Connor’s Story

When I was 28 weeks pregnant with my first child I was referred to a specialist at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver after my OB saw something strange on an ultrasound.  After an initial ultrasound at St. Luke’s, Dr. Richard Porreco, discovered a CCAM (Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation) in my son’s right lung.  The CCAM was displacing his good lung tissue and his heart leading to hydrops.  According to doctors, my son, Connor, had less than a 50% chance of being born alive.

Connor by Porreco PG 2

This is an excerpt by the doctor that was in charge of my care at Presbyterian St. Luke’s – I am the patient he is referring to in this article and that is the ultrasound of my son’s chest

As if that information wasn’t bad enough, I was immediately admitted to the hospital and put on bed rest until I gave birth. They didn’t seem to care that at this point I was only a little over halfway through my pregnancy. Little did I know, I was in for six, horrendous weeks of bed rest during which I endured endured seven, painful, in-womb surgeries involving large needles and little to no way to ease the pain in order to drain the CCAM in my son’s chest and remove excess amniotic fluid from me.

Connor by Porreco PG 3

This shows Connor’s diagnosis – Type 1 congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation with mediastinal shift causing hydrops. At 28 wks 6 days pregnant Dr. P performed a fetal thoracentesis (stuck a huge needle through my stomach into Connor’s chest to drain the cyst) and drained 80 cc of fluid off of Connor. Then again at 29 wks and 3 days they drained 88 cc of fluid. At 30 wks 5 days Dr. P drained 700 cc of amnio fluid from me as Connor was unable to swallow it like normal babies do. All in all Dr. P drained my amnio fluid twice and performed 5 in-womb surgeries on Connor. I went into labor at 34 weeks and 4 days. His apgars were terrible – basically, he was not stable and chances of survival looked grim

During that time, I was told over and over by medical staff that my son was gravely ill and that there was a very slim chance of survival for him.

Connor by Porreco PG 4

The natural history of Connor’s diagnosis is one of in utero or early neonatal death

It’s like I was being punched in the stomach every single day. I was scared, angry and overwhelmingly lonely though never alone. I spent a long time feeling sorry for myself and blaming myself for what was happening with my baby and in the beginning, I threw tantrums and fought my “jail sentence”. I wanted nothing more than to escape. I repeatedly asked to leave the hospital just to go to church or see the outside world. I think the doctors thought I was crazy. I think they were right. I didn’t fully comprehend what was happening. I was living in a nightmare that I so desperately wanted to wake up from but I never did. I questioned God and repeatedly asked him, “Why me?” At some point I made a decision to trust God and to put all of my hope in him. The truth was, I had no other hope. No other choice and I’d seen some pretty amazing healing miracles in my family already. The seed of faith was there I just had to water it. So I took control of my situation. I chose to fight. I chose to trust God in the face of death. I chose to trust Him and deny my fears and doubts. I chose to live in a realm outside of the natural. I dove head first into the unknown with God. The God of my childhood, the God of my mother, the God that would soon be my own.

I prayed God’s word over my son all day, every day. I spoke life over him. I praised God for the healing that I believed we would receive speaking what was not true as though it were true (Romans 4:17). Before every in-womb surgery I believed that the CCAM would be gone and I thanked God for Connor’s immediate healing. While that nasty thing came back every single time I didn’t lose faith and become angry with God. No. Instead, I went back to my room, my prison cell, and as I laid in bed hooked up to monitors and contracting from the recent trauma to my uterus, I thanked God. Yep. I thanked Him. I chose to praise Him I chose to praise my God in the most horrific and terrifying storm of my life because He was still God regardless of my circumstance. He was still in control. He was still good; still sovereign. My condition didn’t nullify His position. It was only meant to magnify Him more. To put His glory on display. I marched on. I didn’t curl up and die. I didn’t give up. I looked up. I kept my eyes on my Father. I looked to Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. I endured.

Finally, after I quit fighting, after I surrendered everything to God my jail sentence ended just as suddenly as it had begun. On January 9, 2008 Nick and I would welcome our six week premature, little miracle, Connor Isaac, into the world, but not without one more fight. (tell quick story of my labor and almost dying)

The doctors warned us that Connor would not cry after delivery but he cried, PRAISE GOD! That swollen, one-eared, gravely-ill, little fighter cried. He cried the weakest cry I had ever heard but it was his and it was beautiful. Unfortunately, the evil cyst inside of my sweet boy was not gone and as Dr. Poreeco was stitching me up the nurses rushed Connor over to the corner of the room to get it drained and then they rushed Connor to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Not long after he was delivered, a surgeon came to my room asking for consent to perform surgery.  She told us that Connor was not stable and the CCAM needed to be removed immediately.  She also informed us that the odds of him surviving surgery were very bad but she would do her best; as she spoke she was shaking, she radiated fear.  At that point I was especially glad that I have been redeemed, that my hope and trust are not in man, but in the one true, living God.  My husband signed the consent papers and she left.

Newborn Connor

My sweet baby boy’s newborn picture

Once again we turned to God.  We began to pray out loud in the spirit and tell the enemy that Connor was a child of God, that he could not have him, and that Connor was healed.  We called on God again and believed that Connor would live through the surgery.  Only a few minutes later the surgeon returned, and with good news!  The CCAM disappeared!!!  They did an ultrasound of Connor’s chest to determine where they would need to operate and they couldn’t find the CCAM; and better yet, Connor stabilized!  Our God is SOOO AWESOME!!!

Three days later the CCAM was back but this time Connor was stable enough for surgery.  But I was not so sure.  To me, allowing Connor to have surgery would be admitting that God was not in control, that he could not heal my baby.  But God had a plan, he made something wonderful happen.  My pastor visited me in the hospital.  He asked to pray over Connor and my husband and I heartily accepted his request.  We took him to Connor’s isolette, his temporary baby bed.  Pastor R. laid hands on our son, claiming God’s healing promises for him, calling down power from Heaven, and taking his place beside us on our battlefield for Connor’s life.  I admitted to my pastor my apprehension in regards to Connor having surgery and the blow it could issue to my faith.  He gently reminded me that God uses people and their gifts for his good.  God works through people.  Sweet relief!  I immediately felt my guilt subside; Connor would have surgery and I would still put my trust in God to bring him through.  On January 12, 2008 my precious son became the 1st  baby to undergo a laparoscopic lung surgery; 2/3 of his right lung were removed and afterward Connor spent 1 month in the NICU.

During that month my family and I prayed over him, anointed him with oil, and continued to speak in faith.  I used to anoint Psalm 145 in my Bible and read it over and over and over to Connor.  God watched over his word to perform it, his word did not and never will return void.  Connor came home on February 8, 2008; such an incredible gift from God!  The doctors said that Connor would be on oxygen for 1 year and Connor came off of oxygen just shy of 3 months old!  We were told that Connor may always have just 1/3 of a right lung but at 1 year old Connor was discharged from his lung surgeon’s care because his lung re-grew!

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Letters

I’ve been going through old emails lately. Reminiscing. Reminding myself of the hell I’ve been through and the miracles I’ve been blessed to receive. I’ve been rehearsing the faithfulness of the One who walked with me through the fire and … Continue reading

God Needs Pauls and Epaphrases

The British Dictionary defines hero as, “a man distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility, fortitude; a man who is idealized for possessing superior qualities in any field”.

Heroes/heroines are men and women whose names are etched in history books and preached from pulpits. Men like Moses who led God’s people to freedom and David who killed a giant with a sling and a stone. Women like Sarah, the matriarch of the tribes of Israel and Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Heroes and heroines make history. They transcend generations. But what of the unsung heroes? The “behind the scenes” type people. The parents of the Moseses and Davids; the spouses of the Sarahs and Marys. Those such as Epaphras, Paul’s co-laborer in Christ of whom he wrote.

Colossians 4:12 states, “Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.”

Epaphras was a prayer warrior by all standards but a hero by none. He never parted the Red Sea or sat on the throne. But his name appears in the book of Colossians. The Apostle Paul, the man whom Christ chose to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles, a giant of the Christian faith, wanted you to know about him. Did you get that? Epaphras earned a place among Biblical heroes of old for his earnest and selfless prayers for others. Pause. Epaphras is immortalized in scripture because he prayed earnestly and diligently for others. Friends, I believe God is showing us something amazing here:

Whether you landed the starring role or the part of an extra. YOU are vitally important to God and the furthering of His Kingdom! 

Be encouraged! God needs both Pauls and Epaphrases!

Prayer Challenge – Day 3

God, as I pray for my 3 boys to submit willingly and joyfully to authority in their lives I also pray for myself. As I ask You to root any rebellion or selfish pride out of my boys I also ask that You would root it out of me. Put a desire to obey and live a life of meekness and humility in my boys and in me. Father, as I beg You to make my boys offer You the sacrifice of a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart I also beg You to make me offer You the same pleasing sacrifice. As I pour out my heart like water before Your throne on behalf of my beloved boys, I also pour my heart out on my own behalf. This prayer challenge has become just as vital to my spiritual growth and well-being as it is to the spiritual growth and well-being of my boys. My heart aches for the salvation of my boys. But I cling to the hope that You have given me in Your word. I stand on the promise of Psalm 91:16 and by faith I call it into being. You will satisfy N, C & B with long life and You will show them Your salvation. Since Your word does not return void, God, my boys will dwell in Your house forever and ever!

Father, You know that my boys’ happiness and quality of life is of the utmost importance to me! In order for me to count my life on this earth as a success it is necessary for my boys to completely surrender themselves to you; mind, body, spirit and soul. God, You know that I am faithful to You. You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. You know that I delight in Your commands and that Your statutes are my counselors. So, in accordance with Your word, You will give me the desires of my heart. I cannot express in words how great my desire is for my boys to walk with You all of their days. Thank You in advance for Your answer to my prayers. Thank You for fulfilling my desire. Thank You for being faithful to Your promises and loving toward me because I am Your child and I call You by name.

May my family and I never cease to be amazed by Your loving-kindness and may Your praises always be on our lips. May we tell of Your great deeds and the splendor of Your majesty forever and ever. Amen.

Submission to Authority:

  • Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey your leaders. Be willing to do what they say. They are responsible for your spiritual welfare, so they are always watching to protect you. Obey them so that their work will give them joy, not grief. It won’t help you to make it hard for them.

Prayer: Lord, submission to authority has always been one of my biggest struggles. You know this because You know my heart and You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I can already see the seeds of rebellion taking root in the soil of my sons’ hearts and it scares me! I know first hand what rebellion and disobedience can lead to. I have suffered the consequences of my lack of submission to the appointed authorities in my life and ultimately to You. I don’t want my children to go through what I did. I don’t want them to love their lives so much that they would live carnally and turn their backs on Your commands. Help me! Lord, I draw a blood line around my children. I break any iniquity in my life and Nicks; I pray that any iniquities in either of our family trees will not be passed onto our children. The curse is broken! C & B are free from the law of sin! They are engrafted into You, Jesus. They only inherit generational blessings; not curses. Their DNA is YOURS!

Help me to be a glowing example of submission to the authorities in my life and to Your divine authority. Father, my challenge to submit starts in my own home; in my marriage. As Your word states, a wife must submit to her husband as he is the head of the household. Submission to my husband is not always easy for me; in fact it is a daily struggle. I want to obey Your commands and submit to Nick, but sometimes I feel that I know better than him. But, I never know better than You, Lord. Your ways are higher than my ways and Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. Teach me to see submission to Nick and every other authority in my life as submission to You and Your perfect and divine plan for my life. Don’t let me see it through my own selfish pride, as a tool designed to squash my self-esteem and box me in. Let me see it as You have designed it to be, as an act of my love and obedience to You.

I pray also that Nick would be kept from the snare of selfish pride. Teach him to submit to the proper authorities in his life and also to You and Your law. Help him to love You and not live in lawlessness.

As Nick and I are taught to submit to the authorities in our lives and ultimately to Your sovereign rule, let C & B follow our example. Let them find joy and stability in submitting to Nick and me as their parents and to every other authority in their lives. Let them see the truth in submission. Reveal Your heart to them in this arena. Lead them away from life endangering rebellion and disobedience; lead them in the way everlasting. Point my sons to the cross. Soften their hearts and make them submit to You and all those You have charged to keep them.

Let my family not be turned away from the gates of Heaven with the harsh rebuke of our Savior, “Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness,”; but let us be called good and faithful servants. Teach us to live our lives always submitting to Your will and loving You with all of our hearts; in thought, in word and in action.

  • James 4:7 – “So humble yourselves before God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Prayer: Lord, I think the key word in this verse from James is humble. Again, You ask that we abandon our selfish ways and our own pride and follow You. You ask that we die to self and live for You; to lose our flesh and sinful nature and take up the cross. We are to robe ourselves in the righteousness of Your Holy Son; to live the way You desire: in communion with Your Spirit. We are to live in freedom and in complete acknowledgment that Jesus is the vine and we are mere extensions of Him. To do so, we must live by the laws and precepts of Your Spirit, God. We must recognize Your supremacy and our insignificance. We must be humble!! But in order to be humble we must be subservient.

Lord, Your laws fit together so perfectly! Like the bricks of a house, they build upon one another – one just as important as the next; strengthening us in our walk with You and fortifying our defenses against the enemy. Thank You for a sense of understanding regarding this truth. Teach Nick and me to wholly and faithfully humble ourselves before You. As we humble ourselves we come into obedience and under the covering of Your protection. We so desperately need Your protection, Lord! Show us how to effectively resist the devil and flee from his ways; allowing us to stay under the cover of Your protection.

C & B follow Nick and me as we follow You, God, and they humble themselves before You. They are the picture of humility and submission to You and Your statutes, God. They offer You the only sacrifices pleasing to You: broken spirits and broken and contrite hearts. My sons serve You with all that is within them. C & B actively resist the devil; they are disgusted by him and his ways. Thank you Lord, that the enemy flees from my sons! They are Yours, God. The enemy has no power over them for they are ALWAYS under the cover of Your protection. You are their strong tower. You are their refuge and strength. Thank You God, You are their strong protector!

Thank You for covering my family and me with Your feathers and giving us refuge under Your wings. Let us always abide in You so that You, Lord, will always abide in us! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

  • 1 Corinthians 16:16 – “Submit to them and others like them who serve with such devotion.”

Prayer: God, I ask that You would put people in my life and the lives of my family members that would help us to grow in Your ways. I pray that these people would heed Your call and direction; that they would operate in godly wisdom and Christ’s love. Lord, send devoted servants of the gospel into our lives and help us to submit to them and follow their ways. Let them lead us to the cross in every aspect of our lives and remind us to seek Your will in all that we do. Show my family and me how to serve You with the same fierce and loyal devotion and send us into the lives of others to bless them as we have been blessed.

C & B submit to devoted servants of the gospel in their lives and model their behavior. They thirst for more of You and burn with the desire to spread Your hope and love in a dark and broken world. My sons are aglow with Your Spirit, Father. They shine for You.

My family and I give ourselves over to You. We are Your vessels. Use us for Your purposes. We are open, we are watching and waiting. We are obedient and submissive. We are seeking Your face and Your approval. We long to be Your hands and feet. Let our lives be a testament to Your power and might; to Your love and mercy; to Your wisdom and faithfulness. To You be the glory, God.

  • Ephesians 5:21 – “Be willing to help and care for each other because of Christ. By doing this, you honor Christ.”

Prayer: God, I can’t help but believe that this prayer challenge is as much for me as it is for the boys in my life. Each law from Your word convicts me more than the next. How can I expect obedience, submission and loyal devotion from my boys if I don’t hold myself to the same standards? I don’t want to be a hypocrite or worse yet, I don’t want to set my boys up for failure. I’m so sorry for ignoring the plank in my eye and focusing so intently on the splinters in the eyes of my loved ones. Forgive me, Father. Take this judgmental spirit away from me. Your compassion and gentleness in disciplining me and in bringing me understanding is awe-inspiring. Your grace is not lost on me!

God, I long for Nick and me to parent our sons as You parent us. I truly desire for us to parent C & B with mercy and grace and to impart Your wisdom and instruction with the same compassion and gentleness. Lord, make Nick and me humble and full of Your grace! Do not harden our hearts! Let us look in love and compassion on our sons. Let us be merciful in our roles as parents to C & B.

God, make Nick and me willing to help and care for each other, for our friends and family, and for all of humanity. Not only do I desire for us to be willing, but also selfless and loving in our devotion to Your cause. I also desire for C & B to be willing to help and care for each other, for their friends and family and humankind. There is no such thing as sibling rivalry in my home! But instead, You grant peace in my home. You bind my family together in Your love and in our devotion to Your law. We speak life over one another and encourage each other through Your Son. God, C & B are selfless and loving in their loyal devotion to Your cause.

Since You have instructed us to love our neighbors as ourselves, God, my family will honor Your command. We will love our neighbors as ourselves. I pray that You would break our hearts for what breaks Yours, God. Let our heartbreak motivate us to move on Your behalf and to show Your face to the least of these. In living this way, my family will bring honor and glory to You and we will bless Your holy name.

  • Hebrews 12:9 – “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!”

Prayer: Lord, Connor and Blake will not ignore discipline; they will not come to poverty and shame. Rather, they heed correction and they are honored (Proverbs 13:18). Let my family and me view discipline in a new light from this day forward. No longer will we think of it as punishment or as a way to control and change. Instead, we will forevermore view discipline as “tough love”. We will not hide our faces in shame or be tripped up by self-pity. We will not let fear of failure or chastisement keep us from moving forward in our walk with You and in our daily lives. For You, God, have not given my family a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. We will face discipline head on, as a challenge to be better in all that we do. We will see discipline as an opportunity to grow in Your image and in our relationship with You. God, let this positive viewpoint of discipline and the submission to authority start with Nick and me. Let it be like a spark that ignites a flame. Nick and I desire to change our ways. We desire to be the spark that ignites the flame of submission and obedience in our children, and for our children to keep the flame alive in our family. We yearn to see C & B pass it on to the next generation until our family tree is ablaze for You, God; and they will pass it on.

Thank You for giving my family and me the ability to respect those who discipline us and for helping us to submit to You as our Heavenly Father. Thank You for not only helping us to be gracious in receiving discipline, but also in giving it. Always keeping in mind the fact that discipline is done out of love. With Your Son, Jesus, as the perfector of our faith, my family and I will run this race that You have set before us with endurance and hope. We will not lose sight of the joy that awaits us and the harvest of peaceful blessings that we will reap if we do not grow weary in doing Your will. Lord, my family and I will not buck at your discipline because You are our Father. Fathers discipline the children that they love; You love us. Your discipline allows us to live and live we shall; for we submit to you!

  • Job 22:21 – “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.”

Prayer: God, let my family and me submit to you and be at peace with You and Your ways. Your word states, “in this way prosperity will come to you,” so let prosperity come to my family and me! Hold our hands and guide us on the path You have laid before us. Make the treasure of Your glory real to us. Keep my family and me in perfect peace as we follow Your laws and submit to Your will. Just as Nick and I submit to You and enjoy prosperous lives C & B will also submit to You and enjoy the prosperity and peace that You have promised to those who follow You. You are our rock. You, Lord, are our foundation and we will not be washed away as the wicked! We are Your righteous people and we obey You always.

  • Romans 13:1 – “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Prayer: God, C & B give their bodies to You just as Nick and I do because of all You have done for us. Let our bodies be a living and holy sacrifice to You. Let my family live to worship You. In accordance to Your laws, we will not copy the behavior of this world, but we will let You transform us into new people by the renewal of our minds and the implantation of Your word in our hearts. We will learn Your will for us and be at peace with where we are because Your will and Your way are perfect and You have our best intentions at heart. Let C & B submit to the governing authorities in their lives because You have established those authorities. As C & B learn from the authority in their lives they will grow in wisdom and in favor with You and with man. C & B will not in any way, shape, or form, rebel against the authority You have placed in their lives; for rebelling against authority is to rebel against You, Lord.

  • 2 Chronicles 30:8 – “Do not be stubborn, as they were, but submit yourselves to the Lord. Come to his Temple, which he has set apart as holy forever. Worship the Lord your God so that his fierce anger will turn away from you.”

Prayer: God, You are my God. You are my husband’s God. You are C & B’s God. You are not a “man behind the curtain” type of God; You are our personal Savior and Lord. You are our loving and faithful Creator God. You want to know my family and me intimately and we want to know You intimately. Let us act on our desire to know You. Don’t let our love grow cold. Don’t let us give up our inheritance as Your children. Let us know the glorious riches to which You have called us and let us treat our Kingdom inheritance as such: riches.

Don’t let us waste our lives on frivolous and meaningless things. Teach us to number our days aright and to gain hearts of wisdom. Do not let us take Your gracious gift of life for granted. Every morning may we greet the sun in hopeful expectation of Your goodness and breathe in the fresh promise of Your mercies. May we seek Your Holy face even before our feet hit the floor. May we consult with You and ask for Your wisdom in going about our day. For we make our plans but You, Lord, direct our steps. Let us find peace in knowing that Your plans for us are always good. Let us model our complete trust in You by not allowing our emotions to control us. Let our actions not be dictated by feelings but by the truth of Your word and the certainty of Your nature.

Day by day let my family and me enter Your gates with thanksgiving; let us enter into Your courts with praise. You are a jealous God. We will not provoke Your wrath by serving other gods or idols. Give us discernment and a sensitivity to Your Spirit to know if we are putting anyone or anything above You. Judge us and know that our hearts and motives are pure. Let worship be a way of life for my family and me. Don’t let us forget Your benefits. Let us meditate on Your works and in all situations let us see the opportunity for blessings that You have laid before us. I speak in faith over my sons when I say, C & B will not be stubborn, but they will submit themselves to You, Lord. They will go to Your temple, which You have set apart as holy forever. C & B will worship You with all their hearts, souls and minds and Your anger will turn away from them. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

  • 1 Peter 5:5 – “In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”

Prayer: Lord, let Nick and me watch over our sons willingly and joyfully. Let us rejoice in the difficulties of parenting because they are opportunities to draw closer to You. Let us gain the insight and wisdom You intended us to gain in these trials. Teach Nick and me to not only be an example of godly leadership for C & B but to also be an example of obedience. As we teach our boys to follow in our footsteps, God, we follow in Your Son’s. Just as Jesus served You, Father, we also serve You. Cultivate a servant’s heart in each and every one of us. C & B accept the authority of their elders in all ways. They serve their fellow-man in humility. God, You do not oppose C & B, but You favor them because they are humble. You give C & B Your shield of victory and they are victorious in all things. You righteous right hand sustains them and they will not be shaken. You stoop down to make them great and they live their days in abundance.

  • Galatians 5:1 – “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”

Prayer: God, the blood of the Lamb, of Your blemish-free Son, my family and I have been set free! Thank You for choosing to love us even though we are sinners. Thank You for sacrificing Your only Son so that we might live. I cannot imagine the love You must feel for us. I could never sacrifice my sons. Instead, I would sacrifice myself for them. Your love for my family and me is so incredibly humbling. Your grace is so amazing! I am in awe of You, my King.

Please help my family and me to live in an attitude of thanksgiving to You, Jesus, for Your sacrifice. Help us to always remember what You did for us on the cross. Show us how to walk in the freedom that Your precious blood has afforded us. We are overcomers and victors in You, Lord. The law no longer applies to us because You paid our debt! We are forgiven!

Don’t let the enemy deceive us. Don’t let us be tricked into thinking that we did anything to deserve Your gift. Don’t let us think that we can ever earn freedom by anything that we do. Let us not be caught in the tiring cycle of strife and unrest. Jesus, perfection will always be out of our reach and the enemy knows that. He knows that if he can get us to focus on our flaws and failures then he can keep us forever imprisoned in our own minds and therefore bound by a law that has no lordship over us.

My family and I have Your mind, Jesus. We take our thoughts into captivity and force them to obey Your Father’s word and His will. Our thoughts line up with the truth and the truth is: we have been set free because of God’s grace! Let us always express our faith in You and Your word in love and worship. Who You have made free will stay free! My family and I will stay free!

I speak in faith over my sons and I claim that since You set them free, Jesus, they will be free. C & B will stay free and they will not get tied up in slavery to the law or tricked into believing the lies of the enemy. In Jesus’ name! Amen!

Prayer Challenge – Day 2

Lord, give Nick and me a teachable spirit. Give us wisdom and courage to follow You and You alone. Place in us a desire to turn from sin and follow You with reckless abandon. Help us to surrender ourselves to You and Your will; let us be obedient to You in every area of our lives. We are Yours alone, God. As we seek Your face and Your will and approval in all that we do C & B will follow our example. They will lift the cross high above this life and run to You. They will live by Your word and delight in Your law. My family is obedient to You, God. We love You completely and without pretense. We trust You and Your ways above our own. Lead us in the way everlasting and preserve our lives according to Your love and Your word, Lord. In Jesus’ Holy name I pray.

Obedience:

  • Jeremiah 42:6 “It doesn’t matter if we like the message or if we don’t like the message. We will obey the LORD our God. We are sending you to the Lord for a message from him. We will obey what he says. Then good things will happen to us. Yes, we will obey the LORD our God.”

Prayer: Lord, whether C & B like what You say or not; they WILL obey You. You have given them teachable spirits and a desire to obey Your word and Your authority. You are sovereign and C & B live in submission to You. C & B are blessed because they walk in obedience to You. They will eat the fruit of their labor and prosperity will be theirs.

  • Ephesians 6:1 – “Children, obey your parents the way the Lord wants, because this is the right thing to do.”

Prayer: C & B obey Nick & me as their father and mother. Their obedience to Your word , God, and our authority will bring them the promise of long and happy lives on this earth. Thank You Lord, that Nick and I will not exasperate them or tempt them into disobedience but we will parent them with wisdom and grace. Guide us in our journey to be obedient to You and Your will for our lives so that we may be a good example to our sons.

  • Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey your leaders. Be willing to do what they say. They are responsible for your spiritual welfare, so they are always watching to protect you. Obey them so that their work will give them joy, not grief. It won’t help you to make it hard for them.

Prayer: God, help C & B to obey their leaders. Give them a willingness to do what their leaders say. In turn, let their leaders always have C & B’s welfare in mind and their best interests at heart. Give them wisdom and discernment from You to lead C & B in the way You would have them go. Let C & B follow their leaders’ instruction as they would follow You; with contentment and without complaining.

  • Acts 5:29 – “Peter and the other apostles answered, ‘We must obey God, not you!’ “

Prayer: God, make C & B bold and courageous in their conviction to Your truth and in following Your ways. In all circumstances let them say, “I must obey God!” Let them know that Your ways and Your thoughts are higher than theirs. Let their hearts cry, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done; on earth as it is in Heaven.”

  • Deuteronomy 30:2 “Then you and your descendants will turn back to the LORD your God. You will follow him with all your heart and completely obey all his commands that I have given you today.”

Prayer: Lord, Your word states, “if C & B obey Your word and Your commands then good things will happen to them”. I pray that You will put a burning desire in C & B to obey Your commands and to live by Your word. They will follow You with all of their hearts, minds, and souls and obey You completely. They will never turn their backs on You. Then C & B will be successful in all that they do and goodness and peace will follow them all the days of their lives.

  • Deuteronomy 13:4 “You must follow the LORD your God. Respect him. Obey his commands and do what he tells you. Serve the LORD your God, and never leave him.”

Prayer: C & B will follow You all the days of their lives, God. They will always respect You. C & B will obey each of Your commands and always do what You tell them to do. They will serve You whole-heartedly and never leave or forsake You.

  • Jeremiah 26:13 – “You people, change your lives! You must start doing good! You must obey the LORD your God. If you do that, he will change his mind. He will not do the bad things he told you about.”

Prayer: C & B will live their lives to please You and You alone, God. They will do all things to bring You glory. They will do good and obey You. Since C & B will do good and obey You, Lord, You will be faithful to Your promise to do good to them and preserve their lives.

  • John 15:10 – “I have obeyed my Father’s commands, and he continues to love me. In the same way, if you obey my commands, I will continue to love you.”

Prayer: Father, C & B follow in Jesus’ footsteps. They obey His commands and He will continue to love them. They love You, Lord, with all of their hearts and all of their souls and all of their minds and they are devoted to You. Their loyalties are not divided. They are Yours alone. Jesus, is the vine and C & B are the branches. They will stay joined to Jesus and Your Spirit in them, God, and they will produce fruit in every area of their lives. They shall prosper in all they do because they do it through Christ. They will follow Jesus and His teachings all of their days and what they ask for, they will be given. Their lives will bring honor to You, God, because they will seek Your face in all that they do. C & B will live their lives abiding in the love of Your Son, Jesus.

John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will do what I command.”

Prayer: Wow God. How humbling. If Your children love You, they will do what You command. It seems so simple, yet as an adult, I even struggle with this complete and total obedience to You. I pray that You would turn my heart and Nick’s heart away from sin that would corrupt us and toward Your word that would bring us life. As we turn our hearts toward You in complete and utter obedience, Lord, please turn C & B’s hearts to You and away from sin. Let our lives be a testimony of our love of You and our total obedience to Your word and Your ways. We love You, Lord, and we will do what You command.

  • Romans 16:19 – “Everyone has heard that you do what you were taught, and I am very happy about that. But I want you to be wise about what is good and to know nothing about what is evil.”

Prayer: God, give C & B discernment and wisdom that comes from Your Spirit to know the difference between good and evil. Let them fill up on the things that are good in Your eyes and be ignorant of all that is evil and corrupt. C & B do what they were taught – they do what Your word says because they are being trained up in Your ways. Lord, You will be happy with C & B and call them, “good and faithful servants”, because they will delight in Your commands and abandon the ways of the world. C & B will stay away from those who love the world and its ways and seek out godly friendships that would sharpen them as iron sharpens iron. They will not seek the counsel of wicked men but only of God-fearing men and women; Your word will be their judge.

Additional Verses:
Isaiah 1:19-20 – My sons will obey God and He will provide for them always. They will never turn away from Him and refuse to listen. They will not be devoured by the sword of their enemies!
Proverbs 30:17 – My boys will not be disobedient; they will bring joy to their father because they are wise (Proverbs 15:20).
Proverbs 23:22 – Connor and Blake will listen to Nick for he gave them life and they will listen to God because He is their Heavenly Father and Creator and they will not despise me in my old age
Psalm 107:10-12 – C & B will not be chained in darkness for they will not rebel against the words of God and they will not despise the counsel of the Most High.
Psalm 107:17 – My sons will not rebel therefore they will not become fools and they will not suffer affliction because of iniquities because they are cleansed of all iniquities and clothed in righteousness.
Proverbs 1:33 – Connor and Blake will live in safety because they listen to God; they will be at ease without fear of harm.
Proverbs 1:23 – My boys respond to the Lord’s rebuke and they do not reject wisdom so He will pour out His heart to them and make His ways known to them.
Proverbs 1:8-9 – “C & B listen to Nick’s instruction and they don’t forsake my teaching. They will be garlands to grace their heads and chains to adorn their necks.
Nehemiah 9:26-27 – “My sons will not disobey God or rebel from His ways therefore they will not be delivered into the hands of their enemies!

Day 1 – 21 Days of Prayer for Sons

I found this 21 day prayer challenge hosted by the MOB society, (http://www.themobsociety.com/2012/04/21days4sons-schedule-and-subscription-links/) and since I am always looking for more ways to enrich my prayer life, I jumped on board!  Join me in prayer for your sons, daughters, grandkids, etc; just pray!

1 John 5:14 – Father, it is Your will for my sons to love You and walk in Your ways.  I know that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks; I pray that my sons’ hearts are turned toward You, Lord; they have hidden Your word in their hearts and they will not sin against You.  Their hearts are circumcised; they love You with all of their hearts and all of their souls and all of their minds.   Your praise is continually on their lips, God.  The course of C & B’s lives will follow their hearts desires; I speak in faith over my sons and say that their hearts desire You, Lord.  Your statutes are their delight; they are their counselors.   Thank You for this prayer challenge.  Thank You for the opportunity to shake up my prayer life.  Reveal to me and those joining me in this challenge, new and powerful ways to cover our loved ones in Your word.  Amen.

Prayer Challenge 

 Day 1 – Heart Change:

Insert the name of your loved one(s) to personalize the scriptures below (I suggest reading the whole chapter to help you understand the full meaning of each verse & to give you added wisdom for claiming the verses for your loved ones):

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  • Matthew 23:26“Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean and good. Then the outside of the cup will also be clean.”

Prayer:  Lord, C & B are planted in the living water of Your presence; You are Lord of their lives.  They live in reverential worship of You alone; they do not worship idols.  Your Spirit lives within them.  They are dead to sin and alive unto righteousness.  They live in victory because of Your Son, Jesus.  C & B deny the nature of their flesh and plant Your word deep inside their spirits so that they are clean from the inside out.  When people look at them they will see You shining through.  My sons are an example of Your love and Your way, Lord.

  • Ezekial 36:26 – “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”

Prayer:  You have given C & B new hearts; hearts that are responsive to Your voice and Your leading.  They are Your sheep and the voice of a stranger they will not follow.  Your Spirit is within them and they are obedient to You.

  • Isaiah 29:13 – And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine.  They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

Prayer:  C & B honor You, God, with their lips and with their hearts.  The meditations of their hearts and the words of their mouths are pleasing in Your sight.  They meditate on Your precepts and Your word is a light to their path and a lamp to their feet.  They lean not on their own understanding, but in all their ways they acknowledge You and You make their paths straight. 

 

  •  Luke 6:45 – “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

Prayer:  C & B produce good things from the treasury of their hearts.  They speak life & not death.  The eyes of C & B’s hearts are enlightened; they know the hope to which You have called them.  C & B know that their treasure is in You, Lord, and so their hearts are in Your hands.

  •  Luke 22:42 – “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Prayer:  God, let C & B understand that even in the darkest times Your light shines for them because they are Your beloved; they are righteous and upright in heart.  Do not let them fall into the trap of offense when things don’t go their way.  Let them trust whole-heartedly in You and Your plan for them (Jeremiah 29:11).  Let them seek Your face and cry out to You for wisdom and understanding; because You will answer them when they call You and You will deliver them and honor them.  Let them cling to Your word and fight the good fight of faith; they walk by faith and not by sight and they are content in all situations.  Let them understand that Your will is for them is to be more like You and to have a closer walk with You.  C & B will know that to grow as Jesus did (Luke 2:52) they must be rid of the impurities of their flesh and they will submit to Your will in this because even when they are in the furnace of life’s trials, You will be with them.  C & B rejoice in hope, they endure in affliction and they persevere in prayer because they can do all things through You, Jesus, for You give them strength.

  •  James 4:8 – “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”

Prayer:  C & B draw near to You, God, and You draw near to them.  They repent of their sins and turn from their old ways; they walk in Your ways.  C & B are not double-minded, they are not divided in their loyalty.  They are loyal to You and You alone.  You are their God and they are Your people, Lord.  C & B abide in You and You abide in them God.  Their hearts are pure and You lead them not into temptation.

  • Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.”

Prayer:  You have purified C & B of their sins.  Because of Your Son’s sacrifice, my sons are made clean.  Thank You.  Lord, C & B are robed in righteousness that was bought and paid for by Jesus’ precious blood.  Because You see my sons through Jesus’ sacrifice, they are sanctified and their hearts are made clean.  You have restored to them the joy of Your salvation and made them willing to obey You.

  • Ecclesiastes 10:2 – “A wise man’s heart turns him toward his right hand, but a fool’s heart toward his left.”

Prayer:  C & B are wise and their hearts turn them toward Your righteous right hand, Lord.  They are not fools.  They do not despise wisdom.  They seek wisdom from Your word and they find it.  They lay hold of wisdom and they are blessed.  They bind love and faithfulness around their necks and write them on the tablet of their hearts.  C & B do not walk in the way of the world but in Your way, Lord.   

  • Ezekial 14:3-  “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and put the stumbling block of their iniquity and guilt before their faces; should I permit Myself to be inquired of at all by them?

Prayer:  C & B will not set up idols in their hearts nor will they put stumbling blocks of iniquity and guilt before their faces.  They have overcome the evil one by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony.  C & B delight in the Lord’s commands and follow His precepts with all of their hearts, minds and souls.   

  • Acts 2:37 – “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?

Prayer:  God, let C & B be cut to the heart with the gospel message.  Let them live their lives in awe and thanks to Jesus, for His sacrifice and to You, God, for sending Your only Son to die so that they might live.  Give them eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds to understand the full weight of what Jesus did for them.  May C & B fully understand the height, depth, width and length of Your unfailing ove for them, God.  Let them boldy proclaim Your truth and share Your love with mercy and grace.  Let my sons always love You as they do now; with child-like faith and innocence.

A Heart Like His

During our morning prayer time Connor offered up his very own prayer to God. “Thank you God for my mommy and daddy. I love them so much,”! Then my sweet boy climbed into my lap, wrapped his arms around my neck and snuggled his face into me. “Mommy, I would be so sad if God gave me a different mommy and daddy. I love you so much I could cry,”. Here was this precious boy pouring out his heart so willingly and without shame; the picture of honesty. So willing to look outside of himself and give thanks for his blessings. At four, he is so aware of the good life God has given him. In an age where grace seems lost on so many, my baby grasps the idea so perfectly. He does not take his loved ones and the fact that his most basic needs are met, for granted. Instead, he blesses the Lord with all of his soul. His attitude (most of the time…he’s still a 4 year old boy) is one of thanksgiving. I can’t help but envy the way he freely gives God such pure and innocent praise. My son whole-heartedly worships the Lord with such ease. It is a part of who he is. He was made, as we all are, to praise God. But my Connor has a gift. He is in tune with the Holy Spirit; they naturally flow as one. I quickly noticed that Connor’s words are not always his own.

Like the random, lunch time outburst during his little brother’s surgery in which he told my mom aka gram, “Hosanna to our King,”. While Connor was enjoying his lunch with gram I was pleading for God’s peace to cover me from the waiting room at Children’s Hospital as the words, “Hosanna in the highest” played in circles in my head. God heard my cries and He answered me through the simple words of peace and comfort spoken by my son. Connor’s child-like faith and heart for God prove him a willing and obedient instrument for God’s Spirit.

Reflecting on the events of Connor’s life up to now, the words prophesied over him by my pastor, during his baby dedication, ring in my ears. “He has a King David anointing. His life will be hard, but he will do great and mighty things for the kingdom of God,”. King David was a great warrior; a man of worship with a heart for God. Though he suffered through countless stormy seasons in his life, he kept his eyes fixed on God and he persevered. David delighted himself in the law of the Lord, keeping his heart and spirit open to the things of God. In spite of his human weakness, he chose to live his life in faith and worshipful reverence of God. David’s trust was always in God, regardless of his circumstance, and he was never shaken.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11.

Lord, help me to cultivate a heart of David in Connor.  Give me wisdom and strength as I raise him to always seek You.  Teach me to delight in and meditate on Your word so I can be a good example to my sons.  Make me bold and courageous as I entrust the lives of my sons to You; they are fully Yours, use them.  Let my life be one of great faith as I practice my complete trust in You and Your plan.  I surrender myself to You, Lord, direct my footsteps according to Your word and keep my heart and mind fixed on You.  As I grow in Your ways, I have faith that my sons will also grow in Your ways.  Thank You for my blessings, my heritage from You!  May I bless You with all of my soul and may Your praises always be on my lips.  I look forward to the day in which more of Your plan for both Connor and Blake’s lives will be revealed to me.  Until then, I will continue to live my life for You and lead my family to the cross each day.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

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Hide it in their Hearts…

“I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you,” Psalm 119:11.

As I tucked Connor in I finished up our bed time prayers, “Lord, please reveal yourself to Connor. He wants to know You more. He seeks You with all of his heart. Let him find You. Be near to Him because he loves You and he calls on You in truth.” With a kiss on the cheek I slowly started to rise from my knees. “Mom, one of our prayers makes me sad. You know, the one that says, ‘I do things against Him.’ Why did you say that?” My heart sank at the thought of my sweet Connor being sad as I covered him in prayer. While I was speaking life over him, he thought I was speaking condemnation. Prayer is the one aspect of motherhood that I have not failed at, but suddenly I’m failing at prayer too? Seriously?

Shocked, I knelt next to his bed again as I silently asked my Heavenly Father for wisdom in answering my son. Without hesitation God answered my prayer. I sought His face and He met me at Connor’s bedside. Taking Connor’s hand in mine I spoke lovingly to my child, “Connor, I’m not saying sad prayers, baby. Everything I’m praying is happy. I’m asking God to protect you and help you. I’m praying for you to be happy and good. I’m asking God to help you to live the way He wants you to. I asked God to help you put the things that He says to do inside of your heart so you won’t do things that God doesn’t like; bad things. I only want you to do things that make God happy.” As the smile spread across Connor’s face I knew that God had once again been faithful to His promise. He revealed Himself to Connor through a simple bed time prayer.

I am in awe of God’s love! How amazing He is! But I’m not the only one who was awed by God’s love tonight. Before he would let me leave his room, Connor made me take the small, hand-painted, Peruvian cross off of his wall and give it to him; he wanted to sleep with it. “I just want to be close to God, mom.” With that, he rolled over and closed his eyes. I closed my eyes too; and silently gave thanks to my God.

Lord, as I speak Your word over my sons continue to plant it firmly in their minds, hearts and souls. Water it with Your spirit and help them to grow it with faith so that they will bear godly fruit. Let them eat from the tree of life as they delight in your statutes and go where You lead. Let them be sensitive to Your still, small voice. They are Your sheep, Jesus, and the voice of a stranger they will not follow. Thank You for Your love and faithfulness, Lord. Nick and I could never do this alone! Continue to direct our steps and we will follow. As a family, let us grow in wisdom and stature, and favor with You and man. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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A Mother’s Prayer

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope
Put your trust fully in Him
Walk by faith and step out of the boat
His hand is always reaching for you
He is never far
He knows every hair on your head
He named every star
His love for you no one can fathom
His mercies are always new
Grace and forgiveness are gifts, from the Lord to you
God says that you will do great things and,
In His image you will grow
He has His hand upon you,
So don’t give in to fear
He covers you with His feathers,
He always draws you near
Remember to always pray,
In all circumstances and every day
His love and faithfulness will never leave you,
He will always light your way
God’s word is living and active,
Its powerful and true
It always accomplishes what it was sent to do
God’s word is your weapon, your shelter, your guide
Hide it in your heart; in Him you will abide
In Christ you have victory, the battle has been won
My prayer is that you spend your days living for God the father, God the spirit, and God the son

We Will Follow

My family is still being separated. Even though C is well enough to go to school his cough is not gone yet. I’m still getting over a cold and so is Blake. Since Bob has no immune system right now we still have to stay away from my parents. This is hard on all of us. We are used to being together all the time and it’s been a couple weeks now since we have seen each other. I want to be of more help to my mom right now. She needs me. I feel helpless and I know she is feeling alone. Even though things seem to be going wrong this must be part of Your plan, Lord. Our failed plans highlight our dependence on You; we can’t depend on anyone but You, God. We will continue to trust You in this storm and look to the blessings ahead. Hold our hands as You guide us through the unknown. Light our way and steady our feet. We won’t make it without You.

God, you are weaning us from all other dependencies. Our security rests in You alone. Not in other people, not in circumstances. We depend only on You. Even though we feel like we are free falling into the unknown our faith tells us that Your everlasting arms are underneath us, holding us up. Though we don’t know the path You have chosen for us, Your word lights the way. While we cannot understand why we must go through these trials we know that Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. You have Your reasons for allowing us to feel pain. Our suffering is not in vain. You are working everything for good because we love You and have been called according to Your purpose. You have good plans for us, plans to prosper us, plans to give us hope and a future. Even though we may feel so alone we know that Your unfailing love surrounds us driving out all fear. We know that Your presence follows us wherever we go, comforting us and giving us peace that surpasses all understanding.

Lord, search us and know us. Our hearts and minds are set on You. Take our anxieties and leave us peace. Our trust is in You alone and we will not be shaken. You are our God and we are Your people. We will not be discouraged because You are with us and You will never leave us. We will not fear or be dismayed. You drive out our enemies before us! Goodbye cancer and sickness! Bob and grandma have been healed by the stripes of Jesus! You must flee! Bob and grandma are dead to sin and alive unto righteousness and no weapon formed against them will prosper!
We raise the cross high above the storms in our life and step out of the boat to meet our Glorious Savior! The swells may rise but we will not be overtaken! We will overcome by the blood of the lamb! God, You lead us to victory, it is our final destination! Whatever road You lead us down we will follow with unwavering faith and unshakable trust. We will faithfully speak Your praises and patiently endure our trials. We will be content in every situation that arises as we wait for You to deliver us. Because deliver us You will!!