Monday, August 13, 2018

back to school stuff and prayer resources

It's so crazy that summer break is over around here.  All the kids who hadn't already started back last week started back today, and I am loving all the cute FB pictures of their first day outfits.  I remember one year when I totally forgot to take ANY pictures at all, and I also remember starting to homeschool and having my own version of back to school pictures.  If I posted one right this minute, it would be of them all sleeping.  They're still passed out.  #homeschoolperks

We won't start this week, but next.  With friends in and out of the house all summer long, I like to take a week that is just us, and clean things out and straighten all the rooms, and get a game plan in order.  I organized the homeschool shelves at the beginning of the summer, so that's done, and our new curriculum is on the way.  It should arrive midweek.  (I LOVE new curriculum!)

I found a couple of really great back-to-school articles yesterday that I thought I would share with you.  I love this first one, from a teacher's perspective.  This is a great reminder to pray for the teachers and all the support staff.  I have several friends who are back in full time work for the first time in a while this year, and I even thought of some of them, as they start their new positions.

This first one is called When God is in the Classroom.  Click here to read it for yourself.

Before I started homeschooling my kids, I was in the pioneer group of praying moms for our local elementary school.  We had a teacher there who lost two of her grown kids in a very tragic plane crash, and we started off by meeting in the back parking lot at the school, then we grew each week, until we finally started calling ourselves a chapter of the Moms In Prayer (then it was called Moms In Touch) prayer group.  We would meet on Monday every single week, praying for certain teachers and staffers, then we would write them encouraging letters and take goodies to them for the lounge.  I've heard that today it has grown to a large attendance.  How exciting that our little group of five or six was the one who got that started.  #passingthetorch

Also, I've been a staff person at the elementary school.  My title was lunchroom monitor, but all that means is that I was the one in charge of all the students while they ate lunch each day.  I loved that job so much, because I got to know every single student.  It would surprise you to see how fast I could point all the new students out, because I knew I hadn't seen them before.  I used to walk the aisles by their tables and pray over all of them.  There were so many days that I wasn't in a mood to talk to adults (one year in particular was so hard), so I would just talk to the students and pray and lean in close for hugs when they would ask for one.  I always prayed that God would use me there, and I know that He did.

I wish I could tell you how many students and teacher assistants tell me that on the days when I wasn't there, it seemed that chaos and turmoil happened the entire lunch period.  I'm not saying that I was the cause of the peace that would be present when I was there, but I know that Jesus did that through me.  I do have peace in Him, even in times when it's scary or hard, and that was when I realized that it was a tangible thing that others could feel while I was around.  How amazing is God, to work that way through us?

Also, know that I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging, because that is not my intention.  I am, however, bragging on how awesome God is and to tell you that He does work in ways like this.  It's so exciting to be used by Him, and usually while that is going on, I'm totally unaware at that moment.  I'll hear someone say something after the fact, and realize later that God was just moving in a circumstance.  (This is one of the million reasons why I journal.  I love to write things like this down.)

My point in even mentioning all of that above is that I have been the one who worked in school, and I know God Himself worked in me and through me during my years that were spent there.  (Four.)  He will do that for you, too, if you're now one that works in schools.

Another great article I found yesterday are some prayers to pray over your children or grandchildren while they're in school.  Click here to read this one.

I love to pray.  It's one of the greatest privileges we have, as believers, and it's such a powerful thing for us to do for others in our lives.  (And ourselves, we need to pray for ourselves, too!)  Prayer is something that the Lord made close to my heart, and He used several different people to show me this.  One is a friend who was the teacher at a homeschool moms bible study group I was a part of.  Denise also loved to pray, and so did a couple of her friends, and she would have them come and talk to us while we were on summer break.  Her friend Anne is the one who said to not neglect praying for yourself, and she used the airplane demonstration to make the point.  (If you're in need of oxygen while on a plane, first give some to yourself, and then go on to others...otherwise you'll be of no help.)  Denise also encouraged me to find a prayer partner, and that is how I came to know and love one of my very best friends, Abbey.

Donna Gaines is the wife of pastor Steve Gaines, who is the head pastor at Bellevue here in Memphis.  She is the one from whom the idea of my prayer notebook came from.  Here is that link, if you're interested, of a video she made on this topic.  It's a wonderful resource, and includes some printables if you want to make your own, just scroll to the bottom.  Also, here is a link for Donna's personal blog.    I've also used Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martian, and a prayer book about family by Sylvia Gunter called Prayer Portions.  Denise mentioned this book to me, but Donna Gaines also references the book.

There are so many wonderful things out there for you to use, but here are a few of mine.  One huge inspiration in my personal life is my very favorite movie, The War Room.  That movie spurred a book called Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, and it is also wonderful.  My church is so good about giving us resources as well, and one that I've gotten lately is a way for us to pray over the marriages in my church.  I love to read Christian, nonfiction books, too, that help me a lot.  One like Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney, and some lighter memoir type books like Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson are a couple of my favorites.  These are just a few things I've used over the years that inspire my prayer life.  I don't always pray from my notebook, or spend a ton of time doing this actually sitting down.  Here lately my prayer life has been a little more sporadic with times and such, and more than a few times, my boys have walked in on me talking to the Lord.  I just talk to Him all day long, because most days I'm alone downstairs or in my house.  It's just where God has me right now, but I kinda love this phase.

I hope all of this inspires you in your prayer life.  It is never too late to start, or never too early, for that matter.  If you're a younger girl reading this, do you pray for your future husband?  If not, you should!  And then consider reading the Christy Miller series of books by Robin Jones Gunn.  And if you're dating?  I would encourage you to pray for yourself first and foremost.  Ask God to help keep you focused on Him more than anyone else, and work on your relationship with the Lord.  If you do that, He will take care of your other relationships, whether with family members, friends, or the one you're dating.  Start with yourself.  If you're a younger mom, I cannot encourage you enough to start a prayer notebook.  It'll help keep you focused when your world is a little crazy.

Happy Monday to you, my friends.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.

P.S. I am leaving you with a picture of them from several years ago.  Sometimes in my mind, I still think they're this age.

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