Saturday, October 25, 2014

the promise concert -- tonight!

we've been in the middle of another october prayer challenge this month -- praying MORE for our kids.  those posts are on my sparrow Facebook page each morning ...

but i'm sharing today's post here ...  praying for the lonely.
AND ... praying for this evening's event --- THE PROMISE CONCERT.

october 25 *the lonely*

this october we've been praying MORE for our kids.
but today i'm going ask us to pray for those kids who aren't in our family.
in fact, we're going to pray for kids who aren't in any family.
the lonely.

the orphans, the abandoned, the neglected, the ignored.

i'm involved with an adoption and foster care ministry called Promise686. and tonight we are hosting a large awareness event/fundraiser. 200 plus people will gather this evening under a {really cool} white tent, up on top of a hill for dinner and music and discussion because they care about the lonely kids in this world. 

it's a wonderful ministry -- one that came alongside us in our adoption of bella -- and it's growing. tonight is a celebration of what God has already accomplished in Promise686 and a challenge in how we can take part in what He's yet to do. 

psalm 68:6 "God sets the lonely in families ..." that's it. that's God's plan -- to bring lonely kids into the arms of mamas and daddies and sisters and brothers. to give them not only a strong roof over their heads, but to give them tender roots in their hearts. to connect them. to embrace them. to become one with them. family --that thing we take for granted until we don't have it ... or until we never knew it. 

oh y'all ... pray for this event. there's a ga-zillion details to pulling off something this large scale. we've been working our tails off for several months now, but we need your prayers for this evening. yes, i'm worried about everyone's dinner being served warm and the sound system working seamlessly, but mostly, mostly, mostly, would you pray that people have hearts to hear and eyes to see what part they can play in reaching out to the lonely. 

adopting? fostering? serving? giving?

we may not all be called to adopt, but we are all called to do something. tonight is about whatever that something is that we can do to help lonely kids. 

dear Jesus, "Father to the fatherless ..." we know your heart for the children of this world and your plan to set the lonely in families. we know you have created each of your children -- orphan or already home -- in your wisdom. your heart breaks for those who hurt. Jesus, open our eyes to the work that you want us to do. break our hearts for what breaks yours. move us to mercy. create in us fresh compassion. encourage us to more action. unhinge us. unglue us. undress us from the things which slow us ... from the distractions which keep us blind and busy. Lord Jesus, would you stir hearts and open eyes even this evening under the big white tent, up on a hill. a-men.

please check out the ministry page on Facebook or on the web.

i promise to post pictures in the next day or two! 
(this picture above is the a little glimpse of our centerpieces). 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

a letter to mamas of young girls everywhere ...

we see them ... out there in our backyards, on our driveways, at our kitchen counters.

they are young and beautiful.

sometimes amusing.
sometimes awkward.
sometimes even (though we'd never admit it) kind of annoying.

they are little girls growing from tiny to tall ... from toddler to teen ... from innocence to understanding.

and we can't imagine how they will ever be anything more than just what they are at this exact moment.
it is hard to see how they are changing and what they will become.

some days it's a slow process. painstaking.
other days, and they grow a foot and change moods like a pair of jeans.

and we are left watching and wondering and waiting.

these young girls.
all full of possibility. potential. promise.

last night, my college-aged daughter and i got to go see her best friend, annika, in her volleyball match. annika's playing D1 volleyball for georgia tech. (that means she's really, really good).
we sat in the stands and cheered her on like she was flesh and blood. these girls have been friends since 1st grade -- i suppose that's about the same.

annika's an amazing athlete and it was so fun to watch her play at this new level of college volleyball. thrilling, in fact!
afterward we hugged, took a few pictures, even got annika's autograph! she's like our own little superstar.

and driving home ... i couldn't help but remember annika and emily playing "pepper" with the volleyball in our backyard way back then.
many years ago.
two little girls honing their skills. giggling and goofy. zero control. chasing wild balls. i can remember one afternoon them coming sweaty into my kitchen to ask, "mom, do you think we'll make the team?"

they did.

and now these girls are 18.
annika playing for georgia tech.
emily, just a year ago, closing out her  own volleyball career with a senior year state championship.

both girls, with these big moments.

and yet i can see them, clear as day, in our backyard on buttercup trace. all legs and arms and enthusiasm. as a former player and coach, i loved watching these girls get better, but, i'll admit, i had my moments of wondering. did any of us think they'd not only make the team as 6th graders but grow up to experience a state title or an athletic scholarship?

mamas, i know sometimes you see your own
little girls and you wonder about them.
who are they?
what are they?
what will they become?

it's exciting, but it's also intimidating.
there's so much life to get through. so much living to be done. so many hurdles to encounter.

and i'm not just talking about the hours in the gym, but the bumps on the road and the pain in the process.

for several years, i had the chance to disciple annika and emily in a small group at our church. and i'll be honest, there were times when i didn't get their jokes or grasp their attitudes or understand why they were so ... so middle school-ish ...

there were times when emily didn't want to talk to me ... (or listen).
there were times when i couldn't help notice the eye roll or the pre-teen embarrassment.
there were times when i wasn't sure they'd ever move beyond the stage of food in their braces and fart jokes.

and then i see them last night hugging on the court. beautiful young women. one friend performing, another friend so proud. and my heart swells to see it.

to know THIS is what those little girls in my backyard have become.

we cannot foresee the big accomplishments and grand moments ... we cannot promise them state titles or athletic scholarships ... as mamas of young girls we can't do everything, but we can pray and hope and believe and encourage.

and we can be encouraged.

tonight, i wanted to share this little slice of their lives with y'all as a reminder ... God has something grand for your girl. whether it be out on the court or encouraging from the stands ... He's got something great planned for that gangly little gal bouncing a ball out on your driveway.

i know some days it's hard to see it.

but, i encourage you, hold faithful to the promise God has for your precious girls. He's every single day making, molding, and shaping them into something beautiful.

with love,
signed the mom of an almost all grown-up girl

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

praying MORE for our kids (again)!

i never repost or repeat. i think it goes against some kind of blogging world code of conduct. except that i'm going to do it this month. a year ago, we journeyed through the october series "praying MORE for my kids." and ... i'm feeling compelled to do that again this october. we started today, in fact. you can find the prayer prompts each morning over at my even the sparrow facebook page.
even the sparrow - jody mcnatt

this is the blogpost which kicked off the series last year ... here it is again! i don't know what your praying and parenting and family and kids all look like -- but in my house, we are still in need of MORE PRAYER.

join me. again.

some of this will be repeat from last year -- word for word -- some of it will be fresh. this month i'm in the middle of planning an adoption fundraising event in our community ... and i need a little wiggle room in my responsibilities. =) thanks for understanding!

so, i'm curious ... what is one thing you could do {more of} for your children?

let me first tell you what i think your answer isn't going to be ...

it isn't going to be...
   more laundry.
   more meals.
   more money.
   more treats.
   more driving.
   more privilege.
   more movies.
   more trips to the mall.

am i right?

i'm pretty sure none of you were tempted to go down one of those paths. for the most part, we already do an awful lot for our kids. we give them an awful lot -- perhaps, at times, even too much.

no, i'm not sure my kids need more of anything at the moment ... i mean clean laundry and healthy meals are good things, but if i had to be selective, i can't say i'd put them at the very top of my list.

now, i'm not assuming we all think exactly alike, but i have a hunch that a few of you might have answered you would like to pray more for your children ... maybe even pray more with your children.

so maybe it was just a few of you or maybe it was most of you ... regardless, i bet some of you do want to pray more.

funny! because lately, that's been on my heart too! (so glad we're talking here today).

perhaps it's because i have five of them, and somedays praying for (or with) five kids takes an awful long time -- we have a boatload of issues and needs to address in our household ... but, truly, i think it's mostly just a parenthood thing. doesn't really matter if you have two children or twenty, you probably would like to be better about bringing them before God's throne. because regardless of the number of children in your home, they all pretty much need to be prayed for. now, if you do happen to have 20 children shuffling around under your roof and calling you mom, please let me know, and sister i will add YOU to my prayer list for sure!

so, i have an idea:  (that phrase always worries my children) how about we do that! how about we join together and pray for our kids?

we are about to flip the calendar to a brand new month -- october! (my personal favorite). what if we all virtually come together, bow our heads, kneel before Him and cover our kids in prayer.

what if we even call it something special like a 31 day prayer challenge?

what if we make a commitment and even put our name on it? i don't want to stress you out, but maybe we even write it down! make it real ... draw our line in the dirt ... stake Christ's claim on our kids.

what if?

now before you slam your laptop shut and run away shrieking ...  just think about it.

consider joining with me this month and committing to a focused 31 days of prayer for our kiddos. i know commitment is hard. i get it. lately, i have a hard time committing myself to a one-a-day vitamin. i understand. but it really won't be between you and me ... it's between you and God. and it's for your kids ... and what's more, it works!

i mean, i don't know about you, but i could use a little revival in my house this month. i've got some kids (and they've got a mother) who need a little bit of prayer intervention. you know what i'm saying?  i'm hearing the grumbling, i'm watching the resistance, i'm aware of the attitude and i'm sensing the self-centeredness ... and i'm talking about me as much as i'm talking about them.

bottom line: i'm looking for God to do a holy work in this home. and i wouldn't mind some company if your'e willing to come along. whether you have a three year old or a 43 year old, i bet you still want to pray for your child.

i'll say it again, i am looking for God to do a holy work in this home. and after 18 years of parenting, i am more convinced than ever it doesn't begin with me and my mother-power, it begins with prayer and God's power.

many years ago, i read stormie omartian's book, the power of a praying parent. it's definitely up in the top of five of my must-reads for parenthood. half my book is underlined from my time spent in its pages. this gal may have a crazy kind of name, but, believe me, she's got some really good stuff to share ... she writes:

I believe that being a parent is becoming more and more difficult each year because of what our children are exposed to and bombarded with everywhere they turn. But we don't have to be worried sick, dreading what is around the corner, or fearing the worst. We don't have to be tossed to and fro by every new stage and age and trend and fad. We have the power to make a big difference in our children's lives through prayer. That doesn't mean we abdicate our responsibilities as parents. It means we partner with God to raise our children as we pray for every aspect of their lives.

Praying for our children doesn't mean that nothing will ever go wrong in their lives. But when it does, we don't have to beat ourselves up for not being perfect parents. Besides, it's not being a perfect parent that makes the difference in a child's life, for there are no perfect parents. It's being a praying parent that makes a big difference. And that's something we can all be."

so, would you join me?

i know somedays we are all so busy "doing" for our kids, we forget to stop and pray for them. if you asked me which is more important, i would surely answer you: prayer! but, even knowing (and believing) that text book answer, doesn't mean i am good at it.

i kneel every day to empty the washing machine or to tie a shoelace or scratch something sticky off my kitchen floor but do i truly remember to kneel every day on behalf of my children?

is it more important for them to be covered in clean clothes or to be covered in holy prayer? we all know the answer ... but somedays it's hard to put down the chores and rise up to the challenge. it's as choice. but i know how it works (at least in my home):   somedays we choose to handle it ourselves instead of handing it over to Him.

my plan is simple ...

each day i will post a PRAYER WORD on my even the sparrow facebook page  (please join me there if you haven't already). i will post one word and a scripture verse to go along with it. i'm sure that word might mean something different for each of you ... or even for each of your children. it's just a prompt. that's all. i am not promising anything here except a simple and committed prompt to pray ... God takes care of the rest. that's His department, not mine. (a-men)!

i'd love to hear from you. leave a comment. leave your favorite verse on prayer. let me know how it's going ... or just leave your name and a smiley face or a cute emoji and i'll pray for you as you pray for your kids. and feel free to pass this along to a friend or two.  let's see what happens in this harvest month of october when we choose daily to pray MORE.

"devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” ~ colossians 4:2
october prayer topics for our kids ....  heart * gratitude * character * gentleness *   peace * self-control * friendships * dreams *  health * generosity * patience * attitude * purity * confidence * boldness *  wisdom * unity * perseverance * joy * righteousness * future *  compassion * truth * willingness * humility *  love * prayer * passion * rest * contentment *  excellence

"and this is the confidence that we have toward Him, 
that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.
 ~ 1 john 5:14 

again, here's the link to my facebook page where i'll be posting daily prayer prompts in this month of october. join me there or click on the following link which will also be updated daily with the prompts from my blog.