Lots of people over the last month have asked me how they can pray for us. I usually stumble through an answer and sometimes don't even give one. It's not because there isn't anything to pray for, just that I am not very quick on my feet (just ask anyone who has ever interviewed me for anything, I need the questions ahead of time so I have time to think about it and formulate my answer!) So, here are just a few ways you can be praying for our family:
-Ask God to reach down his mighty right arm that saves and bring salvation to the souls of my children, Sophie and Ethan. May He give them new hearts and make them new creations. Ask that He will teach them to love Him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength and love others as they love themselves. Ask God to teach each of them to trust and obey Him in all things and to spend their lives to make Him known to others in any way possible. Pray that their decision for Christ would be real, deep, and not based on wanting to see their Daddy again.
-We are still grieving and will be for a long time. Every day is full of ups and downs. We had some good discussions today about life, death, and heaven. Pray that I will make the most of the teachable and tender moments that will come in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Pray that God would give me a sensitive spirit to know what they are truly asking and truly needing to hear. It's very easy for me to tune them out toward the end of the day because, well, I just can't handle any more words! Pray that the Lord would give me endurance for the entire day so I can answer all those questions.
-The Lord has provided abundantly for our family! I cannot even begin to tell you all the ways, means, and people He has used to pour His blessing on us. Homeschooling for the next year will be possible (my daughter was very worried about this!) He has provided enough money for us to live, but there won't be much left over for emergencies or savings. Please join me in praying that God would provide a way for me to provide an income for my family while still homeschooling my children (I have made the commitment that I will be obedient to homeschool until the Lord tells me otherwise and, so far, He has not.) I have no idea what this will look like; part-time, full-time, from home, outside the home, days, nights, childcare for my kids...lots of unknowns. He has provided enough that I don't have to rush into looking, but I can't go forever without having something, either. I am thankful that the Lord is giving me peace with this right now, but I haven't had a job since Ethan was born, so it means redoing my resume, interviews, and all those things I haven't done in a long time! I want to be wise in making this decision and a good steward of the provisions He's given us.
-Would you join me in praying that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart would be pleasing to Him? I want Christ to have all the glory in my every word and every action.
-Kevin's birthday is April 28. I am still not 100% sure what we will do that day, but I want it to be a day of celebration and looking to Christ. I want it to be this way every year, but I have no idea how to accomplish that. I am asking for God to give me wisdom and direction on what tradition the three of us can do on his birthday each year. (And, if you know me, what I am really looking for is a way to honor his memory while giving to those in need in some area that would have meant a lot to him.)
-Pray that the Lord would teach all three of us how to live out Psalm 113:5-6: "But I will trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for He has been good to me."
-One of my deepest prayers is that the diseases of addiction and depression are over in our family. I pray earnestly that, like the Egyptians at the Red Sea, those diseases that we've seen so much of the last few years will never be seen again in our family. I pray that I will not see them again in my children or any other descendants, from generation to generation.
-At the beginning of the year I felt the Lord gave me Psalm 90:12-17 to pray over our family for 2016. I am still praying that over us: "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain wisdom. Relent, LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on Your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May Your deeds be shown to Your servants, Your splendor to Your children. May the favor of the LORD our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us-yes, establish the work of our hands."
-Can I be really transparent here? Like, the ugly kind of honest you don't usually voice? There have been times that, in my hardest moments, I've feared whether or not Kevin was truly saved because of his struggle with addiction. It's a disease that is hard to put into words. It's a disease that is hard to grasp. It's a disease that is hard to reconcile with the Christian life. Or what I think the Christian life should look like. Several times I have just gotten on my face, ugly cried like my life depended on it, and screamed out to God for reassurance that Kevin was truly saved and is sitting in heaven right now. Friends, God has answered that prayer every time by sending me words from high school and college friends, directing me to little notes that Kevin wrote to me through the years, random notes I found in an old Bible cover I didn't even know existed, and many other small ways. Would you pray with me that I will not allow Satan's fiery dart of fear take over my thoughts where Kevin's salvation is concerned? Pray that I will not worry what others think of his salvation when I know that God has given me and answer and God's answer is the only one that matters. (I have a big fear of people thinking that his war with addiction means he wasn't saved and I just can't handle people thinking that of my beloved.) When I give in to these fears, it causes me fear for my salvation and doubt whether God will or wants to save my children. That is not how God wants me to live. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and self-discipline.
-Will you join me in praying that the Lord will give us joy in the hard? Joy in the ugly? Joy in the crazy journey that lies ahead of us? As a child of God, it is possible to be in the midst of confusion and a big, hot mess, and still be filled with joy. I want that for our family. I want others to look at us and not see Heather, Sophie, and Ethan, but to see a loving, merciful God who gave Himself up for us, regardless of where we are or where we come from. God is greater! I want our lives to declare that every day.
Thank you for all the prayers you've voiced on our behalf so far. God is answering them! Thank you in advance for the many more you will voice in the future!