Praying for our Children

I don’t know how these bloggers do it y’all.  Blog every single day.  It’s hard stuff.

We had a really busy weekend.  Jojo played in a football tournament all weekend.  On Monday, he was exhausted and not feeling great so he stayed home and got some much-needed rest.  I guess sometimes you just need a day.

But over the weekend and the last couple of days, I’ve done a lot of thinking.  I’ve thought a lot about my kids.  I feel like this huge burden has been placed on my heart and I don’t know where it’s come from.  Maybe it’s been there all along and I just haven’t been receptive to it?

At the end of our women’s prayer gathering a couple of weekends ago, we all came together to pray for each other.  For the prisons in our lives that are holding us captive.  PK had us take time to pray for our husbands and for our children.  For the prisons in their lives, because who better to know what our family is struggling with than us.  We are their wives, their mothers.  We know their struggles.

It was at that moment that I realized that not only do I have prisons in my life, my kids do too.  Yes, they are only 10, 9 and 6, but I can see it.  So many children are going through anxiety, panic attacks and struggling to deal with their emotions.  We’ve been through anxiety with our older two.  It’s not fun.  It is the hardest thing that I’ve had to experience as a parent.  Especially as a parent who has also struggled with anxiety.

I began to pray for my kids.  For their insecurities, their emotions, their feelings, their heart and their soul.  I prayed for their friends and their families.  I prayed that they would choose to follow Christ at an early age and would choose to love and serve others.  From that moment until now, this burden of praying for my children and my husband has been heavy on my heart.

I was a little behind on my reading, but truth is, I was right on time.  Isn’t it funny how God brings things to our attention at the right time?  In Church of the Small Things, Melanie wrote about how a student in their community committed suicide after being bullied and how the community was rocked wondering what they could have done differently.  She writes that she may not have all the answers, but she did know a couple of things.  I wanted to share them with you word for word…

“I know the darkness wants to come for our kids.  I know that evil is everywhere and looking for a chance to whisper to them that they are less than, that they’re inadequate, that they’ll never be enough, and that their lives don’t matter.” (Pg. 104)

“What if we teach our kids that true identity and security is found in the fact that they are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for {them} to do (Ephesians 2:10)?” (Pg. 104)

“What if we showed our kids what kindness and compassion look like?  There is never any weakness in showing mercy and grace because those characteristics are the very heartbeat of God.  Let’s live in a way that teaches our children the importance of loving our neighbors and that peers aren’t our competition.  When we begin to see our own value, we realize that no one else’s successes or accomplishments diminish our own but rather we see that God has a unique path for each of us.”  (Pg. 105) Can I get an AMEN on this one???

“What if we instill in our kids the words of the apostle Paul to young Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:70)?  God doesn’t want us to live in fear.  We can call on His power and love to stand up to the bullies in this world and, maybe even more importantly, to speak up for those who are too broken and have been hurt too badly to defend themselves.” (Pg. 105)

And here is what truly hit home for me…

“The Bible says, “Point your kids in the right direction-when they’re old they won’t be lost” (Proverbs 22:6 MSG), which means it’s our job to give them what is basically a road map for life.  It takes work and perseverance and dedication to raise our kids.  It takes sacrifice and commitment and dying to self as we spend eighteen short-let’s be honest LIGHTNING FAST- years pouring into them and equipping them to be responsible, productive, kind, and ideally, employed adults.  And make no mistake; our kids will model what they see much more than what we say.” (Pg.106)

I was speechless.  18 years.  My oldest is almost 11.  Am I preparing him for the world outside of our home?  Am I showing him to be kind and responsible?  What am I teaching him and my girls with my actions?

Last week, Mackenzie asked me something that left me thinking all weekend.  She asked me if she would have to weigh her food and weigh herself when she grows up so she doesn’t get fat.  And y’all.  This really left me thinking.  She watches me.  Watches me weigh and log in my food. She sees the pictures I take to measure my progress.  Is this wrong?  Absolutely not.  Not saying if you do this, you are doing something wrong.  And I’m not saying that one day, I will come back to this.  But right now, for my family, maybe it’s time for me to focus on something else.

Maybe I should focus on teaching her healthy habits like eating clean and working out.  Focus on health instead of outer appearance…  We do this now, but my actions were showing her something different.  Maybe lowering my body fat percentage is a goal to be saved for later.   All of a sudden it doesn’t seem important anymore because all I can think about is how am I teaching my girls to be happy with who they are?  To be confident and know that they are beautiful and that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, unique in their own way.  Our outer appearance doesn’t matter if our heart isn’t in the right place.  Am I teaching them that our security, identity and significance comes from the Lord?

What Melanie said is 100% correct.  Darkness wants to come for our kids.  The enemy will take whatever it can and use it against us and our children.  It will take their weaknesses and insecurities and blow them up in their face.

Joseph and I have talked so much about our kids and how it’s time to take back our family.  It’s time to place God in the center of our lives again and to fight for our children.  To intentionally pray daily for them and for their friends.  To battle for them.  And by battling I mean praying.  Because prayer is powerful y’all.

Will they mess up?  Absolutely!  But that’s where the lessons of forgiveness and grace come in.  And above all else lessons of love.  Love like Jesus so that our kids will know Jesus.  Am I loving them like Jesus loves me?

I know every family is different.  No judgement here.  Each season is different and our journey is not the same.  But right now, in my season of life, I am choosing to be more intentional.  To take my family back and protect them with everything I have.

And it begins with prayer.  Covering them with prayer every single day.  Praying favor over their lives.

This is a lesson from my daddy.  He prayed every single day for us.  Every morning before we woke up, he was on his knees in our living room praying.  And I know his prayers are the reason that I am who I am today.  Did I mess up?  Gosh yes.  Over and over again.  But I can say that I always came back to what I knew was right.  And that’s all I can ask of my children.  That they will know what is right and that they will always come back to it.

In the end, I want them to have a relationship with Jesus.  That’s what is most important.

“Start a youth out on his way; even when he grows old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Lord Jesus, I pray for the lives of our children.  For their hearts, their souls and their minds.  Lord, I pray that you will guide and protect their every step.  That they may come to know you at an early age and follow you all of the days of their life.  Lord that they will know that hard times will come, but that you will be with them every step of the way.  Lord, help us teach our children that their identity is in you.  That they are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Lord that they will know they are beautiful.  That they are smart and unique in their own way.  I pray that you will surround them with Godly friends who love you.  That they will love and serve those around them and be a light for you.  Whatever prisons they are experiencing…fear, anxiety, depression, insecurity, bitterness, hurt…Lord I pray that you will break those chains.  Lord that you will bring peace to their hearts and minds.  Lord help us as parents, love them like you love us.  Lord teach us to be patient and selfless.  Help us be intentional with every moment.  In Jesus name…

Oh Sweet friend.  I don’t know what you are going through.  Maybe you are dealing with a rebellious teenager or those toddlers have you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  Whatever it is, take it to Him in prayer.  He listens friend, He really does.

I love you guys!

-Maggie

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