Thursday, July 28, 2011

Praying for Healthy Habits

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 13 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please keep in mind that what we all learn from a study is usually different. We would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Please share in the comment section below this post.

"I don't ever want to go back to that doctor again!" Hunter screamed as we walked out of the pediatrician's office yesterday. "He's the worst doctor ever. I can't believe he told you that!"

Yes, my son was mad. He was devastated. How could his favorite doctor in the world advise me the worst possible thing in the more fast food. As Hunter is screaming mad and Sean is clearly not happy either that we would no longer be visiting some of our favorite fast food hang outs and getting those cool little toys, I'm wondering how in the world am I going to do this. How can I take away something that I just started giving them?

Sounds crazy right? Let me back up a little...for the past four years, my children have been on a very healthy diet. Aside from the occasional splurge, everything we ate was organic, no preservatives, no food dyes and my son with autism ate completely gluten and dairy free. Fruits and vegetables were the core of our diet. Since the beginning of summer, we have had alot of traveling, alot of company and alot of chaos. So my husband and I decided we'd let our son go off the diet with enzymes. He did wonderfully. No behaviors, no bathroom issues. We, along with our son, loved our new options of food. Then, we slipped more. We did more fast food, chicken nuggets, french fries, chips, ice cream, chocolate, candy....all of the things that I swore I would never give my kids on a daily basis. About a month ago, my son with autism was prescribed a big dose of steroids and antibiotics to try to eliminate all of the strep in his body. Needless to say, a mixture of steroids and a bad diet equals weight gain. My son gained six pounds in less than a month. My pediatrician reassured me that he is by no means over weight. Before the steroids and bad diet, he was a little on the skinny side. However, if we keep eating the way we have been and he continues to gain six pounds each month, that's a 72 pound weight gain in a year. Not good for anyone, especially a child.

Back to the screaming and crying about no more fast food...I'm driving in the car thinking how in the world am I going to get these kids back on a healthy diet. How am I going to convince two eight year olds, one with autism, that grilled chicken, asparagus and rice is so much better than that Happy Meal from McDonald's? What have I done?

After we get home from our wonderful doctors appointment, I grabbed my book, The Power of the Praying Parent. It's my turn to write in the blog this week. I really am overwhelmed but I will follow through with what God wants. Then, I open the book to this week's chapter...Having the Motivation For Proper Body Care.

Seriously God?

Just what I needed. I realized in that moment that it's not about me convincing my children to have healthy habits. It's not about me sneaking their veggies in their favorite foods or taking the long way home so that we don't pass those fast food restaurants. It's about me giving it to God. It's up to me to pray for my children as often as possible to desire the healthy foods, to truly want to eat healthy so that when they grow up they make the right choices for their bodies, not for me.

You know, my first thought when the doctor told me no more fast food was "but they are so happy when we pull into Chick-fil-A." The very first sentence in Chapter 13 quickly grabbed ahold of my heart....

"Left to themselves in this junk-food world, children will be attracted to all the wrong foods." page 99
In other words, if we let our children decide for themselves, they are going to go for the food that looks good. Most of the time, it's food that is not good for them. Stormie reminds us on page 100 that we can't force our children to make these healthy choices for themselves, especially when they are older. Only the power of God through prayer can make the difference. Stormie ends this chapter with this...
Your child needs Holy Spirit guidance and strength to do what's right for his or her body. Your prayers can spare them much defeat, frustration, and heartbreak. Don't you wish you'd had someone praying about this for you?

Dear Lord,
I lift up all of our children as we try to teach them the healthy road in life. I ask that you guide us as teach them about healthy food and exercise. Give them the spirit to crave the healthy way in life instead of the fast food way. Also give us as their parents the desire to be healthy as well so that we can lead by example.
In Your Name We Pray,

Bible Verses from Chapter 13

Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. - 1 Corinthians 3:17

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. - Romans 12:1

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. - Romans 13:14

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. - 1 Corinthians 10:31

Monday, July 25, 2011

Praying for a Healing

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 12, Enjoying a Life of Health and Healing, of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all get from a study is usually different. We would love to hear your thoughts as well. Feel free to leave a comment below each post.

A prayer of health and healing....probably one of the most popular prayers that moms who have children with special needs pray on a daily basis. We pray for our children to be healed of autism. We pray it as hard as we can every day, sometimes more than once a day. We know this prayer. However, are we praying it knowing that it is in His timing? For me, I don't have peace about my son having autism. I feel there is something else going on with him as well. I pray every day that God will either heal my son or give me peace about it. He may heal him tomorrow, twenty years from now or He may give me peace about it. Either way, He is in control of this. I will trust Him and keep moving forward.

Its very important for us to continue to pray that our children will be healed from autism. However, we also need to cover them in prayer over other health issues as well. Accidents, diseases, cancer....there are so many things we need to pray over our children to keep them safe. That's what I love about the prayer Stormie wrote in this chapter. You can pray this prayer over a specific health issue and also covering their health in general.

Remember that God's healing is real and is powerful.

Bible Verses from Chapter 12

He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16

But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings. Malachi 4:2

I lift up all of the children in this world who have autism. I pray that you will heal each child. Show each parent what we can do to help our child be the person you need them to be in this world. If it is something we need to accept, I pray that you will give us an incredible amount of peace that can only come from you. I also pray a wall of protection over all of our children. Protect them physically and mentally.
In Your Name we pray,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vacation Week

Nicole, Chrissy and I are going to take this week off from posting so that we can enjoy some vacation time with our families. We hope that you will all join us on Monday, July 25th as we continue our study with Chapter 12 of The Power of a Praying Parent, Enjoying a Life of Health and Healing. Have a blessed week!

In the meantime, we hope that you will be encouraged by these Bible verses from each of the chapters that we've covered so far:

1. Becoming A Praying Parent:
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. -John 15:16

2. Releasing My Child Into God's Hands:
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! -Matthew 7:11

3. Securing Protection From Harm:
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
-Psalm 91:9-10

4. Feeling Loved And Accepted:
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God,
and God in them.
-1 John 4:16

5. Establishing An Eternal Future:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

6. Honoring Parents And Resisting Rebellion:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. - Ephesians 6:1-3

7. Maintaining Good Family Relationships:
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. -1 Corinthians 1:10

8. Attracting Godly Friends and Role Models:
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
-Psalm 1: 1-2

9. Developing A Hunger for the Things of God:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
-Matthew 5:6

10. Being the Person God Created:
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. - Romans 8:28-30

11. Following Truth, Rejecting Lies:
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
-Proverbs 3: 3-4

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Walking in Truth

Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 11 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Feel free to leave what you've learned in the comment section below this post.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
-John 16:13

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
-1 John 1:4

Walking in truth can be pretty brutal for parents in the world of autism. To be honest, if I were 100% facing the truth on my own strength, I think that I would be a very depressed person. I am learning to allow God to show me what He feels I need to know and face, so that I will have His grace to do so. By allowing God to reveal hidden truths we are able to receive healing in the places of our hearts that are hurting the most.

I realize that this chapter is about teaching our children to value truth and honesty. I agree that this is of the utmost importance. Recently, a few of my autism mom friends have been celebrating because their children told a lie for the first time. This isn't because they want their children to be dishonest or to encourage the behavior. It is recognizing that their child is passing through a "normal" developmental phase and taking delight in the opportunity to guide their child in this area of development.

On page 91, Stormie says, "Children will lie at one time or another. The question is not if they will, but whether or not lying will become something they can get away with". We want to discourage our children from lying. More than that, we want to make sure they know the full ramifications of lies. I have told my nine year old that if he lies, then I won't be able to trust him because I won't know if he is telling the truth or not. That upset him greatly. I really appreciated Stormie for reminding me that Satan is the father of all lies, and every time we tell a lie we give him a piece of our heart. This is another reason for not lying that I need to reinforce with my children.

As far as facing the truth in our own lives, I am by no means suggesting that we all live in denial. I am suggesting that we surrender our entire lives to God, and trust Him to lead us into all truth. Whether that is about why our child regressed into autism, the full scope of all that our child needs or may need in the future, or simply how to help them in the here and now: these are all areas that God can help us with. He can heal our hearts so that we don't feel condemnation about our child's autism and its possible cause. He can show us the way in which we need to go and He can provide for and bless us in our journey in ways we could never imagine.

Dear Lord,

Please grant a special blessing to every mother who reads this. Many of us are in great pain over the condition of our child/children. Cover us and our children with your precious blood and free us from any condemnation. Give us the grace and strength to walk in truth and to teach and guide our children to do the same. Cleanse us of any areas in the past when we did not do this and fill us with your healing love. I ask this in Jesus' name.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 10 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Feel free to leave what you've learned in the comment section below this post.

Chapter 10,Being The Person God Created, was difficult for me to read. I trust God and know that He knows what is best for my son. However, I don't feel like autism could be a part of His plan. Or could it? I believe that our God can take something difficult, hard and hopeless and give it a whole new meaning. I think back to how many lives my son has touched. Therapists, friends, family, even complete strangers. Could he have done the same without autism? I don't think it's our job to find the answers to these questions. I believe it's our job to have faith in God and trust in Him.

Below are the points that Stormie made that meant the most to me...
* We become the person that God created us to be when we ask God for guidance and then do what He tells us to do. p. 82
* One of the devil's plans for young people is to get them to compare themselves with others, judge themselves as deficient, and then seek to be someone they were not created to be. p. 82
* This day after day comparing and falling short can attack the true identity of a child. p. 82

As parents of children with autism, it is very difficult for us not to compare our children. It is hard to look at other children, see what they are doing and then look at our own and try to make them do it as well. I think it's very important that we help our children and strive to make them the best they can be. However, I also think it's just as important to help them be the children that God created them to be. Their personalities, their spirits, their loving nature. We need to pray and protect them from losing who they truly are. Therapy is a must with our children. Whether it's occupational therapy, speech therapy or ABA, this is what our children need. However, I'm sure they feel overwhelmed at times. We, as their parents, need to protect them in prayer that God will help show us how we can help our children stay who God created them to be while helping them strive to be the best they can be.

I lift up all of our children with autism. I pray that you will show us and them who you need them to be. I pray that you will help us find ways to bring out the best in them and to protect them from the enemy. Help us raise them into the person you created them to be.

Bible Verses
You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. -1 Peter 2:9

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. -1 Corinthians 2:9

Be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble. - 2 Peter 1:10

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. - Romans 8:28-30

Arise, shine; for your light has come! and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. -Isaiah 60:1

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hungry for God

Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 9 of The Power Of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. We love to hear what you have learned as well. Please leave a comment in the comment section below this post.)

The woman who directs faith formation for special needs children at my church once said to me that we as adults often know "about" God, but the children she teaches actually "know" God. This chapter points out that our children will be targeted by Satan for attacks to draw them away from the things of God. I do believe that this is important for us to pray against but want to also make another point. Our children perceive the world and even God differently than we do because of the unique way that they are affected by autism. I see my son as being very impressionable when it comes to matters of faith, and often more open to God than I am. Matthew has a great deal of difficulty sitting through church, will make noise at the most inopportune times and his prayers are often difficult for others to understand, but there is a certain reverence that he has. Last week, he walked with me on the communion line. After I received communion and the minister gave him his blessing, he looked up at me, smiled and said, "Jesus". It was so sweet and precious. I imagine that God delights in his little voice saying the name of Jesus even more.

I think it's important to realize that, whether we can see outward signs of it or not, our children are very susceptible to the influence and power of God in their lives. Through our prayers and the example we set, we can feed this tendency and increase their hunger for God.

Thank you for hearing us and for the power you make available to us through prayer in the name of Jesus. Help us to recognize and take advantage of every "teachable moment" where we can help our children to learn Your holy Word, develop their faith and a deep hunger for the good things of God. If there are people or things in our lives that keep us from doing this, I ask that you remove them. Furthermore I pray that you will send people that will encourage us and our children in our walk with God. Give us wisdom and understanding so that we make the most of every opportunity you give us and may our prayers on behalf of our children be a source of comfort, strength and hope. We ask this in your Holy name.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Special Friends

Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 8 of The Power Of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. We love to hear what you have learned as well. Please leave a comment in the comment section below this post.)

Social skills and peer relationships are often at the forefront of importance to all children, especially our children with autism. Many of our children participate in social skills classes and developing relationship skills are often a big part of their individual teaching programs. Often many children with autism have a deep hunger for close, meaningful and reciprocal relationships but certain obstacles, such as anxiety and language disorders present a formidable obstacle for them. I feel that my son Matthew, who has autism, reaches out constantly to adults for social interaction but is fearful when peers approach him. He will often watch first, for a long time, and then if he is feeling well, well-regulated, etc. he will eventually join in on a simple activity. It is very rare for him to respond to a peer-initiated invitation to play. There are those seemingly few and far between times, those golden, miraculous moments where he responds with happiness that give me great hope that one day he will overcome the obstacles that hold him back. I thank God for those moments.

This chapter helps me with the time that passes between these miraculous moments. It reminds me of the tremendous power that is made available to me in prayer. We have alot to pray for in this area, but our God is able to go above and beyond what we could even conceive of in the natural. That is why instead of me laboring to find the perfect playmate for my son, I need to surrender this area fully and trust God so that He can provide exactly and perfectly what Matthew needs.

I thank You for the tremendous power that you make available to us as parents to pray over our children. We surrender our children's needs in the area of socializing and making friends completely to You. I pray that Your hand will guide and encourage each child to develop and heal where it is needed. In Your name, Jesus, I pray that no obstacle will be able to keep our children from the relationships they crave with other children. I pray that our children, and the friends you choose for them to be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. I pray for their relationships to include sweet fellowship with You and governed by the values and morals that God teaches us in His word. I ask all of this in Jesus' name.