I remember the day we brought these little nuggets home, all 4 pounds of them.  It was the most terrifying yet exciting day.  Leaving the hospital, it took us a bit of time to get them in the car seats because they were so tiny, we had to make sure the straps were snug enough.  It was a rare snowy day as we drove home and I sat between them in the backseat crying.  I was so overwhelmed with so many emotions and all I could think was: “what do I do now?”…..“how do I do this?”  These precious babes are our responsibility and all the tips and self-help books I read didn’t really make me feel all that prepared at this point.  Somehow we made it and just this past weekend celebrated those two little ones becoming teenagers.  This Mommas heart just wasn’t ready for that……and I think I have that same feeling now as we enter the teenage years: “what do we do now?” and “how do we do this?”

I am so thankful that we have a God that doesn’t leave us hanging like that.  However, I think often times we may feel like that.  Maybe you are a new Christian and you just aren’t sure what to do now or maybe you’ve been a Christian a long time but don’t quite know what it means to ‘grow.’ It didn’t stop at the Cross friends.  Jesus Christ didn’t just die on the cross for our sins and say “well good luck!”  He rose from the dead, giving us joy that doesn’t end in death but instead new life in freedom through Him. He has provided us unwavering Truth and guidance through an incredible manual called the Holy Bible to walk this life out with.  Throughout Scripture we are given countless stories and certainties that we can freely look to always.  He provides us all we need to live a holy life.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.                                                                                              2 Peter 1: 3-4

Peter reminds us here of the sources made available to us.  When we grasp and utilize these sources we have the ability to share in his divine nature.  Wow!  What a promise!  Now, this doesn’t mean we are automatically free from all sin or become God ourselves.  What it does mean is when we surrender our lives to Him, we become like Him and have access to the only way there is to escape evil….and that is through Him.  In addition, we have the hope of one day being morally perfected when Jesus returns.  Oh how my heart soars to read these promises!

It is important to note here that this isn’t an “on-call” or “genie in a bottle” kind of thing.  We don’t just tap into our “sources” when we need them or when things get tough.   It is our duty and should be our hearts desire to seek Him daily, reading these promises daily so they are stamped on our hearts and in our minds.  It is then and only then that the “what do I do now? and “how do I do this” questions will be answered.  Through this daily relationship with Him comes growth.  Growth produces confidence in who we are in Him and wisdom in how we do life with Him.  Maybe you are still saying:  “Ok this is all great, but I don’t even know where to start.”  Can I share a few things that have helped me?

*Find a devotional book that can guide you through scripture and help you understand some things better.  Here are links to a few I have used in the past and absolutely love:

My FAVORITE: Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore

One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp

Living the Psalms by Charles Swindoll

*Friendship/Fellowship/Community – if you don’t have a church home, find one.  That is key.  You need a home base where you can go and hear Truth spoken each week.  Also a place where you can begin to build relationships with others that can encourage you and love you through God’s Word.  This happens when you GET CONNECTED.   Sometimes we have to take the first step in that and it may be hard, it may require stepping out of your comfort zone but it is a key part of this:  join a bible study.   This is a beautiful thing because we can glean wisdom from what others are learning.  And just an extra perk: it’s a little more difficult to fall off the wagon when others are expecting to see you each week!

*Mentor/Discipleship/Accountability – This is something the Lord’s been stirring in my heart for the past several months that is such a gift and an important part of our walk.  Pray for and seek out someone whom you believe is a little further in their walk with the Lord.  The Lord speaks through His people and I believe this is a very very important part of the equation.  Pray for someone whom you can trust completely, whom you can be vulnerable with and whom you know will boldly speak Truth into your life.  When discipleship/accountability works correctly, it can help your growth in your walk with the Lord tremendously.

May you realize that “what now” and “how do I do this” isn’t in God’s Word but instead are promises and guidance.  May you rest in the fact that He has gone before you, He loves you and desires you to have your own story with Him.  May you be ready to confidently and courageously step up to the challenge of growing in your walk and relationship with Him!

These Things I Pray…..

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Sarah Vanderford Photography

I remember that day so clearly:  the day we found out we were having twins and that they were boys’.   I was going to a midwife for my prenatal care and this particular midwifery only did one ultrasound your entire pregnancy and that was at 5 months.  I had been extremely sick my first trimester, losing 15 pounds.  Morning sickness is a form of torture, I’m sure of it.  Everyone just thought that this was what my body did during pregnancy.  No one, including me, ever thought that I was so sick because TWO babies were in my belly!   So, as this day approached I was coming out of morning sickness and getting more and more excited!  We had a boy name and a girl name picked out.  We went in for the ultrasound, back when you still brought in a VHS tape for them to record the ultrasound for you and your reaction when they told you what you were having.  So after setting everything up and turning everything on,  the woman places the little instrument on my belly and immediately starts shutting everything off.  I began to panic thinking something was wrong with the baby.  She then looked at us and said “do either of you have twins in your family?”  We both said, “No.”  She replied, “well you do now!”  I began crying, Jeremy began laughing and we left the office that day completely shocked!  We now had four months to prepare for not one baby but two!  Now, here we are in middle school.  WOAH.  Being a boy mom is fun, adventurous and often times gross.  As a boy mom cleaning toilets is the worst and frequently makes me angry.  How does one miss the giant toilet bowl when going ‘potty?’  Seriously……  And as a boy mom, we didn’t dress up Barbie’s, we never played with babydolls and I don’t get to share beauty secrets and makeup tips. It was Tonka trucks, Bob the Builder and GI Joe’s all the way.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.   I look at these two boys’ today and I get excited imagining what the Lord has in store for them!  I am so excited to see the path that He has created for them.  Yet, I’m not a fool to think that path will be without hiccups, struggles and missteps.  It is starting off great though!  Our greatest hope and prayer became a reality this past year when they both accepted Christ and are now followers of Him.  There is no greater joy than to see your children surrender their lives and put their hope in Jesus Christ.  Now it is our duty as parents to nurture that by living a life that exemplifies that and also teach our children the Word of God.  We should also instill in them good manners and life skills, which includes discipline, to help them to know how to face this BIG crazy world!   I do have to say, they could not have a more incredible model of a Godly man than their father.  For that, I am exceedingly thankful.  My hearts prayer is that they will follow the lead of their Daddy.   But I will tell you this:  the number one thing that I do as a Mom every single day for these two boys is pray for them:  Every Single Day.  While these specifics I am listing are daily written prayers in my journal, often times a situation arises that causes me to pray earnestly in a different direction for them whether it be a friendship, a specific middle school struggle, schoolwork etc.  The point here is that one of our most important duties as parents is to pray unfailingly for our children.

Daily I pray over these three things:

  1. Their walk with the Lord: as they grow older that it matures and remains their focus.
  2. Protection and Strength from the Lord. Protect their hearts, eyes and ears from junk.  But when (not if but when) they are faced with ‘junk’ that they will have the strength to turn away from whatever it is and speak Truth to whomever is sharing it.
  3. Future Spouse: I believe it is so very important to be praying now for whomever the Lord has chosen for each of them.  She is out there, living her life right now. (Hey Girl!  I’m praying for you beautiful!)  So, I pray daily that the Lord is surrounding her with Godly examples in her life and that He is doing a work in her heart.  I also pray for the relationship I will have with her.  I hate that “mother-in-law” has such a negative association to it.  I pray for a beautiful relationship with my future daughters-in-law.

One day I hope to show my boys my journal of prayers for them.  Maybe on their wedding day, I don’t know?  But, what I do know is that I will never cease in praying for them.  The Lord has so graciously gifted us two precious boys to teach, nurture and love.  I count that a privilege and want to treat it as such.

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, children, a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.  Such men will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.                                                                                                                                                                                                  Psalm 127:3-5