Tis the Season…

Tis the Season…

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Tis the Season…

..to be lonely.  Everyone is shopping and spending time with family and friends.  It is such a busy time.  But, the holidays can be a very difficult time for so many people.

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I lost my grandfather eight years ago right after Christmas.  I was extremely close to him and was his caregiver during his last two years.  When he passed on, I was devastated.  I did not deal well with it so I went to a grief support group to help me better deal with it.  I still attend on occasion, mostly around the holidays because that is when it is most difficult for me.  I also continue to attend these meetings because it has become a time of fellowship with a wonderful group of mostly older ladies.

The most important lesson I take from these ladies is that with our loss things change.  We do not always like it, but it does.  When we lose someone, it changes our routines and our traditions.

For some people, this can even mean the loss of their remaining family, a wife that loses her husband and they have no surviving children or an child that loses his last remaining parent.  These are the people that can feel particularly lonely.

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The Bible even tells us several times to care for the widows and the orphans.  During the holidays, this can be as simple as visiting someone Take some cookies or fudge.  Have your children make a homemade ornament and take it to them.  Take a group of friends and go caroling.  Invite them to go look at Christmas lights.  There are so many little things that we can do that would mean a lot to someone else, something that would help them to feel not so lonely.

 What are some things your family has done?

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Holiday Loneliness Grieving with Parents Marriaged Saved After Addiction Grief & Health

Remembering with Grieving Parents

Remembering with Grieving Parents

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

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As you may know, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month.  Filled with bittersweet memories, it’s a time to openly honor those whose lives have made a big impact even though their time with us was so tragically short. It’s a time to comfort the grieving parents who have endured this loss and remember the children who are no longer with us physically but are always in our hearts and with us spiritually. Remembering with grieving parents on other occasions is comforting as well.

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More than likely, hearing the words “infant loss” sparked the name of a child, mother, and/or father in your mind. Someone you know, maybe even intimately, has endured the pain of losing a child. I’ve heard it described as a lonely suffering. Since some of the children went to heaven before birth, there is no funeral. There is no public gathering of mourning and comforting each other.

Many of my friends and family members have lost children. It’s impossible to talk with them and not remember their precious child(ren).  I’ve been pondering the best way to honor their children’s memories, and then two ideas came together.

This week, as I listened to two different women share their stories of miscarriage and loss, one of them shared how she honored her child. She gathered with other families who have walked this road, and lit candles in their honor.

During the month of October, many gatherings are held where women can assemble with others who have experienced this same loss.  Thinking that you are the only one that has ever suffered this loss is a cruelty Satan casts on our hearts. But when families come together in their suffering, many are comforted. This is so wonderful, but there is something else we can do for these families as well.

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The Greatest Gift to Give a Grieving Friend

As I envisioned the lit candles, one for each child, a thought that H. Norman Wright shared came to mind. The idea he conveyed was this:

One of the greatest gifts we can give someone who has lost a loved one is to remember that loved one with them. Remember them on their birthdays. Remember them on the anniversary of their death. Speak of their lost loved ones. Yes, there might be sadness but the joy of knowing they are remembered is treasured. 

Each of these precious children, no matter how short their life, made a huge impact on this world. They are loved. They are treasured and they have left their angel print behind. As the precious gift from God that they are, they should be honored. Their light still shines here on earth as well as in heaven. When we take the time to talk about each child and remember their impact, we fan the flame of light.

Norman Wright’s idea is something to keep in mind. But in honor of those who have lost children, let’s keep their children’s memory alive in our hearts as well. I’ve created a calendar specifically to remember these children’s heavenly birth dates, so that I can send a love note on their anniversary and cover them in prayer. I’d like to share this with you.

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No Matter How Short, Their Life Made a Difference.

Have you lost a child? If so, leave your child’s name along with his/her heavenly birthday. We will remember that child as well as pray for your family.

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Truth About Pregnancy After a Miscarriage Miscarriage & Cancer Grief Grief & Mercy

In the Arms of Faithful God

In the Arms of Faithful God

Tamika R

Tamika R

I was born in Denver, Colorado. I moved to OKC after quitting my jobs as a teacher and YouthIntern to pursue the call into ministry. I started as a non traditional student at Oklahoma where I met my husband. He was a non traditional student working on a 2nd degree after moving from Poland to pursue a degree in Ministry. We dreamed together of serving the Lord in Europe. Now we are blessed to be witness to the awesome way that God works all over the world. We live in Vienna, Austria with our3 kids. We work with Eastern European Mission. We provide Bibles and ethics materials in native languages of Eastern Europe. That means we get to seeGod's hand and providence all over Europe. I am Publishing Assistant at EEM and a fitness trainer. I fill my days caring for my family, teaching gym classes and designing book covers and working on details to provide quality materials to those who need God's word. In my free time I paint, cook, make jewelry and run 2 blogs.
Tamika R

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It was February. I was about seven weeks pregnant for the second time. As I prepared to leave for the Bible class I was teaching, I knew something was wrong. I ran to the bathroom and I was bleeding. I took several deep breaths, said many prayers, and rushed off to the church.

The next day I went to the doctor. They confirmed there was a problem, told me to rest, and take testosterone for a few week. I did. At the next checkup, they told us the heartbeat was gone.

I was devastated. The doctor instructed me to go home and wait to miscarry. After it happened, I was to call and let them know.

Seven weeks passed and my belly continued to get bigger. So did my hope.

I decided there was some medical mistake. They were wrong. Clearly, my baby was growing. About this time, I started to get sick. I had never had morning sickness this strong and I figured this was just a part of it.

My doctor called to follow up since I never called. She asked me to come in. They looked and said I had a missed miscarriage. The baby was gone but my body wouldn’t let it go. I had to come back the next day to surgically end it.

When the surgery was over, I woke up deeply saddened by the loss of our child, but physically feeling great. Two weeks later I had follow-up tests. Within days, my doctor called my house. I remember thinking how nice she was to call me. She said,

“I took the liberty of running some extra tests after your surgery to try and figure out what happened, and again at the follow-up. Now that all the results are back, I need you to go tomorrow to meet with this doctor. He is a specialist. He can help you, and they will explain it.”

She added:

“If you were my sister I would ask you to see my friend at OU Medical Center. I have taken the liberty of making you an appointment.”

After agreeing to the appointment I hung up the phone, rolled into a ball on the bed, and cried. I was hurting for the lost dreams. Secretly, I had named the baby Noah. It hurt to think of all the things he would never experience or become. Even though I only knew he existed for fifteen weeks, he was mine and I loved him.

I called my dad and just sat on the phone with him and cried. My own strong attachment to the baby I lost puzzled me. Grief is a funny thing, but somehow just knowing my dad was listening on the other end comforted me.

Not many people knew I was pregnant because the pregnancy was troubled so early. So I tried to handle my emotions in secret.

Now, there was something about losing him that required me to go to a specialist because my doctor didn’t feel she could explain it? How much more could I take? I called my husband and he made plans to go with me to the appointment.

It didn’t take long to figure out what was coming once we got to the specialist’s office at OU Medical Center. He was in the department of oncology. They asked me to fill out a thirteen page registration form. Most of it had to do with cancer. I just lost a baby. So why were they asking me so many questions that did not apply to my situation?

They called us in, and we met with a team of doctors who explained that I had a rare form of cancer. It prevented the proper development of the pregnancy. In our case it was really rare because I had both tumors and a pregnancy. I would begin chemo the following day.

miscarriage, cancer, pain, sadness, faithful God, hope, renewalWe were in shock. I had to slam the brakes and shift gears. Though they assured me the cancer was very curable and that I would only need chemo for about three weeks, I was scared.

My thoughts turned to getting through this and focusing on maintaining my life and surviving for the sake of my two year old. Also we were planing to move onto the mission field so I needed to keep it all together.

I suppose now, as I am crying while sharing my story, I probably never fully mourned the loss. It happened as a mixture of the fear of the unknown loomed over me. The reality that no matter what happened next I would never go back to a life that didn’t include cancer.

The next day I gathered up all of my courage. As we walked out of the elevator at the hospital, I said goodbye to all that could have been. I needed all of my energy to focus on hope and move forward to create a new definition of what could be.

As it turned out, three weeks turned into eight months. Countless doctors, four different kinds of treatments, a clinical trial, several scares, constant bleeding, tumor growing, and countless nights stretched out on the floor crying out to the Lord.

While my situation took twists and turns like a roller coaster, God remained at my side and gave me strength. Many things in my life fell apart during that time. I changed, and lost parts of myself that have still not returned.

God is faithful, and he gave me a peace I still can’t understand to this day.  Even if I was asked to, I couldn’t explain it.

In some ways I still hurt, and I don’t expect that to change. I still think about what could have been. What would that baby would have been like? They told us chemo was the only way we might be able to preserve my ability to have more kids. But they could not make any promises.

God knew my heart’s desires, and four years later, shortly after moving onto the mission field of Vienna (not Poland as originally planned), I became pregnant with a baby boy. He was born strong and healthy here in Vienna. When he was about eighteen months old, I discovered I was nine weeks pregnant with another baby. My youngest was born here in Vienna as well.

God is faithful. He heard my prayers and answered in his own timing.

I know that he is near to the brokenhearted because he was near to me. I carried most of my pain in secret during that time for various reasons.

During this time, I learned to lean on God alone. I learned what it meant to be in the arms of faithful God as my world fell apart again and again.

If you have gone through the loss of a child, and all that goes along with it I am sure you can relate. If you have survived cancer, I know you know his providence. I pray you experienced his peace as well.

If you are in either of those places now, I am here. Feel free to message me or comment below. I will gladly pray and stand alongside you. Never forget God is faithful, able, and good. He wants that for us. He longs to give us hope and abundant life. Snuggle into his arms and let him pour the peace that is beyond human explanation into your soul. Know you are his treasured creation and he will not abandon you.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Crying it out MiscarriageSpiritual Walk Praying the Psalms

When It’s Just Too Much

When It’s Just Too Much

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

When It’s Just Too Much

The tears keep coming today and at first I couldn’t figure out why.

My heart is heavy.

 

I’m tired.

 

I’m trying not to be frustrated.

 

It’s just one of those days where I come to God and say,

 

“I can’t figure it out. I can’t think straight. My mind is going in all different directions and then it feel like I can’t think at all….”
Then my mind wanders and I can’t even seem to finish a prayer.

 

Trying to focus and get my mind to think clearly, I open my Bible.

I read varying passages from the books of the Bible that have been gaining my attention lately: James, I Samuel and Philippians.
I’ve been singing a song based on Philippians 3:10 to my children lately:
“I want to know Christ and the power of his rising.
Share in his suffering conform to his death.
When I pour out my life to be filled with his Spirit,.
Joy follows suffering and life follows death.”
As this song echoed in my mind and God’s powerful Word worked it’s way into my heavy heart, I realized I was overcome with sadness with all that is going on in the world right now.

Why? Why are people being mistreated, being killed, taken advantage of and used for the purpose of others. Between processing what’s happening in Venezuela, what happened in Charlottesville, birth and life not being valued, situations going on in my friends’ lives, and so many other things….my heart just hurts for this world. My heart hungers for God’s justice and for God to save so many from this torture and heartache.

It’s cliche but this world needs Jesus!

When I finally realized what was bothering me, all I wanted to do was run and pray.  I decided I couldn’t leave the kids home alone, so I went and let out some energy by picking the weeds that had overtaken our patio.

It was the perfect time to pick weeds because it has been raining for two days.  In an hour, thanks to the down pouring of rain, I was able to pick all the weeds that had over taken the area.

I couldn’t believe how many weeds there were and how big some had become.  It’s been almost 3 months since I’d picked any weeds so it made logical sense that they had gotten so big and unruly.  As I uprooted them, I realized something that these weeds and this world have in common.

 

What Weeds & the World Have in Common

If we, as people, nip problems in the bud when they are small, they won’t get overgrown and out of hand.  We have let many of these things happen because we haven’t taken a united stand against them.  We need to allow the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, given to each one of us as followers of Christ, to work in our lives so that we can tame the weeds of this world and pull them out by their roots!
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We do this by going out to all the world (our neighbors, our coworkers, those God put’s in our paths) and disciplining them, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey Christ’s words (Matthew 28:19-20).  As they grow in their faith and obedience to the Lord, the weeds will be picked out of their lives as they are continually being picked out of ours.  Then they will continue the cycle.

Using the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

We as a body of believers (and I’m speaking to myself here) are often more content praising God from our pews and in our Bible studies than praising Him in front of others and sharing how God has changed our lives.

If your heart has been hurting because of the events going on in this world, take heart!  Jesus warned us there would be struggles but he also promised us His Spirit, which would allow us to do great things while living on this earth.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Jesus, John 16:33
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This sky was God showing off his beauty as I finished picking the last of the weeds.

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
Jesus John 14:12

It’s Time to Take a Stand

If your looking to making a difference this is the first step.  Reach out to others and share Christ.  Pray about how you can get involved in whatever is tugging at your heart the most and get involved.
Now is not the time to be afraid or to sit back and be overcome by this world. It’s time to take a stand and take action.
The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

We stood there on opposite sides of the garage staring each other down. Letting the question hang there. Knowing the next few words from his mouth could–no, would–change everything.

In that moment, I doubted why I had asked. He hadn’t given me reason to question him. Yet after conversations with two friends struggling through their own answers to this question, I felt like I had to ask.

I had fasted, and I had prayed.

I thought I was ready for whatever his answer would be.

After all, I loved and respected this man. For better or for worse, I had promised to love this man.

As the words came, I crumbled. I was a mess of a woman on that cold concrete floor. I wasn’t ready for this.

“I mean, if I can’t handle it, I’ll tell you,” he said. Then I knew–he hadn’t been faithful to me.

Some will say, “It’s just with his eyes.” To me it was everything. No one had ever hurt me so deeply. No one had ever betrayed me to that level. I had never let anyone in that close before him. It was out of nowhere. I was lost and broken, gasping for air.

He knew how much I hated pornography. My heart ached for sex-trafficked victims, and he knew that. He knew the broken woman I once was and how close I had been to becoming one of those women myself.

He had hurt me, yes, but he also made me sick.

This man was the father to my children. This man who had studied the Bible with me, who had prayed with me, who had loved me was, all the while, sinning against me and our vows. He had lusted after other women. He had done this in our home, on his phone, and on our television.

I hated him.

Now, I hated all of those things. Looking at them reminded me of his betrayal. He came to me, crumpled on the garage floor.

I cringed at his touch.

We sat there for what felt like forever.

Finally I asked, “Where do we go from here?”

Equipped through God’s Grace

That night, neither of us had any idea what the next two years would look like. By his grace, God equipped me to love my husband through this dark time in our marriage. God’s grace has given him strength to fight the desire of his flesh, seek accountability, and submit himself to boundaries that are at times frustrating.

We have both learned a lot in the past two years. I’ve learned a lot about grace, God, and walking in this gift of marriage.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few of my take-aways from this dark and painful time. I hope these lessons I’ve learned will bless any other woman walking through a similar battlefield.

1) Be in the Word.

When all this happened, I was just finishing Beth Moore’s study on James. I know without a doubt that had I not been deep in the Word of God for weeks leading up to this, my faith would have faltered even more.

I had memorized more scripture than I ever had before. Without it I was lost.

I’m not saying I never doubted God’s plan. I’m not saying I never questioned the purpose of this life we are living together.  I am saying knowing and relying on scripture is one of the few things that helped me get out of bed every morning.

These verses in particular, which I had memorized weeks before, anchored my storm-tossed mind and soul.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

 

James 1:2-4

Most days I did not find this trial to be pure joy, but God’s Word encouraged me to see the joy in the situation.

Another verse, which I often pray I will be able to say before the Lord one day, came back to me over and over.  

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. 

 

2 Timothy 4:7

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2) God is faithful.

I doubted He was there with me. I doubted where He had been as my husband walked down this road to destruction.

But He was there.

He was there, grieving with us. He was there, prompting my husband to walk away from the computer. On the days, weeks, and months that my husband did not betray me, God was there, giving him strength.

Again, the words of James were aptly timed for just this moment in my life. These words helped me to reconcile our sinful temptations with the Lord who walks with us by His Holy Spirit.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, not does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.

 

James 1:13-15

3) This wasn’t about me.

Let me say it again: this isn’t about me!

It hurt me, it broke me, it made me grow. It made me stronger, but in the end, it was about my husband, his experiences, and his personal struggle with sin. 

This was the most difficult lesson. One I still have to be reminded of regularly. This was my opportunity to be gracious, to be an example of mercy to my husband.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.

 

James 2:12-13

Mercy triumphs over judgement! That brings me to my next lesson.

4) I can’t do this alone.

Jesus Christ didn’t come to earth and disciple one man. He discipled many, and established a church. We need the church in our brokenness. I’m not saying go out and shout your husband’s sin from the pulpit. I am saying wisely and prayerfully seek out one or two women to encourage you during this season. You will be amazed at the women God brings to you. These women will love you when you hurt and encourage you to be Christ-like when you don’t want to be Christ-like anymore. Women who will pray with you, cry with you, check in on you, and just be with you.

Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise…and the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

James 5:13, 15-16

5) Lastly, and most importantly, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, not my husband. 

I had him on a pedestal. His desire, love, and admiration fueled me. After almost ten years of marriage, I had forgotten that my value and purpose is from the Lord. None of us are perfect–not my husband, and definitely not me.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking it all.

 

James 2:10

My husband can’t save me and I can’t save him. Jesus Christ took care of that almost 2,000 years ago.

There are still days I fight to control the images and thoughts in my mind. There are days I just want to cry in my best friend’s arms, and I hate that the one who comforts me is also the one who hurt me.

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Satan Seeks to Destroy Marriages

Sin is gross. It hurts. Sin is dark.

Sexual sin destroys trust beyond comprehension.

Satan is prowling like a lion seeking to devour each and every one of our marriages. He is seeking to destroy the most intimate and grace-filled institution that represents Christ’s love for us. 

Be on guard. Stay in the Word. Devote yourself to prayer. And…

…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

Ephesians 6:13 (emphasis added)

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Prayer for Moms Across the World

Prayer for Moms Across the World

Lori S

Lori S

I'm Lori! My husband and I have been married since 2008. We adopted our son in July and live in Memphis, TN. One of the things I love about Creating a Great Day is that it is focused on inspiring women to the woman that God wants them to be. Every woman is different, and we all have talents to honor God and walk alongside each other in this spiritual journey called life. Have a blessed day!
Lori S

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My husband and I adopted our son almost two years ago. Ever since we decided to adopt, I have had a wide range of emotions on Mother’s Day. Knowing that I will always share that day with my son’s biological mother encourages me to think of other women who may experience grief and joy on this day. This reflection helps focus my thoughts and prayers during this time. Join me in honoring these women in our thoughts and prayers this week!

A prayer for moms everywhere

Dear God, we come before your throne today, asking for your intercession in the lives of women across the world. We pray for…

  • the women who become moms today. Guide their hearts, minds, and emotions as they experience motherhood for the first time.
  • the moms who have lost children. Bring them the peace that comes only from you.
  • the mothers who work outside (or from) the home to provide for their children. Whether they work one (or three) jobs, help their work and sacrifice to be appreciated and noticed.
  • the moms who stay home with their children. Help them feel loved and appreciated by their children and spouses.

Father, we also pray for the moms who…

  • have chosen to place their children into adoptive families. Give them the peace and clarity they need in their lives. Help those around them celebrate their choice for life, but allow those moms an emotional space to grieve.
  • live in poverty. Help give them the emotional, spiritual, and financial supports they need to lead their family toward you.
  • are raising their children on their own. Remind their neighborhood or church communities to rally around them so those moms never feel alone.
  • became mothers through adoption. Bless their motherhood journey and give them the strength and clarity needed to raise their children in a new family.
  • became moms through foster care. Give them courage to fight for what they know is right and the ability to love even when it hurts.

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We pray for…

  • the moms who protect their children from violence, war, and abuse. Let them know that there is still light even in darkness.
  • the women who have lost their own moms. Encourage us to surround these women with love. Help us give them the space they need to celebrate and grieve simultaneously.
  • the women who suffer from depression, anxiety, or mental illness. Put people in their lives to encourage them and help them get the support they need.

And we lift up these women as well…

  • the moms who love their children but not their spouses. Help them realize that one of the best ways to show love to their children is to love their spouse.
  • the moms who are struggling in their relationships with their children. Let them know that you are with them. Always.
  • the women who are “mother figures” in the lives of children in our homes and communities. Equip those women to engage, mentor, and love children.

We ask you to cover these moms (and others) with your love, peace, and mercy. May we never forget the importance of what the word “mom” means. In Jesus’ name, Amen

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Six Tip to Prepare for a Mission Trip Praying the Psalms We all struggle  A Mother to More than Your Own

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