Friday, November 18, 2016

The days are getting shorter now, and the years are flying by. Those Thompson Boys are growing, and it seems unavoidable now that they're not my babies anymore. Of course, I've neglected to write, not for lack of subject matter-- simply for a lack of time.

Lately, I've been increasingly moved by the thought that I am preparing my sons to be men. I feel so convinced about the expectations I'm setting for them, and the examples I'm showing them, and the ideas they're being show right now, and how all of it will affect who they end up being.

I want to raise gentlemen. I want to raise Godly men. I want to raise leaders, who are strong but gentle, caring and attentive. I want to raise men who serve and aren't afraid to work hard. I want to raise good souls, who know the value of other people. I want to raise responsible citizens. I want to raise men who detest apathy and who aren't afraid to look a problem in the eye. I want to raise individuals who care about their communities, and who are dependable.

So, excuse me for not updating lately. I've been raising men.

"Father, help me point them to you. Regardless of grades, and assignments, and report cards, help me to teach them the important things in life. Help me to shape their hearts, in addition to their minds. Help me to remember they're watching, God. Help them to see YOU through me. Whoever you have in mind to enter their lives when they're older, be it friends, or a significant other, God, prepare those people, too. Help those people to recognize that you are the creator, sustainer, guide and best friend. Help my boys to love you more every day, and help me to be the protector of their hearts against this messed up world. God, I know you're in control. Now, help me let go and give it to you. Amen." 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Life keeps happening. Regardless of how much I would like to take the advice of every little old lady I've ever met and slow our growing up process down, the boys keep getting bigger, and learning more, and the days, and months, and years keep flying by. I just don't understand it!

Summer is here, and we are relieved at the Thompson house. Kindergarten year for Porter has been conquered, not without its own troubles, but fortunately, with the help of many new friends and loving teachers and administrators dedicated to partnering with us and helping P get the most out of his education. Brad and I are so very, very proud of the little boy he is growing up to be. Here's a photo of him on his last day of school with his sweet teacher, Mrs. Katie Morgan. He absolutely loved her. In fact, on the last day, he told me: "Mom, next year, I want a teacher like Mrs. Morgan." Yes, son, I agree.

He's six now. He's lost all four of his front teeth, and he loves watching Power Rangers on his iPad and swimming. He is quickly mastering how to swim without floaties, but admittedly, I'm a lot more frightened about it than he is. He likes to get up early, still needs to take a nap, and has the kindest soul you'll ever meet. He asks everyone he meets if they know Jesus, which pretty much makes my heart SWELL with pride. "Do you know Jesus is Lord?" We are fairly certain he will grow up to be a preacher, a missionary or a politician... but he insists that he wants to be a pirate or a firefighter.

We've had lots of struggles this year. He isn't on the same level developmentally as other children his age, but he works so very hard and is very talented socially, making friends everywhere he goes. He is currently working with a retired school teacher in our neighborhood who helps him with reading skills, and we're hopeful he will gain some ground this summer before 1st grade. Week after next he will attend a soccer camp, and after that we will take our first ever family vacation to Washington, D.C. around July 4th. It seems that Porter has a very exciting summer ahead, but for now he is completely content to get up each day, hang out with his best friend Fischer and his best friend, Daddy. This kid has my heart, y'all.

This kid is something else. I never knew what that phrase really meant, or felt the need to use it, until I met Fischer, and now all the sudden that's the only way I can describe him. He just finished up his first year at Williams, and had SUCH a good year in Mrs. Karla's class. He made wonderful friends, his little personality kept developing, and he has gained an extensive vocabulary and inquisitive mind. He's always asking questions, constantly remembering details, and mastering impressive concepts that I am not fully prepared to explain. He is tenacious, loyal, and full of life. 

This year during t-ball season, it broke his heart that he had to watch Porter and Daddy play and he couldn't play himself just yet. In a couple weeks, he will attend soccer camp as well, and I can't wait to see him go after the ball, run, play and get in the game. I have all expectations that he will be a fierce competitor. I foresee many fun days at the ball park/stadium/field in our future. 

My boys are my reason. They are the reason I push. They are the reason I keep learning. They are the reason I keep getting up and getting dressed every morning. They are the reason I try to love their Daddy more each day. They are the reason that I strive to be a better Christian, better mom, better daughter, better sister, better teacher, better employee and better friend. 

This is my prayer. 

God, thank you for letting me be their mom. Thank you for teaching me and molding me each day into what they need. Sometimes I fail miserably. Sometimes I feel like I'm winning, but most of the time I feel like I'm only getting by because of your grace and mercy. You are everything I need. 

Thank you for Porter. Help me accept your will. God, change Porter's situation. Develop his mind. Create in him a desire to learn. Give him focus, and knowledge, and the right people in his life to keep him moving forward. Help us provide the opportunities he needs. Please give him a thirst and hunger for YOU. Help Brad and I to be the teachers he needs, both teaching him about your great love and his faith, and also in traditional education. Help us to be supportive, patient, and help us to be the advocates he needs. Change his situation, if it's your will, God. Help him to grow up and be a productive, independent and happy adult. 

God, thank you for Fischer. Thank you for his sweet smile and his bright mind. Help him to love others God, and develop in him a love for you. Help Brad and I to be the spiritual examples he needs, and help us to protect him from all the disgusting and evil things of this world. Help him to grow up to be a strong man, with morals and character and honor and love. Help him to respect authority and work hard. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Adventures of Kindergarten

If I could accurately put into words what I'm feeling about Porter and public school, I would have done it weeks ago. Y'all know me. But the truth is, that, for once in my life, I'm at a loss for words. With that being said, and we all know this is more for my therapy than it is for my readers' benefits, I've got to say a few things.

School sucks.

There, I said. it. Me, the lifelong learner. The perpetual student and now happenstance professor, is admitting that school is absolutely terrible. Like, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day... every day.

Porter wasn't built for school. He wasn't built to stay in one room, in one chair, in one painter's tape square on the floor for six hours a day. He wasn't created for this. He doesn't do lines well. He can't wait his turn. He literally is unable to be perfectly still, no matter how enthralled he is in whatever he's supposed to be doing. The only time he's still is when he sleeps, and even then he's the ugliest, cover stealing, snotty and drooling bed partner you've ever seen.

Porter was created to run, and laugh uncontrollably, and nap in the middle of the day. We nap, y'all. If you've ever heard his infectious, pure and unadulterated giggle, you know what I mean. He is the closest thing to innocence I've ever met. He was created to hug people with abandon, and lay on someone's shoulder, and wiggle to his heart's content. He was created for experiences. For making connections with people. He was created to WORSHIP his Jesus.

And my heart is absolutely breaking as we figure out what this monster, thief of joy, rigid, and lackluster reality of public school is going to look like for him. My mommy heart is breaking.

Now, let me stop for a minute and make something painfully clear. I've got to say that his teacher and the employees at JKH Elementary are the best. They love this kid. They help him, are patient with him, work with him. They try their hardest to teach a kid who, by all means, is pretty near unteachable. So, it's no fault of the blessed and selfless angels who are working with him that we are struggling. THEY are the only reason I haven't fully lost it and ended up in a straight jacket playing checkers with some other poor mom who can't.... AH. Breathe.

I could go on and on about the trouble we're having. I could explain the behavior issues, the potty issues, the learning issues... but let it suffice to say that we're finding this transition to public school to be the most challenging thing we've ever faced as a family. EVER FACED AS A FAMILY. I know we're not alone, but something HAS GOT to give.

So friends, if you love us, PRAY. Pray that Porter will get it together. Pray this his mommy and daddy will be able to respond appropriately, stress out less, and love Porter as much as he loves others. Pray that we can all adjust to public school and settle in for the next very long, very excruciating thirteen years. Pray for his sweet teachers and friends at school, that they will be patient and understanding as Porter finds his place at school. Pray that something will change. God can change this situation. He can fix it, and He will.

This is my prayer:

God, you gave us Porter because we were the best parents for him. I am awed and humbled by this very gift. I am so, so beyond thankful that Porter is mine. I love him more than I knew I could love, God, and I am so grateful that you chose us. Please God, I need you now more than I've ever needed you before. I know that you gave me Porter because I was prideful about intelligence and academia, God, and I'm so sorry that I took these blessings for granted. I'm sorry, and I know you have a supreme plan for Porter's life, and mine. God, you are perfect and flawless and we need you now. Please fix it, Lord. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Is summer really over?!

It's coming. Quickly, without hesitating. The end of summer is nearing and in exactly one week #thosethompsonboys will be in school.

Fischer will be starting Pre-K 2 at Williams this year, and entering school for the very first time. I am so very excited for him. I know he will have so much fun, and will learn so much from being around his peers. He will sorely miss being with his Daddy every day, but I have a feeling my smart and funny little boy will have no problems making friends and being the life of every party. I can't wait to see what amazing things God has planned for Fischer Henry this year. I am constantly praying for his sweet teachers, because they will need all the patience, humor, and will that God can pour on them.

Porter will start Kindergarten at J.K. Hileman Elementary this year in Queen City. I feel prepared. That' s a big deal, considering that I have been dreading this day for a little over five years now. I am so thankful that we've had two years at Williams FUMC Day School, and so thankful for all the wonderful teachers and his amazing therapist at Pleasant Grove that have poured into him and prepared us for this big next step in his education.

I think Porter is ready. We've talked a lot about his new school for big kids, and although I don't think it has really sank in yet, he seems to genuinely be excited for what is to come. I know we will have obstacles to overcome, and I know that we will struggle and work hard every day, but I am truly excited for Porter to move forward and learn so many new things. I am glad we know what to expect with his therapy, and I'm glad we will know so many of the sweet smiling faces at QCISD. Brad and I both have an overwhelming peace about him going to school there. God is so good and so faithful. I'm praying he will hold Porter in the palm of his hand, keep his tender and big heart protected, and help him to open up his mind and store away everything he learns. He's going to do so many great things.

We are prayed up and ready.

School supplies are purchased. School clothes are bought. We have everything labelled and laid out and we're ready to go. My head is ready. My heart is strong. 2015-2016 school year.... HERE WE COME!

This is my prayer: 
Lord, you know every need. You have orchestrated this school year and I know that you have wonderful things in store for those who love you. The Thompson family loves you, and we want to honor you in every step of our day. Lord, protect them. Provide the right friends, the right influences, and the right material that will point them to you and your will. Help us to be loving, supportive parents who teach our sons right from wrong. Lord, calm our fears. Hold us in your strong and mighty hand and if you see fit, take the tears and worries from my mind so that the boys can have a fun and happy start to their school year. You are so good, Lord. You are so kind and loving and I cannot thank you enough for what you've done already in our lives. Help us to keep honoring you all the days of our lives. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Church. But more than that, really.

Ecclesiastes 3: There is an appointed time for everything,A time for every activity under the heavens: A time for birth and a time to die;A time to plant and a time to uproot what was planted; A time to kill and a time to heal;A time to tear down and a time to build up; A time to weep and a time to laugh;A time to wail and a time to dance; A time to throw stones away and a time to gather stones together;A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to search and a time to give up as lost;A time to keep and a time to throw away; A time to rip apart and a time to sew together;A time to be silent and a time to speak;  A time to love and a time to hate;A time for war and a time for peace.What does the worker gain from all his efforts?10 I have seen the occupation that God has given to the sons of men to keep them occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful* in its time. He has even put eternity in their heart; yet mankind will never find out the work that the true God has made from start to finish.12 I have concluded that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good during their life, 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and find enjoyment for all his hard work. It is the gift of God.

If you know anything about me, you know I love my church.  Like, really love my church. It's not just the kind of love that I share for donuts, or chik-fil-a, or everything else that's Southern and good. No, I really, truly, deep down have a passion for First Baptist Church Queen City. The people, the spirit and livelihood of the church, the heart beat of what makes that church so special and amazing are what I love. I know that the walls and the building aren't what constitute the church, but I even love the walls and the carpet and everything in between. The stained glass.... it gets me. It has been the backdrop to my life so far. It has comforted me in some of my darkest hours. It has cheered me on as I walked down the aisle to meet the love of my life. It has met me Sunday after Sunday as I sit and stand to worship my living Savior. I love everything about it. 

I've been at FBCQC for 29 years. This is me with my first and very best friend, Mary Beth, in the nursery. We were pretty much inseparable from the day this photo was taken until we graduated high school and went our separate ways. We grew up doing life together, with church at the center of it all. Now, we're still doing life together, as we are in the same life group. We meet on Thursday nights, eat dinner, let our children play, and learn about God's plan for our lives. I am so thankful for the influence these people have had in our lives the past five years. They have helped us through so many hard days, celebrated with us in the good times, and been an encouragement to keep moving forward. I love our life group. Like, love love them. 

When I was a child, I spent the summers at the church because my Mom was a secretary there. I'd work hard all morning at home to cross chores off my list so I could come play at the church all afternoon. No one entertained us. No one worried that we would be bored, or not understand the Gospel message as presented in an "adult setting". Oh, that's another post entirely!  I spent my afternoons creating in some obscure Sunday School room, writing plays for the children's ministry,  mixing concoctions from the leftover condiments in the fellowship hall fridge and daring the other kids to drink them. I had real conversations with the church members who dropped by during the week, to prepare a lesson, or restock their rooms, or organize the music closet. Those adults influenced me, even in the small and short passing conversations. Some will never know the huge impact they had on that little girl.  Some have already joined our maker in heaven and I can't wait to catch up with them, and talk again. The youth minister used to have open gym where 10-12 students would show up and we'd play cards, foosball, or volleyball for hours. We lived at the church. I grew up at the church. Now, I'm getting the unique pleasure of watching my boys grow up there, too. Here's Fischer, my son, with Mary Beth's daughter, in the hall at church, feet away from where the photo of their mothers was taken more than 25 years ago.  Amazing. 

Nowadays my church is about introducing my boys to Christ. I've said for a while now that my most important job as a mother is to point them in the direction of the Gospel, and everything else will fall into place. We are so fortunate to have a church that focuses on the children. My boys are quickly learning what it means to be about the Father's business, and I couldn't be more proud of them. I already joke that Porter will grow up to be a preacher, because he's always sharing about Jesus, and you can just see the joy spilling out of him. I can't wait to see the plan for his and Fischer's life played out. Whether it's Thursday nights for life group, Wednesday nights for youth, Sundays for AWANAS and worship... my boys love to be in God's house, and FBCQC is the only church they've ever known. 

I started this post saying there was a time for everything, and I think the time for our church is change. In the past two years we have made major changes to our service times, said goodbye to a beloved pastor, bid farewell to our best friends and youth ministers, welcomed a new pastor, chosen a search committee for a youth minister and started discussions about homosexuality and what it means for membership in our congregation. We've seen a dip in youth attendance, maybe due to summer, maybe in the absence of a full time minister. We've seen a boom in babies born in the past five years.  Times are changing at FBCQC, and while it is personally exciting for me, it is also nerve wrecking and challenging. I know God has a plan. I know he is good and faithful, and I know that as long as FBCQC serves Him, we will be just fine.

Soon, there will be a time to celebrate at FBCQC. Soon, everything will feel normal again and we can get back to being a church moving forward. Soon, and very soon, we'll be talking about new changes, and only God knows what they will be. I'm excited.

This is my prayer.

God, use me. Use First Baptist Queen City to minister to our community. Help us to be a bright light standing in a dark world. Help us to love, like you do, like Jesus does. Help us to rest assured in your plan for us. Help me to be the kind of church member you'd want me to be. Help me to hold my tongue, be slow to anger, and quick to love. God, I know changes are coming. Help me to embrace them, and if they effect me personally, help me to seek your face and find my place according to you. Thank you for my church, God. Thank you for the people there, and thank you for the opportunity to raise my boys in your house. Thank you for my wonderful Momma, who made sure I was there every time the doors were open, and sometimes when they were not. Thank you, Lord. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This post is not about Porter

I catch myself worrying that I'm not being fair. Many of my readers know about the struggles and challenges we face with Porter, and I'm pretty good about sharing the triumphs and celebrations that we enjoy when we have a win with him. What I don't do often enough is talk about the other kid in our house. Y'all, he's something else entirely.

Fischer Henry Thompson turned two in February. He could not be any different than his big brother. Fischer is strong willed and playful, independent and feisty. I have learned to love in a whole new way because of Fish. He is the balance to our crazy chaotic and messy world. He is, quite literally, our anchor.

Before you start thinking he's a calm, and calculated kind of guy, he's not. Most often, you'll find him running and screaming, giggling uncontrollably, copying EVERYTHING his big brother does, asking a million and one questions, and of course, falling down. But what he does so well, so uniquely, is hold everything together when the rest of us are being nutty. Porter could be crying about something obscure, Brad could be mad about something routine, and I could be stressed out and about to literally lose it, but Fischer. Fischer is most likely the one who is taking it all in, giving his brother a hug, making a silly face, making us laugh and keeping everyone in line. This kid is going places, people.

He has his own sense of style. Tons of people ask me if the glasses are real. They're not. He likes to wear flat-billed hats, cocked to the side. He likes to wear glasses of any kind, and he insists on wearing shoes... cool ones. He is well-dressed, and full of joy. I am over-the-moon about this little guy. Every time I look at him I can't help but be a little more amazed that God has entrusted me to raise these two perfect and precious gifts. I pray every day for the wisdom and strength to hold it all together for them.

Every worry and fear I have for Porter is followed by a "but Fischer...". God is so full of grace. He gave us a break with Fischer it seems. I know he's only two, still so small and new and there's still many years for him to cause us grief, but for now, he's just what our family needed.

He walked at 9 months. He started talking soon after. He has hundreds of words and is stringing sentences together. He makes jokes, and plays games, and keeps up with the big boys. He is so much of what I need on a daily basis! He keeps me smiling and kissing and hugging and running. Oh, I am so very thankful for Fischer Henry.

He wants to be just like Daddy. And I hope he is. I hope his heart is just as big, and his smile is just as contagious. I hope he sees the kindness in his Daddy's heart, and I hope he wants to be a helper and a caretaker, just like his Daddy. But I think all parents want more for their children than they have themselves. I want more for Fischer. I want him to see the whole world, experience it, change it. I want him to conquer and rise to the top and be the kind of leader that I already see in him. He is fierce. He is competitive and has a drive unlike any other. He won't quit. I love that about him.

He doesn't play t-ball yet, but he's ready. I see it in his eyes when we're sitting at the ball field watching his big brother play and his Daddy coach. He watches every move when the boys are on the field, and he is already running fast and catching balls. His swing is impressive. I can't wait to see him play the game and love the game. Oh, t-ball is a whole other blog post waiting to be written....

My sweet Fish is quick to forgive. His heart, just like his big brother's, is golden. He's cautious about new people, which is totally different than P. I can't say I blame him though, as cold and harsh as our world has become.

Fischer will start preschool this fall. For once, I can say that I'm excited for him. With Porter, I was nervous beyond words. I was worried and stressed and didn't want him to enter the big old world of private preschool. But Fischer... (see what I did there?) Fischer is ready. Fischer will dominate preschool, and the playground and honestly, any other situation he encounters. I can't wait to watch him excel! Swim fast, Fischerman. Swim fast!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Not a stay-at-home Mom

I blog about mommy stuff a lot. Honestly, I have a lot to say about being a mom, even though, all things considered, I'm still pretty new at it. My kids have taught me more in five short years than I have learned collectively my entire life. They are the best teachers on the planet. 

What some people don't know, is that I have this entire other life. It's a life filled with the pressure to be perfect, deadlines, public scrutiny, and it requires an endless amount of God's grace and His mercy. My career isn't something I talk about often, because honestly, most people wouldn't get it. There is this fine line that I walk between public service, and hard business, that is extremely tricky, rarely easy, and occasionally rewarding. It doesn't pay well, but I'm not complaining. I rarely am acknowledged for accomplishments or achievements, and most of the time, by doing the right thing, I am certainly making at least half of the population angry. Literally, we never win.  

Every day, I think about what is best for an entire city. I consider how every news article, every Facebook post, every buzz feed headline will make us look. I worry about colors, and fonts, and spacing on every document I see. I obsess over the language we use to communicate to our residents, and the phrasing we choose to explain the process, whatever process, to those who aren't familiar with our work. My desk is cluttered with hand written notes about unresolvable issues, promotional items, newspaper clippings, advertising tear sheets, drafts of documents that no one will ever care to read, photos of presentations, ceremonies, and hoopla, and gadgets and gizmos that make all of it easier. 

I plan events. The events I plan aren't like a birthday party, or a wedding, but most likely a somber public meeting on a technical issue with an audience of three, or a town hall session to settle differences and make information available. The events I plan have to be accessible, informative, professional, and are often heated and intense. Apathy is my enemy. Apathy is also my blessing. 

The very next day, and sometimes the same, I represent our city to leaders, dignitaries, businessmen and women, and community mobilizers who have very passionate opinions about the job we are doing. More often than not, I'm half their age, and the wrong gender to be taken seriously. All in a day's work. 

My days range from fire station open houses, to community wide yard sales, to ordinance recodification, to website maintenance, and graphic design. One moment my audience could be senior citizens who are seeking meal assistance, and the next I'm addressing a Senator or Congressman. My job requires flexibility. 

The funny thing is, that I seriously love my job. 

A friend on Facebook asked this question the other day: "If you could quit your job...if money was not an issue, would you do it? If so, what would you do instead?" 

I thought about it for a minute. I wouldn't quit. If money weren't an object, I would keep going to work. I would keep diving in to the career that I absolutely love. I would continue to better myself, receive training, and engage in conversations about my profession that further the trade. I would keep trying to make life better for large groups of people, through communication, logic, and collective and representative decision making. I would keep on. 

My job isn't something I do to make money. My job makes money, because of who I am and what I love to do. When I go home at night, when I show up at church, when I go buy groceries, or attend a Movie in the Park with my family, I never stop being the representative for the city. I am always, in some way, wearing my professional "hat". It's not just a career; it's a lifestyle. 

Once you've worked in the public sector, you quickly decide if you have the heart for it, or not. I've seen lots of people take a job in various levels of government, education, non-profits, religion, only to figure out that it doesn't pay enough and the gig itself isn't easy. They'll tell you it was an anomaly, and that what happened to them was unfair, unjust, and crazy... but truth is, that's what public service is about. Most think that since the job is stable, and it isn't as competitive as the private sector, there isn't much to stress over. To a certain extent, they are right. Working in the public sector can be stable. Usually, benefits are paid for, or at least made accessible, and there isn't a cut-throat competitor breathing down your back. What folks fail to realize, is that being in the public sector opens you up to public scrutiny. Often, my decisions are left open to 70,000+ opinions on a daily basis. What we work on is often on the front page of the newspaper, on the nightly news, and on the web within moments of release. Who else wants that kind of attention? Who else gets that kind of pressure to be perfect? 

I've seen this life tear people apart. I've seen it rip families from each other, throw individuals into a spiral of disrepair, and I've seen good people lose everything because of a "mob mentality" that takes over when we remove the people from the decisions and lose site of the personal factor. It's a scary risk we take when accepting a job such as this. Don't get me wrong, it isn't the same kind of risk that Brad takes when he puts on his bunker gear and responds to the fire alarm, but it's a risk of family, quality of life, and peace that we all cherish and love. 

So, how do we keep on? How do we hold our head up, show up at work, stay in our office, keep answering the phone and opening emails, when we know that disappointment, frustration, and challenges are most of what is lying ahead? 

For me, the answer is that I know this is a calling. I know that God wants me to be right where I'm at, and as long as He is blessing my work, it will be fruitful. There are two verses that I keep coming back to when I find myself in a hard spot professionally: 

Galations 6:9-10 
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Colossians 3:23-24 
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Here's my prayer about my work life: 

God, sometimes I don't make it home before they go to sleep. When I sneak into their rooms and watch them sleep, I cry out to you silently, because I need your help with the guilt. Sometimes I travel for two nights of the week and I don't get to participate in donut Friday. More often than I'd like to admit, I find myself checking my work email and responding to an "emergency" when I should be playing with them. God, sometimes that 40 hour week turns quickly into 80, and honestly, I know the strength I have to keep going can only come directly from you. Please take the guilt away. Thank you for the assurance that I'm right where I need to be. Thank you for the continued blessings on my career, and thank you for the supportive husband, and sacrificial mom who keep allowing me to follow this path. God, I know you have big things in store, and I can only imagine that these years of preparation will pay off in a big way later on, but God, I need your help to keep on. I need your help to respond with grace when I have no patience left. I need your help to love on those people like Jesus would. God, please help me be more like Him. Help me to see the needy and the broken with mercy, instead of justice. Thank you so much for the skills you've given me to be effective. Help me to improve the areas that I fall short. Thank you for being the ultimate communicator, and being the perfect example.