Two Scary Words in the Christmas Story


This is a guest post from Mike. He told this Christmas story in our Bible study class.

The usually calm town of Bethlehem was bustling with activity this day.  Caesar Augustus had decreed a census.  Joseph and Mary arrived around 5:30 p.m. after the long trip from Nazareth – about 75 miles… walking… by foot… with an expectant mother… due any day.

They were exhausted.  Worn out!  Mary’s back and feet ached.  Joseph was physically and emotionally spent.

Back in Nazareth, their lives had been stressful already.  Joseph’s work was hectic.  Their home was chaotic.  Their betrothed relationship was getting strained.

Lots of preparations for the next family event.  Things to do.  Extra bills to pay.  And, on top of all that, Mary didn’t feel good.  Now, ugh, one more “to do.”  A quick trip to Bethlehem and back to Nazareth before the baby’s due date.

Bethlehem didn’t even notice the pregnant Mary.  (Nor that giant star that was new and must mean something.)

Bethlehem was stressed out.  Busy, weary, overwhelmed.  The whole town was tense.  People jammed together like a holiday-packed mall.  Long lines.  Everybody was extra cranky.

This request from “the boss” (Caesar) had frustrated everyone.  The Jews didn’t like his rules.  The boss was asking for too much.     Everyone was thinking, “let’s just get through this.”

That Bethlehem day was ordinary, yet extraordinary.  Jesus was coming.  He would change history forever.  He’d change lives – forever.  But, no one saw the big picture.

In Bethlehem, the sun was setting.  The two scariest words in this Christmas drama were soon to be spoken.

Luke 2:7
And she brought forth her firstborn Son,
and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes,
and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

The innkeeper spoke the two scary words – “no room.”  Beyond no room in his inn, there was no “room” anywhere.  Not in Bethlehem.  Not in Mary and Joseph’s life.  Not in people’s schedules.  Not in day-to-day lives.  Not in the religious world.  The biggest event in human history to that point in time was occurring, and everyone was missing it.  Missing the Glory of God!  No room in each spiritual soul.

2,000 years ago, the people of Bethlehem made “no room” for Jesus.  This Christmas season, Jesus wants to arrive again.

The question:  do we have room for Jesus in our lives, or do we have “no room”?

Is there room in our busy lives?

In our home, is He welcome?

In our family plans?  Will we include time to worship?

In our work life?  Will we show Jesus?  Will we model his teaching?

In our thoughts, do we even think about Jesus?

In our spiritual lives?  Do we have room for spiritual things?  Enough room for prayer?  Bible reading?  Listening for His still, small voice?

Are we any different than Bethlehem?

Ten years ago, I was listening to Christmas music.  A song by Ray Boltz named Sent By The Father came on the radio.  A few lyrics grabbed me.  (Correction, the Holy Spirit spoke!)

Once a baby in a manger
No room at the inn
Now a King who reigns forever
over death and sin.

The Holy Spirit challenged me.  Do I have room for a baby Jesus (who now reigns as King)?  Does my family?  Does my country?

And, not just a little corner.  Not a meager stable out back.  Not a little manger.  Not second best.  Not leftovers.  But, first place.

Now every Christmas season, those two little words, those six letters, jump out of Luke 2.  Do I have “no room” for Jesus?

What room does He want in your life?

11 Tips for Running Your Parenting Race


God’s Love – for You

Psalm 139:1-18 is about you – wonderful you!  And me.  All of mankind.

Psalm 139 tells us His eyes were on us from the very beginning.  His eyes saw our unformed substance.  Our frame was not hidden from him.   He formed our inward parts.  He knit us together in the womb.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made!  All the days ordained for us, planned for us, were written in His Book before one came to be.  We are His!  Let that sink in.  If our flesh had a manufacturer’s label, it would read “Wonderfully Made for and by Him.”

We were created for His glory, for His enjoyment, for His purpose.  He initiated the love relationship with mankind.  We love Him because He first loved us!  You don’t have to look further than the cross to know how much the Father loves you.

God demonstrated (stood up, shows and clearly proves) His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.
Romans 5:8 AMP

What is our response to this love?

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10

Simply put: receive Jesus by faith, repent (change the direction of your heart) and run!  Run for Him and with Him.

Your Path to Run

Last week, I shared a personal story about a new chapter of life.  Jesus said “I have another path for you. Another race that’s cut for you. Run this race now; the one set before you.”

Here’s a list of “mile markers” for your race (based on Hebrews 12 below).  Mile markers of scripture to help you on this magnificent run of life.  Remember, His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path.  Psalm 119:105

* Note of encouragement – slowly read all of Psalm 119.  This particular Psalm reveals to us the importance of The Word!  The Word teaches us how to run.

Hebrews 12 tells us that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV

(1)  Run with endurance the race set before us. Run your race. Not another’s or exactly like another. Run with Jesus’ abiding presence.

But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
1 John 2:27 (and John 15 – abide in Him)

(2)  Run with the One who says He is the way, the truth, and the life.  The one in which no one comes to the Father but by and through Him.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

(3)  Run with His Word held tightly in your hand, and in your heart.

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Philippians 2:14-16

(4)  Run with obedience.

If you love Me, keep My commandments.
John 14:15

(5)  Run in constant prayer.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Pray without ceasing,
1 Thessalonians 5:17

(6)  Run with passion.

… because the king’s business required haste.
1 Samuel 21:8

(7)  Run with joy. J-O-Y. (Jesus-Others-You)

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love others as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:37-40

(8)  Run with influence – impacting the generation following. And the next one to come.

“As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”
Isaiah 59:21

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
1 Peter 5:2-4

(9)  Run with other believers in Jesus Christ.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25

(10)  Run for the sake of those not knowing how to run. These who have not met Christ yet.

Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 2:10

(11)  Run for HIM!

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
Revelation 22:12

Moms of Adult Children – Our New Role as Consultant On-Call


At this stage, our role as “consultant” shifts to an “on call” role of parenting, but it’s still active parenting. There’s no occasion to become passive in family relationships. Passivity produces apathetic kiddos. Even anger can show up as “fruit” of passivity. The world has plenty of passive, apathetic, cynical, angry people. Challenge yourself to be active, passionate, praying, “on call” parents.

Three Weddings in Four Years

In 2012, (our oldest daughter) Katie and Sean married! This was our first wedding. Our first baby to be given in marriage. A marriage of holiness and covenant love. Sean was hand-picked by the Father to love our Katie. A mighty man of God! I love watching how tender Sean is with Katie and their baby girls. Sweetest ever!

Katie & Sean

Katie & Sean

In 2013, (our son and middle child) Will and Anna married! We couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect match for Will. Thanks be to God for this beautiful, godly, adorable, delightful, young lady. Not only is she God’s perfect pick for Will but the perfect mommy to their little guy Michael – and soon to be here – Charlie!

Will & Anna

Then, in September 2016, we had our 3rd wedding in 4 years (whew!), when our baby of babies, Emory Grace, wed Mr. Chandler Wall! Emory has always had a playful spirit, a quick laugh, and thirst for variety. Chandler checks all those boxes and more! You should see the way he makes her laugh – a-dorable. With this final wedding, Mike and I officially became 100% full-time empty-nesters – or rather, consultants “on call” – a time to consult and pray!

Emory & Chandler

Emory & Chandler

A Soul-Defining Mom Moment

The night of Will and Anna’s wedding – after a weekend of wonderful wedding bliss, Mike and I turned off the lights and collapsed into bed.

In the dark, it hit me, that “mom moment.” I turned toward Mike and said with a crackling voice… you know… words that are said with tears and sniffles and soon become gulps of air? The hard to catch your breath kind of words? Well, here they came. A gush of tears. I could hardly speak. The dialogue went something like this.

Mike:   Sweetie, what’s wrong?
Karen:    It’s what they say.
Mike:    What do they say? Who are they anyway?
Karen:    They say, when a daughter marries she’ll never leave you, but when a son marries, well… they must… leave… you. (insert more tears)

Now, for the Bible students out there, I know, I know, the Word says a man must leave and cleave to his wife. I am all for it! Yes, God’s Word is true, and He knows what He’s doing! But does cleave mean to cut off? Gone forever? There he goes – the little boy who stole my heart? Is it goodbye and see you later, Mom?

Mike:   That’s ridiculous. Not Will. Will is never gonna leave you. Not that kind of leaving. You are emotional from a long weekend and many years of loving our boy. You gave it your all. You did it right. You will be fine.

In just a few short minutes, Mike was out, like the lights. Sound asleep; peacefully sleeping. Not me. I was still in my “mom moment” – thinking and praying.

Somehow, Mike knew you could have both – a son wise enough to Biblically cleave to his new wife and a son who would continue to love his “starter” family. Haha! It’s a transition. A transfer of “loves.” A good thing; a great thing!

A Path in the Mountains

As I lay there, pillow wet with tears, the Lord gave me a word picture. It was a scene in my mind’s eye. A narrow path cut through a gorgeous mountain range, something like the Rocky Mountains. The terrain had a few twists and turns, rocky at times, but much of the path was relatively easy to run. The path was beautiful! Absolutely beautiful.

It was peaceful, serene, and quiet. The sun streaming through the leaves like gold touching emerald jewels. I imagined myself running along this path, beginning to recognize this was the race God prepared for me. It was the race of motherhood. A race of perfect joy and delight! My race of endurance. Twenty-plus years mothering Will (and Katie and Emory).

Jesus did exactly as He promised. He taught me how to mother those three precious people! He ran with me.

Then – suddenly – the path ended. A canyon was in front of me. The path was no more. And there was no way to cross.

“That’s it? It’s over?” I said to myself, “how can it be?”

It felt so abrupt. Sudden. So final.

Then, I looked up and across the large ravine another path was cut before me. It was as if Jesus was saying “I have another path for you. Another race that’s cut for you. Run this race now; the one set before you.”

Moms Counseling Teenage Girls on Beauty


Beauty is what beauty does. You’ve heard that Southern saying, right? There is truth in that statement. At this age (and even younger), our girls awaken to a culture obsessed with beauty. It’s wise to begin teaching them the truth of “what” makes them beautiful – a beautiful heart!

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

These are the very years in which my father taught us Beauty 101! His first lesson: memorize this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I strongly encourage you and your little girls to memorize this together.

There is no beautifier of form or complexion than the wish to scatter joy and not pain around you.

As an elementary student, I recall Dad’s words: “Girls, there isn’t a beauty cream that you can buy, not one, that will make you as beautiful as possessing a joyful heart – a heart willing to scatter joy and not pain around you!”

I was glued to his every word – on the edge of my seat, taking in this beauty truth. I believed him – every word. Why wouldn’t I? He was our handsome Prince! Respected, loved, adored, and admired – a man to be believed.

I decided that very day to be a “scatterer” of joy! It made perfect sense to me. People who scatter pain around them, well… let’s put it this way; they weren’t too cute. Wink.

Dad’s second beauty truth:

My outward appearance is only a frame around my inward qualities.

It’s the “picture” that counts! Our little women need this one too. Remember 1 Samuel 16:7; the Lord looks on the heart.

Dad encouraged us to prioritize the heart. Beauty is an inside job!

Acts of kindness and generosity. Giving words of encouragement. Be an includer. Look for the wallflower in a room and make them feel comfortable. Serve and love others as Jesus did. Jesus Himself is the inside work of true beauty! He is picture perfect! Read Isaiah 53. Precious Jesus!

One of my earliest prayers for Katie and Emory was that the Lord would give them a spirit like Mary. Listen to her words:

Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to Your word.
Luke 1:38

God favored her and chose her because of her servant spirit. She magnified the Lord, her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior. She was humble; she recognized her lowly estate before Him. She revered God as holy. She understood His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation. My prayer is that the girls would fear Him, respect Him, honor Him, love Him, believe Him. Just as Mary did!

Father, give the girls a spirit (attitude) such as Mary.

Scripture Prayers for Your Girls


Proverbs 31:12
In context, this verse refers to a husband/wife relationship. This a beautiful character quality for all women. Single or married.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Pray: Father, may she do him (others) good and not evil all the days of her life.
(perfectly fitting to our earlier quote: one who scatters joy and not pain)

Proverbs 31:26
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness in on her tongue.
Pray: Father, give Katie and Emory wisdom and kindness in speech.

Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Pray: Father, may Katie and Emory fear You first always. Fearing You in worship, obedience, service, trusting You always.

1 Peter 3:4
Let your adorning (cosmetic) be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
Pray: Father, give Katie and Emory a gentle and quiet spirit. Not a silent spirit (as for many years I misinterpreted this), but a spirit that speaks strength, confidence, truth, wisdom, and respect in a gentle and quite manner. (It’s the way it is said that matters.)

With that said, there are times when ‘silence is golden.’ Actions speak louder than words!

Karen Emory (12) Katie (19) in 2005

Karen, Emory (12), Katie (19) in 2005

Speaking of actions… Katie, in high school, chose Romans 12:1-2 for her life governing verse. Katie says she still prays this passage regularly as a 30-year-old mom today.

Emory, as a senior, chose Psalm 34:5. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. Emory’s present favorite is Psalm 45:11 – And the King will desire your beauty since He is Your LORD bow to him.

With all that said, remember this foundational truth – The Holy Spirit who you have received from the Father, the Spirit that is the anointing of Jesus will teach you concerning all things!

Abide in Him and ask Him.
John 14:26 & 1 John 2:27-28

He is waiting to answer you (and your girls)!


Moms Counseling Teenage Boys – Ages 13-17


This series, “Bring Them Up,” is based on Ephesian 6:4, “(Parents) bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  It’s our job – moms – to bring them up to maturity!

First, I shared an overview focusing on our parental relationship, the right fuel, and the road ahead.  Now, we are in the middle of examining our roles at different stages and ages.

Ages Our Role
0-5 Caretaker
6-12 Coach
13-17 Counselor
18+ Consultant

Ages 13-17
Our Role = Counselor

Pray, people pray!  At this stage, you are praying like never before!  The reason – peer influence is paramount.  The voice of the world is loud and chaotic, often drowning out that “still small voice.”  The voice, of His Spirit.

There’s no need to panic in these years of “uncharted waters.”  Remain confident and calm that Jesus will speak to them.  From ages 0-12, you’ve given a ton (a slew) of direction, instruction, correction, and guidance.  Lot’s of “coaching” – see last week’s article.  This is the time to choose your words carefully Guard yourself from giving too many words – like a good counselor would do!

Your girls are becoming women and trying to figure “that” out.  Whew!  Do we ever get “that” figured out?  Next week – girl talk, counseling little women.


This Week: Counseling Little Men

Your boys are becoming men, and men feel disrespected if mom’s words come across belittling, humiliating, berating, or demeaning.  (Same for a wife to husband too.)  Protect your little men’s manhood by allowing them to become the man God intended them to be.  Respect speaks love and affirmation.  It also builds self-esteem.  Our guys need it, ladies.  Pour it on!

The following well-known verse is given in the context of male-female relationships – wives to husbands.  There is a principle that applies to raising sons as well.

But (women, moms) let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:4

If God likes it, our guys will too!


Enlist Big Men with Little Men

Will at 15

When Will turned 12, I began to notice he wasn’t as “quick” to respond to my instruction.  We’ve always had a sweet relationship.  I didn’t want to jeopardize that if my life depended on it!  So, I sought the Lord… the Lord impressed me to have Mike step in to give Will instruction, especially the things that make a man a man –  responsibility!  Mike did, and that did it!

Will’s respect for Mike grew – an added benefit to every relationship in the home!  And, Will and I continued to enjoy a sweet relationship – until this very day!

Power of Praying Scripture

No matter what the age, there is tremendous power in praying Scripture over your child.  This practice never stops!

God listens for His Word in our prayers – Rick Renner, author of Sparkling Gems.  The Father agrees with His Word because He has exalted His Name and His Word!

For you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
Psalm 138:2


Powerful Scriptures for Your Little Men

Pray that your young men would love God and others.  Even Jesus said this was the greatest!

And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor (others) as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:37-40

Pray that God makes him a man like Daniel.  (Will asked us to pray David, for him too!)

God gave them (Daniel) learning and skill in all literature and wisdom
Daniel 1:17

Pray that God makes him a man of prayer.

Daniel… got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 
Daniel 6:10-11

Pray he is wise and leads others to righteousness – that he’s all about discipleship and the gospel.

And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;
and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Daniel 12:3

Pray that he shines as a light in this world, holding fast to the word of life!

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Philippians 2:14-16

Pray he is an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12 NIV

* Next week – girl talk, counseling little women. *

Karen speaking at First Euless Womens Christmas event.

Karen is speaking at First Euless Womens Christmas event.

Coaching Character – Ages 6-12


(Parents) bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord
Ephesians 6:4

Ages 6-12
Our Role = Coach

This age & stage of development is all about building character.

A coach corrects, but don’t overdo it. Give them time. Be patient. Let patience have its perfect work in them. Patience in their life and our builds maturity.

Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:4 (NKJV)


Correction should be age appropriate. Don’t ask for the moon if they can’t give it.

Correction should be consistent and predictable. Your children should know what to expect from you. Give a fair warning first. Make certain that they hear you, and understand you. Not repeated and repeated warnings; that undercuts your credibility.

Be firm, but not military strict. Nudge them to do the right thing (a lot). Don’t nag.

Ok. I’m going to address this. Never YELL. Ever. Unless they’re in danger. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve slipped on this one. Just stop. Tell them you’re sorry and that you want to change. Ask them to pray for you. This endears their heart to yours. Children are naturally more forgiving than we are. Allow them to share your weakness in prayer. Just as you want them to win, they want you to win.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].
James 5:16 (AMP)

Coach Attitude

Attitude is everything! Help them see that attitude is a choice. They have the ability to learn how to change their minds. Help them see the “how” to do this.

When a bad attitude shows up at breakfast, tell them to go back to bed and start the day over with a good attitude. None of my children liked this, but it worked!

At this stage, it’s important to teach them how to resolve conflict with sibling and peer relationships. This discipline pays big dividends for life! You should help them identify what the conflict is – and then instruct or coach them through it. This area of coaching will take extra work to help them see both sides can benefit with compromise.

Coaching Consequences of Behavior

Just like attitude, behavior is a choice. Life is the sum total of choices made. Help them learn, or even better, to experience that choices have consequences. Coaching consequences of behavior should lead to correction. Not crushing of the spirit.

This is a good time to teach “Jesus would call that a sin.” (Yet, He forgives all sin!)

Obedience brings blessing” is another powerful motto to repeat. A Biblical one too! In the May household, honesty was an important virtue in our home. So much so, our discipline would be less severe IF they told us the truth voluntarily. The truth of what happened. We watched for a repentant attitude. The kids understood that Mike and I placed a high value on honesty and truth.

Coaching is Encouraging Too

Encouragement must always follow discipline. Always. This can be tough because we might be very frustrated with their behavior. We don’t feel like giving encouragement, but we need to follow our own preaching that attitude is a choice. Don’t play emotional games with them. You are the adult. It’s your job to initiate the relationship with correction AND comfort.

Coaching in Choosing Friendships

Bad company corrupts good morals. It’s okay to pick (or veto) your kiddos friends. Ask the Lord to give each child at least one loyal, good, godly friend.

Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NASB)

Ages Our Role
0-5 Caretaker
6-12 Coach
13-17 Counselor
18+ Consultant


Taking Care of Ages 0-5


My last post focused on three little words of parental instruction from Paul in Ephesians 6:4 – “bring them up.”

Fathers (or Mothers), do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4

For the next few weeks, I will share my advice on four stages and ages of development – ages 0-5, 6-12, 13-17, and 18+.

Ages 0-5

Our Role = Caretaker

Your little ones are like wet cement.  What you are teaching (or not) sticks.  Better to pour a proper foundation at this stage of development than to jackhammer it up at a later stage!

You, of course, already know that your caretaker role is meeting needs, lots and lots of basic needs.  Physical needs.  Emotional needs.  And please realize, you can start meeting spiritual needs with simple messages.

Meeting needs equals trust

It’s difficult for a child to have a positive relationship with anyone without trust.  Remember, they are people too.  Just little people.  Meet those needs!

Physical needs

You’ve got this down!  Their many, little demands ensure it.  I know you get weary, but your weariness is a worthy work.  God sees it as worship!  Check out Romans 12:1-2.

Emotional needs

Words!  Give them plenty of encouraging, tender, loving, happy words.  Even though their intellect can’t comprehend, it’s the heart that receives the messages.  It’s the “way” you make them feel that matters most.  You might be thinking it’s not your personality to give encouraging words.  That excuse won’t do.  A lesson learned from my walk with the Lord – “you must will to do it, not feel to do it.”

The Power of Your Words

Did you know your words bear fruit?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruits.
Proverbs 18:21

Are you listening to what you are saying about your child?  Bless them with your words.  Don’t curse them.  Don’t curse what God has blessed.  Speak life, character, and good things about your children.  Even if you don’t see it, speak it.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
The conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Spiritual needs

Ages 0-5 is when bedtime prayers begin.  Simple prayers such as:

  • “Lord, give them Your Spirit to obey. A spirit of obedience.”
    • Obedience opens the door of their heart to receiving His best. For starters, Jesus!  With my grandbaby Caroline, I say “obedience is saying yes.”
  • “All the days of their life may they follow You”
  • “May they love You with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength ”
  • “Teach them to love others as You do”
  • “Make them little men and little women of Your Word and prayer”

Charles Spurgeon, the famous British preacher of long ago, said: “a short prayer is long enough.”

Prayer is either everything or nothing (from my dad).  Pray like you believe it’s everything.

A few more practical tips.

  • Read with them and to them. Check out my yummy grandson Michael Kent May choosing his favorite book! (video below)
  • Sing to them. It doesn’t matter if you have a singing voice.  They love your voice (until junior high, ha).
  • Introduce scripture CDs. GT and the Halo Express is one of my favorites!
  • Play with them. YOU are their most favorite thing.
  • Their interest should become your interest.

A few simple truths to teach.

  • “Do the right thing.” (You’ll feel like a broken record saying it, but keep at it.)
  • Say please and thank you. (Mom and dad should say it too.)
  • Demonstrate acts of kindness and generosity.
  • Be willing to say you’re sorry. You are teaching the virtue of humility.  Humility attracts.  Pride repels.

Character will be caught, not just taught.

It begins with you.  There is no message more powerful than a godly life.

Ages Our Role
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Bringing Children Up to Maturity


Very often, a few small words of Scripture leap off the page.  My pastor, John Meador, was preaching a series on the family from Ephesians 6. It was super! I added to it from a mother’s perspective.

Ephesians 6:4 (AMP)
Fathers (or Mothers), do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
(Read that again. Don’t miss the message of this verse.)

Three small words – bring them up.

It really hit me. Our mom job is to bring them up to maturity. I define maturity as the character of Christ. We pour into our children with all our energy. Physical, emotional, and spiritual energy. Even when we don’t have anything left to give, ladies, keep pushing and pursuing and praying. What you are doing will make a difference 10 years from now, 20 years from, or even tomorrow.

1. It is a relationship journey
• A journey with Christ and them. Together – mom, dad, children, and Jesus. One team.
• They are your first disciples.
• Rules without relationship leads to rebellion. (I will circle back to this in future)

2. You need the right fuel for the journey.
• The fuel is the Word of God.
• Matthew 4:4 – Remember Jesus’ words: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

3. The road ahead.
• Here’s an idea. I heard of a father who had a separate Bible for each child. As his children matured, he would pray certain scripture for each child, highlight it, make a journal note; and then at age 18, he gave the Bible as a special gift.  Can you imagine the treasured gift that would be to a young adult?  What love!

Next week – advice on bringing children up at different ages and stages; starting with ages 0 to 5.

Bedtime prayers changed my life…


… actually many lives.

My parents did a phenomenal work teaching me the priority and practice of prayer. At bedtime, before “lights out”, we gathered as a family on bended knee for prayer time. Who knew that simple routine would profoundly impact lives. Well of course, God did!

When God gave Katie to us, Mike and I continued the tradition of bedtime prayers. Leaning over a small white crib in Grapevine, TX, our hands placed on her tiny body (in that soft, blue snugly), we prayed nightly.

  • We are so thankful God gave YOU to us.
  • God did such a beautiful job creating you.
  • We ask You Father that Katie would love You all the days of her life.
  • We pray she would ask Jesus to be her Savior at the earliest age possible.
  • Cause her to be a student of Your Word; a woman of prayer; give her a spirit like Mary.

Many bed time prayers began with a crib, a baby, and hearts full of hope. Then, our tiny civilization grew. God gave Will and Emory in His perfect time! Bedtime prayers continued with 5 of us on bended knee, as my parents did with me.

As the kids grew, we taught them how to pray for each other – how to “carry one another’s burden in prayer” (Galatians 6:2). Katie would pray for Will’s bball game – that he would play his best. Will prayed for Katie’s dance recital. Emory, being the baby, tried her best to participate. It was ok that she wiggled and squirmed like a 2-year-old, because she was one!

With all the kids, we made specific requests, praying specific character qualities over them. A spirit of obedience and a heart to obey dominated our list.

One particular night, I was praying “Daniel” over Will. The attributes and character qualities of the prophet Daniel. I prayed, “Father, make Will into a mighty man of God like Daniel. A man of prayer. A man of Your Word. A man of courage. A man of integrity.” It was familiar to Will, because I spent a semester studying the Book of Daniel.

Then it came… one of my sweetest memories of prayer time. As we together said “Amen”, Will looked up at me.  In his husky, little-man voice, at the age of 6, he said, “Mama, you know how you pray Daniel over me? Well, I really do like it. But, could you start praying David over me?”

Of course Will! What a great choice! Scripture says “David was a man after God’s own heart” and I am certain you will like the fact he fought off bears and lions and Goliath too. “Yes Mama, I do!” Will was very enthusiastic. And God was too.

It is never too late – I encourage you to begin the tradition of bedtime prayers – even if you have pre-teens. It is so very important that our children hear our prayers for them. Our declarations of faith prayed over them will impact and influence their destiny.

Life and death are in the power of the tongue… Proverbs 18:21 (HCSB)

Moms (& Dads), God is pleased by your bedtime prayers, on bended knee, before “lights out”.