Susan Hillis and I, and our whole team, so ready to see you all at Hope at Home 2014. Oh how we would love for you to join us so that we can stand together with you, linking shields on behalf of each treasured child, the ones in your home and the ones yet to come home. Register Now for this special gathering created just for you!
It is such fun to share on Facebook or Instagram the joyful and fun moments of our lives. We rejoice with one another in those sweet moments captured and shared--and this is how it should be. Here is a photo I shared this summer when all 7 of our children were together at the beach. Mind you it was all of 5 hours before two of the kids had to leave, after one had just arrived that morning, but we were not going to miss an opportunity to take a photo! So much goodness and evidence of God at work in this picture!!
But then there are those moments we would never think to take a photo of--and certainly NEVER would we share them on social media! Those moments of heartache and disappointment are the ones we private message to a trusted friend. God is Lord over them all, the private pains and public celebration. How thankful we all are that His faithfulness is not limited to the happy days of Facebook posts!
We get many private messages from parents whose children are in seasons of serious need and vulnerability--the kind of scenarios we have all so hoped to avoid. We hear stories of rebellion, addiction, psychological diagnoses, sexual acting out, unhealed attachment disorder, removal from home, trouble with the law.....
And indeed, both Susan and I have faced many of these extreme situations in our own families, interspersed amongst the never-ending stream of true beauty and joy.
And we too have sought words of life and hope, both for our saddened hearts and for our children's lives. So, whether you are facing one of these extreme situations or not, I know that you are praying for your child, trusting God for wonderful things for him/her. In the end, is this not the bottom line for us parents? That our children thrive and enjoy the fullness of life that is theirs in Jesus?
Take a quick look at what Jesus prays for Peter (Luke 22:32) before He is taken by the Roman guards, on His way to the cross. Remember, this is JESUS CHRIST PRAYING. He tells Peter,
But I have prayed for you, Peter, that you would stay faithful to Me no matter what comes!Now, I know you all know what happens in the ensuing hours. Despite Jesus' prayer, Peter does indeed break faith with Jesus.
It might seem that Jesus' prayer for Peter was ineffective that Thursday night--that it somehow "didn't work." Is this even possible? How can this be?
But hold on a minute-- let's read what Jesus says next to his disciple:
Remember this: After you have turned back to Me and have been restored, make it your life mission to strengthen the faith of your brothers!Jesus saw past the unfaithfulness to a time of repentance, restoration, and ministry. His prayer was embedded with provision for all contingencies!
And the very thing Jesus prayed for--that Peter would be faithful no matter what happened--becomes Peter's life mission. Peter spent the rest of his life, after being restored, ministering strength and faith into others.
Jesus' prayer covered it all for Peter!
So my dear friends, let us not be dismayed by what appears at the moment to be unanswered or ineffective prayers. Let's embed our prayers for our children with plans and possibilities for all contingencies. And the very place of weakness, brokenness, or sin will become the place of strength for that struggling child.
Think of it, when we think of Peter we think of the ROCK that he is. Even to this day, through the scripture, his words are strengthening us. We don't identify him according to his weakest moment. But rather, according to the words that Jesus spoke and prayed.
And I believe it is just so with that child you are praying for dear ones. We identify them according to who God says they are, even--and especially--in those seasons where their weakness or sin is most evident, and no one is asking to take a photo to share on social media.
For our prayers are embedded with the "no matter what comes" kind of situations, embedded with restoration and hope!
Faithful God, I pray Your word from Psalm 91 (The Passion Translation) for my child:
He/She makes his/her home within the shadow of El Shaddai, hidden in the strength of God-Most-High. In Him ____________ always feels safe and secure! He's the Hope that holds _________, and the Stronghold to shelter him/her. The only God for ________, and his/her Great Confidence. He will rescue __________ from every hidden trap of the enemy, and He will protect him/her from false accusation and any deadly curse. His massive arms are wrapped around _________, protecting him/her. __________ can run under His covering of majesty and hide. His faithfulness is a wrap-around shield keeping __________ from harm.