My family has entered the birthday season. It begins in August and stretches to November. Every two weeks we have another amazing person to celebrate.

For years I spent the months of autumn planning a party or recovering from the event.

IMG_4824The best party I ever gave involved a sandbox and dog treats. The middle child was turning four and he loved all things dinosaur. We sent out invitations and Luke’s grandmother made him a colorful T-rex shirt to wear. Since we lived a few blocks away from a park with a huge sandbox, I decided it would be the perfect place for a “dino dig.” I buried several boxes of bone-shaped dog biscuits in the sand. When the guests arrived, we gave each of them a plastic bucket and shovel and led an enthusiastic parade of paleontologists to the site. Later, we ate a dinosaur cake and each kid went home with a bucketful of “bones.”

These days our celebrations aren’t so labor intensive but we do try to mark the occasion with gifts and good wishes. And with the addition of two daughters-in-law to our family, I’ve discovered how much fun it can be to shop for girls, especially when we make it an outing. But no matter how much fun we have together, I have learned that parties and presents aren’t the most valuable thing I can do for those I love.

The most significant gift I can offer my family is my commitment to intercede for them. I’ve been praying for my sons since before I held them in my arms. Now I’ve been blessed with daughters-in-law to love and I am learning to pray for them with the same kind of passion.

I think about the beauty of their lives and how God is working in them and through them. I ask God to use their gifts in ways that bring them great joy and fulfillment. I pause and consider the things they might need or desire and how God might use me to help them in practical ways. I ask God to give me eyes to see and ears to hear and opportunities to grow closer to these women I love.

This kind of praying isn’t as easy as planning a birthday bash. It requires commitment and self-discipline to consistently come before God, especially when no storm looms on the horizon. But the results of prayer are life changing. I can’t predict everything my prayers will accomplish, but I am confident of one thing. I will become a better mother-in-law and friend when I give God access to my thoughts and time to work in my heart.

 

 

 

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