Friday, September 30, 2011

The Sweetness of Belonging

The weekend events are now history and the car is traveling towards home.  Dusk is approaching and I'm  filtering through memories of conversations, observations made and emotions felt during the recent family gatherings. I'm filing these snippets into my memory, like slipping papers into manilla folders for storage in the filing cabinet.

Stepping into the pizza parlor party Friday night will fall under the Grand Parenting tab. What celebrity feels more popular than a Nana greeted by four preschoolers squealing their delighted greetings? In the midst of the hugs, I pat a shoulder blade at my waist, stretch to tousle a head at my knee and try to make contact with as many limbs as I can touch. The oldest grand daughter arranges our seating so she can sit by me.
I greet the adults next and we all sit down for good food and pleasant conversation.  How grateful I am.  This is belonging.  This is the love of family.

Two hundred miles later.  Another family.  Another gathering.
No grand kids here but nieces and nephews and 'great' ones, too.  Yes, I'm that old.  I watch uncles play croquet with brothers-in-law and cousins wrestle with fathers.  Mothers change grand kid's diapers and grandpas tell stories to lapfuls of children.  Sisters-in-law share intimacies while a nephew withdraws to quieter places with a newly announced fiance.  We smile at the rookie walker swaying on unsteady feet and laugh at the silly antics of a 3 year old.  Filed now in Family I'd Like to See More Often. 

Again, Belonging is touching hearts with her warmth and generous gifts of contentment and security.

Than you, Father of all, for the gift of family.  I often take it for granted.  I don't know what it would be like to not be loved by a family or to be abandoned by those I'm genetically related to. Be near to those today, who are experiencing rejection and left-outness.  Cuddle them on your lap.  Dandle them on your knee and whisper your love to their hearts.  Use me to bless and include others into your wide, wide family of believers. For you are the Creator of Home and you've made us to live with You. You are Father to the fatherless and defender of widows and children.  In you, we will always belong.  Filed under Forever Loved.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day #21!!

Day #21
This is the final day of our prayer challenge. 
My prayer today is for _________to always have a pure heart towards you.  Protect him from evil and preserve him for yourself in this sexually charged immoral society.  Give him a healthy understanding of his sexuality and your plan for sexual expression in marriage.  

I entrust all my grandsons to you today, Father.  Watch over them and  draw them to yourself.  I trust you now and for the future.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day #20

Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

Day#20-“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~Isaiah 41:10 

McGlothlin, Brooke (2011-05-02). Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (Kindle Locations 1320-1323). Kindle Edition.

Lord Jesus, free _________'s heart of any fear.  Help him to know you as his strength and helper. 

Tomorrow is the last day of this challenge.  There may not be noticeable changes of behavior in my grandson since the start of this project, but I believe our Father heard every prayer and they are being answered!  Thank you, for loving your children enough to continue the transformation to become like your Son.

Day #19

Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

Days #19-The weekend was busy with a trip to a family gathering on another side of the family.  I admit I did not pick a new verse to pray for my grandson.

I believe my prayers can be continuous and retroactive.  Gracious Father, thank you for guarding my grandson and loving him passionately, even when I miss a day of specific prayer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Days 17 & 18

Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

Even thought I didn't pray specifically for this grandson today, he was included in the prayer I pray for my family almost every day...Lord, give us all the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may know you better. (Eph. 1:17)

Lord, save__________to the uttermost as he draws near to God through Christ (Hebrews 7:25)

McGlothlin, Brooke (2011-05-02). Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (Kindle Location 1187). Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Days #15 & 16

Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

Day #15
Lord, may _________ always have at least one good friend who will sharpen him as iron and spur him on towards you.

Day #16
May ________pursue righteousness and love so he will find life, prosperity and honor.  Prov. 21:21

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Get Your Head in the Clouds

You know that saying-- some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good?  After listening to our pastor's sermon on Sunday, I'm wondering if we may have adopted that as an excuse to keep from deliberately thinking of heaven.
Pastor Steve asked what we are anticipating.  Is it tomorrow's tasks? What we will do or see in the next week? Getting married?  Having grandkids?  Some of these are necessary things and others bring us joy or relaxation.  None of them wrong or evil, but I think the point is, do we ever even think about the eternal perspective?  The Bible says we have a new heaven and a new earth to look forward to where there is no sorrow, crying or pain.  The Holy Spirit- inspired- authors -of -Scripture make many references to this expected future of looking ahead to the return of the Lord,  the resurrection of the Godly, working while it is still day, and running the race to win the prize. Many of Jesus' parables illustrated what will happen when we move from this life to the next.  We say we want to hear his words of "well done, good and faithful servant!" when we come to the end of our life here on earth.  But are we living with daily awareness and hourly consciousness that our choices now matter then?

I know I pray that I will be led by the Spirit though out my day and be open to divine appointments, but would there be a different level of expectancy if I would pray and realize what I do counts for eternity? How can I be obedient to the verses in Col 3:1-3 where I'm instructed to set my mind on things above and not on the things of this earth?

Lord, help me.  I am so entrenched in what I plan to do and the future I expect on this earth.  Teach me to store treasures in Heaven--I want my heart to be there!  The imminent return of the Lord Jesus defined the way early church leaders thought and acted.  There is work to be done in the harvest.  The time is short!

My silver-toned Honda blended into the grayscaleness of a thick fog on my commute to work today.  In the eerie density no school buses stalled my progress.  No object in the mirrors appeared ...period.  Thinking on things above had me speculating with the Father on what a brilliant grand entrance the Son would make, returning on an a.m. like this!

Lift up my eyes. Above the complacency that comfort brings. 
Teach me how to think and feel like you do, Jesus.  
I am yours; here to serve and not to be served. 
May I be trustworthy of the assignments you've prepared for me today.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Days #12-14

Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

Day # 12
I must confess I forgot to pray specifically for my grandson today.  I know the Father's face continues to shine on you, little one, and his angels are never shirking their duty.

Day #13
May _________hide your word in his heart.  As he is in Sunday School and church today, may your word penetrate his heart and mind.

Day #14
Help _______ to learn obedience to his parents.  May he also learn from the consequences of his wrong behaviors.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Days #10 & 11

Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

Day #10
Lord, give __________ the desire of his heart and make his plans succeed.  When he has your desires, he will be pursuing plans that you have led him into and he will be successful.  Even at his young age, drop desires into his heart that will steer him towards you.  

Day #11
May__________be wise in doing right and stay innocent of any wrong (Romans 16:19).
McGlothlin, Brooke (2011-05-02). Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (Kindle Locations 1066-1067). Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day #9

Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

I'm using that familiar blessing for my grandsons today.

May the Lord bless__________and keep him.  May the Lord make His face shine upon him and be gracious to him; the Lord turn his face toward him and give him peace (Numbers 6:23-26).

McGlothlin, Brooke (2011-05-02). Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (Kindle Locations 930-932). Kindle Edition.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day #8

Day #8 
Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

May__________be patient, for the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit (Ecclesiastes 7:8).
McGlothlin, Brooke (2011-05-02). Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (Kindle Location 897). Kindle Edition.

Work patience in my grandson's heart today.  May he be able to wait quietly for his needs to be met, for the attention he would like and to be persevering when things don't go well on the first try.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Days #5-7

Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

Day #5-  May _______ be called a "son of encouragement", just as Barnabas was known for.   Acts 4:35-37
Lord, I pray that all my grand kids would learn what it means to care for others and think beyond their own needs to give someone else encouragement.  (synonyms for encouragement - praise, support, boost, lift)
I want to grow in that, also.  Open my eyes to see the needs of people in my life today and show me how I can lift them up with my words and a warm reception.

Day #6 -Please teach_________how to share with the other children he interacts with at home and at school.

Day # 7- As the Lord’s servant, may__________not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
McGlothlin, Brooke (2011-05-02). Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (Kindle Locations 698-699). Kindle Edition. 

The list of character qualities in this verse are ones to be coveted and how special to turn them into a prayer for my grandsons.  What child doesn't need to be reprimanded for being quarrelsome?   Or be taught kindness?!  I remember the emphatic statements of my kiddos years ago--"it's mine!!" or the seesaw arguments of 'yes!' 'no!' punctuated with 'MOM!'  Training for kindness and gentleness begins here in nursery camp.  It's not just putting up with conflict with a fake smile, or a forced apology, but learning when an offense that can easily be forgotten can be overlooked and when it's important to gently correct an opponent in order to preserve the relationship.
If they learn these lessons well, they will be qualified to teach others, being patient with students bent on evil and able to speak gentle words that turn away wrath.  How we need a future generation of leaders who can do this well!  Men who are able to control their own spirits that naturally want to retaliate or that have been conditioned to stand up for their rights.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day #4- To Be Content in Any Circumstance

Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

Like Paul, may__________learn to be content in any situation (Philippians 4:11).
McGlothlin, Brooke (2011-05-02). Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (Kindle Locations 486-487). Kindle Edition. 

How are you learning the discipline of contentment?
Because it is a discipline.
Its choosing to turn a heart from complaining and not listen to the voices that say, "But it's not fair!", or "I've never had to go through this before!"  It's letting God, gently but firmly, take my little chin in his big hand and tilt my face upwards towards his eyes that are sparkling with love for me. He has said he is E-N-O-U-G-H; now I have a chance to prove it.

Will I give all the disgruntled feelings to him and ask him to show me what his intentions are in setting me up like this?  Or in allowing it to happen?  And then to expectantly watch for what he is going to do around me and in me?

If I say yes, slowly, my emotions change from the anger of demanding my rights (you said you are my shepherd I will not be in want, no evil with come near me, is this the way you reward me for trying to be good?) to quietness and rest. I am thankful for what I have and confident of his goodness and faithfulness. Anticipating what good might come out of it all,  just may find me with a bit of giddiness, too, akin to waiting for Christmas morning or some good surprise.

It usually takes a process to get there, but by his constant tweaking and adjustments and my repentance and submission, I will eventually find myself living in Satisfaction- Ease- of -Mind in the state of Contentment.

So when I pray for my grandsons to learn contentment-- they will not always be given everything they ask for, when they want it, or in a way that is most pleasing to them.  What they have that they don't want will not always be returned for or replaced by something they think is better.  Anybody know of another way to learn contentment?

I pray for my grandsons' parents, too.  May God give you grace for the temper tantrums, a stick-to-your-principles kind of consistency and huge doses of patient love that lets them know they are valued and special even in the middle of the discipline.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day #3-To Become a Man of Integrity

Continuing the 21-day prayer challenge from (see post for Sept. 7)

Till he dies, may__________never put away his integrity (Job 27:5).

McGlothlin, Brooke (2011-05-02). Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (Kindle Location 471). Kindle Edition.

Definition of integrity:
"adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty" from


doing the right thing even when no one else is watching 

Also thanking God for my grandson(s)' parents who are living examples of integrity.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's a M.O.B. prayer challenge!

My step-daughter challenged me to  21 days of prayer for my grandson, Auron, an almost- 4- year- old fireball of vim and vigor, all boy, rambunctious, rowdy and loud.  In his short 47 months of life Auron has managed to short out the home microwave and subscribe for a  $50 gaming service online [no parental guidance needed, thank you very much!]. Auron can also be sweet and tender, like when he stops in the middle of play with Grandpa to say, "You are my best friend, Grandpa", or states an out-of-the-blue "I love you". There you have it, a brief introduction to my prayer target.

When Amanda, his mom, told me she has been hanging out with other mothers at a site called The Mob Society, I had visions of Amanda  finally losing it and succumbing to the influence of some anarchist coterie plotting assault on offspring.  What I actually discovered was a group of Mothers of Boys with this mission: Reaching the hearts of boys for the Gospel and preparing a generation of men to love the Lord.  Pretty cool, eh?

September 6-26 has been declared a 21-day opportunity to prayer for the little men in our lives.  I hope to take you along on the journey by listing the prayers I'm praying these days for Auron.  Most of them are taken from an ebook the MOBs are promoting called Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most by Brooke L. McGlothlin.  (Actually, I'm going to sneak all my grandsons into the prayers and you can add any boys you want to include).

Day #1
May__________be like the wise man, whose heart inclines him to the right (Ecclesiastes 10:2).
(Kindle Location 280).  Kindle Edition.

Day #2
May __________ obey his leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over his soul, as those who will have to give an account. Let __________ do this with joy and not with groaning (Hebrews 13:17).  
(Kindle Locations 357-359). Kindle Edition.

Friday, September 2, 2011

For Every Stupid Thing I've Done

My floor exercises. Check. The early morning walk. Check. Make-up on and clothed. Check.  In the kitchen, I begin to gather items for my lunch bag, start the coffee pot, and spoon out the non-fat, plain yogurt into the white corelle bowl. I layer on the usual embellishments.- walnuts, rolled oats, cinnamon...and I squish out a few blueberries from a bag in the freezer to complete this habitual breakfast.  Roaming through the house between yogurt bites I finish this morning's wrap-up before leaving for work-- stamping a piece of mail, shutting a bedroom window, wiping the counter...  The yogurt mouthfuls register a unique taste, but I'm preoccupied and don't stop to decipher the unfamiliar savoriness.  After swallowing thoughtlessly, more times than I care to admit, I finally paid attention to the signals on my taste buds. Like a slap to the forehead in a could-have-had-a-V-8 moment, and recalling the frozen bags in the freezer, I realize I am tasting black olives in my yogurt!

I laugh off my silly mistake and slip it into the 'Stupid Things I've Done' file. Amazing how quickly this brings up other bloopers I've committed  in days gone by. Like last February 14 when I sent my daughter's  Valentine's Day package to my son's address several states away. Or the more recent day when I set my cell phone in my purse, slung the purse over my shoulder and prepared to leave the house only to have the home phone ring. I briefly glanced at the cordless' caller ID and recognized the number as familiar, though not certain who it was, and answered it. Only silence on the other end. I hung up. I won't tell you how long it took me to figure out that -you guessed it- I had accidentally knocked the speed dial button for 'home' on my cell, and I was the mysterious caller to my own home phone.  It doesn't get much bloopier than that.

It's harder though, to excuse myself for those blunders that have me worried that I've ruined a friendship, or permamently scarred my kids, or tarnished my reputation.  Those nights when sleep competes with relentless thoughts of fear of rejection and reruns of the embarassing episode never quit. And they play in slow motion, so I can examine the details again, searching for a merciful conclusion.

The deep, relaxing breathing recommended for times like these, doesn't soothe me. I don't like the step of holding my breath before releasing it slowly.  Somehow, the amplified sound of my heart freaking out isn't music to my ears.  And the muscle squeezing exercise doesn't do much for me either. It reminds me of a book I used to read to my kids about two racoons, Gus and Buster. Older brother Gus isn't too pleased with Buster's tossing and turning in the bunk above him and tells him to try harder to go to sleep. So Buster tries harder.

"Go to sleep, toes, he [Buster] whispers. Go to sleep, legs.
But by the time he got to his knees his toes were wide awake again."

So what's a frazzled, zooming mind to do to get some peace and rest?

Is God's word true?  Does his peace pass understanding? Does he answer a desperate plea for release of vain imaginings and for an anxious mind to be pacified?  I can say with confidence, yes he does! But it may not come quickly, and it takes a deliberate resolve to refocus and set my mind on the Prince of Peace.  Comforting words from Bible verses I've memorized as a child can be summoned to the moment.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I will not be in want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides still waters, he restores my soul."  Or "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of trouble."  Help! is the operative word here.

Dwelling on names that describe God, in alphabetical order, brings his awesomeness into clearer focus: Almighty, Beautiful One, Creator, Deliverer, etc.  (If you come up with a good one for N, let me know!)  I'm amazed how many songs I've memorized, just by singing them in church or listening to them on the radio.  I find sweet comfort in reciting in my mind, words of hymns:

Open the wells of grace and salvation,
Pour the rich streams deep into my heart.
Cleanse and refine my thought and affection,
Seal me and make me pure as thou art.


Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him,
How I've proved him 'ore and 'ore.
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus,
Oh, for grace to trust him more.

As I've proved his care and faithfulness to come to me in my distress, my faith has grown. Could this be part of what it means for his strength to be made perfect in weakness?  For every stupid thing I've done, he gives grace enough to cover it? Even turns it into something good? What a God is this!

Oh, back to that dreadful morning of spitting out black olives from my yogurt. Would you believe I also set the toaster on fire trying to warm one of my favorite Panera Bread bagels? It's the cinnamon crunchy one with all the sweet, sugary, crumbly, crackly bumps on top.  Did you know? Blackened bagels aren't edible.
I lamented my loss of delectable carbs all the way to work. At least the house is still standing, and when I got home later that day there was no second-hand smoke to give away my pyromania.