Monday, November 23, 2015

What was actually going on...

Our verse focus this morning in devotions was Romans 3:23-

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Well the kids got a good, old fashioned object lesson in how we ALL sin. Even mommy.

We were getting bundled up to take our very first Operation Christmas Child box to the drop-off. I wanted to gather together and pray over the box first. And, of course, get a picture.

We were supposed to all be grateful and excited. There was supposed to be all this joy and love surrounding the whole experience.

Not even sort of.

Tears. Tantrums. Spanks. Repeat.

...I need a minute to recover from just the memory...

The beauty in this mess is that God always forgives. We finally managed to snuggle up together, discuss our verse again, and thank God for sending His Son so we can be forgiven.

It was only then that we were able to gather around this little box and pray for the sweet boy that will get to meet Jesus through it.

Beauty from the ashes.

((I will be reviewing and giving away a copy of the book we are using for devotions right now in the very near future! Keep a look out!))

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sing Hallelujah Anyway

"You're a good, good Father. It's Who You are… And I'm loved by You…"

We were halfway through this song at Amanda's celebration service before I could actually sing along. I began singing because if I've learned anything from all of this, it's to lean on what I know. 

know He's a good, good Father. Even when I don't feel like He is.

So I claimed that promise. Grabbed it up as mine. Through the strength of the Holy Spirit alone, I opened my mouth and sang that truth.

Because the Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need. He gives me rest and peace. He guides me. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I have nothing to fear. He is right beside me. (Psalm 23)

So I continue to sing a very broken hallelujah.

And what I know goes beyond what I feel and opens my eyes to who I am:

Loved by You.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Day I Stopped Praying

I got the news that morning. I said a quick prayer but didn't think a ton about it because really, "critical condition" can mean so many things. It didn't even occur to me that she might not make it. But when I realized that I was glued to that spot in the kitchen where I first read the text, and that a heaviness had glued me there, I started pleading. And I didn't stop for a solid 24 hours.

With nearly every breath I sent up a plea. Save her life, Lord! Be glorified through the miracle! Don't take that boy's momma away!

Hundreds, maybe thousands, were praying the very same thing! Maybe some of them ventured into the "give them peace" type of prayers, but I spent little time there. I learned from Amanda's dad to pray bold. And that I did. For 24 hours.

Then I received the text I was sure would never be real.

She's gone.

And I stopped praying.

I didn't have anything nice to say.

I wrestled. Struggled. Cried. Repeat. And on my face I asked God, What good are my prayers??

Of the thousands of people praying, there are people so godly they make me look like a heathen. Why do I bother? Better, why on earth do You want me to bother?

But throughout that horrifying first day, in the midst of being angry furious with God for allowing something so downright awful to happen to an amazing family, I kept finding myself on my war room floor. The tears that soaked the carpet far outnumbered my words. All I could do was lay on my face with my hands open and cry.

God laid one particular family member on my heart so I sobbed for her. I told God that I knew He wanted me to pray for her but I didn't know how. So here I am, trying to obey! I don't know what good these prayers will do, but I will obey! Then the Spirit gave me words. Or gave words to my groanings.

Then God laid another family member on my heart today. I still don't know what He wants me to say or why He wants me to pray. But I'm choosing to obey. And He's been giving words to my groanings.

I didn't really know Amanda. But through her death I have fought through the thing about God that I have never been able to grasp: why He allows things that He could change. And I've come to a place - not of understanding, but more of acceptance and trust - a place God and I have never been together.

And through this senseless act of evil, which was only made possible by the sin that has ruled this world since the Garden, I've learned about a girl I've been acquainted with for years. And I'm different because of her. Her story has grown me.

And as this "year of prayer," I've been calling it, comes to a close with the worst tragedy our church has ever seen, I think I get it. I think I'm finally really praying.

 Thank you, Amanda Grace.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:26-28.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Prayers for My Girl: Wisdom

Day 6 and final day of focused prayer for my Girl.

I had a couple ideas for what to pray for this day but they just didn't seem Spirit-led. What the Spirit did seem to be saying is that I should ask Derek. So that I did.

It only took a moment of thought before he said:


Lord, grow Marie in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). I pray that you will bless her with wisdom in all things as You did for Solomon (1 Kings 4:29) and Daniel (Daniel 1:7). Give her a love for learning, first about You, then about the world You created. 
Help her to not be bitter, jealous, or selfish, but instead clothe her with Your wisdom which is pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere (James 3:16-18).
Most of all, I pray that she will never conform to the world. Transform her mind so she will never settle for less than Your perfect will (Romans 12:2).

…God is able to do whatever He promises. Romans 4:21

Monday, November 9, 2015

Prayers for My Girl: Honesty

Day 5 of prayers for my Girl.

Honesty and transparency are very important to me. The first time Marie lied, I felt like I was a complete failure as a parent and her life was headed straight down a nasty path. Not only do I hate lying, the ugliness it causes makes me irrational, obviously. So once I calmed down from that, I remembered that while Satan is the Father of Lies, Jesus is the Victor! So I started praying. And praying. And disciplining. And praying. And I will continue to do so.


Father, help Marie to be honest; a woman of integrity whose yes is yes and whose no is no (Matthew 5:37). May she always be quick to confess so that she can experience Your grace and mercy (Proverbs 28:13). Remind her that the truth will always set her free, and that Truth is found in Your Word. Give her passion for Your Truth. Sanctify her in Your Truth because You are Truth (John 8).

Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice. Psalm 55:17

Day 4: Witness
Day 3: Purity
Day 2: Attitude
Day 1: Friendships

Friday, November 6, 2015

Prayers for My Girl: Witness

Day 4 of prayers for my girl.

There is only one good thing we can do on earth that we cannot do in heaven. Have you ever thought about that? It never occurred to me until my freshmen year of college when the author, Mark Cahill, came to IWU and talked about his book, One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven. 

The one thing we cannot do is witness. We cannot lead others to the Lord. Everyone in heaven will already be in heaven! So what greater purpose do we have on this earth than to be a light in this ever darkening world??

Let me be real with you here… I fail fail fail at this. FAIL. But that doesn't mean I get to quit. And it's most definitely not going to stop me from praying that Marie is a shining light for her Savior.

I promise Jack was having as much fun as his sister, ha!

Thank You, Jesus, for pulling my girl out of the darkness and being the light that leads to life! (John 8:14). Let Your light shine so brightly through Marie that people cannot help but see You (Matthew 5:16). Be so very real in her life that she needs to talk about You. May she never for even a moment be ashamed of the Good News. Help her to love others too much to keep from sharing with them the peace, the freedom, the joy that comes from knowing You! Lord, make her dangerous for Your purpose. So, when You usher her home, You can say to her, "Well done, good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:23).

Rejoice in hope. Be patient in tribulation. Be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

Day 3: Purity
Day 2: Attitude
Day 1: Friendships

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Prayers for My Girl: Purity

Day 3 of Prayers for My Girl.

This subject of purity scares the living daylights out of me. We live out in the country without TV. We are very sheltered. So stepping out into the world is like a blow to the gut. It's ugly out there! That's expected, of course, as things will only get worse until Jesus comes in on His white horse. But the ugly doesn't stop at the church doors. We Believers have let impurity creep in and take over. Not only behind closed doors and in secret, but even outwardly choosing to join in with what the world has decided is acceptable. I feel so defeated sometimes because I can't imagine how my kids will survive this world and stay pure. On different levels, neither Derek nor I stayed pure.

But THANKS BE TO GOD! He gives us the victory over sin and death through Jesus! 1 Corinthians 15:57.

And I believe -with everything that I have- in miracles. Let's move mountains with our prayers!


Father, by Your mercy, give her the strength to offer her body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to You (Romans 12:1). Guard her heart as it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). I pray that she will always remember that her body is a gift to her husband. Please make that truth real in her life so she clings to it- guarding her heart, her mind, her emotions until the time You have for her and her husband to become one. I pray the same for the man you have for her. May his love for You and for Marie, even before he knows her, compel him to flee temptation and live with integrity and purity. And Lord, if there is failure in their lives, give them great victory in You! (1 Corinthians 15:57). Please bless Marie with a marriage overflowing with passion, faithfulness, and unwavering love. But no matter what, may her happiness only ever be tied to You. (John 15:11)

Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to Him in prayer, pleading for your children. Lamentations 2:19

Day 2: Attitude
Day 1: Friendships

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Prayers for My Girl: Attitude

Day 2 of my week of focused prayer for my Girl.

This is a prayer directly from a passage that I have circled for Marie. God laid this passage on my heart for her. The thing is, I desperately need this prayer, too. Create in us grateful hearts, Oh God!

Her Attitude

Oh Lord, fill her with joy. Help her to be considerate. Overcome her worry and lead her to pray. Create in her a grateful heart. I pray that she will experience Your peace as You guard her heart and mind. Focus her thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:4-8)

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Colossians 4:2

Day 1: Friendships

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Prayers for My Girl: Friendships

In light of the month of thanksgiving, I've decided to spend focused time praying circles around 4 of my greatest blessings: my babes.

I pray for them every single day and have all sorts of prayers for each of them written on my War Room wall, but deciding to really hone in on one kid has already pushed me to pray more often throughout the day.

This week I am focusing on my Goob. I want to share these prayers, and the verses God has used to bring them about, to encourage you in your prayers for any girls in your life.

Marie Love

Her Friendships

Lord, thank You for the gift of friendship. Thank You for blessing Marie with friends. You have gifted her with friends who love You and uplift her. Please bless these friendships and grow them (1 John 1:7). Make them as iron that sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). I pray that they will be unified by Your love, in Your Spirit, for Your purpose (Philippians 2:2). Thank You also for the friends who challenge her faith, who provide opportunity to deal with conflict. Help her to be cautious in choosing her friends (Proverbs 12:26) as "bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Corinthians 15:33). And, Lord, may You be her greatest Friend of all.

As Mark Batterson says in his book, The Circle Maker, "God honors bold prayers because bold prayers honor God."

So let us come boldly before the throne of our gracious God (Hebrews 4:16) and watch what He will do!

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