First Daze

Today is our youngest son’s first day of school. Never mind that it is the first day of his last year of college. It’s still the first day of school. I’m hoping somehow, someone thinks to take a picture of him heading up the hill for that first class of the morning (or the 2nd class or the 3rd). It’s one of our family traditions that I miss the most. Later in the day he will head through the line at the caf for another school lunch, and then in the afternoon meet up with his friend for soccer practice. Ah! Indeed, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

It seems to me those first days of school really are more like the first “daze” of school. Things are in a whirlwind of excitement, anxiety, happiness, fear, joy, blood, sweat and tears. Many a mom has consumed many a bag of chocolates during the times when their little eagles begin leaving the nest.

But I know that I know that there is something that helps to clear the daze away. You see, today as Trevor starts his first day doing some of the same things he has done for years, I find myself starting his first day doing what I’ve been doing for him for years, since his first day of preschool in Mrs Marlin’s class (teardrop). Praying. Not out of fear or sadness or worry, but out of knowledge. A knowledge of the One who holds him in His hands, and of the evil one who would like to steal him away. Knowledge of the power of the God who directs our paths and who gives us life, and knowledge of our need for Him. Knowledge of the love God has for each of us and that I have for each of my sons. A love so great that it lays down its life, its time, its agendas for the good of someone else. The knowledge that the Creator of the Universe and the Creator of my children is listening and moving and working in ways I can’t always see or understand, but am confidently sure of.

I was a little sentimental about this last first day of school until I realized that our other son now teaching abroad will soon have his first day of school. So will his beautiful new wife. And so, someday, Lord willing, there will be first days of school and first day of school prayers for grandchildren and great grandchildren for generations to come. (Okay, okay, so I’m still being sentimental–I’m a mom! It’s my job!)

Today I’m praying not only for my kids, but for you and your kids, too, as they begin their first days. If, as you begin, you are finding yourself in the “daze,” may the God of peace give you clarity and focus as you lead and pray for your children each day as they head off to school.

If you have time to share. . . .How are you praying for your kids this year? I’d love to hear.

Ever Feel Like You Are Going Around in Circles?


Ever said these words? “My life is just going around in circles.” I sure have, and I hope it continues to. I hope my life is now defined in part, by the things I choose to circle in prayer. The ladies’ small group I lead met tonight and made the decision to begin Mark Batterson’s Circle Maker study. We’ve been looking for our next adventure and decided to preview the first session to get an idea of whether The Circle Maker may be something God would be leading us to do next. The answer???

YES! Absolutely, yes! We are excited to get this show on the road. I mean excited. Like milk chocolate and marshmallow excited. Like hope springs eternal excited. Like “Holy Cow, let’s not wait to get started excited.” Batterson’s book is a great encouragement to pray boldly, take God at His word, start praying promises and waiting and watching to see His will and His way come to pass in His time. And the videos bring to life the heart of what God has been doing from the streets to Jericho to the streets of Washington, D.C. in response to the prayers of His people.

I read The Circle Maker earlier this year, and after watching just one of the videos (I haven’t even started the participants guide yet) I’m excited–yeah, yeah, I know I mentioned that already–because not only is our small group going to do the study, but one of our Adult Bible Fellowships is as well. As we, as a church, as the church, begin circling our homes, our schools, our businesses, our nation, our towns, our churches and our families in prayer and as we continue praying them through, I know God will be at work in ways we could never imagine.

If The Circle Maker is news to you I hope you find a enough excitement in this post to check out Batterson’s book and study for yourself, so that the next time you feel like your life is just going around in circles it will be in intentional, power filled acts of prayer.

Oh! Interested in a little circle praying around your kids? You can check out Batterson’s Praying Circles Around Your Children, a great read for back to school time.

Hit Me Again

If yesterday was fill ‘er up, today is most definately “Hit me again.” Reading on in Acts, this girl just loves the “rest of the story.” (Well, there is even more “rest of the story”, but this is the next “rest of the story.”) Anyway, I love THIS story, in part, because I love all the stories that involve Peter. Ask just about any HiSKiD at church and they can tell you that Ms Dawn’s favorite Bible character is Peter. My favorite book of the Bible is Acts, and Genesis, and Judges, and Chronicles, Ruth. . . . .well, the favorite book is a bit harder, but my favorite character is by far MR Peter! And one of the reasons is because of things that happened like the things that happened in Acts chapter 3.

While everyone is looking on in amazement, ooohing and ahhhing, Peter blurts out,

“Hey, really???? Why in the world are you so suprised? I mean, do you think we did this ourselves? God did this. Yup, God. Same God who sent Jesus and glorified Him. Yeah, that God, that Jesus. The one you handed over to be killed. The one you disowned. The one you decided should die instead of a murderer who you asked to be released. You know, you killed the author of life. Well, you tried. God raised him from the dead. We know cuz we’re were there. We saw it all. And this man, he’s definately not lame–figuratively or literally. He’s completely healed, but not because of anything we did, but because of the absolute awesomeness of the very name of Jesus, and his faith in Him.”

At this point, I imagine jaws dropping. (a sight I have recently witnessed on numerous occassions as certain surprising disclosures have come to light in our lives) After the jaws drop, and the fog in their brains begins to clear, and the truth and weight of what Peter is saying begins to sink in, I think their heads probably dropped, eyes unable to make contact. At which point Peter lays the smack down.

WAIT!!! NO HE DOESN’T. . . . Well, he does. But what’s so awesome is how he does it–it’s gently, with grace, and without condemnation that he continues

Now, brothers, I know you were clueless. You had no idea what you were doing. You acted in ignorance, and so did your leaders. But it had to be that way, God had to fulfill the prophecies. But look, now you know. I’m telling you, God is showing you and because God loves you so much we are here warning you that once you know what you’ve done, you need to repent, turn to God and let your sins be wiped out and times of refreshing start coming in. Plus you gotta understand that He doesn’t want anyone to perish. But, and this is a big but, anyone who does not listen will be completely cut off.

Peter went on to explain how prophets from days gone by have been telling this basic message for years. We know that God still has people telling this message. He understands that we can be ignorant of the truth, so He is sending people right and left to help us see and understand what our sin has done and that He has the answer to this problem and that answer is Jesus. He loves us enough to warn us of the consequences of what will happen if we choose to reject Him or fail to believe what He is saying.

I love Peter’s “good news-bad news” approach. The good news is God healed this man. The bad news is you killed God. The good news is all you have to do is repent, believe, follow and you can be saved. The bad news is if you don’t you will be completely cut off.”

But I mostly love Peter’s compassion. “Now, brothers, I know you acted in ingnorance, and so did your leaders.” I love how Peter didn’t condemn them, he didn’t judge them, the didn’t belittle them, or shut them out. Peter just loved them enough to tell them the truth. “Hey I know you didn’t understand what you were doing, but you need to know, because this knowledge will save your soul.”

So Jesus, “Hit me again.” Today I desire to be filled with that kind of compassion, that Peter kind of, Jesus kind of love that says, “Hey, I just love you enough to let you know what’s at risk here.” Maybe that prayer is being answered today when someone reads this, maybe it will be answered through some place I teach, or by some chance happening. But I pray that God continues to fill His people up with the boldness to speak His words as we ought with compassion, love and truth, so that those around us might know the truth and be set free.

Fill ‘Er Up

Just a quick morning thought from the book of Acts. The chapter is 3 and the song I learned as a child is already in my head:

“Peter and John went to pray. They met a lame man on the way. He stuck out his palm and asked for an alm, and this is what Peter did say: ‘Silver and gold have I none. But such as I have give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’ He went walking and leaping and praising God. Walking and leaping and praising God. In the name of Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

That’s the story in a nutshell, and as I read through it this morning, I kept seeing “filled up” people, and in seeing them “filled up,” it made me want to live my life “filled up” as well. And I found myself praying to God some “Fill er up” prayers for me and my friends and family. Things like:

The desire to be filled up with the passion to pray like Peter and John who were on their way to temple at 3 in the
afternoon.

The desire to be filled up with serving like the unknown people who brought their lame friend to the temple gates to
beg.

The desire to be filled up with perseverance like the lame man who continued to go there and ask day after day.

The desire to be filled up with the vision to see those who get passed by day after day like Peter and John did.

The desire to be filled up with contentment like Peter and John who knew that having God was better than
having money.

The desire to be filled up with the boldness to look someone in the eye and offer them Jesus like Peter to did the
lame man.

The desire to be filled up with the willingness to take someone by the hand, help them up and bring them into the
church like Peter did.

The desire to be filled up with a humble heart able to accept the gift of healing when God offers it to me like the
lame man did.

The desire to be filled up with overflowing, enthusiastic thanks and praise for all the ways that God has healed and
helped me like that lame man did.

The desire to be filled up with awe and wonder when I see wat God is doing in the people and world around me like
the people in the temple did.

The desire that those I know and love and have yet to know might be filled up with the same things bringing glory to
God with each and every step, hop and leap of faith we take as He takes our hands and walks with us into His
house.

And with that thought, it’s time for me to rise up and walk, praising God (and yeah, maybe I’ll do a little leaping along the way, too!)

Today’s Post Is Brought to You By The Letter “F”

As I was jotting some things down in my “Twenty Minutes with Jesus” time today, I got to my personal prayer list and realized several of the the things I am praying for begin with the letter “F”. (Yeah, not much gets past me–LOL!) One of the things didn’t start with “F” so I decided to take that one and find a synonym that did and Voila! a slightly easier way for my brain to really remember the things I want to be praying for. Just in case your inquiring mind wants to know what they are, here ya go:

Disclaimer: Words are listed are in no particular order. Well, except for the first one, because it is the word “first.” On second thought I think I will put it last in accordance with the whole, “first will be last and last will be first” scripture (Matthew 20:16). Of course, last doesn’t start with “F” so it won’t be first here–or on the list at all for that matter. But anyway, to the list.

Faithfulness–I’m praying to be faithful, for my family to be faithful, the church to be faithful and my HiSKidZ, leaders and families to be faithful. I was reading in Isaiah today (chapter 57) and was reminded again that faithfulness is a big deal.

Family–I’m praying for families. For our church families, the families of our communities, my family, and my family’s family to be. I’m praying for our families to be strong, committed, and to keep trusting in God NO MATTER WHAT. (252 shout out) As our boys get older, I find myself praying more and more about the women who may become part of our extended family one day, and the generations that will come behind us. And, yeah, I’m praying that they will be faithful. Again, in Isaiah, I saw how easily families were deceived and left the truth.

Focus–I’m praying for focus. I’m praying that we will focus on Jesus, His Word, His truth. Psalm 119 is filled to the brim with encouragement and direction for staying focused on God’s word, statutes, precepts and direction for our life. His Word is truly “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.” We need to keep focused on that path and the One who lights it for us.

Future–I’m praying for the future. Not just our future here on earth, but the certain hope of our future in heaven. We are reminded again and again (and I was reminded again today in Isaiah) that this world is not our home–we are just passing through. It serves us well to keep our eyes on the prize at the end of this race. I’m praying that we will live for the future as we live in the present.

Faith–I’m praying that my faith will increase. The disciples once said to Jesus, “Lord increase our faith.” What a request! Oh that we would have our faith increased each and every day and then share and live out that faith with the people around us. That’s what I’m talking about!! and. . .

First–I’m praying to keep Christ first. First place, all the time, every day. My son Trevor used to say something like, “If you didn’t get first, you lost.” Of course I would tell him that it’s not all about winning. It’s how you played and what you learned and the attitude you did it with. But in this case, I think 1st is it!!! If He doesn’t get 1st in my life, I lose. There is no other place I want Christ to be. There is no other place He deserves to be, and ultimately, there is no other place He will be, cuz He is God and there is no one like Him.

So thank you, letter “F”, for some inspiration, motivation and the chance for some exclamation to be going out to the Faithful God who has brought me into His Family, taken First place in my life, is growing my Faith and giving me a Future.

Amen!

Oh Baby!

No, this is not an announcement of any upcoming arrivals, although someone asked me not to long ago if we were expecting! Yikes! There have been quite a few babies popping out around our neck of the woods lately. It’s always exciting when new life comes into our world. It was the birth of our first son that ultimately brought us to the Lord. So we got new life times 3! Although we were not living for Christ at the time of his birth, God chose to intervene on his behalf at that time and we knew it. I have to tell ya, we didn’t know much at that time, but we did know enough that when someone saves your baby, you should respond with a thank you and a debt of gratitude. And so our journey of response to God began as we committed our lives and the raising of our sons to His hands and His ways.

We are so thankful to God for the tools He has placed in our paths. In the next couple of days, I hope to share some of the things that helped Tim and me the most as we learned what it meant to “train up a child in the way he should go.”

Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying Parent had a huge impact on our lives. I’m not even sure when I came across it; I know the boys were pretty little. As a new Christian, prayer was a discipline (well, actually it wasn’t a discipline. I had no discipline in prayer, I just cried out whenever I had a problem–like the spiritual baby I was.) As a new Christian, this book helped me grow in the disicpline of prayer not just when there was a crisis, but as that ongoing conversation with the ultimate Father.

The Power of a Praying Parent helped prepare me to pray for things I didn’t even realize would be coming up, and brought peace to my heart reminding me that I could rest in thanks knowing God was at work in the lives of these two little guys He had entrusted to us. There were so many days that we didn’t really have a clue as to what we were doing, but He did–and He still does. He has continued through their transitions from babies to boys to teens to men to lead us and show us how to pray, how to help and how to let go and place them continually in His hands. In addition to praying for our sons, I have used prompts from the book when praying for friends, for friends’ children, students in my ministry and the church overall.

As I thumb through it now, I look back through tears (yes, I have tears sometimes!) at the highlighted sections, dated pages, and small notes and remember the joys, trials, and fears I felt as well as the faithfulness of the God who brought us to Him and through our years of parenting our children through prayer. . .