Whether they know it or not, today’s teenagers face a formidable enemy.
They always have. After all, it’s during the teen years we form friendships, notice every pimple, start dating, and unfortunately, come face-to-face with the mean girls. But our culture has never been as anti-Christian as it is today, dismissing (even ridiculing) truth and accepting happiness as its “holy grail”.
Teenagers need us to stand in the gap on their behalf. If not us, then who?
Having reflected on my own teen years and the damage left behind in my twenties, I had no wisdom to offer my own two sons. So when I became a Christ-follower at twenty-seven (they were two and six), one of the first things I did was to begin prayer journaling. In it, I prayed a variety of prayers for them, many of which have come to fruition, now decades later, thanks be to Jesus alone.
It’s never too soon to start praying for our children, and it’s also never too late.
The enemy aims for the mind because if he captures it, the rest is gravy. We can pray for a hedge of protection around their minds ⏤ what they see and listen to.
See: That they’ll have no desire to view pornography, and will be protected from seeing it or encouraged to view it. And if/when they view harmful things, that they’ll repent quickly and not believe the lie that it’s who they’ve become. May they “see” and believe in God’s nearness instead.
Listen: That he/she will have the desire to fill their ears with godly influences ⏤ people, music, podcasts, etc.
2. To know and believe they are loved by parents
Rebellion has been around since the first piece of fruit was plucked from the tree. Similarly, the enemy whispers in our teenager’s ears, does your mom/dad really love you, care for you, and have your best interest in mind? When praying for our teens, we join forces with the One who created them and knows how to fight this battle. We can pray for the truth they’ve been taught to penetrate the lies, for the Lord to surround them with godly people who will speak truth into their lives, and for them to see us as we are ⏤ broken and scarred, but relentless in our love for them. If we need to ask for their forgiveness or make a wrong right, then we humbly do this, demonstrating what love is truly about ⏤ not being right, but humble.
I wish I’d known as a teenager that remaining sexually pure was God’s way of protecting me, not depriving me. It’s why I fervently prayed for my boys to remain pure so they could enjoy all the benefits and blessings that naturally flow from obedience. We pray specifically for God to lead our sons and daughters to dates/spouses with the same desire to remain pure before they are married. That both would have a greater desire to honor God than temporary pleasure.
Yes, for our teens, but mostly for us ⏤ parents, grandparents, and influencers. For wisdom to know how to discipline, when to speak and when to remain silent, and utter dependence on God for it. (“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5)
5. To hunger and thirst for God
Because we know that if this happens, all else falls into place. (“Seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33)
With that as my starting point, I thought it might be fun to share fifteen random things I’m currently lovin’. If you decide to do something similar on your site, tag me so I can enjoy yours in return.
(Some are affiliate links which simply means I may receive a small compensation but it doesn’t add anything to your cost.)
Now, let’s get started!
How We Love Study / Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage by Milan & Kay Yerkovich. Brian and I are working through the book/workbook. We appreciate how the authors point out that marriages don’t actually begin at the altar but rather, in our childhood. It’s biblically-based and doesn’t bash parents (because what parent hasn’t made mistakes?). It does, however, open up communication and foster understanding.
The Creative Pauses Facebook Group. As an extension of the Creative Pauses from The Tiny House on the Hill community, this group offers a place to converse, encourage, and inspire. It’s a space to pause, catch your breath, and be filled with biblical truth through fun and meaningful ways. We’d love for you to join us!
Thymes Pine Needle Frasier Fir candle. This crisp scent of cedar drifts through our home year-round. Its fragrance so bright I can almost hear branches breaking every time I breathe in. Sweet mercy, where’s my flame lighter?
The Tiny House on the Hill. The last time I wrote a similar post, the tiny house was but a dream. In 2019, it became a reality thanks to an awesome husband and one and a half year’s worth of weekends. Now, it’s used for writing, reading, Zoom meetings, and so much more. What a blessing!
Travel with God Journal.I wrote about it here and mentioned it in a recent interview because God continues to awaken me to His work and ways through it.
Proverbs. The old adage may be, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” but I say, “A Proverb a day keeps poor choices at bay.”
Starbucks Iced Matcha Latte. This green powder cranks up the brainpower without the jitters.
Treadmill. Brian’s doctor recently reminded us that to move is to live so we set aside our space concerns and ordered an inexpensive but get-it-done treadmill. It sits as pretty as you please in our den but it can fold in half and be rolled into the hallway when needed.
“Ooly” Color Write Fountain Pens. This pack of pens is pure delight! The colors are beautiful, vivid, and the ink flows across the page like glass. The best part? I purchased them at my favorite shop in Black Mountain, NC. See #13.
Sassafrass on Sutton. This is my favorite gift/book shop, hands down. This hundred + year-old store sits in the downtown area and holds a floor of books, literary goodies, and items I’ve not seen elsewhere.
Zinc gummies. The blackberry-ish flavor tastes almost like dessert. Yumilicious + strong immunity = score!
Eucalyptus shower spray. This spray had me at the first spritz. Immediately, I transported back to the “eucalyptus room” in a ladies spa where my friends and I used to sit on tiny-sized ocean blue tiles inside a large glass room filled with billows of fragrant steam. Come to think of it, maybe it’s the mingling of eucalyptus and memories that make this shower spray such a delight.
Prayer was never meant to stay within four walls, or spoken from a well-worn chair, or coupled with coffee.
Don’t get me wrong, praying in my favorite spot with coffee in hand is a delight. But when I look at Jesus, I see how He prayed in the wilderness, solitary places, on a mountain, in crowds, gardens, and with children.
Jesus prayed with the same ease as His next breath, making the most of every opportunity.
As I look around, I see spring everywhere — in outdoor activities, flowers, trees, and on the labels of my sinus meds. The struggle is real. But every season offers its own unique opportunities for prayer, and spring is no exception.
So, where are some places we can make the most of every opportunity to pray this season? I’ll get the ball rolling with eight ideas:
Depending on the time we visit, we might see women running, children climbing on playsets, or couples circling it hand-in-hand.
We can pray God will bless the efforts of those taking the time to exercise. Are children climbing monkey bars? Pray they’ll come to know Jesus at an early age, for their protection (spiritually, emotionally, and physically), and for their parents. Also, seeing couples enjoying time together is a reminder to pray that they’ll be a good and godly influence on other couples (and we will too). So, let’s get to dusting off the devilish yellowish-green powder covering the park bench and take our seats!
Walks in Our Community
We walk in our neighborhood and pray for various families as we pass by their homes. So let’s stretch our prayer muscles and find other places in our community to pray. We can circle our children/grandchildren’s school in prayer or a small business that’s struggling. Let’s circle our church, praying for the pastoral staff and their families. We can also pray as we pass by the police station, fire department, and other places where dedicated men and women serve our community and country.
In the Garden
You know the old saying that we’re closer to God in a garden? Maybe it’s older than we think. After all, life began in a garden and the union with God was perfect before fruit was plucked and eaten.
As we dig into the earth, let’s consider those who need a holy heart tilling ⏤ for the Holy Spirit to begin preparing their heart for His Word, and that truth will sink deeply in their heart and mind. Pulling weeds? What a beautiful reminder to pray that we ourselves will also have a well-tilled heart.
At the Beach
Many southerners make their way to the beach during spring break, weekend trips, and early vacations. I have a feeling we’re not alone. (I hope we’re not!) While sitting on the beach, scoop up a handful of sand. Notice the number of granules, even in one pinched finger’s worth. Psalm 139 says God’s thoughts toward us outnumber the grains of sand. Do you, or someone you know, need to be reminded of God’s goodness, care, and attention? Pray and if you want to give them a tangible reminder, scoop sand in a Ziploc bag. Also, watching the mighty waves curl, crash and ease their way to the shore reminds us of God’s power and strength. Let’s pray for this power to move in our present circumstances, as well as others. A week’s worth of similar ideas is included in my devotional guide for the beach. (Not an affiliate link.)
The Farmer’s Market
We see a smorgasbord of fresh vegetables, flowers, jams, honey, and jellies⏤the fruition of hard work behind the scenes. It’s a great opportunity to pray for those who plant, water, fumigate, and can fruity goodness. Pray for their health, blessings on their work, and success.
At the Zoo
Who doesn’t enjoy a visit to the zoo, especially before the double-whammy hits ⏤ humidity and mosquitoes! Kids and kids-at-heart marvel at God’s creativity — the colors, habits, shapes, and their innate ability to survive. There’s no better place to praise God for surrounding us in His handcrafted beauty.
Maybe it’s hard to imagine being able to pray while whipping around curves and stopping for lunch at our favorite mom and pop cafe but thanks to breath prayers, it’s possible.
Intentionally “taking” our prayer life wherever we go opens our eyes to spiritual truths and opportunities we would miss otherwise. And no greater example of this is Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11
I’d heard great things about the author so I moved the book from the back porch to the vintage ice-cream parlor table. It’s where my Bible, journals, and current studies call home.
I expected a devotional. Instead, I got a well-crafted guide into my own heart, as well as practical help when helping others.
I’ve walked with Jesus for thirty years and I’ve never read a better book that untangles and lays the truth out flat for all to understand.
“Every time you love your enemy, you are resting in the sovereignty of God. Every time you speak lovingly and softly in the face of someone else’s anger, you are choosing to rest in the sovereignty of God. Every time you resist the temptation to win an argument at all costs, you are resting in God’s sovereignty. Because he rules, nothing you do in obedience to him is ever futile. Your life has meaning and purpose because you are included not only in the plan of the One who rules it all, but also in his family!”
The above paragraph is soaked in orange and double-underlined in my book. Maybe it’s because loving my enemy, speaking softly in the face of anger, and resisting the temptation to win an argument does not come naturally. Or maybe it’s because God placed this paragraph in front of me on the very week I needed it most. (Don’t you love it when God does this?)
To know that our seemingly small actions of obedience matter encourage us to make the right choices.
“Any agenda for change must focus on the thoughts and desires of the heart. Therefore, the heart is our target in personal growth and ministry. Our prayer is that God will work heart change in us and use us to produce heart change in others that results in new words, choices, and actions.”
The above excerpt reflects why I believe every believer would benefit from reading *Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. In shining the light on our own hearts, truth can’t help but also penetrate those God brings across our path.
Is there anything more exciting than knowing God uses ordinary people for extraordinary purposes? No degree required!
“Since the central character of the great story of Scripture is Christ, a central theme of the story is grace. It must be the central theme of our personal ministry, biblical counseling, and discipleship as well. We point people to a God who not only sets the goal for their lives but who enables them to do what they have never done before. His grace results in reconciliation, restoration, and peace. The impossibility of sinners becoming godly becomes possible through his grace.” One more time.
“The impossibility of sinners becoming godly becomes possible through his grace.”
This book is for pastors, ministries, Bible study leaders, and for women like me who simply want to stay alert to the people God calls me to come alongside for a season. If you appreciate a well-written, not too simple nor too deep kind of book that helps us and others, *Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand, by Paul David Tripp is a keeper.
“He is the only answer, so we must never offer a message that is less than good news. We don’t offer people a system; we point them to a Redeemer. He is hope.”
During this season of great hope, we’re offering a daily guide to walk with Jesus throughout this week leading up to Easter.
(Members, you’ll find your copy in the monthly letter that was delivered last Tuesday.)
What’s one way you’re reaching out to others? Share in the comment section below to be entered in the giveaway for your own copy of *Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp. A random winner will be notified on Friday.
*This is an affiliate link. It adds no cost to the purchase of your book. See policy in the sidebar for more information. Thank you!
We’re often quick to offer kindness to others, but what about ourselves?
The fact that I winced when the idea for this post popped up is just one indicator that I have a lot of growing to do in this area. Maybe it’s because I was raised not to talk about myself. Just try bragging about how groovy that blue eyeshadow looked (hey, it was the 70’s!) and any southerner knew what was coming next⏤the ol’ side glance with a “bless her heart, she knows better” expression.
The silent “rule” of never speaking about one’s self in a positive light was engrained in my culture as deeply as cornbread and buttermilk. And that’s doggone deep!
These days, I show myself a little kindness by swinging by Starbucks for a brown sugar espresso after a long day of writing. But when it comes to offering myself kindness after repenting from something I said, or not doing something “normal” women do, like keeping everything tidy, kindness often stops short.
Like a bully, I beat myself up and rattle off a string of names I’d never call anyone else.
Recently, when talking with a friend who had a few “bruises” of her own, I suggested she be kind to herself. Those words were not meant for her ears only. I needed them, and maybe you do too. Be kind to yourself.
So, how can we offer ourselves kindness?
I think it begins, as does every part of life, with remembering who we are in Christ.
Receive God’s grace. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) A high cost was paid for the privilege of receiving God’s unmerited favor. I’m learning how to sit still until God’s grace settles in the soul to the point of peace. Then, I thank God and move on!
Practice what we preach. How would we help another woman who continues to beat herself up even after she’s repented and received God’s forgiveness for a particular action?
Align our expectations with God’s Word. Does God call us to be a perfect wife, mom, grandmother, or friend? Thankfully, no, but He does come alongside us, full of mercy and compassion, and shows us how to be who we can’t be without Him. If God doesn’t place the burden of perfection on us in these roles, why do we?
Discover the “why” behind the action that leaves us feeling less-than, and don’t shy away from it. Does my upbringing play a part in why I’m so hard on myself? Have I set unrealistic expectations on myself based on the culture? Am I giving others the power to determine how I feel about myself? Some of these may require biblical counseling, or maybe just some time set apart for prayer, asking God for wisdom. (James 1:5)
Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:31 (emphasis mine)
Being kind to ourselves paves the way for us to be even kinder to others.
And kindness never goes out of style.
A fun way to remember to be kind to ourselves is to carry or display a scripture card…so I’m giving you four. Enjoy your PDF download!
Another way to embed the message of kindness into our hearts is to pause for two minutes and soak in this song by Andrew Peterson. Oh, to know and receive the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father!
So, how do you show yourself kindness? Please share in the comment section below!
I’ve enjoyed family vacations at Garden City, SC my whole life, so imagine my surprise (and shame 😉) when visiting Brookgreen Gardens for the first time this week. The grounds are breathtaking! Some things were closed due to Covid but that will just give us something new to visit next time. 😉☺️
And trust me, there will be a next time, Lord willin’. 💕...
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are ...
Are you a member of the Creative Pauses community?
Sign up for the monthly "Letter from The Tiny House on the Hill" to join our community and receive the latest seasonal gift, posts, behind-the-scenes information, creative resources, and a monthly giveaway!
You can unsubscribe at any time.
Welcome to the Creative Pauses community! Make yourself right at home.
I hate spam! Your personal information is safe and will never be shared.