Category Archives: prayer

What Makes an Anniversary Happy?

Today is our 27th wedding anniversary.

I’m thankful for the years together, and blessed that we’re still best friends and deeply in love. This is the marriage we purposed to have years ago, and with the grace and strength from  the Lord, we are experiencing this.

People who may not know our lives, may  think  our marriage is happy because our life has been easy. Without going into great details, the exact opposite has been true. We approached the financial problems, parenting and health issues, many moves and job challenges with the goal of drawing closer together instead of further apart.

It wasn’t just a goal or a glib platitude; we fought for this. When our marriage was tossed into the storm, we clung to each other and the Lord. 

Wedding Pic

The cord of three is the rope that rescues.

PRAY to FIND EACH OTHER:
Like most young people, our marriage really began in the earnest prayers we poured over our respective lists of "Things We Want in A Spouse." Along with the prayers, we purposed to not compromise our standards. If the Lord was good enough to hear and answer our prayers, then we were going to have the faith that He would provide the answer to our prayers. We were willing to wait for the person that suited those attributes we each desired in a mate.

PRAY to HELP ONE ANOTHER:
Complete unity requires complete honesty. We tell each other absolutely everything. The only information we withhold is in a counseling situation, especially if we are asked to not tell our spouse.

Complete honesty means complete honesty about our own life and each other’s. We take the spiritual admonitions to exhort, encourage and rebuke one another to heart, knowing that we are brother and sister in the Lord. We pray about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, then we may speak about them, then we pray more. It is vital to not only point out spouse’s spiritual gifts or their faults, but to pray for them.

PRAY SPECIFICALLY:
I specifically pray for my husband concerning his spiritual gifts, relationships, parenting, performance at work, wisdom, blessing, his Bible reading and Biblical understanding, his role as an elder, and his unsaved family members. I pray specifically for situations he needs to make decisions about, I pray about conversations he needs to have or is having, and I pray for his influence on others.

For myself, I pray to love, honor and obey him. I desire to be a good helpmeet and not be selfish. It’s too easy to have a Disney princess mentality, thinking your husband’s purpose in life is to make you look and feel like royalty. Sometimes it is about cleaning toilets and being alone because your husband is spending time with the kids, other believers or is in the Word. I pray my my joy and strength would come from the Lord so I don’t drain my husband with demands that aren’t his to meet.

 

PRAY for UNITY:
Because I purposely chose a man who had the Biblical doctrine, parenting ideals, a work ethic, future plans and beliefs on marriage roles I could wholeheartedly submit to, our marriage has been one of little major conflict. I get cranky about dumb stuff, we may argue because we are frustrated about something/something else, but we don’t disagree on the major issues in life.

We make decisions together. We pray about things, then decide what’s most in accordance to the Lord’s Word. If it isn’t a spiritual issue, we just ask for wisdom.

When we do disagree, we pray for unity. Someone has to change. Instead of each insisting on our own way, we commit to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to change our hearts. Disunity is  lonely in a marriage, and the Lord wants our hearts unified as much as we long for this.

A specific example has to do with the number of children we wanted to have. Since I was 12 years old, I wanted six kids. During our engagement, my husband thought four would be a good number. Once we began having children, he thought two would be a good number. Although my heart wanted six kids, I could feel them in my arms before they were there, it was more important to me to have unity. I prayed and prayed for the Lord to unite our hearts and plans according to His will.  The Lord answered my prayers. One pregnancy at a time, my husband’s mind was changed, by the Lord, not by me. We have six children, six that were a blessing in unity, not a happening because I insisted on my own way.

PRAY through SCRIPTURE:
Another way prayer has blessed our marriage, is by praying specific Scriptures in the Bible for ourselves and for one another. We pray for the children this way, too. We feel it is more powerful to use the Lord’s words in prayer, we are more likely to be praying in His will if we are praying His Words.

PRAY to STAY
Staying in the race isn’t the same as finishing the race well.  Growing up, Scott  spent much time with an older couple in the neighborhood. At times being in their little home was like being caught in the crossfires of a world war.  Their communication over 50 years had been yelling and bickering, even though the love and commitment were real.

Through each stage of life, your marriage must grow and change with you. It gets better, it never gets easier.  The challenges of live only increase with the increasing demands. Pray to stay your way through. 

Tying your marriage together with a cord of three that’s strengthened by prayer, is how to make your anniversaries  happy.

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To read other posts I’ve written about love and marriage, click the image or link below.

 

Grandkids and Wedding Cake Topper 056                

       Happily Ever Afters Don’t Just Happen                    The Man She Married

         Girls' Apt 045                           

   Ten Things to Look for in the Perfect Man                  Laughter Doeth the Marriage Well

Crabby Cashiers and Testosterone Trucks

People aren’t always aware of how they affect others with their attitudes and actions.

I was standing in the line of a very crabby cashier at Wal-Mart. Usually the people were friendly and helpful, so I was surprised.

I was also a little offended.

After all, I fumed to myself, they get paid to work with customers. She HAS to be nice to the customers. But she wasn’t.

I thought of a stinging remark to bring her to her senses, but the Lord put grace in my heart and tongue. He rebuked me before I could rebuke her.

Instead, when it was my turn, I smiled at her and asked her how her day was.

She almost started crying and told me she was leaving work early to go to a funeral. She had another one the next day. They were both unexpected deaths of people close to her.

I listened while she rang me up and spoke of the pain that caused the bitterness of her heart and mind. I told her I would pray for her and she reacted as if she wanted to hug me.

The Lord taught me something in dealing with Ms. Crabby Pants. There’s usually a reason people are crabby, and I needed to be more graceful in finding that reason and help bear that burden. Hurting people hurt people.

Fast forward about several years.

I was driving down the street, extremely distracted. I accidentally made a left turn in front of a huge pickup truck when it was his turn to go.

It was one of those testosterone trucks, you know with the huge tires, the noisy muffler, the fog lights – all the bells and whistles a man embellishes with when he wears his testosterone on the outside.

It wasn’t a close call, he’d barely touched his accelerator.  He just didn’t get to go first. A mom in a minivan beat him through the intersection.

He reared his huge arms in fists and shook them at me. He honked and yelled furiously. If I had gotten out of my car, I’m pretty sure he would have hit me. It took him less than five seconds to go from idling to furious.

I had just experienced five seconds that affected my life, too.

My doctor had just said,

image

As this man abused me from the comfort of his testosterone truck, I sadly wondered if his reaction would have been different if he knew what I had just heard- a diagnosis of thyroid cancer – that I had a good reason to be a little distracted.

Probably not.

I was very thankful I hadn’t hurt anybody, that it wasn’t  a serious mistake, but it changed my view on other drivers.

Some are just jerks, no doubt.

But, you never know when someone  on the road driving stupid because
     ~they’re driving to a funeral
     ~they j
ust heard bad news
 
   ~had a medical issue.

Fill in the blanks.

Then fill your heart with grace, mercy and understanding.

Oh yea, and if they’re pulling out in front of you, make sure you hit your breaks.

Then, instead of shaking your fists, pray for them. You just never know how you could affect them.

 

 

Making your home sing Mondays

Are You Listening, Lord?

We’ve all cried this in our hearts and minds….

…when we’ve  convinced ourselves the Lord isn’t hearing our prayers and we need to beg Him to listen. Or should I say whine?

Deep in our hearts, we know this prayer is wrong.

Of course, He can hear us.

He’s omnipotent and omniscient. Not only does He hear everything, the Scriptures tell us that He knows what we’re going to say, before we say it.

Psalm 139:4
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.

The problem is on our end.

ear 003

Just like with our own children.  The majority of the time, they hear us. Especially when we’ve raised our voices just a teensy-weensy bit.

  • They might ignore us, because they want to do something other than what we asked them to do.
  • They might choose to disregard what we said because they don’t think we know what’s best for them.
  • They might ignore us because they’re upset with us.

The issue is rarely their ears. As God’s children, we’re not that different.

  • We don’t think He’s listening, because we want an answer NOW.
  • We don’t think He’s listening,  because we aren’t getting our own way.
  • We don’t think He’s listening, because we’re walking a path we never planned.

David felt this way, so I guess we’re in good company.

In Psalm 102:1-2 he cries out,  "Hear my prayer, O Lord! And let my cry for help come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; Incline Your ear to me; In the day when I call answer me quickly.”

In verse 4 he’s too distressed to eat. Do you know that feeling? "My heart is stricken and withered like grass, So  I forget to eat my bread."

In verse 9 his tears are flowing. "I mingled my drink with weeping."

David understood what it was to be distraught, alone and feeling forsaken. We must understand these feelings come from our circumstances and people on earth, not our relationship with our Savior. He promised to never leave or forsake us.

To find the David’s solution for this distress, follow his spiritual progress through the Psalms. He quickly recovers from his despair.

Psalm 103:1, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name.

Psalm 105:1, "Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name"

Psalm 106:1, "Praise the Lord!….His mercy endures…

Psalm 108:1, "O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise…"

Psalm 112:1, "Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,”

Psalm 116:1-2, "I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.”

God did not move.

God did not change.

God did not open His ears or His heart any more.

The change came from David, who praised the Lord’s Name and His Holy character until He believed His prayers were heard.

Now we know what to do when we don’t feel like God is answering our prayers.

Pray longer.

Praise more.

Give thanks.

Show love.

Call upon Him as long as we live.

The Lord’s ears are working just fine.  It’s our job to fill them with the burdens of our heart and believe He is listening and answering, in His way and in His time.

Are You Listening, LORD?

We’ve all had times when we think the Lord isn’t listening to our prayers.  We’re in good company with David, ya’ know, King David, the man after God’s own heart? Read the cry of his heart in Psalm 102.

In verse 4 he’s so depressed  and distressed  he says,   “I forget to eat my bread.”

In verse 9 his grief caused him to “mingle my drink with weeping.”

David knew what it is to be distraught, alone and forsaken, but does the right thing in his trials. He goes to the Lord and begs Him to hear his prayers.

Sometimes we do more than just ask the Lord if He’s listening, we accuse Him of not listening. In our minds, we know we’re wrong. Of course, He  hears us. He’s omnipotent and omniscience. We don’t even need audible prayers, He knows our words before they’re on our tongues.

The problem is on our end.

In reality, we’re not doubting His ability to hear, we’re doubting His willingness to answer our prayers in our way and our timing.

We don’t FEEL He’s listening because we want an answer now.
We don’t FEEL He’s listening because we want our own way.
We don’t FEEL He’s listening because we asked for a different path.

We need to change our feelings into fact. These feelings come from our circumstances and people on earth, not our relationship with our Savior.

As we identify with David, let’s follow his  path to peace through the next chapters in the Psalms.

Psalm 103:1, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name.

Psalm 105:1,  “Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name”

Psalm 106:1, “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 108:1, “O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise…”

Psalm 111:1, “Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart…”

Psalm 112:1, “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord…”

Psalm 115:1, ” Not to us, O Lord, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth.”

David praised, thanked,  and blessed the Lord.  He willed himself to sing and praise the Lord’s Holy Name through his soul distress to the point where David’s heart changed.

God did not move. God did not change. God did not open His ears or His heart any more or any less to David’s prayers.

The LORD has inclined His ear toward you, trying to catch every precious word you pray ~ He is listening.

Best Parenting Advice

Years ago I asked Ann, mother of nine children,
for her best parenting advice.
Hoping for a soliloquy, because I needed lotsa’ spiritual ammunition,
I was even prepared to take notes.
Never one to mince words,
she looked me in the eye and said,
“Pray about EVERYTHING!”
That was it.
She didn’t expound other than giving me the
 example of potty-training, then re-emphasized,
“Whatever stage you are going through, PRAY!”
Moving to Washington  in 2004 with six kids ages 2 to 18
gave us much to pray about.
The biggest heart need was for friends.
We all needed them.
It was especially challenging because I gave birth
 to the first five kids in about 9 years, then had a 7 year gap,
then had Rebekah.
If another family had teenagers, they didn’t have toddlers.
The families that had toddlers, didn’t have teenagers.
We constantly, daily, prayed for friends for our children
and for ourselves.
We longed for friendship and fellowship.
Then I joined a home school co-op that was four blocks from my house.
Amazing, huh?
Another answered prayer for a woman who doesn’t like to drive in traffic.
It was even more amazing to meet two other families who had teenagers,
a 7-10 year gap,
and a little girl.
Girls who were kinda’ growing up as an only child
because her siblings were so much older.
Last year we had a Keepers At Home group with our girls.
Think Girl Scouts with spiritual purpose.
We enjoyed mother-daughter bonding as we
handsewed flower headbands.
(How-to blogged in this post.)
The girls celebrated their handiwork and their friendships.
The moms rejoiced in fellowship and answered prayer.
Our older children have moved onto college,
and some out of our homes,
but we will share the years ahead.
We still marvel at the Lord’s gracious Hand in allowing
divine appointments to cross our paths
so we could travel the journey together.
He is a prayer-answering God.
Whatever stage you are at with your hubby, your kids,
your ministry, your health, your circumstances,
the advice hasn’t changed since it was given to me over two decades ago ~

“Pray about EVERYTHING!”

She Had a Another Dream

Amazing Grace had a dream. It was a real “I’m asleep and stuff is going on in my head” kinda’ dream, not an “I’m awake but I am imagining how I can change the world” kinda’ dream.

She was sleeping. She dreamed something. Then, she woke up with a passion to follow the dream.

Grace can be political or spiritual, highly self-motivated or sleep til noon, opinionated or too meek to give her opinion, brilliant or the definition of a true blond. She is my brainiac-funny-maniac all rolled up into a blonde-haired blue-eyed enigma.

The last time she had a dream, it turned out to be disastrous. You’ll have to read it to believe it.

This time she had a dream, but it was a blessing. She dreamed she started a prayer group, but she charged money. She woke up, enthusiastic for the prayer meeting idea, minus the fee.

The seed had been planted after this September’s “See You At The Pole” prayer time. We participate in a weekly homeschool co-op and the high school students gathered early on the appointed annual morning to pray. Afterwards, Grace said to Scott and I, “It was so encouraging, we should do this every week!”

Today was the first day. Despite some questioning by kids “what do we have to pray about” or slight teasings, about a dozen kids joined together for 15 minutes of prayer.

Awhile back I blogged about the odors of my children as they aged. Today, Grace and the other teenagers reeked.

Revelation 5:8, “… the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

Their prayers were smelled in Heaven and caused some parents to add their sweet aroma of worship the Lord, with relief, joy and delight.

Because, we agree with John Bunyan, who describes prayer as a “shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”

I always dreamed and prayed about my kids honoring the Lord, but never imagined my wide awake dreams would be answered in part with a daughter’s sound asleep dream.

Today, 12 teens prayed, because of a dream
– a dream come true.