October 12, 2016

DAY TWELVE - Praying Through Parenting - Part 1: Parenting Littles and Not So Littles

Here we are on Day Twelve and OH MY GOODNESS, how Life Happens when we become parents, right?

I mean... like ALL. the TIME. --Life Happens! 

In good ways and hard ways... in joyful ways and heartbreaking ways... 

Life Happens all over the place and it stretches us, bends us, shapes us, and if there is anything that will make you turn to God in prayer - it is becoming a parent, yes?

Again, as with yesterdays' post on Marriage, it seems impossible to squeeze in how Prayer covers Life Happening in Parenting in just one or two blog posts... Luckily, if you want to dig in a little further, you can read a few other posts written on this blog about parenting HERE, and HERE, and HERE...

I have written about Parenthood all over this blog because, well - being a Mom is sort of my jam. I wanted to be a Mom from an early age and even though we had just one... I have mothered for most of my life. 

I'm no expert though. I have no intention of making you think I nailed it every time (who does, really?) or that I have life changing tips to offer you that will guarantee you parenting success (which looks like what, exactly?)

I don't offer you any of that. But what I do offer here today is a little insight in to how turning to prayer in our parenting will help us raise tiny humans into people we actually want to hang out with!

That was always our goal.  

We were parents more than friends... but the end goal was to raise a person that we would be friends with one day. Someone who would be fun to spend time with and who would hopefully want to stick around from time to time in the future, once she was a grown-up!

I don't know about you but for me, the moment I found out I was making a tiny human, I knew I needed God! I knew as much as I wanted to be a Mom... I needed Him to help me figure it all out from day to day!  

I prayed over her through my whole pregnancy... finding Scriptures to stand on and promises to speak out. I prayed all day. every day. as I was experiencing 'morning' sickness through out my entire pregnancy. 

Sometimes my prayers were cool, calm, and collected. But other times they were heated, rushed, and frantic.

It didn't really matter... He heard them all the same!

Once she finally arrived... that is when I realized that the praying never stops!

I would storm heaven on her behalf for nearly all of her days... sometimes in desperation (--often times, my own doing!) sometimes full of faith and declarations!

Listen, we are in a new season now of being Empty Nesters but today I really wanted to encourage you who are in the trenches of Parenting Littles and Not So Littles. (Tomorrow we'll talk about Teens and the Transition of Moving Out!)

It's been awhile since I have juggled the chaos that is toddlerhood and elementary ages, but stick with me... 

I was reading through a pile of old journals last weekend and oh my goodness - some of the prayers I prayed! 

I am so very thankful that I am a journaler because I stumbled across some beauties! Real treasures like the night our Girlie asked Jesus to come into her heart, or the umpteenth time she prayed for a kitty at bedtime and I finally told My Honey we needed to consider it... even though he was allergic, because --her faith was on the line, man!

I also found some sleep-deprived begging and some manipulated deals-turned-into-prayers that were along the lines of 'Please let us all just sleep through the night.' and 'God, please help me not lose it when she comes unglued while putting on clothes for school tomorrow morning.'

I remember well the drama of school and homework and adding one thing after another to the already busy schedules. I remember the fights about chores, practice, and friends... the discussions and discipline around responsibility and cause and effect, and using the dreaded behavior charts. (Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?) 

I remember days when everyone got along and it was bliss, and there was laughter and joy and nighttime giggling. 

And I remember the days when the house was thick with tension and hurt feelings that couldn't (or wouldn't) be explained and there was silence and sadness and walls slowly being built.

What I want you to know is that on the good days AND on the hard days... when we turn to God and bathe our Littles in prayer --we can trust that He hears us and that He will answer! In fact, we can rest in assurance, knowing that He loves them even more than we do!

He, too, sees those walls and when we ask the Holy Spirit to come in and tear down the walls and heal up the wounds, He is faithful to do it!  

We all have made mistakes... said things we never should have, or let the look on our faces do the talking. Here's the thing: I promise you, your Littles have grace for you. They will not cling to the lows as much as you may. They --having childlike faith, remember the highs much more.  So we aim for the highs, of course... but we thank God for mercy that is new every morning!

Do not put yourself under the pressure to be perfect... to meet every need, every day. (That's actually His job, more than it is yours!)  

Don't fall for the lie that you must do all. the. things. --and do them right... or to think you should be doing more --always more! 

Don't try to go it alone! Find community! Whether that means church, or a MOPS group, or hanging out at the park or playgroups... find your tribe! There is power and support in knowing you are not in this on your own!

Don't assume that if you were really a Christian parent, they'd be memorizing more scripture by now and you would be praying for an hour or more every day - for each child. 

Don't let yourself think that how your kids behave is a direct reflection of how you are doing as Mom or Dad! 

Yeah. That last one. 
For REAL, you guys!

When we are up to our elbows in parenting and carpooling and homework checking and extra curricular activities... the danger is high to confuse our identity as Mom or Dad as the whole of who we are.

Parenting is, I believe, one of the highest callings and I do not take it lightly! I pray you don't either.  

But parenting is simply part of what you do and who you are!

And here's the thing:  I hate to break it to you, but that little angel or angels that you are raising? Yeah. They are human. It turns out they have been given their own free will and they, too, will grow up and make some stellar and some less than stellar choices of their own.  

Our job is to lead them to Him... and hopefully live a life that is an example of making more great choices than not. But when we make the not so great ones, our job is to show them how Jesus still loves us anyway... how Grace is free... for us and for them, because it cost Him everything! 

Mama and Daddy... when (not if... sorry!) your Little or Not So Little makes a poor choice and the enemy tries to pin that on you... when he whispers how you missed the mark and aren't a good parent... when he tells you to worry more about what others think than what your kids think, or what your God thinks... well, just know that is an old trick and it will lead you to no where good!  

When (not if) he comes at you like this, send him right to God and have him take it up with Jesus because (1) Jesus is The Man and He beats the devil every. single. time. and (2) Ain't nobody got time to listen to the lies of the enemy when what we should be doing is loving our kids and pointing them to a good, good Father who is so for them... no. matter. what.

(Ahem... stepping down off of soap box.)

There are SO MANY amazing books available that will help you with your parenting... *I will list some of our top Go To books that made a huge difference for us below. 

But the one thing I wanted to encourage you in is this:

In all your pouring into them, do not forget to take care of you!

Self care is a real thing and I think in our culture it tends to go too far one way or too far the other!  We want our kids to be a priority and to know that they are loved, but we do not want them to be under the illusion that they are the boss of us or that they are entitled to everything, immediately.

We are not called to burn out on parenting... but to build up great people. So, much like the oxygen mask on an airplane, you serve them better when you are taking time for your best self to surface!

One of the best ways to practice self-care is to remind yourself of what God says about you. One of the best ways to do that is by carrying on a conversation with God where you actually do the talking AND do some listening, too! Give yourself grace, sweet Mama's and Daddy's! I promise you that God will cover you and hold you and your Little ones close to His heart!

Now, back to the praying through parenting... 

Prayer is a simple conversation between our good, good Father, and us ---His kids!  

So He gets it. He understands when we are stressed out and spread thin.  He sees when we are holding onto that last rope or that the kids are standing on our one last nerve and we do everyone a favor when we remember to turn to prayer in those moments.

Sometimes the best one to put in time out is Mommy!

Cry out to God and He will answer you and show you things that you do not know! (Jer33:3)  When you are at the end of your rope and all out of answers, I promise you, through prayer, He can lead and guide you and work all things together for your good... for the good of your family!

And also this:

Remember, praying for them is essential. 
Praying WITH them, even better! 

* Great books in Parenting:
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Love and Respect in the Family by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs 
Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk
The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian
Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson  
Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa Jo Baker  
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch 

I'm also linking up with the lovely writer community linked below:

Lori Schumaker for #MomentsofHope

Beth Steffaniak for #FromMessestoMessages

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

 Today is Day Twelve of 31 Days of Life Happens...and so We Pray! If you missed the kick-off and official 'Home page' for this series, you can go HERE and catch up! You will find links for each days' postings, added daily throughout the month. If you'd prefer to have them delivered right to you, I invite you to enter your email address to the right ('Subscribe Here') and subscribe to the blog. That way, once a week, each post is delivered to your inbox in a single email over the weekend and you'll be sure not to miss a thing!

Come back tomorrow for Part Two on Praying through Parenting when we talk a bit more about parenting the teenage years, shifting into Empty Nesters and the Art of Letting Go!


  1. My littles are now grown and at times I wonder if I didn't call them how long would they go before calling me? My daughters are busy and life gets in the way. And then there is the shuffling through how they were raised and how does that fit into their lives now, that thing that all twenty-somethings seem to do. I needed your reminder to ask the Holy Spirit to come in and tear down the walls that were built up somewhere between age 15 and now. Praying that they will remember the God who saved them still loves them and wants a real relationship with them.

    1. Oh Shanancy, I am praying with you in agreement! This parenting gig is not easy - but it is an honor... and we know life is busy and we tend to take for granted the most those who we just know will always be there... what a great reminder for me to make sure that I am intentional in reaching out to not only my girlie, but my Mom and my sisters, too! xoxo

  2. It is funny, my kids brought me to my knees, which in turn brought me closer to Jesus. I have changed so much the last 3 years and He is still shaping me and pulling me in. Before kids I had it all together, now I need Him each day. Great series.

    1. My computer is being strange and for the life of me I do not see a place for comments. I can however reply. So I'm sure Amanda won't mind if I piggie back on her comment. ;) All of what you have said Karrilee is so great. I appreciate the insight and wisdom you have as someone who has walked through it (and made it to the other side!). That must have been such a sweet walk down memory lane to find those journals. There is so much great advice here. I can't wait to read more, and maybe I'll figure out how to comment : /

    2. LOL! You too, Amanda? Before I had my girlie - I was so smart and together! ;) I love it... and you are right, Natalie! It relly WAS a sweet walk down memory lane with my journals! (I see you figured out how to comment on your own, too!) ;)

  3. Parenting without God, prayer, and grace sounds terrible. Thankfully, we don't have to go alone. Thank you. Blessings to you and yours!

    1. Right? I can't imagine trying to parent without the hands on help of God! Blessings right back to you, Mari-Anna!

  4. I am so beyond thankful for the grace of God, and His help in these early years of parenthood I am walking through. Thank you for your encouraging words!!!

    1. Amen, Becky! He is ever present and ready to help! Praying for you as you walk this journey... leading the way for your Littles to follow! xoxo

  5. BTW when I refreshed my screen the box showed up. Ahhh, sorry about that.

  6. Well said and so full of a parent who's been through it all and is now so much wiser on the other side, Karrilee! May I say that you do NOT look like you're old enough to be an empty nester either, girl! You're one hot middle-aged mama! ;) And I'd love it if you'd add your link to this on my From Messes to Messages Linkup. It's full of so much parental wisdom that my readers would benefit from!

    1. LOL! Well - with that comment, you are now my favorite! ;) Thank you! (But remember, we only had one... that makes a difference in how soon one graduates into the Empty Nester Life!) Thanks for the invite to link up over at your place! I added your button and went ahead and followed through! It's always fun to find new community!

  7. I'm so with you on the not-being-friends-with-your-kids-until-they're-adults thing! Pedro calls parenting without boundaries 'child abuse.' ;). We now have two of the most beautiful best friends ever :).

    1. I'm assuming this is my sweet friend Anita... ;) Aren't you so glad that in not being their favorite during those harder years, we can now be amongst their favorites now? Totally worth the trade off! Pedro is a pretty smart man!

  8. Great words Karrilee! I don't know how I would have parented at all without God and prayer. They do all grow up and make their own decisions, but I liked what you said about not getting our identity wrapped up in how they behave. Parenting has been the most humbling thing --the thing that has humbled me the most.I will never forget the h.s. principal showing me my daughter's "file" of detention slips that I had never seen, and realized she and her friends had been forging my name! Uuggh!

    1. Right? They are just so very... uh... Human? I think that is the most dangerous thing that we forget! We fall for the lie that if we do this Parenting thing RIGHT... then they won't sin? Instead, we know the truth and we choose to love and we shout Grace! Grace! to the mountain when we need to --but always, we bring them right to Him! (My own girlie was threatened with truency in junior high because she was always about five minutes late to class! Fun times!) ;)

  9. So so good! I'm going to have to share with my friends who are parenting littles. Reminds me of my fave verse: Deut 6:4-9

    1. Yes!!! I love that Scripture! xoxo

  10. I just moved my oldest son to another state for college this fall and my oldest daughter moved to a place of her own. I still have 2 high schoolers at home (homeschool), and I can say that parenting has been the toughest and most wonderful thing I've ever done. I'm with Amanda who said that parenting brought her closer to Jesus. I agree. I cannot tell you how many life lessons I've discovered from raising and schooling them. I wrote a blog post a couple years ago that listed just a few of them. It's here if you'd like to read. http://www.switchbacks.org/2015/05/13/25-life-lessons/ Thanks for your post!!

    1. Oh Karen... I am praying for you! It is such a transitional stage when we are parenting nearly grown kiddos! I wrote Pt 2 here today and it is about the Art of Letting Go - which you are doing right now! Feel free to check out that post as well! (I will go and read your post, too!) Love it!

  11. So many awesome nuggets of help and TRUTH here, Karrilee! I'm sharing this one everywhere, friend, because Mamas and Daddies need hope! Lots of it because parenting is not easy. Amazing, yes! But easy, no! Thanks, friend, for always sharing hope with me at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,

    1. Isn't is so good to know that there is always hope? And that we are not in this parenting thing on our own... God is with us and there are people living out the same struggles and the same truths in the same season that we are in and we do not have to go it alone? Thanks so much for sharing, friend! The more the merrier, as they say! xoxo


Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!

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