Foster Care, Uncategorized

Let’s Talk Home Studies

(This post is released in conjunction with my YouTube video on the same subject, to make resources easier to find. Watch the video for my full commentary.)

When it comes to foster care, I frequently get asked about home studies. “I’m really nervous about my home study.” “What do I need to do to get ready for our home study?” “I’m not a great housekeeper – will I fail a home study?”

First off, let’s be clear about what the purpose of a home study IS and IS NOT.

A Home Study is Not:

This is not a test of your cleaning, organizing, or homemaking skills. Your pantry doesn’t need to look like a Pinterest post in order to become a foster parent.

Your home study is not an evaluation of your decorating taste, style, or ability (or lack thereof).

It is not a white-glove military inspection. No one is coming to measure the angle of the creases on your sheets.

In fact, a home study is not really primarily about your home at all. Yes, there are pieces of it that apply to your physical home that you will need to work on and comply with. But they are not actually the primary focus of a foster care home study.

A Home Study IS:

Your home study is primarily about YOU and your family, rather than your home. The goal is to make sure that you and your family can provide a safe and supportive home for a child in need – both physically and emotionally. Your home study writer will also be exploring what kind of child you will be best suited to parent, and how they might affect your family dynamic. This process will also help to identify what further support, resources, or training may be beneficial to help you succeed as a foster parent.

And yes, they also want to make sure that your house meets certain requirements. Those requirements of foster care are there so that your house isn’t just not dangerous, but actively anticipates and stays a step ahead of potential safety risks.

The Heart of it All

The home study process can feel very invasive, vulnerable, and judgmental on our end. Just remember that children come into foster care because someONE or someTHING has fundamentally failed them along the line, and the purpose of a home study is to avoid putting an already-traumatized child into an unstable environment. No one is evaluating your success or failure at life – they are simply looking for red flags that could affect the care a child receives.

And for all those physical things you need to comply with, I’ve put together a list of the things we used (or similar things) as foster parents. (Disclaimer: This list is not definitive, and my inclusion does not guarantee it will meet your state or agency’s requirements. Please check all final decisions with your family’s caseworker.)

(This list is not sponsored – all recommendations and opinions are my own. The links provided are affiliate links and my family will receive a small commission for orders you make from them.)

Smoke Detector:

Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

Fire Extinguisher:

Small Tool Box (for medications):

Luggage Locks (to go on the tool boxes):

Magnetic Cabinet Locks:

Convertible Car Seat:

Basic Crib:

Frames (make all those required documents part of your decor):

Faith, Names

In A Name – Kavannah Abigail

A few weeks ago in church the speaking pastor made a comment about how in our culture “names don’t really mean anything,” people usually just pick them because they like the sound of them – the pastor and his wife included. And I laughed to myself. By now you know that meaning is central to how we choose our children’s names, so that morning just confirmed that we’re the crazies in our world. No shame.

If you’re just joining in, you can catch up on the stories behind our older two sons’ names, Gavrel and Declan.

Long before we’d chosen either of the boys’ names, Jon and I watched some close friends walk through a hard, hard season when they lost a baby girl. They had chosen a name for their daughter taken from an old Rabbinical word that describes the constant, intentional practice and awareness of the presence of God in every aspect of life. It was a concept our friends had taken from a ministry training, and it so beautifully described how they had to fully rely on God during their loss.

Almost exactly a year later, Jon and I discovered we were pregnant with Gavrel (even if we didn’t know it was Gavrel yet). We hadn’t stumbled into our naming process yet, but very early had a name come to mind that we both loved: Kavannah – the name of our friends’ daughter. We loved the sound (it’s pronounced more like the Irish surname “Cavanaugh”), the meaning, and the legacy of faith that came with it. With our friends’ blessing and permission, we agreed that we would love to use the name if we ever had a little girl.

So we sat on the name for a few years while we had boys. Around the time we were discussing having a third baby, I had several friends who were struggling with infertility or miscarriage. I mourned with a lot of friends that year. I found myself praying one morning, “Lord, there is so much pain around me. How do I celebrate this next baby while so many are hurting?” And the reassurance in my spirit was “Celebrate! Rejoice over this baby. You have no idea the healing and joy they will bring into life.” And so we paired the middle name Abigail, meaning “the joy of her Father.”

Kavannah Abigail – the intentional awareness of the presence of the God who delights in her. She remains the only one of our children to have her name come together before she existed, but we can’t imagine her being anything else. She is as unique a little creature as her name – deep, thoughtful, content, loving, joyful, and independent. Someone in whom God is richly present. She’s pretty great.

Faith, Parenting

Parenting Prayers: Psalm 119

Recently, I’ve been asking God to give me specific verses to pray over each of my children. We already give them life verses that go along with the meanings of their names. But I’ve also been asking God what else is on his heart for each of them. As I was helping Gavrel brush his teeth and get ready for bed one night, I stood playing with his hair and watching his face in the mirror, and a verse rushed to my mind as loudly and clearly as a thunderclap.

Psalm 119:9-11:
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.

So I began to pray this over him as I continued to watch him in the mirror. Later, I went back and wrote it out in the margins of my Bible so that I can remember and continue to pray it. But I also wanted to share it here, in the hopes that it empowers you in praying for your own children in line with God’s will for them.

Lord, I pray that (name) would keep his/her way pure by always guarding it according to your word; that (name) would seek you with his/her whole heart and not wander from your commandments. Teach (name) to store up your word in his/her heart, that he/she might not sin against you. 

And just for fun, Seeds Family Worship has a fun song based on this verse. It’s a great way to help you and your little ones memorize this verse as you’re praying it.


Keeping Up

“Wow, seven kids! …How do you keep up with all that laundry?” It’s a pretty common follow-up question – especially from other moms.

For the last year, the honest answer has been “I don’t. I pay someone else to.” I’ve had a rock star of a regular babysitter who came to my house every week and did all of my laundry in one day, while I ran kids to various therapy appointments. It has been such a huge help over the last year and oftentimes saved my sanity. But God had bigger plans for my rock star and called her to full-time ministry in Guatemala. I’m crazy excited for her new life adventure. It’s also meant some re-adjustment for me.

So how do I keep up with everything, now that my laundry fairy is gone? Here’s my general system:

A hamper in every bedroom.
I keep a laundry hamper in every bedroom. They’re all just cheap, collapsible mesh bins and all dirty clothes from that bedroom go into the bin together. So, my husband’s clothes and mine are all together, my three little girls’ clothes are all together, my three little boys’ clothes are together, and my teenager has her own hamper.

Everyone in the pool!
My mother is a laundry wizard. She can conquer any stain, and very carefully taught me to sort my laundry by color, texture, etc. There has been absolutely no fault in my teaching. But I’ve learned that I needed to let my expectations of perfection in the laundry department go, or I would never keep up with it. So, each hamper just gets washed all together in cool water. I don’t sort colors or textures any more – I only sort by what room it needs to get put away in. (So the moral of the story is, I can get it done. But if you want it done flawlessly, go talk to my mom!)

One thing at a time.
I aim to do one room’s laundry a day, start-to-finish. Sometimes that gets done in one load – the little girls’ clothes often all fit together, especially in summer. Sometimes it takes two or three loads – like when my boys have changed super hero costumes three times a day for a week. I try to start a load in the morning (before I even get my babies up, if I can) and have that room’s laundry done and put away by the end of the day. This feels like a manageable amount in any given day, so I don’t feel like I’m trying to do it all at once. But it gets everyone’s clothes washed often enough that we’re never running out. It also leaves the washer open in the afternoon for things like potty accidents, wet swimsuits, dog towels, etc. – those things that you need to throw in the washer right away.

Older kids.
My teenage daughter does her own laundry. I help her with any stains or other questions she might have, and often I’ll move it to the dryer or help her fold if I have a chance. But I let her wash her own stuff within the bigger schedule. As the other kids get older, I’ll start switching them to this system too and we’ll re-adjust again.

Everything else.
Everything else gets washed on an as-needed or as-available basis. Kid bedding gets washed when it needs to be (because let’s face it, it needs to be washed fairly regularly with little ones…). Towels or my bedding get washed when everything else is done or they really need it. Dish towels and bibs get run a couple afternoons a week – my laundry is actually in my kitchen, so this is an easy end-of-the-day load while I’m making dinner or doing dishes.

Laundry is something that I consider necessary, but not important in my world. Teaching my kids, knowing them, spending time with them, investing in my marriage, being hospitable, following Jesus – those are the important things. So I’ve had to let go of some of my perfectionism in favor of just getting the necessary done. It works for me – hopefully it’s encouraging to you.

And hey, if you can hire a laundry fairy of your own, then I highly recommend that too!

Kids, Names

In a Name: Declan Ezekiel

I’ve talked before about how we choose our children’s names, and how we sort of stumbled into the process while pregnant with our firstborn: Gavrel Lagersen. So here’s the next chapter in the story.

When we discovered I was pregnant for the second time, our friends and community seemed to think it was the most natural thing in the world – of course we were having another baby! But after all the fanfare and rejoicing over my first pregnancy, I wondered if this baby would be overlooked. After such powerful prayers over Gavrel, would this kiddo have just as big a mission in life? One Sunday morning during church, I was praying “Lord, this baby is just as precious to me as Gavrel. I want this baby to be celebrated and rejoiced over like Gavrel was!”

In that moment, God reminded me “I am rejoicing over this little one just as much. They are loved beyond measure.” As I looked up, I saw some good family friends standing at the front of the worship center as part of the weekly prayer team, and felt prompted to go ask them to pray for our baby. I’m not sure I did a great job expressing what I was feeling in that moment, but they seemed to understand my desire for baby to be celebrated and rejoiced over.

As they prayed, they began to declare that this baby would be “courageous and strong in spirit.” And I knew that this was going to be the foundation for our name. Listening to who God said our baby was and choosing a name to fit that meaning had worked so well the first time, we figured we should probably keep running with it. So we sat on these words and mulled them over for a while.

I had a name I had come across while digging through lists the first time that I couldn’t quite shake. I loved the sound of it, and I loved the meaning. But it didn’t literally mean anything like “courageous” or “strong.” So I started back through our short lists of names that we hadn’t used for Gavrel, to see what was there. That’s when I found a middle name we’d tagged – Ezekiel – “God will strengthen.” When I paired this with the name I’d been sitting on, it painted a bigger picture. Declan – “man of prayer” became:

Declan Ezekiel – “man of prayer strengthened by God.” This described the spiritual strength and courage we were looking for – in the context of dependence on and communication with a relational God.

And this kiddo is who God said he would be. He is brave – sometimes to a fault. He is courageous. He loves to pray for his friends and family. He feels deeply and understands spiritual things in incredible depth. I can’t wait to see who he continues to become.

Lifestyle, Parenting

Living Without the TV

I shared recently how we came to live without a television, or really with almost no screen time at all for our kids. I promised to circle back around on what that looks like for us and how it works, so here I am to do so!

First a couple disclaimers: Most of my kids have lived their entire lives this way, and they don’t know any differently. If this is a transition you’re hoping to make, there will be some “detox” and adjustment needed – we’ve seen it with foster kids coming into our home. It’s drastically different than what they are used to. Secondly, I am a stay-at-home mom. I don’t work outside of my family, nor do I have other major commitments that I need to fulfill for someone. I am also married and Jon is a very hands-on dad; I’m not a single working parent trying to do it all myself. I don’t expect that this is the perfect solution for everyone, so please feel nothing but grace here. So how do we make it work?

Out of sight, out of mind.
We got rid of the TV completely. Like I mentioned before, it was old and a safety hazard. I don’t even have the temptation to turn it on, because it’s just not there. We have a projector that we bring out occasionally for family movie night, but it lives in a suitcase in a closet when not in use. It takes significant effort to set up, so it’s not something I can break out without thought. A friend of mine shared that their TV stays unplugged most of the time so that her small kids can’t turn it on. Maybe putting the TV in a less-frequently used room (like we originally did in our master bedroom), will keep it from being the go-to.

I’ve had to adjust some of my routines to accommodate life without the TV. For example, I leave my little kids in their beds for a few (or sometimes several, honestly) extra minutes in the morning while I get myself dressed and ready for the day. I started a habit a couple years ago of getting completely dressed (and not in sweats – dressed enough to go out, if need be) and ready (hair, makeup, jewelry) every single day before I will even leave my room. The baby will be ok in his bed for a few extra minutes, and I won’t feel like I’m desperate to get away to do these things later. I also shower at night after my little kids are in bed. That way I’m not worried about who is getting into things while I’m showering.

I’ve trended toward a lot of automated or cook-ahead type meals. I have a rice cooker, a crock pot, and an Instant Pot. If I can put these things to work for me, or just throw something in the oven that I’ve previously assembled (say, during my littlest ones’ nap times), it allows me to spread my attention around and not feel like I need to try to be watching the stove while making sure a toddler isn’t pulling curtains down at the same time.

I use a lot of “near me, but not with me” time for my kids: having them do something nearby without necessarily having to directly interact with them. When I’m exhausted out of my mind (when I’m hugely pregnant, for example) and I just need to lay down, I will sit a child or two on my bed or on the other end of the couch with a pile of books to look at while I rest for a few minutes. Or I can put a baby or two in high chairs with a book or a couple toys while I’m prepping a meal or sweeping the floor. I have my kids sit together at the kitchen table and color or look at magazines while I’m making lunch or breakfast, instead of trying to make it and then corralling them all to come sit down.

And honestly, there’s a lot of the kids just learning to entertain themselves. They’ve gotten used to not being actively entertained most of the time. I’ve allowed them to get bored enough to find something to do on their own. They’ve stopped expecting me to keep them occupied and have learned to occupy themselves. For the natively-screen-free among my kids, this comes a little more naturally. For those that have had to get used to it, it develops over time and can be hard at first.

And, of course, the nitty-gritty… What do my kids actually do all day while they’re not watching TV?
Pretend play: We have a big collection of dress-up clothes and costumes; a play kitchen, table, and chairs where they pretend to cook for each other; baby dolls with clothes, bottles, a high chair, cradle, and stroller; and a few action figures that regularly save the day. One of the favorite games right now is “going home,” where the kids pack a bag of random toys and tell me “Bye Mom! I’m going home!” and then proceed to walk around the house with their bag of toys as if they are travelling home.

Building: Wooden blocks, Duplo, Lego, K’nex. Something is usually being created at any given point in time. Train tracks and Hotwheels cars are also constants.

Arts and Crafts: Crayons, markers, colored pencils, and a steady supply of printer paper are always available. Most of the time I’ll allow simple watercolor painting, too. Play-Doh is popular and a good one for when I need everyone sitting in one place for a while. I also have a variety of stickers, beads, yarn, felt, glue, scissors, etc. Painters tape is handy for all sorts of things, and my boys especially are fond of making all kinds of creations out of cardboard.

Games: Matching/memory kinds of games are great because they can be scaled to fit different ages and developmental levels; my two- and three-year-olds just sort through the piles looking for the matches, while the older kids can play structured memory and take turns flipping the cards. We have lots of puzzles in varying difficulties. Simple board or card games: Candy Land, Hi-Ho Cherry-O, Uno, War, etc. Pictionary can be modified so that even very young kiddos can participate. My fourteen-year-old recently taught my four- and six-year-olds to play Uno, so that is the game of choice right now.

Books: Books, books, books for days. I am a total sucker for books. Always. I’m sure we have in the neighborhood of a couple thousand books in our house. I do a lot of reading aloud to the kids, but I’ve also collected a variety of big, beautiful, elaborate picture books that non-readers can sit and look at happily for extended periods of time (seek-and-find type books are great for this, too).

Outside: We spend a lot of time outside. We have a big yard, a couple great climbing trees in different sizes, a massive sandbox, and a swing set/playhouse. Bikes, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, kiddie-pool, studying nature, collecting leaves or rocks, going for walks, and playing tag are all fan favorites.

And what about the older kids? You might be surprised how much these things scale. My teenage daughter will sit on the couch with a book for a couple hours. She’ll use the art supplies to work on hand-lettering Bible verses to hang on her wall. She takes the dogs for walks up and down the street. She’ll journal and listen to music. Or she’ll sit in the room and just talk to me while I do other things.

A Place for Technology
Even without the TV, there’s still a place for technology in our everyday. I do sometimes put on an audio book for the kids to listen to on Audible. A sweet friend got us a subscription to Adventures in Odyssey this year for Christmas. We have a series of Google Home speakers that we use to listen to music or podcasts. Once in a great while, I will let the kids play the Bible App for Kids for a little while. And yes, once in a while we drag out our projector and watch a movie together as a family.

It does require some different thinking and planning to be screen-free. It takes creativity, and sometimes a lot of patience. But if paring down your screen time is a goal, I hope I’ve given you some practical ideas to try. Questions? Comments? Things I forgot? Let me know!

Adoption, Foster Care

The Road Here

“I think it’s time to start moving on something adoption or orphan care related.”

Adoption had been on our radar for a while. We knew there was a huge need, and we felt we’d been equipped to do something toward meeting that need. But as we prayed about it and explored options, it was never right. The time wasn’t right; our space wasn’t right; the venue wasn’t right. The directive seemed to just be “wait.”

But one October night as we were getting ready for bed, Jon said “I think it’s time. I think God is telling me it’s time to move on this.” “Ok, so now what?” “I don’t know. That’s not clear to me.” So we agreed to pray about it before we went to sleep. We woke up the next morning to an email in both our inboxes from our church advertising an adoption and foster care informational conference coming up that November. That seemed like a pretty clear direction. So we signed up.

At the conference, we talked to everyone: every agency, every ministry, every organization. We asked questions about the ins-and-outs of different options, and about where the greatest needs were. We attended breakout sessions on “Adoption 101” and “Foster Care 101” and just took in as much information as we could. At the end of the day, we got back in the car together, looked at each other, and asked “Well, what are you thinking?”

“You know,” I told Jon, “I’ve always been focused on adoption – adoption for the sake of adoption – adoption as the end goal. But after hearing everything today, I feel like we could foster. We could just foster for the sake of fostering and helping out whole families, without necessarily adopting.” “That’s exactly what I was thinking, actually,” Jon answered. It was decided. We started our training classes the first week of January, doing our home study concurrently. We finished classes the first of March, and finished our end of the home study about a week later.

Then we waited. We waited while the final home study was written and submitted, then while our family caseworker input all the information into the state’s system. There were about three weeks when we heard nothing. Finally, I got an email from our case worker saying “everything’s been input, so I’m sending your file off to Nashville for final approval. I usually hear back on these in about a week or so, sometimes a little longer.” I called Jon to let him know.

Less than an hour later – I think it was 57 minutes – I got another email from our case worker. “Well, you guys must have some serious power behind you, because your approval just came back already. I’ve never seen this happen before!” Serious power, indeed. “So, just be aware that I’m sending your information over to placement and you might start getting calls soon.”

My phone rang ten minutes later.

There was a little girl, about one-and-a-half, that needed a pre-adoptive placement. Oh, and there would be a newborn baby sister coming in a couple months, too. Would we be willing to take both of them, potentially forever? We had overnight to decide, before a meeting at the DCS office to discuss moving homes for this little girl. As we talked about it that night, we just couldn’t deny God’s very obvious hand in all the timing. We said yes. The toddler moved in three days later; the baby came home less than two months afterward.

That was nearly two years ago. Today, those little girls are three-and-a-half and one-and-a-half and they are forever ours – adopted after over a year in our family. We’ve had other foster placements in the meantime – some long, some short, one more forever. Foster care is not an easy road to walk. But all along the way, God has been faithful to show us when and how to walk it – one step at a time.

Kids, Names

In A Name – Gavrel Lagersen

I shared a couple weeks ago just how we stumbled into the process we use for choosing names for our children. Most people know that our kids have unusual names and most people know that their meanings are particularly important to us, but most people haven’t heard the whole back story. If you missed it the first time, go check it out.

I shared that after more than a dozen different people, in unrelated times and places all prayed the words “prophet” and “worshiper” over our first baby, we decided that we should sit up and take notice. Maybe this was something God wanted to say about this kiddo. We felt like our extended families had most of the good prophet names covered (some of them multiple times). So we decided to focus our search on the “worshipper” aspect.

We started with an off-the-shelf baby name book and found… nothing. So we bought a Christian baby name book that came a lot closer and had some great other suggestions, but still didn’t quite have what we were looking for. (It’s still a resource we go back to each time looking for ideas, though, if you are looking for a good jumping-off point.) So we did what any other good tech-generation parents-to-be would do: we went to Google.

Turns out, there are a lot of names in other religious cultures that mean worshiper – namely Muslim, Sanskrit, or Hindu. Again, that wasn’t quite what we were going for. Finally, after months of varying search terms, following links, digging through lists, and following all sorts of internet rabbit trails through background stories, we stumbled on an old Russian name that meant “Worshiper of God”: Gavrel. I’ll admit that Jon was much more strongly attracted to it than I was at first. But the more I sat on it and prayed, the more right it seemed. There were other names I liked the sound of better, but they just didn’t belong to this child.

It really clicked for me when Jon approached me one night with another idea. “I know you don’t necessarily want to use family names, but I have one I’ve been thinking about that I would really like to at least consider using.” Ok? “Lagersen. It’s my grandpa’s middle name. It was his mother’s maiden name.” Jon’s grandpa was a medical missionary to Hong Kong, founding a hospital there. I didn’t want to use family names because I didn’t want something that had been repeated over and over, but this name seemed to subtly pay tribute to someone who had taken the name of Jesus to the nations – a specific prayer over our baby – without being a standard “prophet” name. When I said it aloud together, I knew it was right:

Gavrel Lagersen. Our worshiper prophet to the nations.

It’s a big name. When he was born, people didn’t understand – they asked what we would call him, assuming we had a much more familiar nickname picked out. But we just call him Gavrel. He knows, even at a young age, what his name means and why we chose it. And we pray that it’s a legacy he can continue to grow into.

Lifestyle, Parenting

What’s Missing?

“I’m looking around your house, and I’ve noticed something missing.” It’s a comment I hear occasionally when someone comes to the house for the first time. So what’s missing from my home?

A television. That’s right – we don’t own a TV.

Not only do we not own a TV, but our children get near-zero screen time as a rule. Now wait, before you start to defend your own family’s screen time to me, let me explain. We didn’t set out to be that way – my husband owns an IT company; we’re certainly not anti-technology.

When we were dating and after we first got married, we watched a lot of TV. We had a big, clunky, box of a TV that was handed down to us. I publicly admit to being a Food Network/HGTV junkie. Jon could sit in front of news channels most of the day and be a happy camper.

We moved into a new apartment just before our second anniversary. It was a God-send and provided some much-needed extended living space with a 3-month-old baby now in the mix. But the living room was an odd shape, and there wasn’t a natural place to put that clunker of a TV. Plus, we knew screen time wasn’t supposed to be good for babies, so we moved it into our master bedroom. Jon and I would watch movies or the occasional Netflix series at night, but it quickly became “out of sight, out of mind.” Life got busier: Jon’s new business grew, we had another baby, and we increasingly had other ways to spend our time. Eventually we realized that it had been eight or nine months since we had even turned the TV on.

About the same time our firstborn son, Gavrel, learned to climb. When he pulled the (thankfully short) dresser in his own bedroom over one day while climbing, we started taking a look around the rest of the house. Our dresser was much taller – with that giant box TV on top of it. If he were to climb that, it could kill him. We really weren’t watching it anyway, so away the TV went. We realized pretty quickly that we didn’t miss it. Jon and I still watched a very occasional movie, but a laptop screen worked just fine for that.

For a while, we would let the kids watch videos on a tablet or play with an app (I’m a huge fan of the Bible App for Kids) for those times when “Mommy just needs to rest” or “I just need to get something done.” You know – those times we all have throughout the day. It didn’t take us long to realize, though, that it affected our kids’ attitudes and behavior: they were meaner, shorter-tempered, and more demanding after screen time. We weren’t actually saving ourselves any time or effort by adding screen time back in. Finally we decided enough was enough, and we stopped even that.

Today, we will set up a projector for family movie night once in a while. I play videos off of my phone or computer for school lessons some days. But we largely still live screen-free at home during the day. It’s pretty drastically (and noticeably) different than most people. But it has been a good thing for us.

Trust me, I’m not sitting back here judging you because you let your kids watch TV or play with iPads. Life is hard, parenting is harder, and we all do what we need to to get through. I do frequently hear “I would really love to cut back on our family’s screen time, but I just don’t know how” or “I just don’t know what else to do with my kids while I…” I just want to gently and lovingly encourage you that it is possible, if it’s important to you or a goal of yours. I’ll be circling back around to talk about what that looks like on a practical, daily basis – you know, what I actually do instead of turning cartoons on.

If that’s not something that’s for you – great. Enjoy those cartoons with no shame! And hey, now you know why my family and I are a little slow on the popular culture references. We’re weirdos; we know.


Faith, Parenting

Parenting Prayers: Ephesians 1

A few weeks ago, as I was going to bed on a Friday night, I felt Jesus whisper “Get up before your family tomorrow morning.” Anyone who knows me knows that this is a stretching directive for me – I don’t do early morning. But I opted not to argue this time around and dutifully set my alarm for early Saturday morning.

When I got up in the morning, I sat at the kitchen table with my Bible and a cup of coffee and asked God what he wanted to tell me. What am I awake early on a Saturday morning to hear? He had already been leading me through Ephesians chapter 1 slowly throughout the previous week, so I was drawn back there. I started reading where I had left off. I came to verses 17-19:

“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…”

I felt like I’d been punched in the gut and my eyes teared up. Parenting is really hard sometimes, and we had been in the midst of a particularly hard stretch. But as I read these verses, I knew this was what I wanted for my children. This was what Jesus had called me up early to show me. So I began to pray these verses over my children – copying them out and inserting each of their names as I went.

I finished these prayers (seven times over) as my first little ones were appearing downstairs and set it aside to begin the day. Later that evening, long after I had moved on to other things, Jon showed me a text from someone who had been praying for us. It included these same verses being prayed over our children. It was such a sweet confirmation that I’d heard correctly.

Two weeks later, in church, the sermon included the same passage, with instructions and specific encouragement to pray these verses over others in our lives. It seems that Jesus is stressing their importance to me. So I want to share them with you now, in the form I prayed them over my children. I hope this blesses you and gives you a concrete way to pray Scripture over your own children and family.

God of our Lord Jesus Christ, glorious Father, I ask you to give (name) the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that he/she may know you better. I pray also that the eyes of his/her heart may be enlightened in order that (name) may know the hope to which you have called him/her, the riches of your glorious inheritance in the saints, and your incomparable power for he/she who believes. Amen.