Self-Control (21 Days of Prayer for Sons)

For the first 10 years of my marriage, my husband hid a secret sin.

He struggled with pornography and I had no idea. While I was busy with babies and then toddlers and juggling a part time job, managing our home and laundry and you know, life–he was fighting a hellish private battle.

Fear kept him in a quiet prison.

Self-Control — 21 Days of Prayer for Sons Challenge via The MOB Society

He was terrified if he admitted his struggle, he would lose his family. I was the proverbial good girl, a rhinestone Jesus pin-wearing wife who would be destroyed by his struggle. Although he would succumb to temptation in his weakest moments, he never stopped fighting. He also kept quiet. When we had a son, things changed. My husband didn’t want this cycle to continue. In a desperate move, he decided he wanted freedom more than he wanted anything else. He confessed. And it destroyed me.

But broken things heal stronger. And sometimes starting over is better than never finishing. We began the long road to healing, reconciliation and redemption.

Teaching our sons to say yes to God

The moment he spoke the shameful words, he had his first taste of freedom. Because that’s what happens when we shine the light on darkness. It scatters. And with every word, through counseling and tears and long talks and resources, he experienced freedom like he didn’t think possible.

He said yes to freedom. He said yes to honesty. It’s changed the way he fathers his son. It’s changed the way I mother our children. Because there is nothing too shameful, too secret, too horrible, that God cannot heal. God has used this brokenness and we are raising our son differently because of it. Instead of pretending like our 12 year old son won’t be tempted some day, we proactively educate him about self control. Saying these things out loud–talking about these private issues has created an atmosphere of honesty in our home; no subject is taboo or off-limits.

Because nothing my son does will make us stop loving him. Even his sin. But silence shackles us.

My husband’s biggest regret all these years later? That he stayed silent for so long. He has said over and over, if I had known how freeing it would be to speak it out loud, I would have. I would have said yes to God sooner.

Here are 4 Ways To Encourage Honesty and Self-Control With Our Sons:

  1. Be honest with them. My husband is just beginning to share his story with our son. Our boys need to know we have struggles, we sin. We need forgiveness.
  2. Be open about hot topics. If we don’t talk to our boys about sex, pornography, girls, someone else will.
  3. Be forgiving. Our kids are as human as we are–create an atmosphere of forgiveness.
  4. Be vigilant. Our sons are growing up in a world much different than we did. There isn’t the restraint we once had over these issues. It’s not only available, it seeks our sons out. Don’t be afraid to explain to your son why you have Internet passwords and monitored screen time.

To read more about raising our sons with intention and to read more about how God performed a miracle in my marriage, check out my new book: Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough.

 

 

Gentleness (21 Days of Prayer for Sons)

A gentle answer turns away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1)
Our fourth son made his debut just weeks ago. We now have boys who are 16, 5, 3, and freshly born. I was sitting on the sofa nursing our infant when my teenager came in upset about something. I automatically replied in a quiet peaceful tone as a result of holding a newborn baby at the same time. Surprisingly, this situation did not escalate like it normally would have in the history of our intense mother/son relationship.
THE TURNING POINT 
When did I turn the point from gentleness to explosiveness? At what moment did I decide that our child was old enough to endure a good loud argument verses the gentle response I had just given him? This verse, “A gentle answer turns away wrath…,” is one of the few I have memorized, yet why do I not follow its wisdom?
MOB-Gentleness
What God spoke to my heart while intentionally praying and considering what gentleness really means, is best understood by reading the Greek definition of the word: Gentleness = Power with reserve. As parents, we have the capability to overpower our children by yelling, screaming and using physical force as a response to misbehavior. True power comes when you are able to reserve your fleshly response and give them what they really need–gentleness.
NOT MY FIRST REACTION
Quite honestly, gentleness is not my first reaction to intense moments with my sons. Whether it is my teen that is in an argumentative mood or my younger sons who I have just told to stop wrestling for the fifth time in a row. Screaming at the top of my lungs to overpower the situation is what comes naturally. I hate to admit this, but being gentle in those situations takes a lot of work! I would not be able to do it without the help of the Holy Spirit. When you withhold wrath and display gentleness you have truly exercised power with reserve.
Think back to when your child was in infant and he would cluster feed every forty-five minutes for hours on end. You’re so exhausted that you don’t think you could endure even one more feeding and yet, we wouldn’t scream at that innocent infant to get him to submit to our needs. No, we gently pace the floor, we console, we rock, we pat them on the back, and we take as much time as is necessary to get through it. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7 it says, “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.”
Jesus displayed the ultimate act of reserving power when He died on the cross for us. We deserved death, but he chose to die on the cross for us instead. The ultimate act of gentleness. Once we are able to display gentleness towards our children, they will begin display gentleness in their own situations.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Think of three or four places or situations where your boy needs to practice more gentleness. Talk to him about how he can be more gentle in each situation.
JanelleJanelle is a wife and stay at home mom of 4 who blogs at Queen of the House of Boys. James & Janelle own a business called Integrity Cleaning and Restoration. She is a pastor’s wife and praise and worship leader. Janelle recently retired as a retail store owner to fully embrace her calling as a mother. Bringing people together is one of Janelle’s gifts. Whether it is managing an online support group, or organizing mentors for new families in her children’s school.  Janelle loves decorating, diy projects, cooking, and hosting gatherings. She loves learning and practicing the true Biblical meaning of hospitality. Cleaning is her nemesis.

Faithfulness (21 Days of Prayer for Sons)

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~ Lamentations 3:21-23

I open the door to their room, switch off the nightlight and turn to the bunk bed where two boys are blinking against the light of day. I ruffle brown and blonde hair and tickle sides, trying to cajole them from the land of sleep into the world of awake.

“I don’t want to go to school today, Mommy,” the one on the top bunk groans.

The blue quilts must be particularly cozy on this cold morning, because both boys are struggling to get up. I start to sing over them.

Great is thy faithfulness, Oh, God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee.

Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not,

as Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness,

Morning by morning, new mercies I see,

All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided.

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

I sing over my boys, a reminder that God’s faithfulness is new every morning–a reminder that He doesn’t change. He promises to be with us, He never fails. His faithfulness is great.

Faithfulness — 21 Days of Prayer for Sons Challenge via The MOB Society

 

It’s scripture, it’s a song, it is a prayer I pray over them. Every morning, my boys are faced with new challenges. Will they get out of bed? Will they listen well to their teachers? Will they seek to bring glory to God? Will they use the gifts they have been blessed with as an offering back to Him?

“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him’ “. (Lam. 3:24)

I remind my boys that these words weren’t written when everything was going great for Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations. Quite the opposite really. Things were miserable for him and yet, he could speak of hope. He could say that the Lord was enough. He could choose to wait on God and his timing.

My boys won’t be faithful in the challenges of life if they don’t first understand the incredible faithfulness of God.

They are awake now as feet hit the floor and they begin to get ready for the day. Later, I hear the older one singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and I smile a secret smile.

May they understand your faithfulness and seek to be faithful in response, I pray, and may they know your compassions that are new EVERY morning!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

How would you finish this statement? A faithful man is __________________ (fill in the blank).

 

beckyheadshot-faithfulnessBecky Daye is a pastor’s daughter, a pastor’s wife and a mom to four pastor’s kids. Her life is a series of sermon illustrations. A typical day involves dishes and laundry, cooking and cleaning, Bible study and lesson preparations, painting and playdough and always begins and ends with snuggles from her little ones. She writes about life and faith at dayebydaye.com

Goodness (21 Days of Prayer for Sons)

Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you.

How I despaired that my sons would ever be good to each other. Jaden’s severe developmental delay and special needs kept him from understanding the damage his ten year-old body was capable of inflicting on three year-old Brendan. Let’s just say he yanked him off a top bunk leaving him with a massive black eye. How my husband and I have worked and prayed for change.

Goodness — 21 Days of Prayer for Sons Challenge via The MOB Society

DOUBT REPLACED

I doubted I’d ever see the day my fiery last-born would forgive his older brother’s offenses, but the Holy Spirit has worked faithfully. With a fuller understanding of his own blessings has come a burden to do good to Jaden — so much so that Brendan approached me solemnly a few days ago…

“Mom,” my eight year-old said, “I love Jaden just the way he is. And I want you to know that someday if you and Dad can’t take care of him, I want him to live with me.” I had flashbacks of Brendan’s rage… the days he asked, “why did you even adopt Jaden?” And tears pricked my eyes as I saw God’s goodness taking root in my son’s soul.

THE ROOT OF GOODNESS

“Goodness” is impossible to find within the hearts of our sons or within our own hearts. Our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). And we see that even in the precious sons we’ve birthed or chosen. When our sons find Jesus, the beauty of His goodness is freed in their lives. No longer slaves to their sin nature, the fruit of goodness is actually possible. It’s our job to teach this — that goodness is found in Christ, not ourselves, that we are conduits of His goodness.

We can’t force true goodness. Mothering is never about controlling. It’s about living out what we long for in our sons, training and teaching from God’s Word (<<<–Tweet That!).

Ultimately it’s about praying our guts out and trusting God’s Spirit to work. Our prayers are going to be desperate. I know mine have been. When we see the selfishness and sinfulness is our son’s hearts, we find ourselves begging God to teach them goodness. Since goodness isn’t a celebrated quality in society today, we’re up against three formidable enemies — the sinful human nature, the devil himself, and a world full of evil.

GREATER IS HE

But, my warrior sister, greater is He that is us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). As we ourselves put on the full armor of God listed in Ephesians 6, and as we pray for our sons to arm themselves with the same, we battle with hope and confidence.

And just as God’s work in Brendan’s heart has surprised me, I believe the work in your son’s heart will surprise you.

It may take years to see this fruit. But let’s “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you ever told your son, “Just be good”? How might this frustrate them or lead them to misunderstand where true goodness is found? Today, let’s teach our sons about our need for grace and God’s goodness, and let’s get ready to see God work.

Throughout the day, pray the ten scripture prayers found at the end of the Goodness chapter in Praying for Boys!

jen ebenhackJennifer’s eight eventful years as a missionary in Haiti produced a gift of brokenness through which she has discovered the depths of God’s healing grace. She now helps others live boldly in this broken world through her blog, life coaching, speaking, and her ebook Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear (free to newsletter subscribers). She is currently writing a memoir of her family’s nine-year adoption process and gripping experiences in Haiti. You can find her on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and jenniferebenhack.com.

Just joining us? Simply subscribe to the MOB Society blog now. That way, the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons posts will come straight to your inbox all month long!

 

Cultivating Kindness (21 Days of Prayer for Sons)

May our sons live in harmony with others; may he be sympathetic, show brotherly love, and be humble. 1 Peter 3:8

My crew of boys and I stand in front of the slow-to-open elevators of our local Children’s Hospital, waiting patiently. As the door opens, a sweet mama with her crying baby and two toddlers begin to emerge. She’s weighed down by the various things we carry around as moms of young ones, but I’m struck by the heaviness of the burden she is shouldering deep within her heart. It’s written all over her face.

She needs a helping hand. Don’t we all?

Without hesitation, my four sons move to the side while my oldest boy holds the elevator doors open for this young family. And I silently thank God for molding their sweet hearts.

Kindness — 21 Days of Prayer for Sons Challenge via The MOB Society

WE MEET AGAIN 

An hour later this same mama of three crosses our path again on another floor of the hospital. We’re seated in the crowded waiting room and I notice that my sons see her making her way across the room, looking for a place to sit. There are no vacant seats and she is obviously exhausted.

These sons of mine, they all rise to their feet and motion for her to take their seats. And I’m near tears at the sight of my boys showing kindness out in the world to a perfect stranger and her sweet children.

But, at home, behind closed doors, familiarity seems to breed contempt and unkindness in all manner of ways. It saddens me deeply when my boys struggle to show love to the ones that are closest to them. And yet, don’t we all struggle with this very thing to some degree?

TRAINING GROUND

God got a hold of my heart on this one early on and is still working on me to this day. He reminded me that our homes, where we all feel safest, are the perfect training grounds for learning how to be kind toward one another. It’s where we can practice kindness and then seek forgiveness (and offer it) when we mess up.

 I’m convinced, now more than ever, that prayer is the one thing that can turn a house full of grumbling blessing-blockers around every time. But without prayer, we leave an open door for the enemy to sneak in and validate our unkind words. Satan likes to make us feel like our rights have been violated, doesn’t he. He loves to let us know it’s okay to be unkind toward someone if they are undeserving.

 We need to do battle on our knees against those lies.

 Kindness says, “Because God first loved me (while I was undeserving) and died on a cross to save my life, I, too, can show loving kindness to you…no matter what.”

 Kindness, it’s genuine love in action toward others (even if it’s undeserved). And loving others is one of God’s greatest commands. While God’s perfect Love makes us kind-hearted, it is also what leads one to willingly reach out and serve others.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are there any ministries the Lord has put on your heart? If so, how can you involve your boy in them?

Throughout the day, pray the ten scripture prayers found at the end of the Kindness chapter in Praying for Boys!

Megan-SpiresMegan and her husband, along with their four young sons live in the beautiful state of Washington. As often as possible, she and her family spend their time outdoors exploring and discovering the beauty of God’s creation. Megan is passionate about encouraging moms in their faith, sharing resources and ways for families to connect and grow, and is inspired by others willing to share their real-life stories. She and her husband write about all this and more at Devotional Family, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Just joining us? Simply subscribe to the MOB Society blog now. That way, the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons posts will come straight to your inbox all month long!