I have taught high school English for twenty-two years. At one time, I taught a story about the legend of the Phoenix. The Phoenix was a bird that at the end of its life, went to its nest, and a fire consumed it only for a new Phoenix to arise out of the ashes.
The different stages of life can be challenging. Some days we win, and some days we lose. In the end as believers, we always win. God offers fresh new mercy everyday. Here are some encouraging words for you today, ranging from teachers to young moms to parents of aging parents. I prayed for all of you on the way to my high school this morning. I love how I don’t know you by name, but God does, and whatever it is, God’s got this. It’s a new day. Breathe.
Brothers and sisters in teacherhood: Today be the fan that those kids need. Don’t be distracted by state test scores, silly paper work that is required of you or the mountain of papers to grade. Find something to laugh about today–stay focused on what matters which is a life that you have the opportunity to change today. You are changing lives everyday and are the unsung heroes of society. Most of the time heroes are unsung, but don’t worry–you are noticed by God. There is a surgeon out there somewhere because you taught him how to read and told him to never give up. He saved a life today, and so did you.
” Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Stay at home moms: Don’t worry today about the dirty laundry, the pile of dishes in the sink or that funk that’s been on the coffee table for a week now. Pack a picnic lunch and head to the park today. Enjoy the beautiful fall day. This time next year, that little one will be a year older and everything will be different. Make a difference in that little one’s life today. That’s your biggest mission field.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” NIV Proverbs 22:6
Moms with school age children: Now it’s crunch time. There are soccer practices,dance lessons, recitals that last half a decade, homework, homework and more homework. Make the most of that “car talk”. This is a time when you can pour into them. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. Let God do His work. Let Him mold them into what He wants, not what you want. When your heart tells you something is wrong, act. Don’t wait. Cry with your kids, pray with your kids and laugh with your kids. They are learning how to love people and serve God by watching you. They will be a mirror image of you, so be careful. Being a parent is a high calling. Remember to stop and breathe. Look into their eyes and tell them constantly how proud of them you are not because of what they do but because they are yours.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.” NIV Psalms 127:3
Moms of teens: Don’t give up. Stay strong. Continue to let them see you live out your faith and they are going to want what you have. As parents, stand together. Be firm when needed; you are not trying to win popularity contests as parents. Best advice from twenty-two years as a teacher, nineteen years in ministry with ten of those being the wife of a youth pastor, and then with two daughters of my own: BE PRESENT. Be at every game, concert, ceremony, nothing is more important than being there. Show your children that they are above everyone else except your spouse. Be there when they want you there and when they don’t. Spend time with your kids. They don’t want your money or stuff–they want you. In middle school my daughters and I starting having girl time, girl weekends, girl trips–you name it. You are the most important person in your child’s life and the teen years are tough. They need you to be a safety net, a place where they know they are unconditionally loved. Let them know that you not only love them, but you like them.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” NLT Ephesians 6:4
Moms of college parents: “Let It Go”. Time to set them free. Be a friend and a parent when needed, but now, more a friend. If they mess up, let them fall. They must learn to live out their faith and this includes disappointments and failures. Continue to show your love and be a safe haven. Realize that with your empty nest comes freedom for you. What new ministry is God calling you to? No time to miss your child who has moved out. There are other lives that need your time and investment.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” NIV Ecclesiastes 3:1
Those with aging parents: Time to be the caretaker now. Cherish the moments because they are fleeting. Those parents that took care of you now need you to care for them. No worries though. Someday very soon their health will be restored and we will spend all eternity together, just like we did when I was little. I will crawl up into my daddy’s lap like I did when I was little and feel his rough whiskers against my face, and I will never need to climb down. I will sat and laugh with my mom forever. This season of pain this side of heaven only lasts for a time.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” NIV Revelation 21:4
Today friends, the phoenix is rising from some ashes. The seasons of life can be difficult, and that fire can be hot, but I hear the sound of phoenix wings flapping.
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