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I didn’t even realize I was holding my breath, until I was finally able to exhale. Does anyone know what I’m talking about? This week we had a startling revelation at our house and now I can breathe! As part of our family’s New Year’s Resolution we decided each night to read a chapter of a book of the Bible. Our son suggested Proverbs, he said “it is full of wisdom and good stuff.” So Proverbs it is. While reading through Proverbs Chapter 5:12-14 I saw where I had scribbled “Andrew” in the margin. “You will say I hate discipline…I will not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors (parents). I have come to the brink of utter ruin…” After our daughter was tucked into bed, I pulled Andrew aside and asked him to read just these verses from my bible. I placed my thumb over his name in the margin as he read. He immediately said “that’s not me, I don’t act like that. Do I?” I removed my thumb and there in black and white was his name written in my Bible. Immediately tears sprung to his eyes as again he asked “I don’t act like that, do I?” It seemed like time stopped at that moment. Does he truly not remember? I responded “For years we struggled with having a strong-willed child. To everyone else you were charming, funny, and well- mannered. At home you were a monster; defiant, rebellious, and argumentative. You behaved like this from Kindergarten through 2nd grade. We disciplined and disciplined and tried to stay strong, but it was so hard, your defiance wore us down. Day after day I prayed for God to change your heart. Night after night well after you and Rachel were asleep I would tip-toe back into your room and pray for you both. I physically laid my hands on you and prayed. Anytime I prayed over you (with one hand on your head the other on your heart) you would swat me away and say out loud “No! Stop! Go away!” Even in a deep sleep you had a rebellious spirit. Even though you would subconsciously hit me, I kept my hands firmly on your sweet little body and prayed that God would change your heart.” There on the couch, his heart was broken and he cried. He begged me and daddy to forgive him for his behavior. I placed his sweet face in my hands and told him I already have forgiven him. Later that night, I overhead Andrew talking. He had locked himself in the bathroom praying. Between sobs he asked God to forgive him for being defiant and rebellious. I have been holding my breath for 5 years. But standing outside the bathroom door, hearing my son offer a truly repentant heart. I finally exhaled. Friends, perhaps you can relate to this season of life. Or perhaps your struggle is something entirely different. No matter what season you are in and no matter what struggle you are facing. Don’t stop praying! “The intense prayer of a righteous man, woman, and parent, avails much!” James 5:16 (My version) ~April “May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12

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