Patty and Carl had been through more coaching sessions than most parents, and felt a bit stuck. Patty chronically focused on her shortcomings as a parent, and felt plagued by resentment toward her oldest son.
I knew that they needed help beyond parent coaching, so I made a suggestion that was not about changing their parenting: “What if you try this: Schedule a once a week in-home “date night” to talk about what’s been going well in your family and what you feel good about in your parenting. Then pray for your family.” Of course as a lover of good decaf and dark chocolate, I suggested some treats to make it a special time for the two of them.
They picked Sunday nights and dove in… and I didn’t see them for a year!
Then recently I got an email from them, saying that they didn’t mean to drop off the face of the earth. They had been faithfully meeting to encourage each other and pray together for a year, and they just “hadn’t had any major incidents!” They were feeling more connected to their son, and he seemed to have matured quite a bit.
What great news, to hear that something so simple — focusing on “what is good” and giving their cares over to the Lord — could have such a powerful impact on their family!
Apply It Now:
What would work for you to pray regularly for your family? A weekly “date night” with a spouse? Setting aside weekly or monthly times with a dear friend or relative? Make a plan and give it a try!
- Start your prayer time with thanksgiving for times of wise parenting or good connection with your kids to keep your focus on what’s going well. (Phil. 4:8 – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.)
- Bring your requests boldly to the Lord. (Phil. 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. )
- Rest in an expectation that God is at work! (Phil. 4:7 – And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.)
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