Category Archives: Motherhood

A MOTHER’S PRAYER IS POWERFUL

A Mother's Prayer is Powerful

My mothering instincts kicked into high gear and a flood of concern rushed into my mind when I heard the ring of the phone after midnight. I was thinking: What if something is wrong with my daughter?

Christa was seventeen at the time and in Mexico on a mission trip for the purpose of constructing a house for a homeless family. She and a large group of students were camping in tents in an open field area.

I grabbed my phone as quickly as possible and heard my daughter’s sullen voice on the other end of the line.

“Mommy, I’m afraid I have a bad virus. I feel very nauseous. Everyone is asleep, and I don’t know what to do.”

There were chaperones sleeping in other tents, but understandably she was apprehensive about searching in the dark for one of the adults.

As a protective mother, I felt helpless while I listened to my daughter. In the midst of trying to push away my fearful thoughts, I accepted that the power of prayer was our only option.

“Let me get your daddy. He and I will pray for you.”

I encouraged Christa as calmly as I knew how. After awakening Michael, he and I prayed for healing for our daughter. In that moment, I felt peace wash over me.

Even though Christa was still feeling very sick, I mustered up enough faith to assure her that she would be okay and said, “Goodbye; I love you and I’ll be praying.”

After laying the phone down, I was tempted to let fear consume me, but there was truly no other choice than to trust Christ completely. I could not transport myself thousands of miles instantaneously to take care of my sick daughter. The situation was out of my control.

I could either fret or choose to believe God’s promises in the Bible. Christ promised if we believe that we have received it, it will be ours (Mark 11:24).

After my conversation with Christa, I struggled in the beginning to completely shake my worries, but eventually I let go and released my daughter to the Lord. During the following days, I tried to call Christa’s cell phone multiple times to check on her, but I never could reach her.

Eight days later, Michael and I excitedly hurried to the airport to pick up our daughter. In the baggage claim area, I looked intently for Christa’s face in the crowd. My heart was overjoyed when I saw my daughter’s beaming smile. I knew the moment I saw her glowing face, the Lord had heard our prayers and healed her.

As I stood there in awe, I asked, “Why didn’t you answer my calls?”  She replied, “There was no cell phone reception other than the night I was sick.”

Then I remembered that her youth leader had told us previously there would be no cell phone reception where they were staying.

I couldn’t deny God’s supernatural intervention. Already knowing the answer, I asked, “Did you get well after we prayed?”

“The nausea went away about ten minutes after we prayed together. I never felt sick again the entire trip.” Christa was radiating joy as she shared the testimony of God’s faithfulness.

 

Christa

 

Not only had God touched my daughter’s sick body—He had enabled her to get in touch with me in a place where cell phone reception is usually impossible.

Sometimes there are predicaments that only Jesus has the power to change. When we release our children to God through faith-filled prayer, miracles begin to happen.

Is your child in a situation that’s out of your control? If you’re struggling to release your children’s problems to the Lord, remember that with faith as small as a mustard seed, we can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible (Matthew 17: 20).

As a mother falls to her knees, crying out desperately for a divine intervention, Christ comes to the rescue. A mother’s heart aches when her child aches and the heavens are shaken with her love. The power of a mother’s fervent prayer moves the heart of God to do what only He can do.

If you need more encouragement as a praying mother, you can get a FREE download of the Prayers of a Mother’s Heart eBook today through July 13th.

 

 

LETTING GO: 6 TIPS FOR PARENTS OF FIRST-YEAR COLLEGE STUDENTS

Choose Joy and Let Go with Grace

Letting go of adult children can be complicated and hard to navigate a new way of parenting. When my oldest child left for college, I was surprised by the emotions that followed. I remember the sadness I felt as I drove away from her campus. After about three weeks of vacillating between feelings of joy and sadness, my tears subsided and I embraced the new season. Looking back, I realize I wasn’t prepared for the transition and it could’ve been easier.

Seven years have passed since my daughter left for college, and I have grown in many ways during those years. I’ve learned that letting go isn’t something to be dreaded.

Letting go can be smooth and fairly easy when we realize that endings are precisely where beginnings are birthed.

An ending is the necessary place to step into an exciting new beginning.

In June, about seven weeks ago, I let go of my youngest child, Thomas, as he moved away to begin a summer class and football training at college. It’s not been a hard transition because I prepared ahead of time through much prayer and choosing to focus on the great things ahead for us.

Saying goodbye to my son went as smoothly as possible. Minutes before we left Thomas, I hugged him longer and tighter than usual. He said, “I love you” in a subdued tone. Determined to keep my composure, I said, “I love you, too. I know you’ll do great!”

As we were leaving, I could see a little bit of nervousness in my son’s eyes. The normal mothering thoughts were running through my head. “How can my little boy be grown up?” It’s hard to believe he’s ready to spread his wings and fly on his own.” I purposefully pushed those thoughts out of my head. And hand in hand with my husband, we walked away from Thomas.

Everything in me wanted to turn around, walk toward my son, and “mother” him in the way I had his entire life. But I resisted that urge. I knew that the sooner I could let go, the better off I would be, and then Thomas could move on to becoming a true man.

Walking toward the car, I was thinking, “He’s becoming a man in the truest sense…I know the next time I see him, he will be different and more mature.”

In that moment, I sighed deeply and I released Thomas to God. In my head, I prayed, “He is Yours, Lord. Keep watch over him for me.”

Even though my heart had a tinge of sadness, I didn’t allow myself to focus on what was behind us. God’s grace covered me in those moments of letting go. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, it says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

God’s grace is truly sufficient to carry us through anything. His grace carried me through the process of letting go of my son.

My prayers from the previous months had been answered. God had prepared my heart to leave my son at a college eight-hundred miles away from home.

Amazingly, our drive home was filled with joy. My husband, Michael, and I talked about all the new things ahead for us and for our son as we drove through the beautiful Ozark National Forest on our way home. One of the highlights of our trip was a picnic at the Natural Dam in Arkansas. After a fun trip and hours of driving, we reached our empty house, and there was an indescribable peace instead of sadness.

As the weeks went by during the summer, Thomas had some tough moments while he adjusted to a completely new life.  With the Lord by his side, he pressed through the feelings of homesickness and persevered until college began feeling more like home.

Thankfully, we had acquired ‘Sky Miles’ with Delta, so we let Thomas come home on an airplane to visit before his fall semester. When we greeted Thomas at the airport, I saw the difference in him that I had foreseen on the day we were saying goodbye back in June. He had grown and matured already. He said, “I know Tulsa is where I’m supposed to be.” He’s excited to go back to his new home in a few days. And as his mom, I am ecstatic that God answered my prayers for him.

With having such a smooth transition, I would love to share a few tips that made the adjustment easier for me.

1. Pray often.

Praying with my husband every day helped more than anything. Every time a fearful thought would come to my mind, I would ask Michael to pray with me. Together, we have prayed every day for the Lord to be with our son and protect him. The peace that comes through prayer is simply amazing.

2. Choose a scripture to meditate on.

Meditating on scripture is a practice that my grandmother taught me. Prayer coupled with meditating on God’s Word is powerful. I chose a verse in Deuteronomy to meditate on and shared it with Thomas as he was leaving. In Deuteronomy 31:6, it says, Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” This verse gave me confidence to know that Christ would be with Thomas every moment of every day.

3. Choose Joy and focus on the new beginnings.

Staying grateful and focused on the positive aspects of a situation brings light to the most difficult transitions. I have chosen to be joyful and embrace all the great things I have to enjoy. I could make a long list of the exciting things about having an empty nest. The best thing is having so much quality time with my husband. Michael and I feel like we’ve gone back in time and regained the freedom of our youth. With our children grown now, the possibilities for new beginnings are endless.

4. Write a letter.

The week before Thomas left, I put my heart and soul into writing a letter that recapped my best memories of his childhood. As I wrote the letter with tears flowing, it enabled me to release the past and to begin looking forward to the future.

5. Trust that your college-age child is capable of making good decisions.

Years ago, I heard Ruth Graham talk about how to raise teens. She encouraged parents to lecture less and give teens the room to make choices on their own. Ruth’s words helped me to have the courage to trust Thomas to begin making wise decisions. Sometimes the only way a person can grow is by learning from their own decisions and mistakes.

6. Resist hovering. 

To hover over our child after he has left home makes the transition harder for him. At a college orientation meeting, the speaker advised the parents not to call their children too often. If we are constantly checking on them, it will be very hard for our grown children to learn to be responsible adults.

LORD. HELP MY SON BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS

A PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Thank You for helping us to raise our children and helping us to be brave enough to let them go when it’s time. Help us to choose joy as we let go and give us the grace we need to get through the difficult moments.  Hold us close when we’re missing our children and let it be an exciting season of new beginnings. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

TEN THINGS I WANT MY SON TO KNOW AS HE BEGINS ADULTHOOD

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As I watched Thomas, my youngest child, walk across the stage to receive his high school diploma, it signified the official rite of passage into adulthood. It was the culmination of the growth and maturity over several years.

During May, I’ve attended three commencement ceremonies. As I’ve listened to the various speeches, it’s given me the opportunity to reflect on my highest hopes for my son’s life.

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The thing that struck me most while listening to the words of the class of 2015, is their understanding of purposeful living. There seems to be a trend of the younger generation believing that real joy does not come from the “American Dream.” They seem to understand that there is so much more to life than making money to fill their own desires. It’s obvious that their generation wants to truly make a difference in the world.

One graduate (at a local public school) spoke of the “emptiness” that comes from seeking the most popular definition of success. She passionately said, “Define success in your own terms.” I agreed fully with every word she shared.

After pondering her challenge to her classmates to find success in a unique way, I wrote a list in my own words of the things I want for my son to know before he leaves home.

In four weeks, Thomas will begin classes and football training at a college that’s twelve hours away from the home he has lived in for eighteen years. Thomas is a wise, young man, but I can’t imagine sending him off to begin a new season without a few pieces of advice.

 

Thomas, I want for you to know these ten things, most of all…

1. Christ is the way to fill the emptiness of a man’s soul. He loves you deeper than you can possibly imagine. Nothing can separate you from His love. Seek Him in everything you do, and you will have a meaningful and fulfilled life.

2. One bad choice can change the course of your life and could possibly sabotage your dreams.

3. God has given you a unique set of talents and gifts that will enable you to carry out your purpose for living.

4. Having friends who have similar values and beliefs will strengthen you and help keep you on the right path.

5. Volunteering and helping others will take the focus off yourself and help you to avoid homesickness and any other negative emotions.

6. Quitting is not an option. If you quit, you will possibly miss the greatest opportunity of your life. Perseverance coupled with faith in God will carry you to places you cannot imagine.

7. With Christ, anything is possible. With Him, you can overcome any obstacle.

8. Negative people are toxic. Be kind to them, but you don’t have to be their best friend.

9. Bitterness will destroy your life. Walk in love toward everyone, and you will experience perfect peace.

10. Prayer is the most important practice of the Christian life. Keep the scriptures hidden in your heart and pray continually. When you feel weak, ask Christ to strengthen you. He is your ever-present help.

 

I am confident in my son and I am excited for his future. I thank God for hearing and answering my prayers for him.

As I prepare to send my son off for a new beginning, I am thanking God for the words of this year’s graduating seniors. Their words were a reminder to me that Thomas is grounded in truth, and I know he will find a success that is unique and is defined by living authentically, loving God, and loving others well.

Thank you, CLASS of 2015, for your wise words. I feel certain you will impact the world in great ways and you will live with purpose like no other generation before you.

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path.” — Proverbs 23: 18-19

SAVORING THE GIFT OF MOTHERHOOD

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As I was on my way home, the words of my father-in-law echoed in my mind: “Enjoy the years of raising your children because in the blink of an eye, they’ll be grown.” I thought intently about the words my father-in-law had spoken decades before, as I drove away from the college campus where my youngest child will be taking part in the Duel Enrollment program for high school seniors. Thoughts of my little boy running around with his action figures were colliding with thoughts of the young man who signed up for college Algebra and English 1101. How can he possibly be starting college? It seems like yesterday that Thomas was a wee little guy testing my patience as I chased him around the library while he was screaming, “Nooooo! I don’t want to leave!” I will always remember the tantrum in the library, but what stands out most in my mind are the sounds of laughter and squealing of excitement over the joys of life through a child’s eyes.

The older my children get, the more the words in Psalm 127:3 resonate in my heart: Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing. My youngest will be seventeen soon and my oldest is twenty-four. They are truly the most treasured gifts God has given me along with the gift of marriage. One of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made in life was quitting my merchandising/sales job with Procter and Gamble which enabled me to focus on being a mommy while I worked as a nanny and several other part-time jobs along the way.  Trying to be a good career woman and a good mother at the same time was just not for me. I couldn’t do both well.

Motherhood is the job that is shaping the future of our world like no other job. Mothering is by far one of the hardest jobs. There are no accolades during the formative years of our children’s lives. The rewards come later when we see our adult children making a difference in their communities. With the day-to-day stresses of being an active-duty mom, the difficulties of parenting can begin to override the immense joys that come from motherhood. But I refuse to let that happen in my life.

I am savoring all that comes with being a mother. I am savoring the never-a-dull-moment-teen-years along with the piles of sweaty work-out clothes from daily football training and practices. I am savoring the orthodontist appointments and school meetings to attend. I am savoring the hours of volunteer duties that come with being a football mom. I am savoring every single moment of motherhood because I know that the duty of raising little ones into loving, generous people is truly an honor that is to be cherished now amidst these significant fleeting moments.

 “Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn’t change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon.” — James 1:17 (God’s Word Translation)

The photo of my son and daughter was taken in January in Tampa, Florida.