Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Week Without Prayer Makes Us Crabs

Spring break is over and the kids and I are back in school, on the home-stretch to summer vacation. Yes! The break was nice and the rest well needed but during break, the kids and I became what we like to call 'snappy crabs'--our definition for being crabby and grumpy.

And guess who was the biggest snappy crab? Me, of course! I could sense it over break but couldn't seem to get any of us, especially me, out of our funk.

You know what was lacking over break?

~ Looking back it is easy to pinpoint--we were lacking prayer. ~

Those pinchers were out snapping because of one thing---no continual prayer. I didn't wake up and start my day with my usual routine of prayer for my kids. I didn't spend time at night with them in prayer or reading the Bible. Our dinners weren't always together so there weren't mealtime prayers. Yikes! We were out of zone and it showed!

I could blame the crabbiness on plenty of other things--late bedtimes, too much TV, not enough coffee. Those are all valid reasons in my book but I know in my heart the real reason was not enough prayer.

Prayer works. Spend a few days without it and you'll find your step is out of sync. Next thing you know your husband's on your last nerve, you're picking out all his faults and he's barely in the door from work. Those pinchers are out snapping now!

I know how hard it is to develop a prayer routine. And how much harder it is to maintain it. I feel your pain if you're stumbling around trying to fit in prayer among the millions of others things you do every day.

I don't have a magic prayer devotional that will change your prayer life in five easy steps. Or the next best book or study guide or website. I won't even go on and on about journaling your prayers or waking up just five minutes earlier every day--haven't we all heard it before, tried it before?

We all stumble with our prayer life. It happens. So when it does, start looking back. Start reflecting.

~ Become a noticer of your life and the lives of those whom you love. ~

How can the needs of those around you ignite you back into praying again? What do they need that only your prayers can answer? Has anything changed with you or them? Could the changes, the change in attitude, the change in behavior, the lack of love be because there's a lack of prayer?

Don't become hard on yourself and start feeling guilty. Just start noticing, start seeing with your heart what God is telling you needs prayers...maybe it' s your family, your job, your friend, your attitude. Get back on your knees and lift up those prayers. Then watch for the change. Keep an eye out for it. It will happen, I guarantee it.

I put away my pinchers the other day and replaced them with folded hands. My heart is softening again towards my family. I heard giggles coming from my daughters' shared bedroom and let me tell you, that's definitely a miracle! Just last week I thought we might need to pull out the tape and split the room in half just to gain some sanity and now we're laughing.

~ Prayer is necessary. ~

I need it. My family and friends need me to do it for them.  I'm betting you and your loved ones need it too. So get started. No delays, no excuses. And once you start, sit back and prepare to be amazed.

This post is also featured on Getting Real Ministries! Head on over!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Another Year Older

The family and I headed to a Wolves' hockey game a few weekends back. Free tickets, why not? It should be a fun family time I thought. That was before the spilled drink (a full one I just took out a loan to pay for), a pre game fireworks show so loud I had to take my sound sensitive child out of the arena because of fright and, of course, multiple on ice hockey fights that I just can't watch (sorry hockey fans but I just don't get it!).

In my head, I'm thinking this is a failed night, a zero on the family fun-o-meter. I turned to look at my eldest sitting next to me and she's smiling big, chattering away about this and that, nothing which has to do with hockey. She's the child I will always remember saying in her tiny preschool voice, "Mom, I just love being out and about with my family." That after a lame trip to Target to pick up extra diapers for her younger siblings. I must have bought her an icee or something. She just loves being out with her family, no matter what we're doing. Happiness to her soul right there.

Fast forward a few weeks and this precious girl is turning ten. How can that be? My heart flutters faster with thoughts of her growing up and out. When all I really want to do is keep her out and about with me, with us, her family. And I wonder, did I spend enough time with her today, her birthday? Or was I too concerned about cleaning up all the sprinkles rolling around on the counter after she lavished them all over her homemade birthday cake? Have I made sure she will knows we love being out and about with her as much as she loves being out with us?

This parenting gig is not for the weak at heart, especially around birthdays. On the outside we celebrate them growing bigger. We smile big for the camera and for the birthday kid. But on the the inside, there's an entirely different roller coaster going on. I don't want to stop the ride. Just would like it to slow down a bit. 

I guess my heart needs the reminder of birthdays, the reminder that time is moving fast but it slows down a bit when we're out and about with each other, doing our family thing, spilled drinks and all. I'm learning to savor our time together a bit more and a bit better each year. 

Growing older is part of the plan and I love watching the growth, savoring the tiny moments together that add up to memories. Let's continue to be together with the ones we love, doing the thing that makes them feel loved, enjoying each moment of it. 

© Katie Landers
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