Gail's Book Nook

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Prayer and Parenting


Be sure to click on K Dawn's name below to see Ashe's interview on K Dawn Byrd's blog

Parenting on Your Knees

This year our daughter starts high school. This is the age when kids either flop or flourish. They either self-destruct or blossom. Quite honestly, a great deal of the parenting’s already been done. More and more, I spend less time telling my daughter how to view the world. Most often, I listen as she tries to figure out how her views fit in with the world. Basically, her core values are set, although luckily, she’s turned into a very strong and committed Christian.

I say luckily, yet luck had nothing to do with it. When she was young, I dreaded the teen years. We’ve all seen teens raised by wonderful parent spiral into self-destruction. We’ve watched relationships shatter and once sweet and cooperative children turn into angry, rebellious teens. But one thing I learned very early on—whatever battle we faced, whatever discipline problem we wanted to curb, whatever fear we felt, God had a solution. The trick, then, was to take the time to listen for His guidance.

One verse brought me great comfort then and has proven true now. Isaiah 40:11 says, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young.”

I realized, if I wanted to be a successful parent, I needed to learn to pray—frequently, fervently and diligently. Only God truly knows the heart of my child. Only God knows His plans for her future. My job, then, is to figure out what He’s doing and cooperate!

This past week, my daughter started a blog to share her faith, and seeing her step it up has been very encouraging. It means she’s taken ownership of the beliefs and values we’ve taught her. And that’s a huge “shew!” moment.

After a recent interview on young adult author, K Dawn’s blog, many said, “You must be proud!” I’m not sure if proud is quite the term. I think what we feel most is grateful. Over a decade ago, as I knelt by her bed in prayer, I clung to those words in Isaiah and let God take the lead. Over the years, He’s proven faithful to His promise and I’ve learned, a moment is never lost when spent on your knees. Quite the opposite, really!


Anonymous said...

Parenting is the hardest job you'll ever have. The one with the most satisfaction and heartbreak. If we'd known back then, would we have taken on the challenge? Probably, because of love. Jennifer, your daughter is lovely!

God bless,
Mildred Colvin

Elaine Cooper said...

Your knees must have dents but your pain was your daughter's gain! Wise words for Moms and Dads! But parenting will continue long after your daughter leaves home. It just morphs into different forms—yet still as important! Blessings!

cbalmony said...

Inspiring! I've shown your daughter's blog to my aspiring-writer, 10-year-old daughter. Cool!I hope one day my daughter will be the beaken of light yours is. Gotta get on my knees!

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

What a wonderful devotional! I loved it when she said, "She’s taken ownership of the beliefs and values we’ve taught her." This is the time you realize that you don't have to worry about the direction our children are going. We can now worry about other things. Hahaha. Thanks for sharing this devotional with us.

Jennifer Slattery said...

Mildred, I so agree! But luckily, we never have to parent alone. :-) And although Steve and I have made countless mistakes, God's grace is greater! Love knowing He holds our duaghter in His hands! Elaine, maybe that's why my knees are so bad! (Although honestly, I pray while I move. Either pacing or walking the neighborhood or exercising. Guess I'm a kinetic pray-er. lol.) And amen, Cbalmony! Each day I'm more and more convinced of the necessity and power of prayer! I've seen more results from prayer than anything I've tried to do by the sweat of my brow. But then again, God Himself says, "Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit."

And thanks, Linda, although I still worry, because I know she's got a long road ahead of her and God's got great plans for her. My daily prayer for her remains the same: that she loves God even more, that she's drawn to His Word, that He uses His Word to guide, encourage and teach her, that He gives her the courage to obey with radical, unhindered faith, that He surrounds her in His protective embrace and that He removes everything in her that gets in His way. :-)

Gail, thanks for having me! And I'll have to stop by another time to share some stories of mom's releasing their kids into God's hands and the awesome steps their kids are taking. I spent the day yesterday with kids from Global Encounter and man, those teens were on fire! Parents, if you want to see you kids step it up and live in radical obedience to Christ, I highly suggest you get them involved in a Global Encounter event. Phenomenal!

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for sharing your wonderful devotional. I'd love to have you come by any time, and Global Encounter sounds like a great topic.

June Foster said...

Jennifer, You said the key word, "listen". So important for parents to do. June Foster