Prayer, the Power Behind the Parent

Recently my kids had a snow day and school was closed, again. Just enough freezing drizzle was coming down to coat the roads with ice. Between school closings and the numerous two-hour delays we have had, the kids have not had a full week of school since the new year. Are my kids ever going to go to school? I wonder each morning as I check my phone.

As I thought about a whole day with my girls at home, I started to get stressed. Not because I have to play with them and entertain them all day like when they were little, but because they are teenagers and want to spend every second on YouTube, Netflix, SnapChat, Instagram, or texting. Our kids’ world is saturated with things that encourage laziness and wasting time.

We have an extra bedroom that I like to call the Kurtz “dump.”  It’s everyone’s favorite place in the house to unload all their trash and unwanted items. Why throw it away when you can just toss it across the hall and close the door? Piles of clothes and shoes, boxes of picture frames, old toys and stuffed animals, miscellaneous furniture, and books and games filled every inch.

Personally, I had better things to do than clean the “dump” today. However, since Bible study was canceled, and the girls were unexpectedly home, this was my chance. I had to make the most of it.

Today’s the day! I thought, as I jumped out of bed. After letting my kids sleep in a little (I am not a monster!), I informed them of my plan. Needless to say, my teenagers didn’t share my enthusiasm.

My oldest daughter proceeded to yell and whine because she wanted to sleep more and already had plans.

“Every other kid gets to do what they want when school is closed. Their parents don’t make them do stuff on snow days, they are all at work!” She wailed.

It brought me back to the days of her terrible twos that lasted until about age ten. My daughter was having a temper tantrum, once again, at seventeen, and I snapped. Oh, did I snap! Yelling ensued. Lord, forgive me.

Both of us eventually calmed down and we all worked on the room.

As I was telling this story to my cousin the next night, she asked, “How did you get her to calm down?” I tried to remember, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that softened our hearts and diffused the argument.

After thinking about it later that evening, I remembered I had been praying intensely for her. One could say I had been groaning in prayer for her. At almost eighteen, the season of raising this child was coming to a close. Panic had definitely set in.

Had I done enough?
Had I taught her everything she needed to know?
Will she make wise choices?
Will she choose to love and serve the Lord?

It’s definitely crunch time with my oldest. And I have felt it everyday for the last year. I have lived with the guilt of being an imperfect parent. I have seen the holes in our parenting arise as she has become a young adult. We can’t hide them anymore.

However, God gently reminds me that my kids have “free will” just as I do. Many things are out of my hands. They get to choose who they will become, who they will love, and who they will live for. And they might have a bumpy and windy road to the cross, just as I did.

So, how did the explosive fight end that icy morning?

It was prayer and the Holy Spirit that allowed love to enter in. Words of love and compassion started coming out of my mouth. It wasn’t me, though. It was God the Father loving on her through me. Yes, I love her deeply, but in that moment I couldn’t have been loving.

God is so good and honors our prayers in ways we can’t even imagine. He makes us better than we are. And prayer might be the only chance we have of raising teenagers who love the Lord in this crazy world.

We need to be persistent in prayer. We need to trust it’s power. God will honor His promises found in Scripture if we are faithful.

We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

You may not feel the Holy Spirit when you pray. You may not feel you are getting answers. Through prayer, however, the Spirit of God changes us from the inside. He refines our inner places in ways that we can never imagine or know to pray for.

If you have a teenager, what have you got to lose? Pray for your teenagers. God will bless you as you seek Him and seek to love your teenager/s well. He will give you what you don’t have. He will give you everything you need.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3


Pre-order Kim’s new book, Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids coming out February/March 2018.

Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids

I’ve seen it in your eyes. Christian parents have been watching their teens turn away from the faith for decades, and you fear your kids will do the same. It is never too late to tip the scales in favor of your kids developing a personal, passionate, and permanent faith in Jesus Christ.

$12.00

Dancing to the Song of Adolescence

As I watched a morning talk show while doing my workout one particular day, the host’s seventeen-year-old daughter was a guest on the cooking segment. As the young girl walked on the set, her mother’s face and demeanor changed noticeably. Almost instantly, she looked older. Gone was the jovial, confident talk show host that everyone usually saw. I could see the fear in her eyes. I could hear the hesitation in her voice. And I could feel the tension between them. As the familiar dance played out in front of me, it hit me. We all struggle with raising our teenagers.

With my daughters, I often feel like I have to walk on eggshells. While once I was confident, I now experience fear and trepidation. It’s a whole new ballgame with teenagers. And it requires a completely different type of parenting. Regardless of how well you have parented in the past, parenting a teenager can really throw you for a loop.

Teens often don’t know what they think or feel because on an almost daily basis, they are becoming a different person. An adolescent’s values, opinions, and perceptions are fluid and unpredictable.  —John Townsend, Boundaries with Teens

I was caught off guard recently when my daughter informed me that I analyzed things too much and was too involved in my kids’ business. Both she and her sister agreed. “You don’t have to be home everyday when I get home from school, sometimes I don’t want to talk. I want to be able to be quiet without explaining myself. Sometimes I want to be alone,” she said.

So, I told myself to back off and give her some space. However, the next day, she came home and verbally vomited on me for forty-five minutes about every aspect of her day, the drama of her friends, and every thought and feeling she had since she left the house that morning. It’s hard to keep up with her. What does she want from mom today? I often wonder.

At some point in adolescence, teens change into someone different. Something may work one day, and raise hell the next. In response, we, as parents, may feel vulnerable.

When our kids become fourteen or fifteen, we can no longer hide behind the guise of being “the parent.” They start relating to us as people. It is healthy to give them a glimpse of mom and dad as human beings. It is natural and normal to give them a peak behind the curtain. However, it is not unusual for teens to be highly critical of their parents, which can be hard to take.

When our kids entered adolescence, we became vulnerable at a deeper level. We opened up, not only about parenting issues, but about our personal struggles too. —John Townsend, Boundaries with Teens

Anyone who has had teenagers knows they believe they are adults, and therefore, no longer need input from you. They may look like adults, but mentally and emotionally, they are far from it. It boils down to this: they don’t know what they don’t know. And their brains are not fully formed until their mid-twenties. But don’t tell that to your teen! I only made that mistake once.

Biologically, a lot is going on inside the minds and bodies of teenagers. While once their thinking was purely black and white, they are now dipping their toes in the waters of abstract thinking. They can be up and down and all over the place. And often they don’t know why they think or feel the way they do. As parents, we just need to ride the wave.

When parents consistently provide teens with warmth and structure, teens become less extreme, impulsive, and moody. In other words they begin to grow up inside. —John Townsend, Boundaries with Teens

Our goal in most of the interactions with our teens needs to be connection and relationship rather than fixing and correcting. It’s not easy being a teenager. We must listen to them and empathize. Offering empathy and compassion in their mood swings allows them to feel safe.

Parenting teenagers is tricky. It is coming together and moving apart. It is aggressive and firm, yet soft and loving. And playful at times. It is a dance to the song of adolescence.

The common language is always love. Love keeps the connection alive no matter how awkward the relationship with our teens may seem. God will give us the patience and wisdom we need. And God promises to always be with us. We can rest knowing He can make our teenagers into something beautiful.


Pre-order Kim’s new book, Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids coming out February/March 2018.

Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids

I’ve seen it in your eyes. Christian parents have been watching their teens turn away from the faith for decades, and you fear your kids will do the same. It is never too late to tip the scales in favor of your kids developing a personal, passionate, and permanent faith in Jesus Christ.

$12.00

Pouring into Our Kids in 2018: Game On

God wasn’t our number one for most of our marriage. If you would have asked my husband and I, we would have said that He was. But He wasn’t. We were very much striving for the American Dream.

We were raising our daughters to be good people because we were good people. Wasn’t that what we were supposed to be doing? Wasn’t that enough?

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We taught them to say please and thank you. We taught them to be nice and polite and do what they’re told. We took them to church on Sundays to learn about God. We taught them the importance of a good education and how to be successful in American culture.

As my kids grew up, I started to think about what I really wanted them to be when they left our house.

Happy? Confident? Intelligent? Driven?

To a certain degree, yes, those things are useful. But, they are secondary values. As I pondered these things I began to question the values on which I had been so focused.

I realized that if I want my kids to have a lasting faith and a heart for God, then I needed to shoot for more than raising our kids to be good people.

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When I found myself with teenagers, my thinking started to shift from the day to day issues with my kids, to the adults they would become. As my mind flashed forward, what I saw gave me pause.

My mind didn’t flash to them as hobos living on the street and begging for food. My mind didn’t flash to my daughters being porn stars or drug addicts. My mind flashed to their faith and character.

Who would they become? Would they continue to follow Christ as young adults?

What greater focus could there be this coming year than the spiritual lives of our kids? I challenge you to commit to being intentional about3D cover passing on a personal faith in Christ to your kids this year. Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids will empower you in this noble endeavor.

We go to church, you may say. Isn’t that enough? According to numerous studies, it isn’t.

Did you know somewhere between 60-75% of our kids leave the church when they leave home?

Did you know 85% of youth from Christian homes who attend public schools do not embrace a Christian worldview? (The Last Christian Generation, Josh McDowell, p.14)

2018 is here, and many of us have made New Year’s Resolutions. Losing weight, exercising, and reading the Bible are all noble goals. However, We have the rest of our lives to improve ourselves. How much time do we have left with our kids?

Do you see your kids wrestling with spiritual issues? Are you a regular part of their journey toward discovering the truth? Have you done everything you could this past year to build up faith in Christ in your children? If not, what better resolution could there be?

It’s a new year and anything is possible. You have a clean slate.

Game on.

Man, I saw a lot of the mistakes that I made early on and I see a lot of the things I’m doing well now, and the difference this book would have made for me 28 years ago…I actually had a hard time putting this one down!  —Jim

In this book, you will learn…

  • why a majority of kids leave the church after they leave home
  • why churched kids’ lifestyles often aren’t consistent with their religion
  • the reality of what kids will encounter in college
  • which things actually cause faith to stick to kids
  • how to encourage your kids to depend on God
  • 3 ways to nurture your kids so they will be open to the gospel
  • 5 questions all teenagers must answer as they move into adulthood
  • 11 mistakes Christian parents make that lead kids away from faith in Christ

Pouring in comes out in the next couple months. Pre-order your copy for just $12 today!

Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids

I’ve seen it in your eyes. Christian parents have been watching their teens turn away from the faith for decades, and you fear your kids will do the same. It is never too late to tip the scales in favor of your kids developing a personal, passionate, and permanent faith in Jesus Christ.

$12.00

 

 

 

5 Reasons to be Excited about the New Year

TempThis morning I woke up to find it was negative fifteen degrees! What? In Indiana? I understand if you live in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan—those up there states—it is par for the course. But, Indiana? Brrrrrrr!

I just got back from the grocery store. It’s a deceivingly beautiful day. The sky is blue and the bright, beautiful snow is sparkling in the sunshine. It’s delightful to look at from the inside. However, I had to take my heavy duty gloves off walking back to the car because I bought Starbucks and I couldn’t grip my cup with them on. My hands throbbed all the way home. It’s rough being me.

Anyway, now that I have thawed a little, back to my post.

Happy New Year! If you are anything like me, New Year’s day is a relief. The holidays just about kill me, so I am glad they are over. And now, I can look to the future.

Are you expecting great things in 2018? I am. Want to know why? Even though I’m not an especially optimistic person, I know that God is already holding this coming year in His hands. 2018 belongs to Him. He’s got this.

5 reasons to be excited about the new year:3D cover

  1. Regardless of how short the days seem, they are getting LONGER
  2. Christmas is over
  3. There are 43 days until we have to buy anything for anyone for a “holiday”
  4. This is the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:2). God has good things in store for 2018.
  5. Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids comes out in January or February!

I don’t generally make New Year’s Resolutions, but since I know how flawed I am, I always have a list. My list, usually revolves around the theme of more thankfulness. I need to work on having a thankful attitude. I need to work on complaining less. More thankfulness, less complaining.

This is my WIP (Work In Progress) list.

  • more thankfulness
  • less complaining
  • more love
  • less complaining
  • more grace
  • less complaining
  • more joy
  • less complaining

Are you noticing a pattern? I look at it this way: Basically, I need more of Him, and less of me.

He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30

If I made New Year’s resolutions, this verse would be mine every year. I am so thankful that we have a God that loves the “works in progress.”

For my fellow works in progress, I look forward to our journey together in 2018! I look forward to becoming more like Him together with you. Thank you so much for subscribing to my blog. I so appreciate you.

Blessings.