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!

Praying for Patience (21 Days of Prayer for Sons)

“We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the father.” Colossians 1:11-12

My oldest son Noah has autism.  He’s about to turn ten, yet he still wears diapers to bed, throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, screams for no reason, constantly needs to make music on every hard surface and pushes my buttons in more than a million ways.

Of course, I love him a ton in spite of it all.

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

I’ve had to run through streets chasing him weaving in and out of the cars. I’ve had to ease siblings pain from his biting and hitting along with not disciplining him in a typical way for these behaviors because it’s not his fault. He doesn’t always know right from wrong even if he’s been told one million times.  And my patience through all of these years has worn thin. I’ve cried and prayed and yelled at God.  I’ve struggled through whys and hows.

Finally my acceptance of his diagnosis came through God’s grace. I had to( and still have to) pray for extra patience with him.  He is the epitome of a strong-willed child–strong in love and strong in character, yet also just a child.  And as he is learning about God, I’m praying his patience will grow.

 I HAD NO IDEA

Since that diagnosis six years ago, I’ve realized that I didn’t know what I was up against.  I had no idea the amount of angst, stress and terror I was about to go through in the coming years.  I started praying for myself when he was a toddler and had an additional newborn to care for.  As he got older I realized Noah needed my prayers, too.  Patience doesn’t come easy to any of us.  Those were some of the hardest days, since I was alone with a husband that worked so much.

Some days all that holds mom together is baby drool and God’s love (<<—Tweet that!)

Some days, all that holds a mom together is baby drool and God's love.

 A NECESSARY ACTION

Later I could look back and see the therapists and friends that had been placed in my life in the beginning that helped me through. I had to be patient, not only with my son who I was learning about, but with God and his plans for us both. I have had to watch His plans for our life unfold as they happen and keep faith. This is not an easy thing for a Type A controlling mom.  I learned as a new mom and then a mom of a special needs child, patience was becoming a necessary action for each day.  Not only as something I did, but something I breathed.

I have to use patience with every breath I take when I’m with my son because when I forget about it, that’s when I lose it and my house becomes chaos.  My son then sees me and my sinful nature, not the loving mother filled with grace and love that I should be.  I try to talk with Noah about being patient and that mom has to be more patient too. I want him to know I struggle, too. I try to go through each day, sometimes good sometimes bad, praying for Gods strength to be with me.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do you struggle with waiting on the Lord? How might this affect your son?

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

leighheadshot-patienceLeigh is wife to a hard workin’ man and mom to 3 crazy kids, one of whom is autistic.  She is a writer, special needs mom, bipolar survivor, furniture builder, organic food lover, coffee addict and Christ follower.  She loves her hubby, her coffee, her camera, her kids’ laughter, and her God. She blogs at www.livingleigh.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!

 

 

Peace (21 Days of Prayer for Sons)

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19

My life is anything but peaceful these days.

At any given moment you can find me prepping for my next meeting, chasing a 2-year-old who doesn’t seem to have an “off” button, juggling multiple projects for my freelance clients, and balancing the glue and tape for my preschooler as we complete our next homeschool lesson — all amidst wrangling our calendar and errands and family obligations. Sound familiar?

With the holidays right around the corner, I know the crazy factor in our lives is only going to ramp up, but I don’t want our lives to become a jumbled mess of hurrying from one activity to the next. I don’t want the background of my boys playtime to include me or my husband yelling from one room to the next for them to quiet down (ironic, right?). I have this overwhelming desire to start prioritizing peace in our lives and I know the only way my boys will learn to be peacemakers is if they see it lived out daily.

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

Lately, we’ve been struggling with our boys maintaining peace — they fight, grab toys from each other, and roar in each other’s faces on a daily basis. And while I know they still love each other fiercely, it’s starting to take a toll on the family. And then, it hit me — peace between my boys is almost always linked to the atmosphere of peace we create in our home.

Scripture tells us to “…pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding.” And that little word, “pursue” is pushing me to action. I can’t passively wish for peace to enter my home, I have to actively chase after it and create it (<<—Tweet That). 

Here are some ideas I am working to implement in our home to accomplish that goal.

ESTABLISH RHYTHMS AND SPACES OF PEACE

In the natural routines of our day, I want to create intentional moments of quiet for our family — simple reflections on Scripture over the breakfast table, a nap or hour of reading in the afternoon, tempering our play after the dinner hour to quiet activities — these all foster a calmer atmosphere. I also want to designate a special space in our home to be a safe place to go when you’re feeling crazy — yes, getting energy out is critical for boys, but sometimes you also need a fluffy chair and fuzzy blanket and a basket of books for 15 minutes before your brother beans you on the head again.

INTEGRATE A VOCABULARY OF PEACE

I struggle with worry and anxiety and I desperately do not want those elements of my character to become part of my legacy. I want my words to be uplifting, full of life, and seasoned with grace. Beyond checking my own self-talk and watching what I allow little ears in my home to overhear, I want to set up visual anchors throughout our home of God’s promises. I want to display those Truths throughout our house — on the whiteboard on the fridge, in a picture frame in the bathroom, on Scripture prints hung on a clipboard gallery wall. And I want to curate music collections and playlists that help foster a sense of peace — either lyrically or through the orchestration and arrangement — to provide our home with a soundtrack of tranquility.

Today, I’d love to bless you with some tools as you journey with me on the path towards a more peaceful home! I’ve designed this free, downloadable scripture art print just for you! Just click the image below! And feel free to use the playlist below as you go about your work and play today or use it as inspiration for building your own — it features 7 faith-based songs and closes out with 5 beautiful classical pieces.

FREE Printable Scripture Art from Finding Eden Media via The MOB Society


WHAT ABOUT YOU?

What are some ways you can establish an atmosphere of peace in your home? Do you have any tricks for encouraging peace between your boys?

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

Alle McCloskey of Finding Eden MediaMost people run on food, sleep and strong coffee to get through their day. We’re pretty sure Alle’s energy comes from pure shots of creativity (although, she’ll never turn down your offer for a Coke)! Her heart is fullest when she’s being an image-bearer of the Ultimate Creator with her design and branding work, writing, and music. Her day-to-day is filled with old children’s books, large doses of refrigerator art, life-giving music and the world’s best cuddles from her two favorite little people. She prays that by infusing her messy-but-beautiful nest with worship and creativity, they too will learn to become followers of the King. Passionate to see the online conversation filled with the redemptive work of Jesus, she and her husband document the creative journey of brand building and story crafting at www.FindingEdenMedia.com.

Joy (21 Days of Prayer for Sons)

May our sons know that Your kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in Your Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 14:17

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

Sometimes I want to be my own kids.

Especially on Sundays.

Sundays we play board games—my three-year-old son and I forming a team, my four and a half year old already dominating at Settlers, his father showing him the ropes. Then I read them The Velveteen Rabbit by the woodstove, and we wear slippers—the cozy knitted kind, autumn winds at the windows.

Supper is nachos with melted cheese and a movie—something like How to Train Your Dragon—and we finish it after the boys have a bath, ending the night with a bowl of popcorn and them snuggled between us on the couch.

LIFE TOGETHER

We’re a family that does life together. My husband rushes home from work as a school teacher to spend time with the boys before bed; he’s their jungle gym. They climb all over him and then go outside to ride in the wheelbarrow and gather wood for the fire and we eat every supper either together or over at Trent’s parents’ house because family lives all around us.

I didn’t have this growing up–this closeness to one another, this village-raising way, but I also didn’t know a lot of joy growing up. I felt very isolated and alone and I’m wondering if joy isn’t just being confident that we are loved? (<<<—Tweet that!)

And not just by one another, but by the Father who gives us good gifts through each other.

SAFE IN OUR LOVE

Every night before bed I go into my boys’ room and tuck them in, kiss their soft cheeks and pray over them as they lay there—and more often than not, my youngest especially, lies with his arms splayed out, his heart and body completely unprotected, his face in a peaceful smile.

This speaks so loudly to me of the confidence he feels. It brings tears to my eyes—he is so safe in our love, he doesn’t need to curl up in a ball and protect himself as he sleeps.

I have no doubt God enters our rooms when we’re asleep and kisses our foreheads and sings over us, like Zephaniah 3:17 says. He quiets us with his love, he delights in us, but how he must weep when he sees the way we’re folded up in our sleep, our faces pursed, our arms wrapped tight around us—because the world can be cruel. The world teaches us to look out for ourselves–it’s each man for himself in the 21st century.

FAMILY BREAKS THE RULES

But family shouldn’t follow this rule. Family should be a safe place, a haven, a house of laughter. It should be unguarded and free, a refuge where Mom and Dad rejoice in their kids, and where the kids feel delighted in.

Please note, this is not to say that joy means spoiling our children—by no means. I believe in discipline, in firm teachings, and in living with less, not more. No, joy means people, not things. It means a condition of heart, not a state of mind.

And it’s not easy. As mothers, we need to make time for long walks, alone, to find the strength to continue to delight in our kids’ company. But oh, that beautiful moment when we return, and open the door, and the flurry of little feet and arms and legs as they wrap around us and say, “Mommy, we missed you!”

What a wondrous welcome home.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? 

Reflect for a moment on your life. Where do you find the most joy? Is it in the right place? Why or why not?

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

emilyheadshot-joyEmily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, and the author of five books including the memoir Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). All proceeds from Atlas Girl benefit Emily’s non-profit, The Lulu Tree. She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.

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!

Love (21 Days of Prayer for Sons)

God is love. I John 4:8

I rocked back and forth slowly, savoring the moments of holding my baby boy for a few moments before he drifted off to sleep. The blessing of parenting came with a burden.

But the burden of parenting is eased through the honor of praying.

While I rocked, I prayed for this boy to know how much his daddy and I love him. And I prayed for him to know how much Jesus loves him.

The rocking chair has held many babies since this boy and many more prayers have been whispered over soft baby heads, cradled closely. While the Noah’s ark décor has long been removed and those baby feet have grown to larger than my own, one thing hasn’t changed–I still pray that my boy will know how much Jesus and his parents love him.

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

THE FIRST STEPS

It’s been twelve years since I started praying for my son to know how much he is loved. God has answered my prayers in many ways. Asking Jesus into his heart several years ago was the first step in understanding how much Jesus loves him. Continuing on to hold prayer conversations of his own has deepened the knowledge of God’s love. This boy of mine keeps his own prayer journal now and through recording his personal faith journey, he logs a little of God’s love each day. His daddy and I are blessed to watch him begin to understand God’s love, not just for himself as an individual, but for the world.

An incredible transformation takes place when God’s love has been poured into a human being– God’s love begins to pour out of that same human being. Seeing God’s love on display through our children creates a beautiful masterpiece for our viewing pleasure. If we as earthly parents are so pleased with the love shown in our children’s lives, can you imagine how much God loves to see this beauty in his children?

GOD’S BRAG BOOK

I’m guessing God’s brag book is the largest ever. I wonder if he ever looks down and says:

“That one right there. Wow, did you see him? What he did looks just like something I would do.”

Then he sits back, smiling, remembering that first day when his love blossomed into a little boy’s heart and it began to grow.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

What are some ways having God’s love can help us to love others better?

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

facebook cropped threeRachel Wojnarowski loves her husband and 7 children more than life. As a sought-after blogger, author and speaker, she mostly enjoys caring for their busy family, whose ages span 3 years to 23 years and includes a special needs daughter. Rachel leads community ladies’ Bible studies in central Ohio. In her “free time” she crochets, knits, and sews handmade clothing. Ok, not really. She enjoys running and she’s a tech geek at heart. Wife, mom, reader, writer, speaker and dreamer, you can find Rachel on RachelWojo.com.