Thanks Dad For Saving My Life

“For He will command His angels…to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11 ESV

We go through life never realizing how much we impact the lives around us. When my grandchildren were little, they absolutely adored their Uncle Drew. In their minds, he hung the moon. Drew dressed cool, taught golf and played the guitar…and he let the boys borrow his hair gel to get that special sought-after spiked look. They wanted to look like him and be like him. He was their hero.

When Drew was five, we took our kids to Six Flags and rode “Judge Roy Screams”. Drew was just barely tall enough to fulfill the hight requirement to ride the roller coaster, but the passenger’s safety bar didn’t come close to securing his wiry little body in the seat. It was an accident waiting to happen. As the cars twisted, turned, climbed and fell, a petrified Drew slipped under the bar and onto the floor. Fortunately, Grant was there to pull him to safety and hold him close until the ride ended. As the ride slowly rolled back to the starting point, Drew looked into Grant’s eyes and with sincere gratitude exclaimed, “Thanks dad for saving my life!”

We can’t always be within arm’s reach when our children face danger. But we serve the God who knows no boundaries and to Whom distance means nothing. The Bible says He will command His angels to guard us…and our children. That doesn’t mean we cast all caution and wisdom to the wind. But at the same time, we do NOT have to walk in fear where our children are concerned.

Pray specifically each day for God to protect your children from harm – physically, mentally and spiritually. Release them into His care at the start of each day. God is both able and trustworthy! Remind your children as they walk out the door that you’ve asked God’s angels to go with them. Not only do you send them out with God’s peace, but you also plant a seed of faith inside them as they see YOU trusting Him!

PRAYER: God, thank You for watching over my children and commanding Your angels to guard them everywhere they go. Place a wall of protection around them and destroy any weapon the devil might try to use against them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Learn When to Let Go

Shannon on her 1st birthday, 3-16-79

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”

Isaiah 43:18 NIV

It was a Sunday morning. I was crouched on my knees leaning over the bathtub shampooing Gwen’s long blonde hair while our one-year-old Shannon crawled on the floor behind me waiting for her turn in the bubbles. I’d already plugged the curling iron in so it could get hot. I thought it was safely out of reach on the bathroom cabinet…

All of a sudden, Shannon let out a blood-curdling scream that wouldn’t stop. She was less than three feet from me, but with my back turned I didn’t see her pull on the electrical cord and grab hold of the curling iron when it fell on the carpet.

Despite her hysterical screaming, Shannon didn’t let go of the curling iron. Her tiny hand clenched the hot metallic barrel and I had to literally pry it off. Her hand was severely burned. I later learned that when children (and adults) feel sudden pain, our muscles respond by tightening up. In Shannon’s case, that response caused her to hold tightly to the very thing that was hurting her.

I credit Abilene’s West Texas Rehabilitation Center and a very special physical therapist, Mary Lou Garrett, for saving the use of Shannon’s hand. Every day for weeks, Shannon went in for a sterile hand bath followed by painful debriding of the dead skin. There was nothing easy about this process…this was Shannon’s thumb-sucking hand…and that never changed. She sucked her thumb through medicine, bandages, gloves and every other creative obstacle I could think of.

Almost everyone has painful experiences…some physical and some emotional. We can hold onto bitterness, hurt, disappointment and even anger for a lifetime. It’s a natural reaction. But if we do, the hurt will continue to fester inside of us…and it won’t go away. The sooner we learn to let go of things that hurt us, the healthier we will be!

Teach your children a simple exercise in letting go. When they get upset or hurt and are “hanging on” to an offense, have them imagine that offense sitting in their hands. Is it something they like? Do they want to keep it? Does it hurt when they think about it? Then it’s time to hand that offense to God once and for all. Instead of dwelling on something that hurts them, train them to give it to God and let HIM deal with it…so their healing can begin.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me teach my children to never hold on to past hurts, but to give You those painful things so Your Holy Spirit can bring healing to their minds and their hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

More Effective Than Grounding

“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”

Matthew 6:13 NIV

When our oldest daughter Gwen started taking driver’s education classes, my mother gave us an extra car she didn’t need anymore. It was a little Chevy Citation hatchback – nothing fancy, but the price was right and it was in great shape. Unfortunately, Gwen hated the car. She was embarrassed to even be SEEN in it, and horrified to think of driving it. Grant took pity on her, and as soon as she got her driver’s license, she got his sporty red Nissan and he drove the Citation. Life was good – for Gwen and for me. As the mother of four, I was thrilled to have a new driver in the house who could run errands and drive herself to and from school. The time savings was huge – except when she did something wrong and Grant took her car keys away. It easily added an extra hour of driving to my schedule every day. After a few “groundings”, I had a heart-to-heart with Grant explaining that when he grounded Gwen by taking her driving privileges away, he was in effect grounding me too. Because then I had to drive her everywhere. We were in agreement she needed to be punished. We just needed a different plan – something that would motivate her to make good choices without making my life more difficult. The answer was simple. We wouldn’t keep her from driving. We would make her drive…the Citation.

This was the worst (or best, depending on your point of view) punishment EVER. And it worked! Just a hint Gwen might have to drive the Citation was enough to keep her moving in the right direction.

Staying on the right path is never easy. Temptation is constantly pulling at our kids …trying to seduce them into making harmful choices that can affect their lives forever. As parents, it’s our job to steer them in the way they should go without breaking their tender spirits. What works for one child won’t necessarily work for another. As “painful” as it was for Gwen to drive that Citation, she was better off in the long run, and likely saved from situations that could have caused her real pain. We must stay on our knees and seek God’s direction for the right kind of discipline needed in each circumstance, so our kids stay healthy and safe as they grow into the young adults God wants them to be.

PRAYERHeavenly Father, I pray You will continually guide each of my children towards the path You have set out for them. When they stray, help me know how to discipline them in a way that brings repentance and not rebellion, in a way that molds but doesn’t tear down and in a way that plants in them a desire to follow You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


You’re Never Alone

IMG_0495“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

In 2007, my oldest daughter Gwen called in hysterics, needing directions to Children’s Hospital in downtown Dallas. Her son Saber was by himself en route to the medical center via ambulance. Gwen was 30 miles away, frantic, and didn’t know how to get there.

Saber had fallen 15 feet from a tree in his Memaw’s backyard. On the way to the ground, God miraculously saved him from a tragic outcome. His thin “I Love New York” t-shirt caught on one of the lowest tree branches, halting his fall mid-air, just inches from the bricks on the ground below. But blood was everywhere. A sharp limb had severely sliced his leg open from upper thigh to knee. EMS responders determined they needed to bypass a closer regional hospital and go straight to Children’s. Memaw was home alone with the other grandchildren, so she couldn’t go with him.

Gwen was imagining how afraid Saber must be feeling…hurt and alone, being taken by strangers to a place he’d never been before. As a mother, she desperately wanted to give him comfort and be by his side.

But Saber didn’t feel alone. The trained medical staff riding with him in the ambulance was wonderful. They brought comfort to this little 7-year-old boy as if he was their own. Their calm assurance helped transform a scary time into an exciting adventure, complete with one very big scar! A quick phone call alerted one of our precious church friends (a pediatric physician at Children’s) who met the ambulance at the door of the ER. Saber was well cared for. Mom arrived moments later and yes, she too survived.

The Bible reminds us time and time again our God is never absent. When the young boys Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were taken into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar, God was with them every step of the way. Instead of being fearful, they stood on their faith and trusted God. When they were thrown into a blazing furnace, He saved them from a fiery death. In the end, they were elevated to positions of great importance.

You can’t be everywhere all the time when your children need you. Only God can. But you can take great comfort in knowing the God who created the universe is the same God who watches over your children when they are beyond your grasp and out of your sight. Teach them to trust in Him and call upon Him when they are afraid or feel alone. He will never leave them!

PRAYER: God, I am so grateful You watch over all of us even when we don’t realize it. Thank You for all the times Your angels have saved my children from harm. Continue to watch over them, protect them, and draw them unto You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.