Speaking Life Over Your Kids

Death and life are in the power of the tongue…
Proverbs 18:21

Our words have power. The words that we say can either lift someone up or tear them down. Words can hurt and they can completely completely crush someone’s spirit. But they can also be used to mend and bring encouragement. Parents, this is especially true about the words we use when we are talking to or about our children. When I’m out and about, I often hear parents talking about their kids in passive conversations with comments like, “Oh, she’s never going to understand math.” or “He’s just being a brat today.” While these remarks might not be said intentionally, they speak negativity and express a low level of expectations for their children.

Almost immediately after announcing our pregnancy, my husband and I were swarmed with advice from so many well-meaning people. Most people advised Jimbob and I to expect the worst out of our new little bundle of joy. They would “prepare” us with stories that included all the negative aspects of raising kids. In particular, we were told many horror stories about the awful things that toddlers do in the “terrible twos” stage. Before I even became a mama, I made the promise to never call the toddler stage the “terrible twos”. Long ago, God laid it on my heart to be conscious of the words that I used when talk about my family. I wanted to speak life over my kids and always communicate messages that lifted them up. Instead of the “terrible twos”, I started calling this stage of life the “terrific twos”.

Now, our daughter is two and a half. She is a ball of energy, constantly exploring, and just overall full of life. She does throw fits pretty regularly when she doesn’t get her way. She gets cranky when she needs a nap. When she is frustrated she yells – loudly. At any given point, she can be everything that the term “terrible twos” encompasses. BUT – she is also so compassionate. She is kind and loving. When she sees someone crying or hurt, she always wants to help them. She is so silly and can make her daddy and mommy laugh like no one else can. She is creative, imaginative, and brave. She loves Jesus and knows that He loves and saved her. I would be devastated if someone saw her in the middle of a meltdown and labeled her as a “terrible” two-year-old. She is so much more than her difficult moments, and so are the kids in your life.

Any time that I think about the words that I use, I am reminded of Psalm 19:14. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. I often use this verse as a prayer. May everything I say about others, especially my children, be pleasing to the Lord. It is my prayer that God would be happy with what I have to say when I talk to or about my kids.

I say all of that to tell you this: our words have power. The things that we choose to say to and about our kids matter. I am not saying we should sugar-coat parenthood. I know it’s not all a walk in the park. I’m just saying that it isn’t all awful, either. Raising children is challenging, but it is also rewarding. Our kids have really terrible days sometimes, but they also have really wonderful days. Friends, it’s our job as parents (or grandparents, aunts, uncles, guardians, etc.) to speak life over our kids. Expect the best from them, and then respond with grace and love when they fall short (because they will). Next time you are tempted to say something negative about your children, try to say something positive instead. Let’s give our kids a good example of how to use words to breathe life over others by starting with how we talk about them. Let’s be intentional in what we say to our precious children. After all, their Heavenly Father made them to be pretty terrific.

Many Differences, One Image – Helping Children See the Beauty in Others

I love watching my two-year-old, Sutton, interact with other kids. She loves other people, especially when they are her size. When we are out in public and she sees another child, she normally will say to me, “Look mommy! A friend!” Everyone is her friend and it’s precious. The best part about her “friends” is that there are no qualifications for being a friend. She doesn’t care if another child is a boy or girl; black, brown, or white; rich or poor. All she wants is a friend to play and explore with. This is really all any child wants. They don’t care about what someone else looks like. Kids just want to be friends. As I have been reflecting on everything going on in our world lately, God has been using my daughter’s sweet spirit to remind me of His design for mankind. God desires for us to love each other, and not just the people who look like us. We should be seeing every person as a valuable image-bearer of the Father. As Christians, we are called to treat everyone with the kindness and compassion that Christ would – especially when they are different than us.

Genesis 1:26 tells us that we are all created in God’s image. Every single person is a reflection of the Almighty Creator. Even though there are many differences between us, when it comes down to our very being – who we are at the core – we all bear one image – God’s. The most important way we can reflect God’s image is in our love for one another. When we love others regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, social status, etc., we are showing our children what it means to love like God does.

Our world has been in such a heavy, dark place lately. If you read my last blog post, you know that I am no longer content with being silent when it comes to the unfair treatment of our darker-skinned brothers and sisters. I have learned that simply not being racist isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to say that I love everyone. My actions have to reflect that love. I have to do more and I have to start in my own home. I have to continue to foster my daughter’s love for all people. I have to answer her questions about why some people look different than we do when she asks them. I have to provide an example of what it means to speak out against injustice. I have to show her that our differences have been given to us by God and they are to be celebrated. Friends, we have to be aware of what we are teaching our children about others. Whether you realize it or not, you are teaching the children in your life how to view and value others. They are watching and listening to how you treat and talk about other people.

In working with young children for over 10 years, and now having a daughter of my own, I am convinced that humans are not born hating one another. We are not born with prejudice and bigotry in our hearts. These are attitudes that are taught and learned. Racist adults have not always been that way – they were once innocent children who liked everyone. Somewhere along the way, someone else’s racist remarks began to take root, and they adopted those beliefs as their own.

Think about your very first childhood friend. Why were they your friend? Chances are, it wasn’t because they looked a certain way. They were probably your friend because you had common interests or shared the same spaces. Now, as adults, we tend to make it so much more complicated. We have to see people for who they are as a person, rather than just the color of their skin. When we decide that someone is not worth knowing just by looking at them, we lose. We miss out on everything that that person has to offer. We could miss out on some truly amazing friendships and relationships. These are all things that we need to be teaching to the children in our lives.

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., there are many ways that you can help your kids love people who look different than them. Read books and watch TV shows with character diversity, talk about different cultures and ethnicities rather than only focusing on your own, and celebrate God’s creativity reflected in us. I want to challenge you to intentionally focus on how you are encouraging your kids to love others this week. When your children see someone, are you helping them to look at who that person is in Christ – beyond what they look like on the outside? Last week, I made a promise to do better. Part of this promise will be intentionally encouraging my daughter to love others and to be thankful for all of our differences. I pray that by starting in my own home, I might be able to make a bigger difference in the world. I pray that Sutton will one day see a world where there is no racism, and that future generations will truly understand what it means to love others as Christ loves. I hope you’ll join me in praying for these things.

Precious in His Sight

I’ve gone back and forth on writing this post, and I finally just decided to go for it. I am going to have to be vulnerable, but I think that these are things that need to be said. These thoughts have been on my heart and mind, and getting them written down helps me to process it all. It is my prayer that they might help you, too. As I have been praying about all of the recent events going on in our world (most within the past week), God has shown me that staying silent can’t be an option anymore. I am heartbroken seeing the hatred and division within our country. I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, but I do know that things have to change.

Growing up, my parents taught me to treat everyone with kindness. They taught me that if I truly love God, there can be no room in my heart for hate for anyone else (1 John 4:20). I have always believed that every person is here because God intended them to be, and that He loves every one of them. I believe that I will never look into the eyes of someone who Jesus does not love and did not die for. I value life. I have never considered anyone to be less than who God made them to be because they have more melanin in their skin than I do. As I have been reflecting on my own life, I am realizing that simply believing all of these things in my head isn’t enough – my actions must reflect what I believe.

I don’t ever remember intentionally treating someone differently because of the color of their skin. In high school, I often heard other white kids throw out racist comments to brown and black students. While I wasn’t one of the kids being blatantly hateful, I also was not one that stood up for my darker-skinned peers. I rationalized my inaction by saying that by not contributing to it, I was fighting racism. But I wasn’t fighting it – I was just observing it. This thought process has kind of gone with me into adulthood, and while I would always tell you how I believe that every single person’s life is valuable, I’m ashamed to admit that my actions might not have been a clear reflection of my beliefs. I am learning that inaction can sometimes be just as hurtful as partaking in the hateful behavior. Maybe your story is like mine. Maybe you have always thought that by not being the one who is blatantly racist, you were doing the right thing. I am learning that in order for me to make a difference in the world, the difference has to begin in my own heart. I have to be more aware of my surroundings. I cannot be passive. I cannot turn a blind eye when I see a darker-skinned person being treated differently.

I am so thankful that I had parents who taught me to value other people, regardless of their race or ethnicity, very early on in my life. It is my prayer that I can help my daughter to see the beauty in others. She has to know that God created us all and He loves us all. Let’s help our children to appreciate what someone else can bring to the table, especially when they look different than they do. May the world that our children live in in the future be one that is more loving, more compassionate, and more accepting. May future generations place more value in the worth of a brown or black person’s life. I pray that God would open our eyes, and help us to see others the way that He does.

To my brothers and sisters who have darker skin than I do: I just want to say that I am sorry. I am so sorry for the times when I have been oblivious to the oppression and struggles you encounter on a daily basis. I am sorry for staying silent when I should have spoken up. It has not been intentional by any means, but I realize now that I could and should have been doing so much more. I promise to do better. I promise to be more aware of how my actions are a reflection of how I value your life. I promise to speak up when I see injustice in the world. I pray that you will know how loved you are by your Creator, and that the rest of the world would understand that, too. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Your life matters and your voice matters. Before you were even born, God knew you and had a plan for your life. You are an image-bearer of the Father. You are His child and He loves you. And, for what it’s worth, I love you too.

I’ll end with the lyrics to a song that I’m sure you all know. I sing this song often with my daughter and with other young children in my life. The words are simple, but they share a deeply profound message – today more than ever before.

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white; They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Raising Kids Who Pray For Others

Being consistent in prayer is a spiritual discipline that is crucial to every Christian’s life. One of the ways that I teach about prayer to the kids in my ministry is by asking them how they would feel if they had to go months without talking to their best friend. Most of them normally say something about how they would feel disconnected in that friendship without communication. Just like we need to talk to one another, Christians need communication with God. The need for communication with our Heavenly Father is fulfilled through prayer. As we teach the children in our lives how to pray, it is important that we are also providing clear instructions of what to pray for. Kids of any age can praise God, petition for their own needs, and lift others up in prayer.
Writing this blog post has been on my heart lately as I have noticed a trend among the kids in my life. I have found that most children know that they should pray for others, but they seem to either be uncomfortable doing it or aren’t sure where to start. The best way for our children to learn about praying for others is to see and hear the adults in their lives lifting others up in prayer. In thinking about my own prayer life and how it can have an impact on the children around me, I am brought to these questions: Why is praying for others such a big deal, anyways? Do I pray for others as often and as consistently as I should be?

One of my favorite chapters of scripture is John 17. In this passage, we see Jesus praying for all believers – both His current disciples and those who will believe in the future. Take a look at verses 20-26:
20 “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. 21 May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. 22 I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me. 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation. 25 Righteous Father, the world has not known you. However, I have known you, and they have known that you sent me. 26 I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them.”
Jesus is about to be betrayed, arrested, and taken to his death. He prays for himself, but he does not stop there. He spends his last free moments praying protection, joy, sanctification, unity, and love over His disciples and over all future believers. Rather than being concerned only with what was about to happen to Him, Jesus spent time praying for others. Before the most painful events of His life, Jesus spent time in prayer for me. Friend, if you are a believer, He was also praying for you. This is a truth that almost renders me speechless every time I think about it. This passage provides such a powerful picture of the incredible love that Jesus has for us. Jesus gives us the ultimate example of how essential it is that we should pray for one another.

Another verse that comes to mind when I think about praying for others is James 5:16. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” In the last part of his letter, James wants his readers to know the importance of prayer. He urges them to pray, no matter what their circumstances might be. James knew that a big part of effective prayer is confessing to and lifting up one another. He knew that going to the Father on behalf of someone else can cover a multitude of sins.

Both of these biblical passages show us that praying for others is a big deal for believers. We can see that we should be lifting others up every time we pray. One of the biggest ways that you can bless the children in your life is to teach them the importance of praying for others. You can teach your kids that they can show someone that they love them by praying for them. Kids can learn that they can pray for anyone at any time. As you disciple your children, ask God to help them be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in their prayers. When you pray as a family, pray for one another and for other friends and family members. Ask God to heal those who are sick and thank Him for the people He has placed in your family’s life.
Whether your child is 5 or 15, they can be a strong prayer warrior. In learning to pray for others, children can come to realize that the gospel is for everyone. Jesus’ love is for everyone. Prayer is for everyone.

These are a few questions for you to ponder or to use as discussion-starters with the kids in your life. I hope you find them helpful!

  1. When you are facing troubles of your own, is your first reaction to include others in your prayers, or do you only pray for yourself? 
  2. Why is it important to pray?
  3. How have you seen prayer make a difference in someone’s life?
  4. How does it make you feel when you know that someone else is praying for you?
  5. Who can you pray for today?

Seven Ways to Pray for Your Kids in Times of Crisis

The past few months have been so difficult for everyone. COVID-19 has completely disrupted every area of our lives. We have seen our schools shift to online learning, churches stop meeting for corporate worship in their buildings, stores close, people lose their jobs, and so many other rough circumstances.

One verse that I have clung to during this season is Deuteronomy 31:6.
Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.
This verse has provided a constant source of comfort, because it reminds me that God has promised not to forsake me. Friends, if you are a follower of Christ, you can rest in the promise that your Heavenly Father is with you – through COVID-19 or any crisis that you face.

As I have been processing my own emotions throughout this season, I have also been thinking about all of the kids in my life. It’s important to remember that the same circumstances that affect adults also have a great effect on our children. For this reason, I have been concerned about how all of the social distancing restrictions will affect my daughter. I have also really missed worshiping with our precious First Burleson Kids on Sundays and Wednesdays every week.

In spending time in prayer for all of these children, I found that I had a common theme that focused on seven prayers. I have compiled that list of prayers here, in the hopes that you might be able to use it to pray for the children in your life. Even though we seem to be finally shifting into a period where restrictions are being lifted, it is important to remember to continue to pray for our kids.

1. Pray for the physical health and safety of your kids.
As a mom, I want to do everything in my power to keep my daughter healthy and protect her from harm. I’m sure you feel the same way about the children in your life. COVID-19 has made me even more aware of the fact that I can’t protect my little girl from everything. We live in a fallen world, which means that she will endure pain and sickness from time to time. As much as I’d like to, I can’t stop every bad thing from happening to her. The good news is, that because of the power of prayer, I am not helpless. I can pray hard and ask the Lord to protect my family.
I have found a really simple way to incorporate prayer for my family’s health during this season. Every time I wash my hands, I say a quick prayer asking God keep us healthy and safe. If you’re like I was and struggling to remember to pray throughout the day, I’d encourage you to incorporate a prayer every time you do a specific part of your daily routine. Praying while washing my hands works for me. There might be another approach that works for you. One of the amazing things about our Heavenly Father, the Ultimate Healer, is that He hears our prayers no matter what we are doing when we lift them up. Pray for the physical health and safety of your children. It will make a difference.

2. Pray for the mental well-being of your kids.
While praying for the physical health of you children is important, praying for their mental health is of equal importance. Just like adults, children can and often do struggle with anxiety, depression, and mental exhaustion. In a crisis situation like COVID-19, these mental afflictions can intensify. Depression is real. Anxiety is real. Mental exhaustion and stress are real. But friends, so is Jesus. Jesus is real and the hope that He brings is real. The hope that comes from Christ is more powerful than any of the tricks our minds might play on us. Pray the power of hope over your children, so that their minds might be filled with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Phil. 4:8).

3. Pray that your kids experience a deeper level of dependance on the Lord.
In times of crisis, we can learn a lot about ourselves by the people or things we turn to for comfort. This difficult season can provide great opportunities for parents to demonstrate their dependence on God so that their children might rely on Him at a deeper level.
Parents, it’s okay to let your kids see that you don’t have it all figured out. It’s okay to tell them that you are concerned for what the future holds. It’s okay to let them see that you are affected by the pandemic. All of these things are okay – as long as you point them to the One who does have it all figured out. Show them that God holds the future in His hands and that they can depend on Him – and then encourage them to cast their cares on Him, because He cares for them (1 Pet. 5:7). Pray for your kids to rely on their Heavenly Father more than anyone or anything else in the world. Teaching our children early on that God is bigger than Covid-19, or any other life crisis, can provide a foundation that will help them continue to turn to Him when they experience trials later on in life.

4. Pray that God would give your kids compassion for others who are sick, on the front lines, or are otherwise deeply hurting as a result of this crisis.
As Christians, God calls us to carry one another’s burdens (Gal.6:2). I’m sure that you know someone who is severely struggling or at risk because of COVID-19. As a family, talk about the people in your life that you know have been deeply affected by this crisis. This will provide a great opportunity to have critical conversations about some very real and current needs of others. Even very young children can learn what it means to care for the needs of someone else. Pray that your kids would understand that they can pray for others. Help them to recognize that every person is immensely valued by God. When one of their brothers or sisters in Christ is hurting, your kids can feel compassion for them and lift them up to the Father.

5. Pray for your kids to feel a continued connection to their friends, teachers, family members, and others that they are unable to spend time with during this crisis.
Even for the most introverted of us (I’m raising my own hand over here), not being able to see a lot of the people that we care about can take a toll. For me, going months without getting to do something simple like going to brunch with my best friends has been really rough. God designed us to need fellowship with one another. He did not intend for us to live life alone (Gen. 2:18). This is true for our kids, as well. As they have had to learn what it means to social distance and isolate, they have been missing their buddies. We are so blessed to have technology that enables us to meet virtually, but a screen on a device can never take the place of real, face-to-face interaction. Hopefully everyone will be able to meet together one day soon – but in the meantime, parents, we can ask God to comfort and fill that void in our kids’ lives.

6. Pray for your kids as they mourn the loss of their normalcy and plans that they were excited about.
For the first summer in as long as I can remember, I won’t be going to Kids’ Camp or leading a traditional Vacation Bible School. Coming to the realization that these events aren’t happening this year has been hard for me. I’m honestly not sure how this summer will even feel like summer without them. It’s not fun when plans get canceled, but that sure has been happening to everyone a lot lately. It can be extremely difficult for kids when their sense of “normal” is disrupted. Most of our children here in Texas left school for Spring Break, expecting to be back the next week. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and a lot of kids have really struggled with missing out on events and activities that they were excited about. Parents, give grace to your kids when they have trouble being flexible as plans change. Pray that God would help them be able to handle the disappointment that comes with this season. Pray that God would provide new opportunities to take the place of what your kids are going to have to miss out on. We might not have been able to anticipate COVID-19 when we initially made a lot of our plans, but God did. This virus has not come as a surprise to Him. We can trust that the plans He has for us and for our children are far greater than any we could make ourselves.

7. Pray that the Lord would provide an abundance of spiritual growth and learning opportunities for your kids during this season.
One thought that my Lead Pastor, Ronny Marriott, shared with our church staff recently was “Don’t waste this crisis.” This is a statement that has really stuck with me over the past several weeks. God is not wasting this time, so I need to be sure that I’m not either. Although this season has been difficult in ways that most of us have never faced before, God is still moving. He is still working. We can still be learning and growing in our faith during this time – and so can our kids. When today’s children are adults and COVID-19 is read about in history books, may our kids be able to look back on this time and see evidence of lessons and truths that God revealed to them. Pray that the Lord would reveal more of Himself and His character to your kids in this season. Pray that your kids might have a better understanding of who they are because of what Christ has done for them. Don’t waste this crisis.

Prayer is powerful and God hears us when we pray. I can promise you that, friend. These are only seven ways that you can pray for your kids during times of crisis. Parents, you can continue to ask God to show you other ways to pray.
What would you add to this list? What are some of the ways that you have been praying over the children in your life during this pandemic?

Why ‘Mommin’ and Ministry’? – Answering The Call to Ministry

As I was trying to think of what to call my blog, I confess it was a little overwhelming. There are so many great options out there, and I wanted something that truly encompassed what I was going to write about. I also wanted to have the freedom to write about more than just one topic. I thought to myself, “What has the Lord called you to do? What is your calling in all areas of life and how can this blog be a reflection of that?”

One scripture in particular that has stuck with me for several years is Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. This verse reminds me that my life is not my own. Christ died to save me from my sin, and now it is He who lives in me. The focus of my life is not supposed to be on me; my purpose is to glorify God share the gospel.

I believe that the two most important jobs that God has entrusted me with are loving and investing in my own family and ministering to others God places in my life. After a lot of thought (and some pretty funny name suggestions) I finally landed on ‘Mommin’ and Ministry’.


“Mommin'” has become a kind of popular word to describe life as a mom. You might have seen funny t-shirts and things that say phrases like, “Mommin’ ain’t easy” or something like that. When I think about what “Mommin'” means to me, I think that it reflects my duties to my family. It encompasses my role in our family as a wife and mother and the ways in which I love my husband and our daughter (and any future children that we have). As someone who has only been a wife for five years and a mom for two, I am not a veteran in these roles by any means. I still have much to learn as I seek God’s guidance in ministering to my family.

What I do know for certain is this: The ministry that happens under my own roof is the most important ministry that I will ever do. It is my job to submit to, support, and honor my husband as he leads our household (Col. 3:18). It is also my job to raise up our children in a way that glorifies God (Prov. 22:6). Every day, I pray that I continually point my husband and daughter to Jesus. This is my most important calling and what “Mommin'” means to me.


From the time that I was about fifteen, I knew that God had a plan for my life that involved being in vocational ministry of some kind. It hasn’t always been an easy journey, and I know that there will still be bumps ahead, but God has remained faithful to get me to where I am today.

I have been working in ministry in some capacity for about 10 years now. I believe I have the best job in the world, but answering the call to ministry is so much more than a job. It’s bigger than any one church or congregation. It is about sharing the gospel so that the next generation might know what their Savior has done for them (Ps. 78:6). It is about making disciples who make disciples. I am so thankful to have my own little part in God’s story. That’s what the “Ministry” part of my blog name is all about.

What about you?

Believers are called to share the gospel – but you don’t have to be in vocational ministry to do that. God has called us all to make disciples (Matt. 28:19). No matter what your occupation might be, you can fulfill God’s call to minister to your family and others. Have you ever thought about what God has called you to do with your life? If you are a Christian, I can promise you that the Lord has called you to minister somehow.

How can you answer the call to ministry in your life?

My Very First Blog Post

First and foremost, thank you so much for visiting my page. I am honored that you would take the time to read my words!

I am so excited to start this new journey into the world of blogging. Writing is something that I have always enjoyed. Putting my thoughts down on paper (or a screen) has become a therapeutic outlet for me and the best way that I have found to express myself.

Journaling has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I remember being a little girl writing in my room on whatever paper I could find – filling it with thoughts from the day. As I got older, writing became a huge part of my spiritual growth journey. I found great comfort in writing out my prayers to God. I always enjoyed going back and reading old entries to reflect on how God had moved in my life.

Since graduating from seminary about a year and a half ago, I have been writing significantly less, and it truly feels like something has been missing. Over the past few weeks I have felt God urging me to make time to write more – and that’s how I ended up here.

So, welcome to the first official post of Mommin’ and Ministry! I plan to write about life as a full-time mama and minister, and everything in between! I have no idea who will read my posts and I’m sure I have a lot to learn about having a blog, but that’s okay. I am just trying to be obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is my hope and prayer that as I process all that the Lord teaches me, I am able to write something that encourages and helps someone else. To God be the glory!

— Katie