The other night Jonathan and I started talking about something simple which led us to a great conversation about our children and this upcoming year. It seems like life is just flying by and that they are growing so quickly. It is amazing to watch them grow and mature and transition from really little toddlers to children. Nora has just blossomed and is such an eager learner, but with that comes the realization that she is not a really little girl any more. Liam is suddenly getting really into learning his letters and numbers and doing "home school" at the kitchen counter. He is becoming more aware of things all around him, and it's so fun to watch him learn.
In the midst of our conversation the other night, one of the things that we discussed is something we would like to pray to see growth in our children in this coming year. What are our specific prayers for them for 2013? Where we would love to see fruit? What are we hoping to train them in this year? What areas are they weak in that we could be intentional to care for?
In asking these questions, I don't want to be overly critical of my little loves. I don't want to nitpick their personalities or sins, but I do want to make an honest assessment and pray about how we can help them this year. I'm sure that as the time goes on, the things we "work on" will change as growth takes place and more things are revealed, but for now, these are the things I am specifically praying for my children:
For Stella, it's pretty simple. She is going to turn 2 in the middle of this year, so it's most important that we teach her what it means to obey, to listen to Momma and Daddy, and try to speak to her the truth that God has put us in authority over her for her good and because he and we love her! That seems pretty lofty of a task and I pray that she would listen and the Lord would open her heart to receive the love and care of her parents. I pray that she would trust that we love her and know what's best for her and respond with obedience to the best of her sinful little heart's ability. Lord, help me to teach her faithfully and patiently!
For Liam, I pray that we continue to see fruit in obedience. We still have "hard" days where Liam's strong and stubborn will shows forth, but those days are less and I have started to see much fruit of the prayers I prayed for him that are just like those I mentioned above for Stella. For this year in particular, Jonathan and I want to train him in respecting his parents in how he talks to us, and in being respectful to all adults (grandparents, teachers, etc.). For the most part, this is not a huge problem, but there are times when my boy gets a bit too big for his britches, so we are working on honoring his parents by speaking kindly and respectfully. Also, we are going to keep working on not arguing with us when we ask him to do something. Lord, give us faith and the ability to persevere with love and gentleness!
For Nora, obedience training is not as relevant. Nora is a very typical firstborn daughter-pleaser personality (much like her Momma was/is). She can understand the wisdom in what we ask her to do, most of the time, and it's not very often that she deliberately disobeys (although she does at times). One of my specific prayers for Nora is that the Lord would develop in her a tenderness and kindness and deeper love for her brother. I like to describe Nora as a cat. When she wants to play with Liam, when she's in "the mood," they are best friends. They get along, they create and imagine and giggle and get rowdy. It's wonderful. But, if she is NOT in the mood....you better watch out. She can be rather ugly to him at times and it really breaks our heart to see because Liam absolutely adores her. Granted, he can be a trouble-maker, typical little brother and has his moments of ugliness as well. Anyway, we desire for Nora to value her brother all the time. We understand that they will argue and fight and get on each others nerves, but this is a bit different. I also pray that she would continue to learn about perseverance and diligence--working hard at difficult things even when it IS hard, and you don't feel like doing it. Lord, help us to teach Nora that your love for her is not dependent on how she acts or behaves. Help us to point her to you every day!
For myself, I have LOTS of prayers. There are so many areas that I can improve in and a list of things I desire to do and change. However, I don't want to condemn myself for my areas of weakness. If I sat still long enough, my laundry list of motherhood would bog me down and I'd never get up from this couch. I feel like the discussion Jonathan and I had, along with a few days of praying and meditating about these things has not caused me to feel condemned or overwhelmed, but has given me an excitement about this year. I have set a few goals of specific prayers for my children, giving myself some direction of important lessons and values that we desire to see in them. I know that I am called to teach and train and pray for them, but I am also keenly aware that I do not control their hearts. Ultimately, I am dependent on the work of the Lord, not myself. I can fail repeatedly, set poor examples, and sin against them every day --which I am sure I do--but God is faithful and can and will work in spite of me! PRAISE THE LORD!
I do desire that I would be more intentional about reading God's word, playing more with my children, and not focusing too much on the trivial things. I pray that I would speak kindly, hold on to things more loosely, and grow in generosity and hospitality. I pray that I would be better at speaking thanksgiving to people and encouraging others. I pray that I would love Jonathan better and that I would model this behavior to my children. I know I will never master these things and that I may not grow very much in any of them, but I am not called to mastery or perfection. I am called to trust in a faithful God who is sure to complete the good work He has begun in me.
Philippians 1:6-- And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will ring it completion at the day of Jesus Christ.