Covered in Prayer: Praying for Your Spouse and Children

Several years before my husband and I starting dating, I heard about praying for your spouse from head to toe at a women’s retreat. I was intrigued by the idea but didn’t give it much though since I was single at the time.  A few months after getting married I was reminded of this idea again and started praying for my husband from head to toe.  It was a little challenging at first, but once I started it has gotten easier.  It goes something like this:

Head – when I think of my husband’s head, I pray for him to be the head of our home, marriage and family and for wisdom as he does so.  I pray that he would keep his mind stayed on Christ and think about Him throughout the day.  I pray for his thoughts to always be pleasing to God.

Eyes – I pray my hubby will keep his focus on Christ. I pray God will open his eyes to opportunities to share the gospel and he will see the needs of not only our family but of others.

Ears – I pray my husband will hear Christ and be attentive to His leading. I also pray for him to be able to discern what is good to listen to and what is not profitable and be able to speak up if needed. I pray he will have ears to hear me and my heart as well as our children as they grow up.

Mouth – I pray his speech will be gentle and kind and yet firm when needed.  I pray he speaks the gospel not only in words but in actions.

Heart – I pray for Christ to be his first love, then for our marriage to be next, followed by our children and then the Church.

Arms/Hands – I pray my husband will be the hands of Christ as he serves others. I pray the work of his hands (at work, at home, etc) will be pleasing to God.

I pray for our physical relationship that we would have that in the right perspective and place in our marriage.

Feet – I pray he would move as the Holy Spirit leads.

I pray for one part each day and am continually adding new things to each category as I think of them.  I think this is a really neat way to pray for a spouse.  It helps me to have specific things to pray about that go beyond “give him a good day at work”; I appreciate that each part of the body reminds me of things related to my husbands relationship with the Lord.  I want the focus of my praying for him to be about who he is in Christ.

Since Peach was born, I have also started praying a similar list for her.  I am being careful to include her physical growth in each category as well since she is growing and developing so quickly.

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Jesus’ Pattern for Prayer

IMG_1091I mentioned in a post last week how I have been working on my prayer life.  While I was pregnant with Peach I started attending two moms groups in my area.  I wanted to get established in a group before Peach was born hoping that if I had already made it a part of my routine, it would be easier to go once she came along.  I am loving spending time with other moms!

In one of the groups (FaithMoms) we read the book Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels.  The book was an easy read and started some great conversations for our group.  One of the things we looked at was patterns of prayer.  Using the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern for how to pray (which is how Christ intended it) is the method I am currently using…and really enjoying.

I have a notebook where I am recording my prayers.  Each time I write a heading for each section (ie. Worship) and then list out the things I am praying for that section. Writing out what my thoughts and prayers are really helps to keep me focused.

WORSHIP  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9)

I start by worshiping the One to whom I am praying.  He is our Father which means we have a personal relationship with Him and yet He is the all-powerful God of the universe.  His name is holy, and He is holy.  We should come before Him acknowledging who He is and what He has done for us.

A great place to go for worship is to the Psalms.  I am working my way through the Psalms picking out things that describe His great character.

SURRENDER/SUBMISSION “Your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

God is omnipotent (all powerful) and His will WILL be accomplished.  By acknowledging this and asking for it, we are surrendering and submitting to His will.

This is the time that I list out things that I have been worrying about.  I write them out and (try to) surrender them and no longer worry about them.  Sometimes it is things out of my control (like when Peach was going to arrive) and other times it is something I need to work on but know I need to stop worrying and submit to God’s will. I also sometimes add things I’d like to see happen in the future (ie. praying for Peach’s salvation or for her future spouse).  I will admit there are things that make this list every single day, things I am working on overcoming and giving to the Lord.

DAILY BREAD & OTHER NEEDS “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11)

I divide this next section into two groups.  First is daily bread.  I ask myself – what do I need today?  This is a great exercise in seeing Matthew 6:23 come to life: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is it’s own trouble.” I was reminded during one of our assembly meetings on Sunday that God gives us His grace as we need it and not before.  God gives us what we need to get through the day. It is rather refreshing to see that each day there really is not much I need.  I often include things like strength and rest (especially with the new baby) and for peace in our home. If I know something is going on in the life of friends or family on a particular day, I will include that here as well.

Then I move onto other needs. I use this section to pray for friends and family members or other long term needs that I am not worrying about (see Submission/Surrender above). Some needs will be in this section on some days but in the surrender section on another day depending on my attitude.

CONFESSION “and forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6:12)

This is definitely the most challenging part for me and probably would be for anyone. When I started doing this I committed to being honest with myself about where I am failing. And sometimes it is tougher to write it down than to think about it.  I guess part of it is fear that someone will read my notebook and see what I struggle with.  I do think it is good for me to record it though – if for no other reason than having something to look back and to see how God has worked.  I certainly don’t make an exhaustive list everyday but I do try to think through the previous day and ask God to show me how I was sinning and what I can work on.  And there are things that go on the list over and over.

WORSHIP/PRAISE For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever and ever.

Although this last phrase is not with the prayer in Matthew (or Luke), it is added to the prayer traditionally.  I use it as a reminder to go back to that heart of worship and also to praise the Lord. I look back at previous prayers to see what God has answered as well as regularly praise Him for my husband and little girl.

This pattern of prayer has been really helpful in keeping me focused and disciplined in my prayers. As I was writing this post I realized there are a few other phrases in Matthew that I have not made a part of my prayer.  I think I might have to add those in.

What about you?  What have you found helpful in your own life for prayer?

Musings on the Proverbs 31 Woman

I have been looking at Proverbs 31 for quite some time during my daily devotions.  I wanted to really look at the passage verse by verse.

As you may know, Proverbs 31 is a profile of a Godly Wife/Woman.  I have often felt overwhelmed when reading this passage feeling I could never measure up to this seemingly perfect woman.  I do, however, want to be a Godly wife and this is an excellent place to go to find the areas I can be working on.

I know my husband treasures me as a wife and sees me as a Godly women.  He often quotes Proverbs 31:10 to me: “Who can find a virtuous wife? Her worth is far above rubies” (NKJV). This always makes me feel cherished and valued by him.  It also makes me want to continue to be a Godly woman, wife and mother.

It would take several long posts to share all I learned from my recent study of Proverbs 31, but it can actually all be summed up by looking at just one verse.

As I mentioned above, I often come away from this passage feeling inferior and not able to live up to all that is described.  I don’t think the passage was intended to make women feel this way but the truth of the matter is, I can’t do this…at least not in my own power and strength.  Verse 30 sheds some light: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (ESV). It is only through a right relationship with the Lord that I can do any of the things described in Proverbs 31.  It is the power of Christ which can enable me to be:

– trustworthy

– ensure that my husband, household and family have their needs met (as far as it depends on me)

– consistent

– self-sacrificing

– wise

– hardworking

– prepared

– support my husband and not bring him shame

– not idle

Realizing this is freeing!  Working on my relationship with Christ is where my focus needs to be.  As a outpouring of being close to Him, He will mold me into a Godly woman, wife and mother. Praise the Lord!

I Have a Voice

Yesterday I wrote about my attitude towards my to do list.  I am having a good attitude about it today, however, it’s really hard!  Peach is eating about every 2.5-3.5 hours, usually 3 hours on the nose. I am nursing her so it takes around 45-60 minutes for the whole process (waking, changing, feeding, burping, changing again).  Then Peach is usually awake for another 30 minutes.  I love this time!  She is so happy (who wouldn’t be with a full belly?) and content.  We do a variety of things – reading, singing, looking out the window, a walk around the neighborhood, etc.  Then she goes down for a nap again.  I am pumping any extra milk to use when I need to be away from Peach – appointments, date night, etc. This usually takes 30 minutes.  And finally I’m left with approx. one hour to do what I need to do.  As I type it is 5:00PM and I’m just getting to my devotions for the day…something I try to do as I start my day.  All that just to say, I realized my time table today.  At first it depressed me a little, but then I decided to use the information I’ve gained to my advantage.  I’m not sure how yet, but somehow this realization will help.

Now for the real post…

I have been working on my prayer life after reading the book Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels with the moms group I joined (I am loving FaithMoms!!).  One of the things in the book that really stood out to me is using the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern for praying.  If you look at the pattern Jesus gave the disciples it looks like this: Worship, Surrender/Submission, Daily Bread, Other Needs, Confession and Worship.  I’m working on a post that looks into this a little bit more so stay tuned for that.

The Psalms are my go to place for the Worship section.  Today I started looking at Psalm 19 and got no farther than the first verse. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork” Psalm 19:1 (ESV).  I thought about how awesome it is that creation actually reveals God’s character and glorifies the Creator simply by being what He created.

I was reminded of Romans 1:20 “For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”  Again, creation reveals His character!

How much more should I (we) declare God’s glory?  God has given humans the ability to speak and an even greater ability to sing His praises. And just as creation declares His glory by being as He created, we too should be what He created us to be. Created in His image to bring Him glory.

I should declare His glory in greater ways than creation for…I have a voice!

I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing

Yet again it has been months (this time eight) since I have posted.  The last time I posted I wrote that I was going to be more faithful about writing…ha!

Fast forward eight months and we have a five week old little girl. Being a mommie has been a roller coaster ride so far, thanks in part to the hormones.  All in all, I’m loving it though.  She’s such a cutie-pa-tutie!!

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Writing is like therapy for me!  Sharing what I’ve been learning is an outlet I need…even if no one ever reads it! So here we go…

Since the little Peach was born, hubby and I have been trying to make our personal devotions more of a priority.  It has been going well.  Most days I get to have quality time with the Lord – sometimes that time is in mini chunks if Peach is taking cat naps and other days I get a longer amount of time.  I am learning that it is more about the quality of the time not the quantity…although a longer amount of time is great when I get it.

Holding the title of “Mom” is already teaching me so much.  The most recent lesson is I am a doer –  I have my to do list and want to get it done.  If I don’t do the tasks on the list I feel like a failure in my own eyes. Peach certainly doesn’t notice and Hubby doesn’t really either, but I do.  And as all you mommies out there now, having an infant is a sure-fire way to NOT get the to do list done.

Yesterday was a challenging day.  Hubby got home around 8 and I hadn’t eaten or even made dinner. I was feeling flustered. He took Peach (my hero!) and I made dinner, all the while fretting about the fact that it was after 8 and we hadn’t eaten dinner. Fretting about dinner turned into a whole list of things that were “wrong”. Long story short, I later realized I was feeling sorry for myself and needed to just give it to the Lord. Hubby and I talked about it later (he can always tell when something is wrong) and he was so, so encouraging.  He reminded me that: A – I am able to do the most needed tasks (ie. laundry, dishes, grocery shopping) and B- my main focus right now needs to be and should be Peach (I feel the need to interject that her real name is not Peach, I’m just using that for blogging purposes and it is a name I use for her often). By taking care of her I am serving her as well as the Lord as He has given me the responsibility of being a mom. I love my husband!

Today while doing my devotions I read Proverbs 31:27 “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (ESV). I thought this was quite appropriate in light of how I was feeling yesterday.  Now, I know that “idleness” could also be viewed as laziness.  Then I got to thinking about what laziness is…and what it is not.  Laziness would be shirking my responsibilities (not taking care of the baby, when I do have “free” time choosing to never do any housework or errands).  Laziness IS NOT necessarily having the to do list go undone.  Just because the to do list goes undone does not mean I am being lazy.  At the end of the day if my family is well cared for it does not matter how clean or organized the house is.

Of course I would not want to let the pendulum swing too far in either direction – I have to find that happy medium.

As I was doing my devotions today and thinking about all these things I remembered something I had purchased years ago, when marriage and kids were still a dream for the future.  It’s a wooden plaque which reads “Cleaning & Scrubbing can wait till tomorrow…for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs; dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”  I dug the plaque out of the pile of decorations and frames to hang up I have yet to decide where to hang and promptly decided this is one thing that needs to be hung up ASAP in a place I will see often and be reminded that taking care of my baby and my hubby by spending time with them is NOT being lazy.

These are days we will never get back…our first year of marriage…learning to be parents…enjoying time together as a couple and as a family…Peach learning and growing at such a rapid rate (I can’t believe how much she has changed in five weeks)…

…and I don’t want to miss a thing!

My Latest Deal Find…eBates!

eBates, people…eBates!

I good friend of my recently told me about this site for earning cash back for online purchases.  Oh, my goodness!  I’m loving it.  I’ve taken a new approach – trying to shop online more. Of course, this means waiting for free shipping deals, etc. But, that’s kind of where eBates comes in.

Here’s the link: http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=IgKkJwfO4GBVmd5VQK%2FgWQ%3D%3D&eeid=26471

Alright, now here’s where the rubber meets the road…

I have decided for Christmas this year to 1) not focus so much on the gifts (I’m a HUGE giver…I like to give gifts) and 2) make meaningful things for friends and family.  So I’m getting my craft on 🙂  Check out the site I co-write with my sister (we’ve been a little lax on that site as well…ho, hum) for our crafting adventures. http://lovinthecrafternoon.wordpress.com  Unfortunately, there is not a craft store close to my home. The closest is about 20 minutes away. Not that bad, but my current energy level is near 0 (the first trimester of pregnancy is an energy killer!) so shopping online was sounding even more appealing. I checked out eBates for deals for JoAnn. I found a 20% off coupon! I placed my order, got 20% off and earned $0.22 cash back.  I know, I can hear you saying, “22 cents?!?! Are you kidding?”, but trust me it is worth it. Plus I wouldn’t have gotten the 20% off.

Purchase #2 – Target. I love Target…I love wandering the aisle, particularly with my sister. Which reminds me, we haven’t done that in awhile. Anyway, while I do love going to Target, shopping online is fun too. Did I mention this means boxes get delivered to my door with goodies for me?!?!  There were a pair of boots I knew I wanted to get from Target so I checked eBates for deals. I found a free shipping on $50 order. The boots were $39.99 so I figured I could find something else I needed to get up to the $50 without a problem.  Heres the breakdown –

Boots $39.99 (They are schedule to arrive today… I can’t wait!)

Kleenex Brand 4 Pack $5.79 – Buy Two and you get a $5.00 gift card (which means one of those was really $0.79) = $6.58

Kitty food (my sister has adopted my little girl since I got married and wasn’t able to bring her with me. I help out with supplies.) $11.99 – Buy Two and you get a $5.00 gift card. BONUS – I was able to have the food shipped to my sister and the tissues and boots shipped to me – still all for free shipping. = $18.98

Then I earned $1.48 cash back on that order. Still not a high amount BUT again, I wouldn’t have gotten the free shipping. And these were things I would have purchased anyway. I saved the gas by not driving to Target 🙂

So that brings me up to $1.70 in cash back earned.

Then, eBates notified me about a sale A Pea In the Pod was having. BOGO FREE on clearance maternity clothes. What?!?!? No one does free anymore. And this is nice stuff. I spent around $25 (including shipping) and will be getting 4 maternity shirts. Can’t go wrong there. Plus I’ll get cash back on that too – not sure how much yet.

My most recent eBates deal was this morning. I got an email from JCPenney with a $10 off coupon – no minimum purchase. It was part of the JC Penney rewards program. So, of course, I headed to eBates. Guess what? Today was double cash back for JC Penney – 6%! I did end up having to pay for shipping ***doorbell just rang…my boots are here. And I ordered them yesterday!*** but for $15 total (that’s after the $10 coupon and including the shipping) I got a pair of maternity jeans. You can’t beat that price. That cash back reward won’t be much because the sale was so low, but still, 6% is pretty good.

I think I’m going to use my cash back for our fun money.

I’ll keep you posted. And seriously, check out eBates. You won’t be sorry! They even have eBay so if you’re an eBay shopper it’s worth checking that out too.

And She Has Returned

Well, it has been about ten months since I posted anything on this blog.  I’ve been just a little busy…met the love of my life, got married and are now expecting a baby May 2015.  Yup, that’s right, all that in the last ten months!  It’s been a wild ride full of many life changes. I love being a wife and look forward to being a mommy!

I have longed to write a book for many years…and I want to start working on that. I want to write my story, my journey of waiting on God’s timing. I want to write specifically for teen girls and young women. One way to get my writing up to speed is blogging…on a somewhat regular basis.  I’ve said this before, but here goes…

Seeing the Big Picture…A Lesson from Siri

My sister and I made a trip to Big Lots the other day. The particular store we were going to was one we had not yet visited. We are both big fans of our iPhones and using them to find directions. My sister always uses Siri. She told Siri where we wanted to go and off we went. As we got close to the destination, my sister began to doubt Siri. She suddenly announced, “I don’t like that I can not see the big picture”. Siri gives directions as you go along. When are approach a turn, Siri will then tell you which way to go, and so on. You can not look at the entire map to see both the starting and ending points with the route all at the same time. This is what my sister wanted to see.

Her declaration immediately brought this comment to my mind, “That’s how life is! God does not often let us see the big picture. He only shows us a step at a time”. We spent the next few moments contemplating how this comparison really was perfect.

As we continued along, my sister was still doubting Siri thinking we were being led to the wrong destination. I was pretty sure of the direction we were headed and assured my sister that Siri was probably right. The directions were correct – we found Big Lots without a problem.

God has our “big picture” in mind. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you…” Another place we see a reminder of this is in Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” God has my whole life (and your’s too!) planned out perfectly. He guides us along but we don’t get to see the big picture.

Sometimes God will give us glimpses of the big picture. I have been reminded of this recently. The ending of a year and the starting of a new one is a time for reflection. One thing God has been putting on my mind lately is His perfect timing. Events in my life which occurred five and ten years ago are now making sense. I am so thankful when God reveals things like this to me. This is not always the case. I know there will be things I encounter which will never make sense. The Bible does not tell us if Job ever knew the reason for his suffering. When things don’t make sense and it seems we are going the wrong way, we have to be trusting God knows what He is doing. He is directing us to the destination He has for us. Follow His directions and you will get to where He wants you to be.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Rejoice in The Lord Always….That Means All the Time, In All Situations

The Holy Spirit revealed something very important (and humbling and convicting) to me this morning.

My contentment with God is often based on what He has given me.

At first glance this might seem like a positive statement, but the Holy Spirit revealed it to me to show something negative in my own life. For example, this week has been a crazy one. I am finishing up two classes which is always hectic. This week at work is the busiest week of the year. Add to that grandma recovering from surgery (minor surgery, but still recovering no less) and host of other commitments and responsibilities. Needless to say I was feeling pretty overwhelmed – even called my mom and had a melt down Thursday night.

This morning (Saturday), however, I am feeling much, much better. God helped me to think through the coming week and is already giving me the strength to face it, for which I am very grateful. As I woke up this morning I was in a good mood – content with God, excited for the (again crazy) week ahead and feeling at peace.

A good thing, right….well, yes and no.

As I was doing my devotions and thanking God for the peace and contentment, the Holy Spirit brought to mind this question – Why are you content and peaceful today but were not yesterday? The answer…something happened yesterday that I have been waiting and praying for a long time.

Certainly, it is good and right for me to rejoice in the blessings God pours out on me. The problem I see is this – why did it take this particular “thing” to cause me to rejoice in God? Why was I not rejoicing and content a few days ago when I was still waiting?

It is at this point my brother would call me “Debbie Downer” 🙂 I will continue to rejoice in this new blessing BUT I also pray I will be more content in the future and not just when I get what I want.

My mom reminded me of something yesterday (she was making sure I was ok after the melt down the night before). We were texting and she said “God is good” – to which I responded “All the time!” Oh that I would remember this!

All the time, God is good!
Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Photo fail

Well, yesterday was a failure in the photo department. I was suppose to take a picture of clouds. No excuse really – just didn’t do it.

Here is today:

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I did spend some money today – needed groceries. That falls under the “necessity” category. No spending for “fun”.

And BONUS – my sister made me breakfast!

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