Monday, April 10, 2006

Here's my secret

Ok, here we go. Time for a big update. My computer is fixed, finally. This past weekend was our "Happily Ever After" girls retreat. It went extremely well. Everyone had great attitudes and I really felt like we accomplished our goal and that was that we left loving each other and most importantly, God more than we did when we got there. I think we all really needed it. The girls needed some time together away from the guys and I needed something where I could see some immediate results. I think that is the hardest thing about ministry to me. Most of the time, you don't get immediate results. I know that it's not about that but, it's really nice to be able to see a work in progress. To know this stuff we're doing is making a difference. Well, I saw that this weekend. It was like, ok, this why we do youth ministry. That was nice.

So Adam kept Emma over night for the first time. I have to say, he did a fabulous job. Not that I doubted that he would. He's a great daddy. Emma is really starting to get attached to him. It's bittersweet. No offense Adam. I'm so glad she's got such a strong relationship with him. Girls need their daddys to adore them. And he does. But, it's still a little sad that it's not me that she prefers 100% of the time. Tonight when we were saying her prayer, she wanted to sit in Adam's lap. She wanted Adam to brush her teeth. She walks around the house yelling "Daaaadddy" it's really sweet. Anyway, I think they had a good weekend together. However, last night as we were going to bed, Adam said, "she's really sweet and funny and lots of fun but, I'm exhausted. I'm really going to try to help you more". That was nice.

This morning, she came and got in bed with me and we snuggled for quite a while. That was nice. I can't wait to see the woman she becomes. At almost three she is already so passionate about everything. She loves hard, she plays hard, she sleeps hard and she hurts hard.

I finally shared something with some of the girls at the girls retreat that I had only shared with a few people. I guess it's kind of silly that I kept it all to myself so here it is for the whole world to see... When I first had her, I was soo overwhelmed with the responsibility that God had gave me. I felt so inadequate. I still do. Anyway, I pretty much came to the conclusion that Adam and I couldn't possibly do everything perfect and that there was no way we could raise her to be the woman that God wants her to be on her own. So, I got this book of prayers for mothers to say for their children but, there were a whole lot of prayers and none of them seemed quite right. So, I came up with my own, and here it is:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I want to thank you for the wonderful blessing you have brought into my life by given me Emma. She has brought me so much joy! Having a child has taught me so much about the love and happiness you want to bless your children with. I know that Emma is your special creation, anticipated by you from before the beginning of time, now given on loan to me, for me to help grow and nourish into a child who will carry out your perfect will.

God, please call Emma to you by name as you have called me. Thank you that you promise to knock patiently on the door of each heart in this family. Thank you that you pursue us. You did it for me--- please do the same for Emma.

I pray that she will love your word. I pray that by loving your word, she will receive important warnings about life and be blessed with great personal reward. Help her to be obedient to you. Please help her to know that you discipline us and give us guidelines for our own good and because of your great love for us. Help me to share in this motivation of yours when I ask her to obey. Lord, let her see that I obey you because I love you. Help her to have an honest heart. Help her feel your delight when she speaks the truth and to remember that you hate it when we lie. And when she perseveres toward truth, let her feel great freedom of spirit so much that the passing reward of a lie looks as cheap and fleeting as it really is. Help her not to value the material things that the world values but the things that you value. Most of all, I pray that her character would bring praise to you. May your light shine so brightly in her that it will be obvious to everyone that she loves you, and people will have no choice but to praise you and give you all the credit for her goodness. I pray that she will put a high priority on love and faithfulness, exhibiting them like beautiful clothing or jewelry. Bless her with a beautiful strength, a wise innocence, and a shielded vulnerability.

I pray that Emma will develop a passion for purity. May she always think of her body as your dwelling place and want to keep it pure for you. Help Emma to feel she can bring her questions to her dad and me. Please give us the right words in awkward moments. Nudge me when it’s the right time to pass on an important attitude or piece of information even if she isn’t asking for it. Fill her with a genuine and enthusiastic desire to save sex for marriage. Thank you that you not only created the abiding love of marriage, but you also understand crushes, puppy love, and the storms of teen romance. God please protect her heart. I pray that you would help her develop healthy relationships with members of the opposite sex throughout her life. I pray for a husband that will help her grow towards you that she will spend her life with. Bring them together in your perfect way. Have your hand on them even now. And, may their eventual commitment to marriage be strong enough to stand up against any trouble or testing life brings. While she is growing up, please help Adam and I to be a good example of how beautiful marriage is meant to be. Please introduce her to other couples that will do the same.

God, sometimes I wake in the night and feel how helpless I am, ultimately, to make life turn out okay for my little one, to keep accidents, evil , and disease from touching her. Thank you Lord that when I’m afraid, I can turn to you. Help me to remember that your spiritual warriors can shut the mouths of lions and defeat the agents of Satan. Thank you that even when she is out of my sight, she is never out of your sight. Please watch over all that she does and every encounter that she has with the world. Thank you that I can surrender her to you and place her in the dangerous river of life, knowing that you will be watching over her, not from afar off but from very nearby.

Finally, father, help me to pray faithfully for Emma, being a good example of the importance of confession and worship. May I be a witness morning and night of your love and faithfulness.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Now tell the truth, did you read all of that because you wanted to hear my thoughts or because you wanted to know my secret? Sorry you were looking for something more juicy :).

Please pray for the three of us and our ministry.

Love from above,



Papa said...

Dana what a beautiful picture of Emma. She is growing so fast. I guess you know I too pray for her, you and Adam every day. I thank God for our beautiful family and the faith that binds us together and strenghtens our love for each other. Thanks for being Emma's mom. She is blessed to have you and Adam for parents.

I love you all!

Anna said...

Hi there. =) Emma is such a gorgeous girl! You are a great mom and I really look up to you. I am so thankful that God brought you and Adam to us. Thank you for making the Girls' Retreat a blast! I love you Dana!

Kristen said...

Emma is one lucky girl to have parents like you and Adam. I also pray that Emma will grow up and find true friendship that is strong, real, and everlasting...just like we were so lucky to do! I love you.

Hannah said...

Hey Dana! I had an awesome time at the Girl's Retreat this past weekend! Thanks you so much for putting it together! It really brought everyone closer together! You're a wonderful mom and I really look up to you! I love you so much and Emma is gorgeous!

rachel said...

man, i really wish i could've gone on the girl's retreat... it sounds like it was awesome. i hope we're planning another one soon! =)

love you!

Anna said...

sorry i just had to comment again. i love the easter bunny at the mall! he always waves at me and i always tell him i love him. yea, we're getting pretty serious. i just hope it's not a girl in that costume... lol. i love you dana!

Jan said...

Ok... Emma makes the best Easter pictures ever! Love you!

Anonymous said...

Hi - I love the letter, and I love you too. I'm so happy that Adam and Emma have you. I cried for 3 days when Adam was born because the overpowering responsibility hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt completely inadequate. I guess that I realized when I actually saw him that he was "not just a baby" but a real person who would grow up with me as a major influence in his life. I thought, "if I mess up, he could end up in Hell." I was so scared that I wasn't up to the task. My biggest problem was that I thought I had to do it all by myself. Keith was very patient with me, and Adam was my little guinne pig. However, I am completely aware that the Hand of God has always been on Adam, and I am very thankful that He has been so gracious and merciful to us all.
You are a wonderful mom, and I see the hand of God on you all. - Love, Lynn

Heather said...


I appreciate so much you sharing that. I read that because I really wanted to, not because I wanted to know your secret:)

I had a very hard time reading though because I couldn't see through my tears. I have always been so excited to have babies and now that I am one step closer (because I'm engaged not because I'm pregnant) I can't imagine what it will be like. What a beautiful prayer. As a daughter I know that my mom has prayed similar prayers for me and I know that I too pray for my babies even though they are not even here and i don't know them yet. Children are one of God's most precious gifts and I appreciate your passion to help nurture and love them as I do too.

much love...heather

Anonymous said...

Your prayer brought tears to my eyes, and going on your words alone you can tell you are a great mother and a great christian example. As I am pregnant with my first child (a daughter as well) this gives me inspiration on what to pray on behalf of my little one. Thank you for sharing something so personal.