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Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

I am amazed each and every day, how good God is to Grace and I.

I love the fact that any problem or situation, no matter how large or how small can be taken to our heavenly Father, and He is bigger than the situation, bigger than our fears, and can do so much more than we can ask Him or even imagine He will do for us.

I say this not just because of the things I’ve seen God do in my life, but also because of the things I see Him doing in other people’s lives.  Let me explain a little more…..

A friend of mine shared a prayer request with me some time ago…..she was very burdened and concerned for her daughter.  Her daughter had grown up in church and claimed to have a relationship with God, but last year, she walked away.

She just up and left.  She left their church, family, and walked away from God.  She got involved in many things and with many people that she shouldn’t have.  This went on for over a year, she didn’t care what anyone had to say, she was going to do what she wanted to do.

My heart was burdened for this family.  I thanked my friend for sharing this with me and told her that I would pray for her to have wisdom, and for her daughter to turn back to God.

This seemed like a tall order.  Her daughter wasn’t showing any signs of change.  No signs that she even desired to return to her family, or to God.

At one point, she said her daughter told her, why bother?  She felt she had already messed her life up, so what was the point in even trying to please God?

My friend kept emailing me, we kept praying, and I kept encouraging her not to give up.

Then, last week, it happened.  I got an email from her that her daughter had attended some church services and turned her life back over to God.  She moved back with her family, and has been attending church services.  She’s making an honest attempt to repair her relationship with her family and most importantly, her relationship with God.

I’m not going to share her name with you, but please, pray for this girl and her family……she’s taken the first step, but she has a long road ahead of her.

I can tell you first hand though, that God can do it.  He can strengthen and empower her to walk with Him and can restore to her the joy of her salvation.

I share this with you not only because my friend and I are SO excited about what God is doing in her daughter’s life, but also because I want to encourage you.

If you know someone who has walked away from their relationship with God……please, keep loving that person, and don’t stop praying for them.  I can’t tell you how long it will take them to turn back to God, but I can tell you that He is there with open arms, just waiting for them to return, so don’t ever stop praying.

And if you’re reading this today and you have walked away from God, I want you to know that it’s never too late, you can turn back to Him.  Whatever it is you’ve done, God can forgive, and He can use your life to glorify Himself.  No matter what you may think, He’s standing there with open arms just waiting for you to come to Him.

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Someone is praying for you,
Someone is praying for you,
So when it feels you’re all alone,and your heart would break in two,
Remember someone is praying for you.

When it seems that you prayed ’til your strength is all gone,
and your tears fall like raindrops all the day long
Jesus cares and He knows just how much you can bear
He’ll speak your name to someone in prayer

Someone is praying for you
someone is praying for you
And when it seems you’re all alone, and your heart would break in two
remember someone is praying for you

Have the clouds ’round you Gathered in the midst of a storm
Is your ship tossed and battered Are you weary and worn
Don’t lose hope someone’s praying For you this very day
And peace be still is already on the way

Someone is praying for you
someone is praying for you
And when it seems you’re all alone, and your heart would break in two
remember someone is praying for you.

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Everyone wants to be a good parent, right?  But how many really think they are?  How many single parents really think they’re doing a good job at parenting?

I’m always looking for ways to be a better mom to Grace.  Twice in the last few weeks I’ve heard “Beth, you’re such a great mom.” from friends of mine.  When I hear that, my brain kinda goes “huh?” Don’t get me wrong,  It’s not that I think I’m a bad parent, but do I think I’m a really good parent?

I always feel guilty that I don’t have as much time to spend with Grace as I’d like to.  I feel guilty because I don’t do as many activities with her as I’d like to.  Here are some of the things we do together:

*Walk the dog.  I really like this one because not only do we get to spend time together, but I get in some much needed exercise.

*Go to lunch together.  This is so much fun.  Grace picks the place and we have a great time just eating lunch together.

*Play games.  She loves activity books and games.  Last week at dinner, I got out some addition flash cards and told her it was a “mystery game” and that we had to use the clues to figure out the answers.  We used a box of colored pencils to help us with the clues.  So if the card said 8+3, she counted out 8 colored pencils and then counted out 3 more and then counted all of them together.  She LOVED this “game”

*Bake together.  Grace is an EXPERT egg cracker.  Whenever we make something, she gets to crack the eggs.  She loves stirring and pouring things in, plus it’s just tons of fun to bake together.

*Watch a movie.  I’m not a big TV person, but once in awhile, Grace and I will get ready for bed and snuggle up to watch a movie before going to sleep.  She loves it when I’m doing nothing else but rubbing her back and paying attention to her.

Good parenting isn’t just the things you do together, but it’s also how you handle situations the require discipline.

I have to tell you that this stage is the best one yet.  I didn’t think I’d make it through the twos.  The threes were rough, but MUCH better than the twos.  The fours are just so much fun.  I’m finding that with each stage, I have less discipline to take care of.  I think it’s because I had to do SO much work during the twos stage, it’s starting to pay off.

I think one of the biggest things were working on right now is her attitude.  Grace can get a bad attitude in a split second.  I told her yesterday that she had to the count of three to change her attitude or she’d have to go to her room…..amazing, the attitude changed.

A few months ago, her room was becoming unbearable.  I was cleaning it at least three times a day.  I know she’s still little, but I told her that she had to start keeping her room clean, so we made a “clean room chart”  that had the days of the week on it and a spot for a sticker by each day.  I told her that if her room was clean at night before she went to bed, she’d get a sticker for the day and then once she had 7 stickers, I’d take her to Kid’s Fun Center.  (It’s a kids dream come true.  Lots of slides, trampolines, ball pits, climbing stuff.  Basically an indoor playland.)   Well guess what?  The girl who couldn’t keep her room clean had it cleaned up every night for 7 nights THE FIRST WEEK we used the chart!!!!  She still keeps it much cleaner than it was before we implemented the chart.  Now instead of cleaning it 3-4 times a day, I only have to do a once a week clean up in there to really straighten everything up.  Other than that, she keeps it clean 🙂

The other thing I’m working on diligently this year is not yelling.  I began to see that yelling is a vicious cycle.  You child pushes you until you yell at them, then they react.  Pretty soon, they only act when you yell at them, and beside that, it’s just not worth it to get all riled up and get your child upset too.  So, I’m trying very hard to be patient, take a deep breath, and make things fun instead of a battle.  The other day, she was really, really pushing me.  I asked her to do something and she was being very sassy.  I asked her again and again, she was sassy.  I looked at her and said in a calm voice “Grace, you are making mommy very angry right now.  I’ve asked you to put your jacket away. You’re not doing it and you’re being sassy about it.  I’m about to yell at you and I don’t want to, so please go put your jacket away.”  She just looked at me and said “oh, ok Mama, I’ll go do it.”  And she did!  It made me very happy that I maintained my calm, and that she didn’t want to make me angry, didn’t want me to yell, so she obeyed.  Those moments are priceless.

Parenting to me is a constant analyzing process.  I’m constantly analyzing her behavior.  What is it that we need to work on?  I don’t expect her to be perfect or to work on it all at one time, but I also know my child isn’t a complete angel.  She has areas that she needs to work on.  I also analyze how to work on her behavior.  What worked or didn’t work in the past?  What can we do differently so that I’m not using the same methods over and over?  Grace loves rewards.  Whether it’s a day at Kid’s Fun Center, a dollar, picking where we get to eat lunch, choosing an inexpensive item when we go to the store, she just loves rewards.

Honestly, I see her behavior improve the most when I take time out of my schedule and we spend time together.  I think that sometimes she gets sassy or acts up because what she really wants is my attention, she wants to spend time together.

I also pray and ask God to show me how to be a better parent.  I ask Him for wisdom, ideas, solutions.  He is the Master when it comes to parenting, who better is there to ask for parenting advice from?

So, if your child pushes you to the limit, or acts up…..don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Being a single parent is tough stuff, but with a little creativity, analyzing, prayer, and patience, you can do it.

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Grace

Lord, as I seek Your guidance for the day,
I find my thoughts unyielding,
confusion crowds my way.

But then when I bow to You,
the challenges You guide me through,
Your promises are ever new,
I claim them for today.

Each new day’s design is charted by Your hand
and graciously revealed as I seek Your master plan.

Keep my footsteps faithful.  When from You I go,
return me to the joy that Your blessings can bestow.

Your will cannot lead me where Your grace will not keep me.
Your hand will protect me, I rest in Your care.
Your eyes will watch over me, Your love will forgive me,
And when I am faltering, I still will find You there.

This song is written by Carolyn Hamlin and is really more of a prayer, her words are beautiful and she expresses what I feel each morning as I pray before getting out of bed to start the day.

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“The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”   Job 1:21b

Job was a man who lost everything he had.  He lost his children, his servants, his animals, all of his earthly possessions, and still, he stayed faithful to God. 

Then Job lost his health, and his three closest friends started condeming him and telling him that he must have some sort of sin in his life or he wouldn’t have the trials he was going through.  Even then, Job was still faithful to God. 

Job’s wife even told him that he should stop being faithful to God.  She told him he should give up……her exact words to her husband were “curse God and die.” 

 Job still stayed faithful to God.  Job loved God more than anyone or anything on this earth.  At one point, Job said “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”  Job trusted God with everything he had and with his life. 

This was a man who knew that God doesn’t make mistakes, who lived out “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  A man who knew that God’s ways are not our ways. 
The part that amazes me is that Job didn’t even have the written word of God. 

 Job is the oldest book of the Bible, so none of the Old Testament had been written yet……Job didn’t have any promises of God to look up and read to remind himself that God would take care of him.  Job couldn’t look back and read the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses,  Daniel, David or any other stories about great men who did great things with the help of our Great God.  Job didn’t have the Psalms to look to for comfort.  He didn’t have the book of Proverbs to look to for wisdom.

 All Job had was faith in God, and prayer.  That was enough.

 When I look at Job’s life, I realize that my trials, burdens and struggles are no where near what Job dealt with and I have the Bible to read….I can look back and read exactly how God took care of His children, I can read the book of Psalms and Proverbs, I have a church to go to, songs that remind me of my faith, I have so many resources available to help me through my Christian life, and sometimes it’s still a struggle.  I remind myself that Job made it to the end and stayed faithful to God without all of the resources we have today…..for Job, faith, prayer and God were enough.

In the end, God blessed Job with more children,  possessions, and animals than he lost in the beginning of his life and God gave Job another 140 years to live and enjoy the blessings that God gave him for staying faithful.

Here are the words to a song written about Job by Mac Lynch.

He Knoweth The Way

O Lord, Thou are my King, and who am I to question Thy way?
Whatever the loss, whatever the cost, draw me closer to Thee every day.

O Lord, Thou art my life, and who am I to understand why?
You died on a tree for a sinner like me, Lord to self make me willing to die.

O Lord, Thou art my all, and who am I to walk without Thee? 
My sin I forsake, Thy cross I will take, Thy servant dear Lord, make of me.

He knoweth the way that I take; A new heart within He’ll create.
That I may walk worthy and come forth as gold, He giveth and taketh away.

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Have you ever been there?  Sometimes, there are things that we go through in life that just seem too big for us to handle, we feel like it’s more than we can bear. 

Our humanness kicks in and we almost get this numb feeling.  We don’t know what to do or even what to think, much less what to pray.

I’ve been there a couple of times.

The only thing I can say is “God, I don’t even know what to pray.” 

When this happens, I’ve realized that first of all, It’s OK……  just going to God and telling Him that you don’t know what to pray and then being “still”  is amazing.  At that point He takes over, and guides your prayer. 

Second of all, I’ve realized that this is one of the most important reasons to pray for other people.  Everyone has times in their life when they don’t know what to pray, and you may not even know when that time is for some of the people you know.  We don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives, but when we include other people in our prayers, it’s amazing what God does for them, and for us too.

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit puts someone in our thoughts.  Several times, I’ve had people pop into my mind in the middle of the night, or as I’m going about my day.  I’ve learned to make sure to pray for them when that happens, we never know right at that moment what that person is going through, but God does and He has a purpose in putting that person on your mind.

Twice in this last week, I’ve had an ambulance race up behind me with it’s sirens on and lights flashing.  I start praying for the person in need, for the Doctors, the EMT’s, the family.  Maybe right then, they don’t know what to pray, but I can pray for them, even though I don’t know them. 

“What a privilidge to carry everything to God in prayer. “

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Being self-employed is FABULOUS, most days……..teaching cute kids to play the piano is awesome.  Going to their homes is great too because I get to see SO many different pianos (I am amazed at how unique some of them are), I get lots of decorating ideas, and my clients treat me like a Queen for the most part. 

I have families that have a special chair reserved just for me, families who bring me ice water with lemons when I walk in the door, families who feed me fresh apple pie and so much more.

Then there’s also having more time to be a mom and spend time with Grace, which is SO awesome.  We have tons of fun together and she is getting bigger and smarter every day.  It’s so neat to see her grow right in front of my very eyes.  When I was working, I felt like I missed SO much of her life and so many of her “firsts”

The down side of being self employed is losing clients, and clients who decide to take the ENTIRE summer off……..and so far, I have 6 clients who are taking the ENTIRE summer off. 

I’m trying not to focus on it, and I keep reminding myself that for the first few months of Grace’ s life, we lived on less than $600.00 a month, AND God supplied EVERY need.

I know that He’ll take care of our needs this summer, but I’m also having to trust a lot right now.  I keep telling myself that it’s only temporary and am trying to focus on recruiting more students for the fall.  This past school year, I had up to 25 students, and I’m trying to arrange my schedule to teach 30 starting this fall.  So far, I have a few inquiries for the fall, so I’m hoping to have my schedule full by the time school starts.

I’m not worried, I know that God will take care of us.  He always has in the past, I have no doubts about the future.

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