When children pray

This week our church had Missions Conference and as a part of it our missionaries went into the classes at the Christian School associated with our church talking about their ministries. My in-laws are pastors to missionaries and they travel the world encouraging missionaries. But this week as they went to classes they wanted to send the message to kids that they could be missionaries right where they are. They asked Sophie and Jace (two 3rd students at our Christian school) to come with them and share with each class about a new friend named Emma who has Cystic Fibrosis. Sophie and Jace haven’t met her but have seen pictures and have enlisted a lot of people to pray for her.

So Jace and Sophie went to about 8 classes asking students to pray for Emma. And the timing couldn’t be better as she was having surgery that day.

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It thrilled my soul to see these young kids praying for someone they didn’t know but knew God would hear them.

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And boy did He hear them!

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Tuesday and Wednesday these kids prayed for Emma and then Wednesday night Emma’s Mom gave this update below which sent us all into a major praise induced coma!

**Update on Emma: Please read!!**

“For this Child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made him.” 1 Samuel 1:27

So many of you have committed to pray for my sweet Emma and her battle with Cystic Fibrosis… You have called upon the Lord on her behalf… You have pounded on the doors of Heaven for her healing!!

Less than two months ago, our world was turned upside down when we were told Emma had an extremely difficult to treat bacteria in her lungs. This bacteria is known to cause lung decline, long term IV drug therapy, and could potential remove her chance for a lung transplant in the future.

We began treatment on March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day). Three weeks to the day we had to stop treatment due to a horrible reaction to one of the drugs. Things were feeling pretty dim as her team attempted to find a new drug treatment plan.

Yesterday, Emma had her lungs scoped and had samples taken to see if we have made any positive steps forward in treating her Mycobacterium Abscessus before we restart IV meds.

Today, one of her doctors came to talk to me and started with “I don’t know how to tell you this…” My heart sank…she continued to say “her smear came back and it is NEGATIVE for Mycobacterium Abscessus. I can’t explain it, especially since she only had 3 weeks of treatment. Her numbers were very high, now there’s nothing!!”

After overcoming my lack of ability to speak, we discussed the future treatment plan that is now less than half as long as we expect just this morning!!

God is in control of all situations, He is still in the miracle business and today he reminded of that!!!! God is beyond faithful…He has heard our prayers and answered!!! Emma is free from this horrible bacteria for the moment. It can still return, but we will just take it one day at a time, and trust the Lord no matter what comes our way!!!

Our God is amazing! So incredibly amazing. I know he heard the voices and hearts of these students praying on behalf of a fellow friend. And this is a part of missions – praying and sharing the love of Jesus.

Our first pastoral retreat

We’ve never been on a Pastoral retreat weekend before and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But it was really a neat time of praying, planning, vision casting, laughing and sharing with the church pastoral staff and a couple training in ministry.

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A family in our church opened up their lake home for us to stay for the weekend with our families. The men went up early on Friday and the wives and kids came up Friday night and we stayed through Sunday afternoon.

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The kids had a blast on Saturday afternoon because it warmed up enough for them to play outside. A huge help was having a young married couple in our church watch the kids while we had our sessions on Saturday. There were six kids in all ranging from ages 2 – 14 so it was loud at times but it worked and we wanted the families to be together.

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At meal breaks we all pitched in and grabbed our food. I have to brag on my man because he did the food planning and buying for this retreat. And he did so good. Good with the amount of food, choices, etc.

We are blessed to be among a pastoral staff who genuinely love God with all their hearts. They love their families and they love the work of the church and what God has called them to.

Ministry is a heavy weight. It’s heavy because you are loving and leading people through incredibly joyous times and also through incredibly painful times. It’s heavy because there are huge decisions to be made that can shape and direct the course of the church. Much prayer and seeking God goes into it and honestly that can be quite draining at times. There are unique burdens and responsibilites that come with it but there are amazingly rich joys and rewards. It is an honor and gift to be called into ministry. We don’t take it lightly. This weekend we were able to seek God on matters, talk with each other and pray together about the things we love most.  And we wait in expectation to see what all God has in store for our church community the next 12-18 months. We even planned out 10 years loosely knowing God has the complete right and control to trump every single thing on the “planned agenda”. It is his work not ours.

Friends, please pray for your pastor’s and their families. I can’t tell you how much it thrills my heart when someone comes up to me and tells me, “I am praying for your family. I know marriage is hard and I’m praying for your marriage and your family.” Ladies, don’t ever take it offensively when someone says they’re praying for your marriage or think in your head, “OMGosh why does she think my marriage is in need of prayer?!! I need to give off a better impression of a stronger marriage.”  No, not at all. The truth is we all stand in desperate need of prayer for our marriages, in our parenting, in our family needs. And your pastor’s home is no different. Cover them in prayer as you cover your own family in prayer.

 

 

 

 

31 Days: Day 19 – A Community Prayer Project

Our church has been in a season of prayer for our community and I can’t help but want to share in this space what God is doing.

It started with a vision for a prayer series Randy had for our church. He had this in his heart for months before starting it in August. What was awesome is that the movie “War Room” came out just as Randy began the series on prayer. Our church went as a group to see it on opening night and what a powerful message that movie is!

Part of Randy’s vision for our church was to be praying for the needs of our community. But in order to do so we needed to know what the needs were. So as a church family we identified leaders and organizations in our community that we could speak with in one-on-one ten minute interviews. The last three weeks we have been meeting with organizations like Family and Children Services, Domestic Violence Shelter Directors, Principals, City officials, etc. We call ahead and ask for a short appointment. During the appointment we ask four identifying questions and take brief notes. If the time permits and the Holy Spirit leads us in such a way we pray at the end of our time but not in every case. We  assure the person we will be praying for their organization specifically and in the ways they’ve communicated to us.

As a church we’re still in this prayer process but so far we’re learning a lot about our community and prayer. In both of my community interviews mental health issues were a part of the specific prayer need. I’m anxious to hear how the rest of our community interviews will be shaping our prayers as a church.

Randy asked us this question Sunday morning as a church. “If all your prayers were answered for the last 3 months who or what would be impacted?” Would just ourselves and families be impacted? Not that praying for ourselves and our families is a bad thing. Of course not. But who and what else are we praying for?

Praying for our communities is important. It’s the foundation of impacting our community.

So even if you don’t have time to host interviews in your community you can still pray for your community. You know some of the needs already. Your prayers matter. They make a difference. Imagine what would happen if we all prayed for our communities every day.

The winner of Come to my Table by Sue Donaldson is Kristin Hill Taylor and the winner of How to love your Neighbor without being weird by Amy Lively is Kelly Chripczuk.

Kristin and Kelly I’ll be in contact for a mailing address today via email. Look for a copy of your book in the mail soon! Thank you to Sue Donaldson and Amy Lively for donating a copy of your book – either to read & review or to giveaway. I appreciate your heart for others and want a tiny bit of it for myself!

 

 

She asked: is it wrong to lie about your faith when faced with death?

You’ve probably heard the horrific news of yet another school shooting – this time on a Community College campus in Oregon. Our kids saw the news and of course this brought up questions. From news reports I’ve read, the gunman asked people if they were a Christian and if they said yes he shot them in the head. If they said they weren’t a Christian he shot them in the leg or somewhere else allowing them to live.

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We prayed for these victims’ families and asked God to pour out his peace and comfort over them.

Then Sophie asked the question we’ve all wondered at one time or another, “Mom, would it be a sin to lie in a situation like that? To know in your heart you really are a Christian but to just say you’re not so that you can live?”

If you scroll through Facebook you’ll see people amen-ing the people who stood up and said they were a Christian and how they would do the same thing. The confidence and certainty is really quite intriguing to me. Sort of reminds me of Peter in his utter confidence that he would never deny Jesus – let alone three times. And that’s without a gun to his head. And one of the times was a little girl asking him if he knew Jesus.

What would I do in a situation like that? I can’t answer that. Nobody can answer that. I pray that my faith in God would not waiver but I honestly can’t say for certain it wouldn’t. My heart desire is to proclaim my love for Jesus and my commitment to Him wherever I am – even facing death square in the eyes. And if I did do that it would only be because of the strength of Jesus Christ.

So what’s the answer to Sophie’s question?

We started by looking at Matthew 10:32-33

32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

“It is a dangerous thing for any to deny and disown Christ before men; for they who so do will be disowned by him in the great day, when they have most need of him: he will not own them for his servants who would not own him for their master: I tell you, I know you not, Matt. 7:23. In the first ages of Christianity, when for a man to confess Christ was to venture all that was dear to him in this world, it was more a trial of sincerity, than it was afterwards, when it had secular advantages attending it.” Matthew Henry’s Commentary

“Note, It is very encouraging to think, that whatever we leave, or lose, or suffer for Christ, we do not make a hard bargain for ourselves. Whatever we part with for this pearl of price, we may comfort ourselves with this persuasion, that it is well worth what we give for it. The terms are, that we must prefer Christ.” Matthew Henry

I read these verses and MH’s commentary and told the kids they needed to think about these things. Pray and ask God to show them His thoughts on this question. They should also talk to the godly leaders God has put in their lives in addition to me and Randy –  but the bottom line is what God’s Word says about this subject. That is our guide.

I don’t want to scare my kids by any means but I believe that their kids (if not they themselves) could face potential persecution in ways we never have. We need to be talking about these things. In addition to drills and conversations of the practical – like hide under your teacher’s desk, get out of sight, don’t panic or scream, etc. we need to address the spiritual and difficult issues at hand.

So yeah, it’s a heavy conversation but I believe it’s worth it. It makes one think of their own faith and true identity in Christ. I pray with all my heart I would stand up for Christ and say aloud in the face of death, “Yes, I know Him and He is worth dying for.” because it’s what I truly believe in my heart.

Let’s be praying for the victim’s families in Oregon and the victims that are recovering. They need to feel the love of Jesus. And what’s beautiful to me? Is that Jesus appeared to Peter first after he rose from the dead. Yes, Peter the disciple he loved so very much even after denying Jesus three times. That’s who he went to first. Grace and mercy when we least deserve it. Oh I love him.

 

When prayer makes us feel “needy”

Our church is learning about prayer. Like God really wants to teach us about this because he lined up so many different platforms for us to soak up what he has on this topic through things like: The War Room Movie, An event on prayer for our women, A sermon series on prayer, etc. All these things had been planned long ago but all fell at the same time. So cool.

Part of our learning about prayer has led our church to a prayer project. We (all attenders interested) are talking to leaders in our community and asking four questions:

  1. From your perspective of service, what are the greatest needs or challenges facing our community?
  2. What major project or obstacle will you be dealing with this quarter
  3. What dream do you have for our city that seems so large or hard that only an act of God would change it?
  4. How can we specifically pray for you as you serve our community?

We are meeting with city officials, principals, Social Services, Emergency Personnel, Domestic Violence Leaders and so much more.

Why are we asking these questions of these community leaders?

Because they see things we can’t possibly see and understand. And because we believe prayer changes things. No matter how great we’re doing as a people and a community we will always stand in need of prayer.

So if you’re local and you see these signs around town in yards…..

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Know it’s a positive thing. We love our city and we believe God works through prayer. We are committing to finding out how we can pray specifically and we’re trusting God to work. We don’t think we’re better than anyone else. We don’t think our city is going to hell in a hand basket. We just know our own need for prayer and we know our God is faithful to help us. So who are we to withhold that kind of goodness from others. May He bless our little town that we are growing to love more and more.

Father, you know what our city needs more than we do. Would you open our eyes to know how to pray, how to love and how to serve our city. Be the God of our city. Let us be your hands and feet. Let us serve you well and love others the way you do. We all stand in great need of you and you are exactly what we need. In your name, Amen.

 

She made her own War Room

When you’re a pastor’s family your kids get dragged  come along to places they might not normally go otherwise. PK’s get a bad rap for always getting in trouble and sometimes it might have to do with the fact that they’re having to sit for hours on end making the need to roll under every last pew a reality. Building a hymnal tower makes the time go by fast for a four year old during women’s ministry meetings. You have to get creative people – don’t judge.

So when our church took a group down to see the movie “War Room” on opening night I wasn’t sure our 8 year old would be hip on it let alone our 14 year old son. But nonetheless we were dragging bringing them along. We got to the theatre and bought a HUGE bucket of popcorn and a coke – a peace offering perhaps?

The movie theatre was packed. It was SO awesome to see so many other believers attending this movie together. And the movie……oh my word ya’ll….the movie was so awesome. It had the perfect blend of funny, serious, down to earth, profound conversations and the characters were great. Sometimes Christian movies can be filled with the cheese factor. Nope, not this one. Not at all. Excellent acting throughout the entire movie and such a powerful message. It’s a must see movie for every human on this earth.

And our kids LOVED the movie. Mitchell came home quoting the old lady and still imitates her. We all loved her so much as I know you will to when you see it. Sophie liked it a lot too but I didn’t realize how much this movie impacted her until I saw this:

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In the movie “War Room” the lady had a closet in her house that was her “prayer closet”  or as she called it her “war room” where she posted prayers and scripture. It’s where she did battle through prayer.

Sophie asked if she could clear her closet and make one. I dragged my feet initially thinking it would be a passing phase. But a few days later she asked again. So we cleared her closet and put everything in another closet. Passing phase or not I decided it was worth it even if it lasts only  a week or two although I’m secretly praying she keeps it longer than that.

I know a lot of people are going to see War Room this weekend and I cannot wait for you to see it! It really is powerful.

Linking with KellyLaura, Jen and Mom2Mom

 

 

 

3 gifts that can change the course of your child’s school year.

A lot of schools start up today in our area and possibly in yours too. We all remember those first day jitters and excitement. New backpacks, new school clothes and the smell of freshly sharpened pencils accompany little feet walking into hallways.

Soon enough though the newness wears off and the pressures of school work, mean kids and peer pressure can take its toll on our little ones and even the big high schoolers. As parents we can feel helpless at times sending our kids out the door with only a hug and a kiss not knowing what they could be walking into that particular day.

Whether you have a little one or a big one at school consider giving these three gifts to your child this year.  I promise it WILL make a difference. A difference in their school day, their school year and a marked difference in their life. And better yet – they’re free!

1. Read the Bible together as a family every morning. 

Be aware that this will not come easy. Satan will throw up every possible hinderance and road block on school mornings that you attempt to do this. But I promise you it will be well worth the time. Equipping ourselves and our children with the powerful word of God is school day changing, school year changing and life changing. Why would we not fight for this? Need a good Bible reading plan? Check out this app (what we’ve been using as a family) or this. There are a lot of good bible reading plans. Or just start with a few verses in Proverbs each day. It only takes setting the clock for an extra 15-20 minutes to do this. You can’t do anything better than this to start out your day.

2. Pray for your child/ren every day. 

I am a firm believer in writing and documenting prayers.When I look back and see what I’ve been praying for my kids and how God answers those requests my faith is strengthened. I can point out to our kids how God answered prayer and is alive and working. Ask your kids how you can pray for them and also tell them how you are praying for them as God puts specific things on your heart throughout the year. Mom’s In Prayer is an excellent resource that brings Moms together in prayer once a week. This has been a part of my kids lives ever since they started school. On the way to school my kids will often ask, “Mom, who are you praying for today? Will you ask the Moms to pray about this_________.” And I love that they too are now counting on this weekly corporate time of prayer.

3. Send them off with a word of encouragement every single morning. 

This morning our daughter had rough morning including tears and frustration. She looked at me and said, “Mom, is it going to be a good day today?” I assured her it was but she wasn’t totally convinced and she asked, “How do you know?” Quickly the Lord impressed on my heart a visual of the morning glories that are in our neighbors yard. I said, “Soph, it’s because God’s mercies are new every single morning. And this morning you have new mercies that you didn’t have yesterday from God.” I wanted to show her the morning glories and explain how they work – they only bloom once and are good for that day. They usually fall off at the end of the day and then new blooms come in the morning. And so I was able to send her off with the encouragement of “Look for your new mercies today sweet girl. They are there for you.” Other days are simply, “Hey, you are going to have a great day today.” Or “Sophie, you’re a good friend and today you have another chance to be a good friend to someone who needs it.” Our son needs to hear the encouragement that he is going to make wise choices today and will be a better person because of it. Speak life over your kids as they leave the comforts of their home. And on those really rough mornings when you don’t feel like saying anything encouraging at all remind them how much you love them – always and no matter what.

So here’s to the start of great new school year! May God grow your family as you spend time in his word, pray and speak life into your children.

Linking with KellyLauraJen, Jennifer, Barbie, Sharita, HolleyKristin and Mom2Mom

“One Anothering” One Another

Randy has been talking about the “one another’s” in scripture lately and how as followers of Christ we are to love another, bear one another’s burdens and serve one another. So much scripture in the Bible  tells us how to interact with one another. And when we actually do it we’re forming community and not only a safe place to be but a desirable place to be. It doesn’t mean it will be a perfect place by any means. But when we’re living in harmony and comforting one another and more of the “one anothering” we are forming a community where Christ dwells. And people want some more of that. And I think it’s because we’re designed to crave relationship with God and with his people.  So consider these areas of One Anothering and ask yourself how you’re doing. What areas do you need to work on because there will be some this side of heaven. What areas do see God working through you? I really would love to hear. So consider leaving a comment.

  • Welcome one another (Rom. 15:7)
  • Show hospitality to one another (I Pet. 4:9)
  • Do good to one another (I Thess. 5:15)
  • Confess our sins to one another (James 5:16)
  • Pray for one another (James 5:16)
  • Are servants of one another (Gal. 5:13)
  • Live in harmony with one another (Rom. 12:16)
  • Comfort one another (1 Thess. 5:11)
  • Are subject to one another (Eph. 5:21)
  • Have fellowship with one another (I John 1:7)

*To answer my own questions I’d have to say the areas I need work in would be confessing my sins one to another. Yep, that’s a hard one. I was humbled by someone who did that to me this week. Confessed and asked for forgiveness. I need to do more of that kind of one anothering. There are more but I’ll stop there. I’d rather ask the questions than answer them. Ha! Okay and so I guess I’d say that I see God helping me in the area of praying for others. He has really helped me become a more passionate woman of prayer and I do pray for our church members and other people that God puts on my heart. Not saying I’ve arrived in that one another department but it’s an area I see growth in.

Okay, seriously, your turn.

 

Ministry Happenings

It’s the beginning of school and a million things are going on. I’m finding myself busier than ever but still making time to sit on the front porch, visit with neighbors and have my quiet time. Not something I was doing BBLC – “Before the Broken Leg Chronicles”. Somehow it’s all working out as I let go of my agenda. God knows my heart and is helping me be still in the midst of lots of movement.

School got off to a great start and both kids have reported great days since starting. We have a 3rd and 8th grader at a Christian school in our small town in North Carolina. Our school is growing in so many different ways and it’s really exciting to be a part of the change.

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Our church has had some awesome things going on lately. The youth and adult mission trip to NYC was incredible. The team took the service on Sunday and shared all that God did and it was really amazing. God is moving in our Youth group and it’s just awesome to see these kids growing in their faith. One of the adults that went is new in his own faith (almost 2 years) and he came back so on fire. I’m excited for my son to be a part of such an active and growing Youth program. Our youth pastor is very evangelistic and I see his influence on the kids in this way. Really awesome stuff.

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We’re dropping Awana this year at our church (we’re still saved I promise! we’re keeping Cubbies as proof) and starting up Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior for 1st-5th graders. I’m really excited about this program for our kids. Such a great tool.

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Mugs & Muffins is another event we have coming up. You bring your mug and $5 and we fill it with coffee and have tons of muffins. Our speaker is with Mom’s In Prayer International– something I’m very passionate about. She will be talking about the power of prayer. This falls on the heels of The War Room movie that comes out on August 28th. Our church will be selling tickets and taking a group to see it. So.excited.about.this!!!

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We’re also gearing up for Prayer Walks in our community next Saturday. All the public schools in our community will have a group of people walking the campus praying over the teachers and students. Our church adopted a school near us and will have the opportunity to go inside the school and pray over classrooms and students by name. Isn’t this so cool?! We’ve never done this before because a lot of our focus is on our own school which it should be. But we have the same burden for students and teachers in our community outside of our own walls. So one way we’re showing our support is by showing up and praying over another school besides our own.

Well that’s what’s going on in our neck of the woods.

Everyone is busy these days but lets keep our focus and eyes on Jesus. He is the best leader and personal trainer we could ever have. Listening to Him is key.

Putting into practice “soul talk”

Our weekend was a great one topped off by me getting to go to church Sunday morning. Oh how I missed being there these last 7 weeks so it felt wonderful to sing and worship with my church family. The next morning we sent Sophie off to overnight camp and had a great day at home.  Monday night I went to bed and out of NOWHERE I started feeling weird. Panicky. Just all around strange. It mimicked the feeling I had when I came home from the hospital. A panic attack I guess? Yeah, I think so. It felt like all the blood in my body rushed from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. It felt either cold or hot – I’m not sure which. And then I felt like jello. My heart was not racing and I didn’t feel like I couldn’t breathe. I just felt weird.

My Mom was upstairs and I didn’t want to call her. Mitchell was playing a game in the other room and who wants to call on their teenage son to come comfort the fears of his grown up Mother. So I  sat there and prayed to God. I prayed the feeling would go away.

Then I remembered my Bible Study homework I did that day – Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg. We talked about “soul talk” and how when we get in a position that is really difficult we can speak to our souls using scripture. Part of our homework was to write out a “go-to verse” for those times of fear and frustration. I quickly found my homework and turned to the verses and read them  aloud. The white board that sits next to my bed with lists of medications and therapy reminders was quickly erased and filled with my soul talk scriptures. As I wrote them out I claimed them aloud and told God I was trusting Him. Around the border of the verses I wrote out attributes of God that I could remember.

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I texted a few people who prayed for me right then and there. My mom came downstairs and we prayed together. And about 20 minutes later I was asleep.

I am still baffled by this occasional fear that I’m dealing with since the accident. My sister asked me what I was thinking about when the episode came on and I told her “nothing. I was just getting in bed to go to sleep. I wasn’t worried about anything.” But I guess subconsciously I was insecure without Randy being here. He’s done SO much for me the last 7 weeks and I believe I had more security in him than was probably healthy?  I don’t know.

And here’s the reason I am sharing these things on this blog. Quite a few people have thanked me for sharing what I’m going through publicly. It has helped some people in their thought process as they too walk through a difficult season of life. It has made some people feel like they aren’t the only ones going through tough stuff. If I can help point others to Jesus through my struggles, mistakes and even fighting my fears then may it be so.

So if you think about it would you pray for the comfort and peace of God to wash over me from head to toe as I go to bed? That fear would be trumped and demolished by God’s perfect love. I would love to return the favor and pray for you as well so please let me know how I can pray specifically for you tonight as I crawl in bed. I promise to do it.

On a random awkwardly funny note…… I’m learning to navigate instagram a little more and the other day I posted something about church and added a #bodylife and then later realized that I had posted a picture of me and Randy and our churchy selves in the midst of a collage of half naked body builders. Oh yes I did. Picture huge musclemen in speedos and then there’s me and Randy. #veryawkward #notthebodylifeIwastalkingabout