Member of AWSA

  Info about AWSA


[See their Bios on the Partners Page by clicking on the Blogger box, above]


Lina AbuJamra

Sue Badeau

Dianne Barker

Twila Belk

Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Gail Bones

Harriet Bouchillon

Mary Carver

Jeanne Cesena

Pamela Christian

Lisa Copen

Erin Davis

Diane Dean

Deb DeArmond

Kelly DeChant

Danna Demetre

Melissa Edgington

Debbi Eggleston

Pat Ennis

Morgan Farr

Pam Farrel

Sally Ferguson

Liz Cowen Furman

Gail Goolsby

Sheila Gregoire

Kate Hagen

Doreen Hanna

Holly Hanson

Becky Harling

Debbie Harris

Nali Hilderman

Cathy Horning

Kathy Howard

Mary James

Priscilla Jenson

Lane P. Jordan

Rebecca Jordan

Ellie Kay

Maria Keckler

Sylvia Lange

Debby Lennick

Peggy Leslie

Kathi Lipp

Kolleen Lucariello

Kathi Macias

Paula Marsteller

Melissa Mashburn

Dianne Matthews

Cindi McMenamin

Elaine W. Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Lynn Mosher

Karen O'Connor

Yvonne Ortega

Arlene Pellicane

Ava Pennington

Laura Petherbridge

Gail Purath

Marcia Ramsland

Kaley Rhea

Rhonda Rhea

Vonda Rhodes

Cynthia Ruchti

Julie Sanders

Judy Scharfenberg

Deedra Scherm

Laurel Shaler

Joanie Shawhan

Stephanie Shott

Poppy Smith

Susan K. Stewart

Stacie Stoelting

Letitia "Tish" Suk

Jill Swanson

Janet Thompson

Janice Thompson

Teri Thompson

Brittany Van Ryn

Elizabeth Van Tassel

Leslie Vernick

Laurie Wallin

Julie Watson

Joan C. Webb

Shonda Savage Whitworth

Cherri Williamson

Kathy C. Willis

Debbie W. Wilson

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Jamie Wood

And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson



Trust the Blueprints

Kolleen Lucariello speaks into women's lives in engaging, practical ways. In this Relationship with God UPGRADE, she envisions God as a faithful Contractor, accomplishing His purposes in our lives.

"Sometimes full understanding remains a mystery until the contractor completes the work," Kolleen says. "When you can’t fully catch the vision—you watch, wait, and trust the one with the blueprints."

I (Dawn) have studied blueprints before. They can be so complicated! I've wished I could crawl inside a contractor's mind to figure out what he sees sometimes that I'm not seeing.

Kolleen continues . . .

Every summer our house undergoes a little upgrade. This year, a simple front step soon became a front-porch-walkway-landscaping project for my husband and I, filling our front yard with piles of dirt and sand, black tarps, pavers and lumber.

“I can’t wait to see it finished,” our daughter commented during one visit, “It’s going to look so nice.”

The next comment came from our five-year-old granddaughter: “I can’t wait to see it finished, cause then I will finally understand what you are doing.”  

What seemed obvious to us was not to her.

I can relate. Don’t tell her, but I’ve been confused by some of her art projects, too. Some projects only make sense to the one with the plan.

I agree with her. It’s not always easy to catch the vision until the project is complete. I share the same limitations and I find myself struggling to understand when seasons of difficulty hammer away.

I find myself trying to catch the vision for God’s plan every time life becomes paved with blinding unknowns and overwhelming struggles. This is when I admit  “I can’t wait to see this finished, Lord, because then perhaps, I will understand what You are doing.”

Well, I hope to understand, or it might be—"Please, Lord help me understand"

Years ago, we lost our brother-in-law in a car accident.

I became angry with God for what I perceived as unfair and unjust. I didn’t really care to have understanding about what God was doing; I thought He was just being cruel.

I recognize now how God used this tragedy to lead my husband and I to understand our need for salvation. What might have destroyed our faith, God used to cement it instead.

Several years later, we lost a very close friend in another car accident.

The loss was devastating for us, but we knew God as a Contractor was able to build something good out of the destruction.

When the pain was great I found myself repeating, “I can’t wait to see the good at the end of this, God, because right now, I don’t understand the why behind what just happened.”

I would remind myself of what I knew to be true about God:

  • You know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).
  • You are deeply concerned about us, and are able to turn this bad into something good (Romans 8:28).

Unlike the first time, I didn’t get mad at Him. I didn’t turn bitter.

I refused the invitation to believe God was cruel.

I just imagined my head on His chest while I wept—grateful that He understood my heartbreak, and that I now understood His comfort.

Life is unpredictable. Perhaps this is why the Psalmist reminds us to put our trust in, and reliance on the Lord, rather than relying on our own insight and understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

With my hazy insight and limited understanding, trusting in—while relying on—Jesus is the only option that offers me any peace when life becomes unsettled. After all, He promised that in Him we would have perfect peace; but He also forewarned us of tribulation, distress and suffering, too.

“Be courageous,” He said. “I have overcome the world” (John 16:13).  

Jesus is predictable when life is not. 

God is the Contractor who began a glorious work within you, and He’s the One who will faithfully continue the process of building you into His likeness—adding a few finishing touches here and there (Philippians 1:6).

When you lack understanding, trust the Lord as you do three things.

1. Rejoice that He sees you.  

“I will rejoice and be glad in Your steadfast love, because You have seen my affliction; You have taken note of my life’s distresses” (Psalms 31:7 AMP).

Your distress has been noted!

2. Focus your thoughts.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT).

3. Find rest.

Jesus said,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NLT).

Unload your troubles onto Him.

Sometimes you need to patiently wait, watch the process, and trust something good can come from the mess you’re staring at now.

Even when you don’t understand His vision.

Where in your life are you struggling to understand what God is doing? How can you trust God's "blueprint" for your life and find rest, peace and even joy in Him?

Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional book, The ABC's of Who God Says I Am; and as a speaker, she speaks into women's lives "one letter at a time." Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, reside in Central New York. She's a mother of three married children and Mimi to five incredible grandkids—with one more on the way! For more information about Kolleen, visit her website.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Classically Printed at Pixabay.


Whom Did Jesus Praise? Will He Praise You? (Part 2)

In Part 2 of this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson encourages us to consider some of the people Jesus praised while He was on earth.

Jesus might offer us words of praise, but we need to be praiseworthy.

In Part One of “Who Did Jesus Praise?” we saw the praise He shared with to those who would trust Him without “seeing” Him physically, a near relative (John the Baptist) who bravely took a stand against his culture and proclaimed the truth, and a disciple who proclaimed a powerful statement of faith.

In Part Two we will examine two others: a woman who stretched out her hand, and a woman who gave sacrificially… and we’ll think ahead to our praise in heaven!

Again, we’ll consider how we might win Jesus’ praise.

4. Woman touching the hem of Jesus garment

Luke 8:43-48 and Mark 5:21-24; 35-42 tell the story of a woman who had “an issue of blood” (for 12 years!) who touched Jesus’ garment, likely His outer cloak.

Though Jesus simply pointed to her simple act of faith—and He told her to “go in peace” and know that she would be freed from her suffering—a response of love that showed His great love for the woman.

The bleeding woman was fearful. Religious Jews felt it immodest and inappropriate to touch men in public. The woman was also ritually unclean (Leviticus 15:25-27). She could have faced serious consequences when she reached out to touch Jesus’ garment.

Yet she bravely reached out in her desperation.

She had lived for over a decade as an outcast socially and spiritually. So she took a huge risk. She touched the edge of His cloak (Matthew 9:20). This was a special area. Ritual tassels (tzitzit) were on the “corners” of the garment (Numbers 15:37-41).

The Messiah who would come, according to Malachi 4:2, would have “healing” in his wings. Jewish writings say these “wings” represent the four corners of garments with the “wings” or tzitzits. The woman grabbed for one of these wings, which would normally be a great affront to Him.

But Jesus’ response was gentle and loving (Mark 5:34). He told her to take heart, and in a sense, He was praising her fearful-yet-audacious faith. He wasn’t like the proud priests in His day; He was always focusing on the people’s redemption. Jesus was also unlike the Jewish men who did not see women as men’s equals. Paul clarified this when he said “there is neither male nor female,” because all are one in the Messiah (Galatians 3:28).

Like this woman, we need to be brave, bold, and reach out to the Lord to find healing and help in our own time of need. Jesus wants us to do this, and He would praise us when we do.

5. One Who Gave Her All

We find a story about a special, sacrificial woman in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4.

Nothing was hidden from Jesus’ knowledge. He sat in full sight of the “treasury” in the Temple, the place for voluntary contributions. He observed the rich people casting in their gifts. But he also saw a poor widow who threw in two mites, two small brass coins.

His observation was that the poor widow had given more than all the others. She had given all she had to live on. She gave out of her poverty.

Jesus sees people’s hearts. He knows their circumstances. He sees through facades and how we 'keep up appearances.'

People might laud others who make huge financial gifts, but Jesus took time to praise one whose gift weighed in heavily because of her great sacrifice. He noticed her sincerity and generous heart.

The truth is, Jesus still sees the “treasury” in our giving and living.

The Lord observes our thoughts, deeds of charity, and especially the way we worship.

He sees our motives. He knows whether we give of our time, talents and treasures to be seen by people, or whether we give “as unto the Lord.”

Jesus praised the widow that day. Someday, the feeble efforts of God’s sincere and generous children—gifts made and things done to honor Him—will also be commended.

And lets we think we have anything to give, even the poorest and simplest of us are not excused from gifts and good works (2 Corinthians 8:2-3). God will always know our deepest heart, will and affections. The amount we give is not what concerns Him as much as our willing mind (2 Cor. 8:12).

He accepts and praises our obedience and love, not the measure of our gifts.

6. Will We Hear a “Well Done”?

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this, but it’s something to think about.

In Matthew 25, we see Jesus—by way of a parable—suggest He will praise (commend) and also reward the deeds done for Him, for His glory.

The master in the parable says, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

Then he praises the servant for his faithfulness, says he will be rewarded, and he should “enter into the joy” of his master. The “Master” in this parable is Jesus himself. The servant is us, Christ-followers. The Lord will reward those who do their best to serve Him.

Paul proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15:58, our labor is “not in vain in the Lord.”

In Matthew 25:34, in another parable, Jesus pictured the Day of Judgment and said those on His right—true believers—will enter into God’s prepared Kingdom.

Jesus, in commending Christians, says our love and service to others is the same as loving and serving Him (Matthew 25:40).

Oh, how I long to hear Jesus say “Well done” to me! Do you want to hear that word of praise too?

Observing those Jesus praised, we might again examine our own hearts:

  • Am I being brave in reaching out to Jesus with my needs, especially my desperate needs?
  • Am I sharing sacrificially with my time, talents and treasures?
  • Will I hear my Savior say, “Well done?” (If not, what do I need to change now?)

Again, as you consider these three points—will you win the praise of Jesus?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator the blog, Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts, and a writer at (wiki posts) and She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Foto Rieth at Pixabay.


Whom Did Jesus Praise? Will He Praise You? - Part 1

In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE in two parts, Dawn Wilson encourages us to consider some of the people Jesus praised while He was on earth.

In Part 1 of “Who Did Jesus Praise?” we'll consider: (1) a group of people Jesus praised, (2) one of His near relatives, and (3) a woman He noticed who probably thought no one was watching.

Let’s explore each point of praise.

1. Those with “Unseeing” Faith

Thomas believed because he saw the resurrected Jesus—he trusted his senses—and Jesus gave him measured commendation (even though it was also a bit of a rebuke because his faith was slow and late). Thomas had an opportunity to believe Jesus was resurrected without seeing, but he rejected it. We have that same opportunity today.

Jesus, speaking to Thomas, also Jesus praised those—by saying they were blessed—“who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Jesus’ words looked forward to the birth and development of the early Church.

That would also be Christ-followers today!

It's people who see “by the eye of the Spirit”—those who base their confidence on the convictions of their faith.

Peter said,

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now; you believe in Him and rejoice with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).

Bible commentary writer Albert Barnes said, “All faith is of things not seen; and God blesses those most who most implicitly rely on His Word.”

Authentic faith depends on God’s words to us and not our eyes of flesh. Jesus praised those who would have faith that the Word of God is true concerning Him.

If I want to please the Lord, I will have “unseeing faith.” So will you!

2. One Who Turns People to Righteousness

In Matthew 11:7-19, we hear Jesus’ analysis of His friend John. (This is John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin who he likely loved (Luke 1:36)—not John the apostle, who Jesus also dearly loved).

John the Baptist was a prophet of God, but Jesus said he was “much more” (Matthew 11:9). John, unlike the Old Testament prophets, could be considered a New Testament servant of God. He was in a unique position of ministry in-between the testaments. He was a great witness regarding the Lord.

John pointed people to the Messiah, preparing the way of Christ. He preached repentance in preparation for the blessings of God and God’s Kingdom. John pointed Jesus out as the Lamb of God who would take away sin (John 1:29-37).

John baptized Jesus, and in that great event he heard God’s pronouncement about Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17). Jesus said there had not risen a greater than John the Baptist born of woman (except for Himself, of course). Jesus said (in Matthew 11:14) John’s ministry was like Elijah’s (see also Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6).

John turned many to righteousness—he was anointed by God for a great responsibility.

John was also a New Testament martyr. He was eventually arrested and killed for Jesus’ sake. He had lived and died what Jesus taught to His disciples in Matthew 10, and John’s enemies sought to kill him, just like they sought Jesus.

It is likely John, while he was in prison by Herod, likely for over a year when he wondered whether the Messiah would come to “set the prisoner free and loose the captives.” He asked two disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:3).

The majority of Israelites were not receiving Jesus as Messiah and He was strongly rejected by the leaders. John likely wondered why Jesus wasn’t moving quickly to do His messianic work. (There’s a great post on this here.)

Jesus sent a message to John about the miracles He was performing, and then He proceeded to praise John. Jesus understood the trial His beloved relative was enduring. There was no condemnation.

John would have to trust that his relative, Jesus, knew what He was doing. And Jesus’ words to him were enough to bolster his faith.  

Jesus defended John’s integrity and believed John was firm in the faith. John wasn’t a fickle man, tossed about by public opinion and or conformed to their way of thinking. And he was highly disciplined. He was a great witness for the Lord—fervent and zealous—and God gave him the opportunity to announce the coming Kingdom, even though others would see it in its glory, not him.

Jesus indicated the most humble believer would have greater understanding and opportunity than John—and potentially be greater than John.

Believers today can also prepare the way for the Lord—for His second coming. We can, like John the Baptist, call believers to repentance. We may find opposition when we take a stand, share the Gospel, and point out the sorrows of sin. Many, like the proud and worldly scribes and Pharisees, will oppose us like they opposed John.

Remember, greatness with God is determined by faithfulness and obedience!

3. A Disciples’ Confession of Faith

In Mark 8:27-29, Jesus praised Peter for his extraordinary statement about His identity.

Jesus asked His disciple, “Who do PEOPLE say that I am?

Peter, outspoken and usually a spokesman for the disciples in the Gospel records, replied that some said Jesus was John the Baptist. Others said Elijah, and still others said He was one of the prophets.

Jesus purposely set up this scenario, a contrast, between what His closest friends thought about him and what the people outside that group—who didn’t really know Him—thought about Him.

Clearly, the view of the crowds wasn’t accurate enough or high enough. Jesus was a prophet, but so much more, and the disciples had begun to see that. God the Father was opening their eyes.

Jesus zeroed in on Peter’s thoughts and heart, asking,

“But who you YOU say that I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”

Peter saw Jesus as the Messiah, the Anointed One. In the Old Testament, under the old covenant, prophets, priests and kings were anointed (1 Kings 19:16; (Exodus 40:12-15; 1 Samuel 16). And

Peter likely saw Jesus’ Messiahship in that way.

Jesus, the Messiah is:

A Prophet (Matthew 21:11; Luke 7:16; Mark 6:4) – He taught the Word with authority, often speaking in parables (Mark 1:22). He foretold the future, predicting His death (Matthew 17:22-23), foretold Judas’ betrayal (Matthew 26:20-25) and Peter’s denial (Matthew 26:31-35). He predicted the Holy Spirit’s coming (John 16:7-15), His followers’ persecution (John 16:1-4, 33) and the Temple’s destruction (Matthew 24:1-2). He prophesied His second coming (Matthew 24:30-31; John 14:3). He also performed miracles like other prophets, and compared Himself to other prophets (Luke 4:24-27).

A Priest. His is the believer’s ultimate High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16) after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:2; Genesis 14:18). Jesus is our great High Priest forever.

A King. Jesus was given the title “Son of David” and the rightful eternal king after David’s kingship (2 Samuel 7:16; Matthew 1:1; Revelation 22:16). This was foretold to Mary by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:32-33). The “Son of David” would be a ruler and a deliverer for God’s people. Jesus will return to earth to rule during the Millennium, and then forevermore (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) with all authority (Matthew 28:18). He who has a name above all names will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16).

That is Jesus’ true identity. Peter recognized Jesus as the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

And Jesus did not deny it. He praised Peter for this confession of faith.

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:13-17).

When we don’t understand who Jesus is, it can erode the Church’s foundation. It is also far more intimate: it can erode our individual faith.

The Lord—in the Word of God—reveals who the Father is, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. We need to study the scriptures to be sure we get their identities right, so we can also make praiseworthy confessions of faith like Peter!

Observing these these who Jesus praised, we might examine our own hearts:

  • Do I have authentic faith, dependent on God’s Word and not what I see in my circumstances?
  • Am I taking a brave stand against lies in the culture—even when opposed—and sharing the Gospel with others?
  • What is my confession of faith concerning Jesus? Do I truly understand who He is and why that is important?

In Part Two of this post, we will consider two women—a woman who boldly stretched out her hand, and a woman who gave sacrificially—and our hope for future praise.

Do you need to make some adjustments to win the praise of Jesus?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator the blog, Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts, and a writer at (wiki posts) and She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Foto Rieth at Pixabay.


I Don't Like Correction, but It's Good for Me

Kathy Collard Miller is a wise woman. She writes much about the heart and how to please the Lord. In this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, she encourages us to see God's correction through a biblical grid.

“If we can see the value of being corrected by God,” Kathy says, “we will be much more receptive to receiving His love through it.”

I (Dawn) have never much liked being corrected. It was a pride thing. But shortly after I became a Christ-follower, I learned about the love motivating my Heavenly Father whenever He corrected me. In a life story, Kathy writes about how the Lord helped her understand His loving correction.

Kathy continues . . .

Years ago, I remember feeling guilty about not giving my toddler daughter enough attention, but I didn’t know how to change.

Then one day the water bottle man dropped off a five-gallon glass bottle for us to use later. As I watched a soap opera on TV, I looked over at my two-year-old daughter who played near the bottle. I thought, “She can’t possibly be strong enough to push over that bottle.”

Then she pushed on it.

Over it went and the bottle shattered, spilling five gallons of water onto the carpet.

For once I didn’t get angry at my toddler. I realized I had the problem, not my toddler, and God was gently correcting me about my lack of attention to my daughter.   

In the future, when I was tempted to watch television at the exclusion of my daughter’s needs, I remembered that glass bottle. I also reminded myself God wasn’t wanting to punish me but teach me how to be the good mom I wanted to be.

The Bible tells us a lot about being corrected. We can learn He intends our good.

1. Receiving correction shows you are smart!

I don’t like to be thought of as stupid. I’ve been bothered by that since childhood mainly because being stupid seemed to get me in trouble. I concluded, “If I’m not seen as stupid, I won’t get in trouble!

Interestingly, Proverbs 12:1 tells us,

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”

I didn’t know that principle when I resisted anger after the water bottle incident. Now I see God was showing me my sinful escape method of soap operas! I was smart to learn to pay more attention to my daughter.

2. God corrects us in many different ways, even painful ones.

God’s correction may not always seem evident, because we can interpret His loving action as harmful.

He can correct us through the words of others, through unwelcome circumstances, or as He gives insights into our past wrong choices. Correction might be involved anytime we stop and evaluate: “Is my response godly and glorifying to God?”

James 1:2-3 tells us,

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

We may not like that verse because trials are not fun, but God intends to use something difficult to bring the good results He wants—our holiness for our good.

3. Being corrected is a gift from God offering a sense of love.

Children rarely say, “Thank you, mom, for giving me that correction. I’ll be happier because of it.” But that is exactly what God wants to hear from us.

We may not see it at the time, but God's correction helps us feel loved and valued.

Hebrews 12:5-6 assures us,

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

The next time you recognize God’s correction, you can actually tell yourself, “God is loving me!"

4. Correction helps us see when we are at fault.

Every one of us has a tendency to blame someone else for why we were unloving, unkind, unwise and a host of other ungodly reactions.

A miserable person is one who never takes responsibility. She never learns to make better choices resulting in her own joy, peace, patience, and self-control, and the good of others.

Proverbs 19:3 verifies that.

“When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.”

Let’s stop blaming God for our own choices. You will better know how to change and avoid ruin.

Being corrected doesn’t seem positive at the time, but as we change our attitudes about it, we will:

  • gain wisdom,
  • value God’s involvement in our lives,
  • feel more loved, and
  • take responsibility for our actions.

Those choices will result in our good and the good of others.

What lie have you believed about being corrected? What truth would you like to replace it with?

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 50 books, her most recent is Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.). She loves to speak at events and has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. Visit her website.

Graphic of water jug - 20 Canada Drinking water jug - offered at Wayfair.


Praying Through Our School Problems

Julie Sanders, a teacher, cares about students. In this Prayer UPGRADE, she calls us to pray for our students, especially as they struggle in school or face tough circumstances in their education.

"It doesn’t take long into a new school year before problems emerge," Julie says. "No education format is exempt from trouble to sort out, so how do we find school solutions in spiritual ways?"

I (Dawn) know Julie is right. Whether our children are in public school, private school, or even homeschool, when problems arise, we need to know the best way to move forward.

Julie continues . . .

When the first sign of a school problem appears, with speed unique to moms and grandmas of students, we can assess an issue, create a list of options, and find the school office number.

In the moment when our learner faces a fear, challenge, obstacle or conflict, it’s easy to forget about being quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19).

Education questions today raise issues related to curriculum, requirements, pacing, classmates, special needs, transportation, and cultural exposure, to name just a few. Parents face challenges to ensure students receive academic opportunities they need, while shaping their spiritual perspective and relational patterns.

Keeping the school formula at home has its benefits and challenges, while traditional classrooms, Christian or private, invite their own opportunities and obstacles.

Thankfully, God doesn’t call us to bow to problems, but to bow to Him.

Rather than being a fearful woman, I can be a prayerful woman.

In The ABCs of Praying for Students, I wrote, “What our learners need more than anything is our prayers—prayers fueled by your genuine love and a heart full of hope for the student on your mind.”

In Paul’s explanation to his learners about the essence of his prayers for them, we find guidance for how to pray for students on our hearts and minds.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

We want children:

  • to learn according to their ability,
  • to respect their teacher,
  • to develop healthy peer friendships,
  • to make wise choices, and
  • to have a friend at lunch.

Those things matter, and God cares about every element in our child’s education.

But most of all, we want our learners to intimately know the love of Christ, so deep and wide that no vocabulary describes or defines it.

Back-to-school problems have a powerful ability to turn our thoughts toward things we can touch, people we can email, supplies we can get, and assignments we can review. Earthly things (Colossians 3:2).

But in God’s greater curriculum, these things come under a bigger plan to help learners know the love of Christ. This truth applies from cradle to college and career.

Whether you school in a traditional classroom, a co-op, homeschool, or a one room schoolhouse like my mom, God wants to use the experience of education to teach our child the truths that matter most.

May our kids and grandkids know we pray for their concerns, but most of all we pray for them to know the concern and love of God toward them. There is no greater lesson to learn.

The most powerful thing we can do for our students will never be found on a school supply list. 

Engage what your child’s education needs most: the great power of your prayers at work.

As the learners we love start a new school year and problems emerge, what is your default action? Resist the urge to whip up a list and type an email. Instead, stop and pray for God to use hard things to lead to holy things.

Julie Sanders has been teaching students of all ages for thirty years. She loves Back-to-School season and how learning leads grown-ups and children to God’s deep and wide love. Julie is the author of The ABCs of Praying for Students, available at Christen Price Studio. Learn more about Julie at her blog.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Open Clipart / Vectors at Pixabay.