Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Overcoming the Pressures of This World

There are so many pressures in this world lurking...looking to overwhelm and enslave us; to drive us away from God's intent for our lives; as well as, to distract us from walking humbly and obediently with our God. 

Pressures to perform, to please others, to be defined by greatness or beauty, to stand out, to be liked, to be somebody special in the eyes of others.

Even the purest of motives can be tainted by the pressures of this world.

When I felt God's leading to start this blog I wrestled with the idea for quite awhile.  I told Him I was concerned with the amount of time I would have to give AND with the personal exposure and vulnerability it would likely require of me. 

After much prayer, I knew He was asking me to step out in faith and be obedient to His call.

Okay God.  I will do it.  But I never want this blog to become about me.  Keep me humble.  And keep my focus on praying for my kids and nothing else.

Recently, my original motive for starting this blog has begun to be tainted by the pressure I feel to perform and please others. 

I've had moments where I've lost sight of WHY I am doing this blog (obedience to God & commitment to pray for my kids) and have begun to get caught up in the pressure trap.

The pressure I feel to perform and please those of you who are reading this blog has at times distracted me from God's original intent for this blog which is

To create a community of believers who are committed to praying God's Word over the children in their lives. 

Can any of you relate to this struggle? 

Have you ever been called by God to do something and found your motives tainted by a pressure of this world?

Have you ever become so distracted by the pressure to please and perform that you've lost sight of what really matters?  

Our children most certainly can relate.

There is SO much pressure on kids these days.
And the pressures begin at a very early age.

Pressures to perform above average, to succeed regardless, to please others, to be THE best!
Academically...there is pressure to make the grade, qualify for the "gifted" programs, and perform above and beyond one's grade level expectations.

Athletically...there is pressure to be the strongest, the fastest, the most agile, the most versatile, and the most well-rounded athlete on the team.

Socially...there is pressure to be popular no matter the cost, to have the most twitter followers or facebook friends, to attend all the hip parties, and to willingly participate in rebel-like behaviors such as underage drinking, drug sampling, and sexual activity.

Visibly...there is pressure to be "hollywood" beautiful-- to sculpt a ripped, toned, and thin body, to wear the latest trends and fashions no matter the cost, to expose body parts in the name of confidence, and to add-to, alter, change, enhance, or replace any outward imperfection.

Parents feel the pressure too.

Our motive to give our children as many opportunities to enjoy life and use their God-given talents can easily become tainted and driven by the pressure we feel to impress others. 

We can feel pressure to enroll our kids in gobs of before, during, and after school activities essentially aimed at training them to outperform their peers.  

We can spend money we don't have trying to keep up with the Jones and give our kids as many opportunities as the other kids around them are getting. 

And we then feel guilty and frustrated if our kids don't measure up and impress. 

Before we know it, we've lost sight of what truly matters and are placing heavy pressure burdens on our children and on ourselves. 

There is no escaping the pressures of this world.

So how do we overcome their pull and protect ourselves from losing sight of God's will and intent for our lives?
This is the question I took to the Lord over the past few days in regards to this blog and the pressures I was feeling to please and perform.  

He led me to Colossians 3:17.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

His answer for me was simple: 

Renee--don't lose sight of WHO you are living your life for.  Everything that you do and every word that you type should be done unto Me.  All the other pressure you feel only distracts you from Me.  Keep your eyes on Me and the only pressure you will have is to walk humbly and obediently with your God.

So, when our children become overwhelmed by the pressures in this world let's point them to Colossians 3:17 and remind them that whatever they do, they are to do it ALL for Jesus.  Nothing else matters.  Boy is there freedom in that!

Join me today and let's pray the following over our children:

Jesus,   I pray my children would never become so overwhelmed and enslaved to the pressures of this world that they lose sight of what truly matters.  I pray they would not fall into the pressure trap of pleasing others with impressive performances.  Rather, I pray that WHATEVER they are doing--whether in WORD or DEED--that they would do it all for the glory of You.  I pray their sole focus would be to walk humbly and obediently before You. 

Colossians 3:17

Monday, April 29, 2013

Seeking God through Song

Lately the boys have been requesting the following song when riding in the car AND at bedtime:

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

I love this song!  

It is meaningful to me because I learned it at a church camp way back in 6th grade.  It was the theme song for camp that year. 

Even at such a young age, I recall praying this song to God and making a comittment to Him that I would make the five promises of this song a reality. 

And since then, there have been many defining moments in my life where I've been reminded of this song and the promises I made that day.

And now my kids love it! 

And when I hear their sweet little voices singing the words, I find myself praying that they too would desire to make the promises of this song a reality.

That they would:

1. Embrace God as their own!

"O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water."
Psalm 63:1

2. Forever Praise Him!
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you. 
I will praise you as long as I live." 
Psalm 63:3, 4a

3. Seek Him first thing!
"My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you."
Isaiah 26:9a

4. Learn to walk in His ways!

"And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul."  Deuteronomy 10:12

5. Follow His lead every day!

"This is what the LORD says...'I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."  Isaiah 48:17

Join me today and let's pray the following over our children together!

Jesus, Thank you for the power of song to speak to the hearts of my children.  I pray that as You draw them to yourself through the words of this song that they would desire to make its promises a reality. 

I pray they would embrace You as their God. 

I pray they would praise You as long as they live. 

I pray they would seek You first, above all things; that in the morning YOU would be on their heart. 

I pray they would learn to walk in Your ways.

And I pray that they would see that Your directing of their life is best and that they would follow Your lead.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Growing Up...Knowing Jesus Better and Better

I took Grayden to get his haircut yesterday because the kid's hair grows like a weed and he was starting to look like he was wearing a mop on his head.

When the stylist was finished and Grayden appeared before us I literally did a double take.   

His hair was clean, crisp, with a little spike in the front...
He looked so grown up!!

The rest of the night I kept looking at him and thinking,
"When did this kid get so old?"

Even Keith when he came home and saw him said,
"Is Grayden 16 or what?"

People have always told me one day I would look at my kids and wonder where did the time go. 

I know Grayden is only turning 6 next month, but WOW...
where DID the time go?

As he continues to grow up physically, my sincerest prayer is that he would also grow up in his relationship with Jesus. 

Unlike physical growth, spiritual growth is no guarantee.

Thus, as Colossians 1:9-12 says, I will NEVER STOP PRAYING for him asking God to fill him with the knowledge of His will through spiritual wisdom and understanding. 

And I will pray this in order that throughout his life he may do the following:

Live a life worthy of the Lord
Please God in every way
Bear fruit in every good work
Grow in the knowledge of God
Be strengthened with God's power in order to patiently endure all things 
Joyfully give thanks to God

The key to a growing relationship with Jesus is knowing Him better...becoming knowledgable about His will for our lives AND being given His wisdom and understanding for whatever life deals us and wherever life take us.

I do hope that Grayden grows to know Jesus better with each new day.

The other day, on his own initiative, he wrote a letter to God. 
The first line read, "I love you God."

So simple.  So precious. 

Oh  how I hope that he will never stop loving God and that, this love, would motivate him to know God better and better with each new day.

Join me today and let's pray the following over ALL our children:

Jesus, I pray that my children would continue to grow up spiritually.  I pray that You would fill them with the knowledge of Your will by giving them Your spiritual wisdom and understanding.  May their growing relationship with You enable them to live a life worthy of You, to please You in every way, to bear fruit in good work, to grow in their knowledge of You, to be strengthened with Your power, and to joyfully give thanks to You.

Colossians 1:9-12


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lessons Learned At The Grocery Store

I'd like to revisit two topics in lieu of a grocery store experience I had yesterday evening.

Lesson #1:  Our words should BUILD OTHERS UP not TEAR THEM DOWN.

As a man walked by us in the grocery store yesterday, Cole yelled out,

"Look at that fat guy."


It took me a moment to register what happened before I was able to snap out of my state of complete shock. 

My mind went into overdrive trying to figure out WHY he would ever say such a thing. 

WE DO NOT use that word in our house, I DO NOT talk about my weight or anyone else's, and if a book we are reading uses that word we omit or replace it entirely.  

No matter. 
He said it...it happened...
thus I must address it.  

I calmly turned into the next aisle for a very brief but serious pow-wow with Cole.  And then thirty minutes later once we checked out, loaded the car with grocery, and got all buckled into the van we talked further about it. 

"Boys, when I had all those pimples all over my face it was hard for me to be around people.  Do you know why?...Because I was very afraid that I would get made fun of or people would point them out and say things like, 'Look at her gross face.  What is wrong with her?'  I did not want anyone to say things about my face that would tear me down because I knew my feelings would be very hurt."

"Cole, you did NOT build that man up with your words?  I understand that you didn't mean to hurt his feelings, but we must ALWAYS think about

whether our words will build up and make someone feel good


whether our words will tear down and make them feel hurt and sad. 

Do you understand kiddo?"

And with what I felt was very sincere, he answered,
"Yes mommy."

"Good.  Let's remember we can always ask ourselves: 
Are my words building up or tearing down?"
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may beneift those who listen."
Ephesians 4:29

Lesson #2:  Suffering produces character & enables us to comfort others in their suffering.

Immediately following that conversation Grayden says to me,

"Mom, two kids made fun of me today at school."

My Tiger-mom thoughts screamed, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO."

Yet, calmly I said.  "Oh Grayden, I'm so sorry to hear that.  What were they making fun of you about?"

"They were laughing at my Dora bandaid, saying it was for girls."

I tried to keep in the giggle.

"Oh buddy, did that hurt your feelings?"

"Yes," he said very solemnly.

"I'm sorry that happened.  What did you say to them?"

"Nothing.  I just felt sad."

"Did they BUILD YOU UP with their words?"


"Well G, there is something GOOD for you that is going to come out of this.  You now know how it feels to be TORN DOWN by someone's words.  You know that words can make you feel hurt or sad.  AND SO...next time you are tempted to say something that is unkind and will tear someone else down, you hopefully won't because you will remember how it feels to have hurtful words said to you.  When we suffer, our hearts grow and learn.  But for now kiddo, let God comfort you because He loves you and wants to take away your hurt and sadness."

Suffering Produces Character
"...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4

Suffering Enables Us To Comfort Others
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I drove out of that grocery store parking lot so very thankful for God's grace on me.  And I silently prayed that God's lessons for us through that experience, would STICK and make us more like Jesus.

Join me today and let's pray the following over our children:

Jesus, I pray my children's words would build others up according to their needs.  I pray they would develop self-control and be able to discern whether their words will, in fact, build up or tear down.  I pray that when they experience tear down words that leave them hurt and sad that You would use the opportunity to build character in them AND that you would be their comfort.  And I pray that they would then in turn use the comfort they received from You to comfort others who might be experiencing a similar suffering.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Avoiding Evil & Violence

In light of the Boston bombings and the suspected Tsarnaev brothers, I have thought a great deal about the powerful influence evil individuals can have on my boys.

In a perverse and twisted way our society glorifies evil and violence. 

The attention the media gives to the likes of James Holmes, Adam Lanza, and presently the Tsarnaev brothers practically makes superstars out of these evil men. 

The young, curious minds of our youth have easy access to images of evil and violence on Television and in movies. 

To these easily influenced minds, Hollywood portrays evil as appealing and exciting.  A real man goes rogue, is "bad ass," and reverts to violence to make a point. 

If young boys and even girls want to imagine what it feels like to walk into a room and slaughter human life, all they have to do is plug in their game system and play the newest "shoot-em-up" game.  Instantly, they glimpse the "thrills" and feel the "highs" of having the power of life and death in one's hands.

I, by no means, am insinuating that ALL TV, movies, and video games are evil and destructive to our young children's minds. 

This is not a anti-gun blog or political message.  

I am also not arguing that the Media is altogether to blame for evil, violent actions of others.  

I am simply expressing my concern as a mother of young children with the glorification of evil and violence in our culture.

Let's even consider the topic of bullying. 

Bullying among children is a heinous epidemic in our schools. 
At its root it is evil and can very often turn violent. 

Just the other day I watched a real news clip of bullying that was happening on a school bus.  Two older boys were literally both verbally and physically abusing a young boy.  It was so very disturbing.  It made my stomach queasy and my heart ache just watching it. 

And I had to ask myself, "What has happened to these boys that they feel such liberty and find such pleasure in performing evil, violent acts onto another human being?"  

This is a question we ask ourselves often when we witness, read, or hear about evil and violent behaviors in this world. 

There are likely many personal and circumstantial factors influencing these behaviors. 

Nonetheless, I have to wonder if some of what has happened to these individuals is a complete desensitization to the horrors of evil and violence. 

Maybe they've chosen to seek out the glory and thrill portrayed in so many media outlets? 
Or maybe they've been influenced by another who, for whatever reason, plots evil and violence toward others? 

I could go on and on about this topic of evil and violence in our culture, but I would like to narrow my focus to our children. 

It is nearly impossible to guard their eyes and minds from all the evil and violence in this world.  We can't shelter them forever. 

But part of our job is to, when appropriate, have honest and open conversations about the evil and violence going on all around them.

And these conversations must also include discussions about what kinds of individuals our children admire, look-up to, and strive to be like.  

They mustn't envy the power and supposed thrills evil men acquire through violent behaviors. 

They musn't aspire to catch a glimpse of the twisted rush felt when plotting violence and stirring up trouble. 

And they mustn't desire the company of and attention from those whose hearts and minds have been essentially brainwashed to do evil.

Proverbs 24:1 speaks directly to this:

"Do not envy wicked men,
do not desire their company;
for their hearts plot violence,
and their lips talk about making trouble."

There is evil and violence all around us.  Let's pray that our children don't get sucked into its twisted glorification.  And let's pray they steer clear of those who do.

I pray protection over my children from the horrible evils of this world.  I pray you would guard their hearts and minds from unhealthy exposure to acts of evil and terror.  I pray you would give them a bitter and sour taste for evil and violence.  And I pray they would not envy those who are caught up in evil and who plot violence and cause trouble.  I pray they would not seek the company of the wicked but would seek Your righteousness above all things.  

Proverbs 24:1

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In Weakness, He is Strong

Friends, parenting can be tough.

I had another frustrating evening last night.
I sense God sifting and refining me this week.

As much as I try to live by the Spirit while parenting my kids, it never fails that when the chaos of life hits...I grow WEAK and often revert to fleshly impatience and anger. 

And then, to make matters worse, I replay my day's failures back and become very, very discouraged.

Yesterday went like this...great morning and early afternoon. 

Late afternoon and evening were a totally different story.  

Looking back there wasn't one event that triggered my "failure" (so to speak), it was a culmination of several chaotic moments that naturally occur with having a 5,4 and 1 year old. 

The moments just kept building on themselves and my STRENGTH to love and maintain patience began to deplete and before I knew it I was so, so WEAK. 

And instead of running to a safe place for 1 minute, falling to my knees, and crying out to God for His strength...I spent the rest of the evening parenting on empty

Which, as many of you probably know, is always a recipe for disaster.

I then spent the evening having what Keith and I often refer to as a "Parenting Pity Party."

I started wallowing in self-pity, focusing on my shortcomings, comparing myself to all the other patient moms who never hit empty, and eventually punishing myself the rest of the evening by moping about.

But I awoke this morning feeling covered by His Grace.

I was reminded of the verse that promises that the grace of Jesus is "sufficient" for me, for His "power is made perfect in my weakness."  Therefore I can boast all the more gladly about my weakness because Christ's power will rest on me.
For when I am weak, He is my strength. 
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

My human WEAKNESS in parenting is a perfect platform for Christ's STRENGTH to be demonstrated. 

It's obvious I can't parent without Him.

So, I rest this morning in the GRACE-filled arms of Jesus and admit my weakness.  

I cling to the truth that "because of the LORD's great love" for me I am "not consumed." 

I am so very thankful that His compassions are "new every morning" and I will say to Him today, You are "my portion."  You are all that I need to avoid parenting on empty.

I will never be a perfect parent.
You will never be a perfect parent.
But Praise God, HE IS the perfect parent!

So, when we fail we MUST run into His arms where we will find grace and ALL the strength we need to start a NEW day.

This, my friends, is a message we must also teach our children. 
For they will surely fail and grow weak AND desperately need the STRENGTH of Jesus to rest on them.

Join me today and let's pray the following:

Jesus, I praise you for a new day full of Your loving grace.  I thank you that You are my portion, all that need for every parenting moment today.  I pray that my kids would find strength from You in those moments when their flesh is dangerously weak.  I pray that when they find themselves empty, that You would be their portion.  I pray they would rest in the arms of Your grace when they fail and that they would cling to the mercies You give each new day. 

Lamentations 3:22-24
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Monday, April 22, 2013


Philippians 2:14-15

"Do everything without complaining or arguing
so that you may become children of God who are
pure and blameless...
in which you shine like stars in the universe..."

I grow weary of listening to my children complain.

Especially considering how blessed and fortunate they are...great health, roof over their heads, tons of toys, cupboard full of food, clothes for every season, money available for extra-curricular classes like soccer and swim lessons, and loving parents.

Nonetheless, they FIND reasons to complain...

time to brush teeth...complain
time to clip their fingernails...complain
time to take a bath...complain
time to help mom and carry something in from the car...complain
time to clean up the basement toys so I can see the carpet again...complain
time to be patient and let your brother go first...complain
time to do chores...complain
time to do something they don't feel like doing...complain
time to give grace, show mercy, grant forgiveness, demonstrate kindness...complain

Sure, there are moments when they choose to have thankful hearts and demonstrate contentment in word and action. 

In those moments I rejoice and thank God.

I am delighted WHEN I see their little hearts maturing and demonstrating the virtues of thankfulness and contentment. 

Just as the Philippians verse says, in those moments they DO "shine like stars." 

But there are still many ugly moments where their hearts are ungrateful and they show it.

Here's what's tricky...I am also very blessed and fortunate, yet I have many ugly, complaining moments too!

Last night I spent the last hour with my children grumbling and complaining about pretty much EVERYTHING I had to do.  Most of the complaining was in my heart and thoughts, but some of it came out in my actions and words.  It was ugly.

After all the kids were in bed, I pressed rewind in my head and played back the evening to myself.  I quickly realized that I had looked and sounded a lot like my boys do when they complain.

Hmmmm, turns out they may have learned a little bit of ungratefulness and discontentment from ME. 

The saying goes, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." 

Oh Jesus, it is anything but flattery watching my kids imitate my own ungrateful, complaining heart.  Help me to LIVE OUT 1 Thessalonians 5:12, and to "give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for me in Christ Jesus..."

This is a challenging task God is asking of us.  Unfortuantely, it is sometimes easier to find reasons to complain than it is to find reasons to be thankful. 

This week my goal is to come up with a LIST of all the reasons I have to be thankful EVEN when my heart wants to complain. 

I plan to hang it up in the house and share the LIST with my kids. 

I will explain that when mommy starts to feel unthankful and wants to complain I am going to look at this list and switch my focus to one thing from the list. 

My hope and prayer is that THEY will want to make their own list.

Join me today and let's pray the following:

Jesus, I pray that my children would learn to have thankful hearts in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES and IN EVERYTHING THEY DO.  I pray they would begin to understand how destructive complaining is to their hearts and to those around them.  I pray in those difficult moments where it can be easy to complain, that they would learn to switch their focus and choose thankfulness so that they can become pure and SHINE LIKE STARS!

Philippians 2:14-15
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, April 19, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Do Not Neglect God's Word

GUEST Blog Friday
written by Anne
She is a very dear friend of mine who I have great respect for.
I pray you are encouraged by her honest and powerful message.

I remember vividly, as a child, going through a confirmation process at my church and being given my very first Bible. 
No one was encouraging or requiring me to read it.
It was meant to be a sentimental gesture.
However, when I received that Bible as a young girl I remember thinking ,
“God wrote this?!  Well, if that’s true, I want to know what it says!”
For some reason, (now I know that reason is that God was pursuing me into a relationship with Himself!) I just wanted to immerse myself in those stories.

As a preteen, and then throughout high school and college, I bounced in between my interest in the things of God and my interest in all the social scene had to offer. But God continued to grip my heart and reveal Himself to me through His Word.

Thanks to several key people and organizations that God placed into my life I became more convinced that the Bible really held the words of God.

I was deeply impacted by various scriptures and passages that stuck in my heart ready for just the right moment to be called to my memory.

It was a sweet time for the Lord and me.

Now, as a mom of three active, amazing kiddos and wife to one fantastic husband, my mind is full, frazzled and, frankly, dulled to those passages I once remembered and loved.

In my precious spare moments I very rarely sit down to soak in the words of God or to pray.

If you want to know the truth, I run to my couch, my DVR, my stash of dark chocolate, Dr. Phil, Facebook, a novel, you get the idea.

Desperate for some down time or relaxation I neglect the One who can give me true rest.

When it’s typed out there so plainly it’s crazy to think of what I am choosing over the Giver of ever-lasting life.

Psalm 1 says:

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

    and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

My oldest, Ethan, has been given his first Bible.
He frequently asks for it to be his bed time story. (That, or Star Wars, of course.) 
I can see in him that same curiosity that I had as a little girl.
I see that same faith and hunger to know what God has to say.
My heart leaps at the thought of my children growing up to love God’s Word.
That they would read it, know it, and love it.
That it would be written on their hearts for just that right moment, to be called into memory.
And as their mom, I feel now is such an important time for me to have the words of God right on the tip of my tongue. Not buried in my distant memory.
So that I may have words of wisdom, comfort and truth to offer them as I parent, as they ask me tough questions, as they quarrel with each other and get their feelings hurt by friends.

 Psalm 119 speaks to this:
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.

15 I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word.

 And Psalm 19:

 9bThe decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb

Today, let’s pray that God would instill a love of His Word in our children’s hearts that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Father, you call those who meditate on your words blessed.  Joyful are those who obey Your laws and search for You with all their hearts.  May this be true of my children, as well as myself!  Lord, give my children a curiosity and a hunger to know Your Word. Allow the scriptures to come alive to them, to be applicable to their lives.  Write your words on their hearts and give them the ability to remember them as they go about their days.  Give me, as a parent, the discipline to meditate on Your Word daily. And I pray that as I discipline myself, that my children will be impacted by my example.  Together, may we hide your words in our hearts so that we may not sin against You.  Teach us to not neglect your Word!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

God's Love is Deep and it Endures

Four years ago today,

God gave us our Cole-Man.


What a blessing he is to our family! 

From his sweet affections to his silly humor, he brings us so much joy.

I can vividly remember holding him hours after he was born worrying that he would never feel as loved and special as his brother.  

Grayden was our firstborn, the first grandchild on BOTH sides, the first boy.  

Would I and the rest of the family be able to love Cole uniquely and just as deeply as the boy God already gave us?

In that moment, I lifted my eyes up to God and prayed...

"Your love is deep.  Your love never runs out, it endures.  Show me how to love my second son just as deeply and uniquely as my first."

Well...God has, in fact, shown me many special ways to love Cole.

But the one way that is most precious to me is through physical affection.

Cole is, and always has been, much more affectionate than his brother.

And love is deeply demonstrated to Him through physical affection...especially HUGS.

I told him once how special his hugs were to me and, ever since, he delights in giving me his BEST, most POWERFUL hugs.  

Literally he will back up, jog in place, bolt toward me, and with his arms open wide hug-pounce me! 

I love it.  He loves it.
It is our special thing.

We talk about and look forward to those moments when we are away from each other because our reunion always involves one of those deeply affectionate hugs.

God has given me a very simple but unique way to show Cole how deep my love is for him and how it will never run out.

I love the verses in the Bible that speak of God's love as being "deep" and "enduring forever."     

Ephesians 3:18 says, "And I pray that you...may have the power...to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ..." 

Psalm 136 repeats over and over again that, "His love endures forever." 

Any time those thoughts and worries I had for Cole when he was first born return, I find peace in knowing how unique God's love is in that He is completely able to love Cole as deeply as He needs and that His love for Cole will endure forever.

I will do my best to show Cole how much I love him. 
But I know that when I fail, God's love goes deeper than mine ever could and will never run out.

Happy Birthday Cole! 

Get ready for your HUG-POUNCE..it's gonna be Knock You Off Your Feet good.

Friends, would you join me today in prayer:

Lord, I pray that my sweet Cole would experience Your loves so deeply and that it would satisfy His longings and needs to feel special and set apart in this world.  I pray that He would always trust and find comfort in knowing that Your loves endures, that it never runs out.  And like our hugs together, may he experience Your love in an affectionate and tender way. 

Ephesians 3:18
Psalm 136