for the flirtations, for the seemingly little harmless times I look at other gods and am tempted to give my heart and soul to another. I belong to You. You loved me so much that You sent Jesus to bring me back to You. He died on the cross to completely cover my sins against You and my unfaithfulness to You. I am pledged to You through Jesus Christ; sealed for all eternity with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is coming back for me to take me to Your Home. I want to be found faithful to You, Lord. Let me love You with all my heart, mind and soul. Let me be true to You.

 

*****

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit He caused to live in us envies intensely? But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.”  James 4:4-8

 

“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed  in the name of God’s one and only Son.”  John 3:16-18

“Jesus said (on the cross), ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’”  Luke 23:34

*****

Prayer Prompt-

Lord, I am sorry for being unfaithful to You by…

Yesterday I was told of a precious young pregnant mom who was due to have a c-section in two days when they discovered no heartbeat. The baby had already died, before it could even be born. Now, the birth still has to take place- yet its tiny body will be lifeless and there will be tears of grief instead of joy.

I had just read a report of the high infant mortality rate in infants. Of course, it is so much better than even a couple generations ago. Yet there is still a high risk for babies to die in the womb or in the first year. No matter how much medicine advances, it will never completely do away with death. It is part of this world.

My heart goes out to those who have lost babies from miscarriage, SIDS, complications, abortions or no matter the cause…so I write this prayer for you:

Heavenly Father,

You knew these babies even before they were formed in their mommy’s womb; before their mommy and daddy even knew they existed. Even as their DNA is woven in intricate strands determining who they are, You are the One who intimately knows them, creates them and determines their purpose and place in eternity. The older I get, the more I realize how very short this life on earth is. But these babies have an even shorter time- barely getting started. Yet they belong to You forever. Their lives are eternal. Nothing can separate them from Your love. Nothing can separate them from the love of their parents and families. Not even death.

Life here on earth is but a mist when compared to all eternity. Our lives are not created simply for this short time here…You created us to be with You forever in Your eternal presence. These precious little souls, for whatever reason skipped this hard earthly life, and went straight to Your loving eternal care. Yet their very existence forever changes who we are. Only You, Lord, fully comprehend the eternal impact these short earthly lives made on our souls.

Though we grieve the awful pain of empty arms and dreams of our lives with them, we also acknowledge their eternal life with You and another connection we have to heaven because of who they are. Lord, we praise You for sending Your Son to be born as a tiny human baby and to die on the cross to defeat death so we could follow Him to eternal life with You. Thank You that there will be a reunion with these precious little ones that can never be broken. Thank You for their short lives which help us focus on eternity with You. In Jesus’ name, we pray for those grieving little ones to find all they need in You.

*****

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am  fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me are written in Your book before one of them came to be.”  Psalm 139:13-16

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A Few Practical Thoughts to Consider as You Grieve the Death of Your Baby

 

*Name your baby if you haven’t

*The young mom mentioned above is giving away her babies’ clothes, etc to bless another family in memory of her little one.

*Make a memory book of this little one (possible thoughts to include: how you felt through pregnancy, dreams and plans you had for this child, how carrying this baby has affected your life in both sad and good ways, how you hope to go forward in your life in a way that honors them…)

*If you have other children, help them make a memory book of their little sibling. See the book for children My Forever Memories of You: Personal Memory Book to Help a Child or youth Deal with the Death of a Loved One With Ideas for Adults who Long to Help  There is also a full chapter in the adult book My Forever Memories of You that gives help for children grieving.

*Meditate on God’s promise of Heaven and what your little one’s life might be like now.

 

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,

How sweet it is to sit in the shade of Your presence. It can be sweltering heat, beating down on me—wearing me out. In fact, the other day, the heat index was so high I had a mild case of heatstroke from working out in the heat and humidity. I had to immediately seek shade so I could sit down and cool off.  No matter how hot life gets—no matter what is going on to zap my strength—no matter how unbearable the conditions get…I can find sweet relief simply by sitting in the shade of Your Holy presence.

I don’t even have to say anything. I can just sit and be still and know who You are—the Lord God of all, the highest Authority over heaven and earth, the One who rules forever and ever—the One who created me and knows all my needs, weaknesses and fears. There is the sweetest shelter from the heat of this life before me at all times. All I have to do is sit with You. You bring relief, cool gentle breezes to restore my peace. I know I am not the only one who experiences Your tender nearness. I cannot comprehend how You can sit with me like I am the only person in the world. You know me. You understand me. You restore me. Yet You are doing that all over the world with whoever chooses to sit in Your shade. There is a young mom in Russia, a teenager in Cameroon, a grandfather in Canada, a girl in Ireland…many times over. You are sitting personally with each of us in the shade of Your presence.

It’s all because of Jesus. Because of our sinfulness, we cannot sit in Your Holy presence. You sent Jesus to wash away our sins, to make us holy forever. You sent Jesus so we can be with You always. You sent Jesus to live in us through Your Holy Spirit so we can sit with You in Your presence any time. Lord, help me not to wander too far from the shade of Your presence.

*******

“The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”   Psalm 121:5-8

 

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  Psalm 91:1

 

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, let me rest in Your shade through my faith in Jesus Christ…

Heavenly Father,

The things on my to-do list were calling my name early this morning, but I knew I needed to start out my day with a good soaking of Your presence. I happened to set the sprinkler to run during my quiet time with You. The sweet cool mist blew back on me refreshing and renewing me. I looked up to You, simply soaking Your majesty in. All those little things I needed to do that were calling me away seemed so insignificant in Your eternal presence. Anything I could possibly do wouldn’t last long. Any projects, programs or deeds (no matter how good they seem) will blow away like that mist from the sprinkler when compared to eternity.

Then You turned my thoughts to my plants that are beginning to require water each day as our blistering hot Oklahoma summer begins. It is so obvious when they have gone without water- even for one day. The green is sucked out of them. They are struggling to thrive. They are simply going into survival mode instead of flourishing and enriching the world with the lush green leaves and vibrant flowers that are a result of a good soaking of water.

Lord, I need You! I was created to soak You in and worship You. As I raise my heart, soul and mind to You, You rain down on me and replenish me. I will just be a wilted plant trying to do my little things with no real life running through me. I need to be watered daily with Your living water. It is only with Your presence flowing through me that even the tiniest, most insignificant thing I do flourishes and leaves a trace of Your eternal glory behind. It is only when Your love waters me that I can grow, flourish and produce any kind of eternal growth. I can never produce any eternal fruit on my own—no matter how hard I try. It only comes from being well-watered by You! So here I am to soak You up, Lord!

****

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”  Psalm 1:2-3

“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”  Isaiah 58:11

“If anyone is thirty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” Jesus said in John 7:37b-38

*****

Prayer prompt-

Lord, give me Your living water…

Dear friends,

How can we possibly be thankful in the grips of grief? It is absolutely possible and vital to find ways to be grateful even on the very worst days of grieving. Perhaps those are the most important times to find specific things to be thankful for. Once you start, it becomes easier than you thought. There might be times you want to yell, “I DON’T WANT TO BE THANKFUL! I want to be left alone in my grief!” I know! Yet it can all too easily become a drowning pool of prolonged pity. It can even become a way of life. Bitterness wants to take over. So it has to be fought off with thankfulness.

 

How can you be thankful when your loved one is gone? When your heart was ripped from you? When there is a deep wound which will never be healed? When you can’t understand why they were taken. At least give this a try for one week and see if it helps: Make a list of three things you are grateful for each day. You can do this first thing in the morning, midday, or before you go to bed. I highly recommend writing them down so it is more fully imprinted on your grieving mind which can barely function right now. Try to list three different things each day. Keep them recorded in your grief journal or the interactive My Forever Memories of You book.

 

Does anyone remember Garth Brooks’ song, “I Would Have Missed the Dance?” Your loved one may be gone, but for however short the time was with them, your life is forever changed because of who they are. That’s a good place to start. Write specific ways you are thankful your loved one has been, is now and forever will be a part of your life…

 

Love and prayers

 

“Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I Thessalonians 5:17-18

 

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”  Philippians 1:3