Parents as Builders

Integrity is the key to building a solid life that will last for eternity.  The foundation upon which the builder’s life is established is critical.  We can not transfer our foundation to the life of another, but we can live in such a way that our foundation is revealed as trustworthy, valuable and worth imitation.

For parents, living with integrity offers great hope for our children’s future.  The beauty of a life built upon God is revealed only when life is lived fully on the foundation.  We can’t pick and choose when we will live for the glory of God–and expect our children will live wholly for Him.  Nor can we expect our children will make the same choices we make.  Our children are entrusted to us by God–but they are HIS kids.  He loves them more than we do, but He desires for us to live in a way that they will see Him in us.

Every aspect of life-building which we endeavor to establish in the lives of our children must exist in our own lives.  As we pray for our children and seek to direct them, we must bare our hearts before God and ask that He reveal any ways in which we may not be living with integrity.

 Perpetual prayer patterns are a large part of my devotional time; they keep me centered on God’s design.  In the coming weeks we will delve into various prayer patterns we can utilize as we seek to build the lives of our children.

Our children are our heritage; individually we are all God’s heritage.  Living lives of lasting love builds an eternal legacy…and eternal heritage.  As you implement these day-by-day prayer focuses, ask the Lord to reveal your own heart and the specific ways in which these principles can be applied to show your child the value God–and you–place upon them as individuals.  Ask Him, too, to reveal if these are the foundations of your life.

  • Monday – Love for God’s Word; an understanding that the Bible is a guide book not a devotional.
  • Tuesday – Passion for a pure heart centered on God
  • Wednesday – Health and safety in body, soul and spirit
  • Thursday – Value system founded on God’s purposes
  • Friday – Thankful living
  • Saturday – Godly friends
  • Sunday – Growing faith

For a fuller look at these prayer areas, visit Growing Up in Christ.  Contact me if you would like to receive a ‘perpetual prayer list’ on Christian Character traits!

Building a Home

Understanding God’s design for the home is critical because it is what gives our home a solid foundation.  No matter how long we have been married, we need to keep a scriptural view of marriage in the forefront of our mind.

Marriage/Family is:

• A declaration of ‘choosing to love.’ An imitation of God’s creation choice.

• A choice to create a new life—at the expense of self.

• A union created by God; a new life given by Him & sustained by Him

• A mission field, a university of instruction on unity; forum for learning to love unselfishly-unconditionally; forum to learn to build a relationship

• Treasure to be valued, honored and protected

• Intended to produce life—fruit of Godly children (perhaps natural, certainly spiritual children—and produce growth in partners as children of God.)

• Intended to produce the image of Christ’s relationship with the church; two becoming one as we are to be one with Christ as the church is to be united with Christ.

Not intended to fulfill my personal purposes of companionship, pleasure & fulfillment—though those outcomes will result IF my focus is on God’s purposes

Prayer is a necessity:

• Seek scriptures for one another. Wrestle for each other. Colossians 4:12

• Seek to see God’s work and His glory revealed to children. Build a legacy. Psalm 90:16,17

• Triumph is in mercy. Hide in Jesus. James 2:13

• Be confident in God! Hebrews 10:35


Families are the foundation of every society…the fabric of the world.  Christian homes are to be a place of nurturing and truth.  Honoring the heritage we have received helps us celebrate both the past and the future.  The Family Heritage Guide is a fun family activity.  Interview elder family members–share your own stories.  Celebrate the gift of family!

Will you commit to pray for your home to be built on the Word of God…and will you commit to pray for other families as well?

Chosen Parents

You are the parent God chose for your child. Isn’t that a puzzling, sometimes overwhelming concept? As we begin walking the labyrinth of parenting, the paths ahead are blessedly shrouded. The parenting journey includes delights beyond imagination and thorny passages which instill fear and frustration. God’s Word tells us the Creator Himself shepherds those with young and guides them on the paths; yet, it doesn’t always feel that way. At times the complexities of parenthood give the illusion that God stepped off the throne as challenges were assigned or that perhaps He confused us with a wiser, more loving and experienced parent. The reality is more incredible than we can begin to grasp. In His infinite love and wisdom, God chose each parent and each child as unique, perfect gifts for one another. The blessings are mutualthe plan perfect.

God uses the tool of parenthood to craft His family likeness into earthly moms and dads. He longs for His glory to be revealed in the parenting privilege. Nearly a decade and a half ago, we brought our baby home from the N-ICU with overwhelming joy, awe, fear and a numbing sense of inadequacy. Thchild parent hande ability of a five-pound baby to bring a prideful heart to its knees is powerful! God continues to use the University of Motherhood to draw me unto Himself, to unveil the reality that His strength is revealed in my weaknessesand what a superb reality! My pride had rejoiced in meeting the challenges of life head-on. The magnitude of the responsibility for nurturing this precious life shattered every competency I had ever relied upon. Parenthood has taught me I do not need to be in control and managing every detail perfectly. It has taught me that struggling is okay! It is not a sign of defeat to be engaged in a battle. Struggles simply strip away the deceits which have hidden the doorway to God’s strength. The inequities and burdens of life create opportunities for God to transform parents and to begin drawing our beloved children to Him. Struggles are to help us embrace His presence in our lives with confident hopewith certaintythat His plans and purposes are perfect. As we hold fast to that hope, the very image of God begins to shine forth in our liveschanging us, lighting our children’s paths and touching all those around us!

Beyond the challenges of parenthood lie mountains which dot the landscape of our children’s future–mountains woven into the design of our children’s lives by their loving, heavenly Father. His love for our children is greater and more perfect than ours. God would never allow a mountain for which He has not provided provisions for conquering. Parents are a key part of those provisions. The parent God chooses for a child has the strengthsand the weaknessesto guide their children to the Shepherd Himself. God longs to take the hands of our children and guide them in life. Leading our children to the One who provides abundantly is the key task of our parenting assignment. Treasure the challenges on your parenting journey as the doorways to Christ. There is a splendor possible through embracing God’s presence in the trials of life which will produce faith that perseveres and moves mountains aside.

Do you have a Glimpse of Glory in your family life?  I’d love to hear it.  Or maybe you are in the midst of a battle that has you baffled.  Check out turning Battles into Blessings.

For Further Study
Being chosen as a parent is a life-transforming gift from a loving God. We have been chosen to receive another precious gift from Godeternal life. God longs for each of us to embrace His plan for us to become His childto be made perfect through faith in His son, Jesus Christ. Becoming His child is the key to becoming the parent your child needs. If you do not have a loving relationship with the heavenly Father, choose to change that today!

SCRIPTURES: Psalm 127:3; Jeremiah 29:11-14; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 10:35; 2 Corinthians 3:18; James 1; Matthew 17:28

This piece was originally written for and published by Handivangelism, PIP Ministry.

Weaving Legacies into Our Own Lives

Focusing on the blessings that flow from individuals in our lives gives honor and meaning on many levels.  It honors the people who have been a part of our lives.  It allows us to celebrate the positive, to make it part of our own self…it helps use weave the ones we’ve loved deep into our being that we might pass on their legacy.  It is a healing endeavor that remindspieces of the quilt us no one is lost from our lives when we deliberately treasure the deposits made. Finally, it glorifies the God who created them–and us–and placed our lives together.

Every life story is different…and each life writes many stories.  This week I have worked with someone whose mother is in a final battle with cancer.  He wanted to put words to the letters of his mother’s name to capture who she is…what a beautiful way to treasure this time they have together .  As I worked on that, I referred back to my own tributes to those whom I’ve loved.  So this morning, I share with you this story that gives the legacy of my mom.  May it be a tool for you to create a story of one who has shaped your life.

Every life leaves a legacy…and when we have loved someone we have the chance to weave their legacies into our own.

I’d be delighted to help you weave your story.    

I’m thankful God allowed me to be Evelyn’s daughter—to have her legacy so closely entwined with my own.  

Evelyn – mom—was born in 1929 at the start of the depression and was the baby of her family.   No doubt, the financially tough times and her firm upbringing influenced the strong, courageous individual she became.   Mom could easily have been Nike’s spokesperson for “Just Do It.”  She never wasted time wondering ‘what if’ or ‘if only.’  She simply took what life presented and did her very best with it.  She lived with courage, tenaciousness and principles of right and wrong.

First and foremost, mom had a ‘can-do- attitude.’ She was always willing to launch into a new venture.   When the funeral director asked mom’s occupation I didn’t really know how to respond.   Mom simply did whatever happened to be most practical at the moment.  As a child, she learned to work by walking from Colesville to Binghamton to sell eggs.  She married at 16 and soon went to work as a maid/child caretaker for a man who would later become her second husband.  The laundry room at the Psych Center must have been a great place because she still kept in touch with friends from then—almost 50 years ago.  The businesses she and dad launched were even more varied:  an auction house, a catering business, three different restaurants, a pig farm, pony rides and for a few years artificial inseminators at area farms.  Mom also baby-sat for some children over the years—loved one enough to make him my brother and loved others enough that their families still keep in touch.  Even though she had no interest in make-up, mom even sold Avon for a few years and received dozens of awards for her work.  She always did her best at whatever was before

A necessary follow-up to the ‘can-do’ attitude was her ‘get- on- with-it-attitude.’   Sometimes mom could seem harsh or emotion-less but the truth was she had a very soft heart.  She showed that early in her life when she took bread to the home of a family with scarlet fever.  Her parents had firmly told her to stay away from that home and she was beat with a shingle for her disobedience.  That soft heart for the sufferings of others continued throughout her life.  When dad, Carl Walls, battled cancer, mom was stoically by his side.  She worried after his death that he never knew how much she loved him.  It was never in doubt in anyone’s eyes but hers.  A couple years ago our family (Craig and the kids and I) were sick with the flu on Christmas Day.  It was mom—at 78—who braved the flu virus to bring a fully cooked dinner to us.  Although she couldn’t often say words of love, she did her best to show her love through actions.  The honor of being the Chenango County Volunteer of the Year this past August was a fitting tribute for her caring acts over the years.

No tribute would be complete without mentioning the many animals mom welcomed into her life as well.  She didn’t really care for animals being in the house but she never turned away an animal in need either.  The animal menagerie that was our home for many years often had babies that needed round-the-clock feedings or special care…mom always rose to the occasion.  Wild animals entered every so often…the baby deer on the collage boards was one of those creatures.  Only the snakes never received any compassion…they were chased down with hoes or lawnmowers or whatever was handy.

Despite mom’s soft heart, she lived in a ‘no-whining-zone’ for her own emotions.  When our home burned down before Christmas one year, there was no time for mourning.  Plans were made and blessings celebrated.  The kindness of friends, the overwhelming generosity of our community…those were the things mom & dad focused on.   Even when her finger was cut off in the clean-up after the fire, mom refused to shed a tear.  Many nights she was awake with pain but never complained.  After dad’s death, she could never acknowledge her own grief…it just didn’t fit with how she survived.  She simply did her best to move forward.  Mom’s courage was evident throughout her battle with cancer.  From the very first diagnosis, through the surgery & recovery and even after the final diagnosis where she learned the cancer had spread, mom maintained a stoicism.  She simply said she hoped she could finish her days with grace and peace.  She did just that.

The greatest tribute for mom would be to weave those legacies into our own…be courageous, stand strong for what you believe in, be committed to doing the right thing and live holding nothing back.

Faith Stories: From Suicidal Despair to Living for a Legacy

Every life has a story, and every life has impact on others.  Walk with my friend as he found his way from despair to hope–and seeks to help others do the same!

Proverbs tells us that without vision, the people perish: God used some interesting lenses to focus the eyes of Tim…lenses one might expect to give a bleaker picture. A long harsh winter, the financial stress of unemployment, a deadening lack of purpose and funerals were some of God’s magnifiers. As his own hope dwindled and he contemplated suicide, God pierced Tim’s heart through the deaths of friends.  Attending the wakes, Tim saw a sharp contrast between the hopelessness of those who lived only for this life and the life-honoring celebrations of home-going saints. The common end of all focused his eyes on his own responsibility to live well—to leave a legacy of life and hope for those who would come behind.

With that desire in place, Tim was again ready and able to feel the love of God. After one funeral, Tim stopped by his brother’s home and mentioned that it had been some time since he had made it a point to go to a church for any reason. His brother replied ‘it’s been 14 years’, and then went on to tell Tim he had been praying all that time for Tim to return to God. It was a prayer heard by God and now received in Tim’s own heart. Shortly after, some Christian friends sought Tim’s help with some home repair projects. Their lives were their testimony: the true concern they had for Tim broke through the hard defenses he had built. Their genuine concern had a profound effect. God’s love was having its way.

During a walk with his dogs one morning, the Spirit broke through and called Tim to humble himself before God, agree with God about his mistakes and turn back to the Father’s love that had never stopped. The beauty and blessing of Tim’s obedience is best in his own words:

“The words were hard—not because of confessing, but because I was weeping uncontrollably. Weeping and thanking God for more than one chance; weeping for the years lost and behind me for the waste they had been…when the prayer was finished, the burden lifted. It was a relief I hadn’t had in years…not just figuratively or spiritually but physically as well.”

Today Tim is a beloved part of a local church…actively living and loving in Jesus’ name.

God’s promises are real. Forgiveness and cleansing restore us. Our prayers and our love for others matter. Sit at the feet of Jesus and soak in His goodness…let us join Tim in embracing the blessing of confession and rejoicing in God’s gracious presence!