Encouraging Children

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee, nestle in your favorite chair and soak up the words from today’s devotion dedicated to mothers.

Today’s Passage

Children are a blessing from the Lord. (Psalm 127:3 NASB).

A Story

On a crisp winter evening, I sat down with my family at our dinner table and posed the question to my then six-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, “Kids, where would you like to go this year for our mission trip?”

Our youngest thought about it, “I’d like to go to Camp Attitude in Oregon.”

“Great idea Alicia! Let’s go!”

I couldn’t wait to see what was in store this summer. I’d heard some amazing stories from other families who helped at camp in the past.

Two weeks prior, we met at our pastor’s house along with the other volunteers to discuss expectations. “Randy and Rebecca, your family will help the OI children next week. Camp will have a full time nurse and physician on site.” What’s OI?

I learned that  OI is the acronym for Osteogenesis Imperfecta a.k.a. Brittle Bones Disease. These children have extremely fragile bones.  In fact, the previous year, a young boy was rushed to the emergency room for a broken arm from falling off a picnic bench. Fortunately, the doctors placed a cast on his shattered bones and he returned to camp the same day ready to play.

At Camp Attitude campers attended for free and often their medical foundations pay for their travel expenses. For many parents and siblings, it’s the only time all year they participate in extracurricular activities such as boating, hiking, swimming, etc., because their special needs child requires care 24 hours a day. This freedom is given via their “Buddy” who is assigned full-time to shadow their child.

We headed north to Foster, Oregon. We didn’t know what to expect at camp, because we’d never spent time with disabled children before. How would our kids react? We did arrive with open minds and willing hearts/hands.

After we set up our tent, we headed to the barn. We heard a loud Beep! It was the charter bus arrived from the airport carrying families from the United States, Canada and Europe.

We joined the camp Director, and she assigned our team’s daily chores which included cleaning the mess hall tables before and after meals, scraping plates, washing dishes and scrubbing bathrooms. Austin jumped up, “I’ll scrape the plates, Mom.”

“I’ll help you wash the dishes, Mommy,” chimed Alicia.

The Director then asked if anyone would be willing to haul the trash using their four wheel drive quad runner.

I sheepishly raised my hand, “I have a motorcycle license.”

“The job is yours,” she smiled.

I grabbed the keys, stepped outside and found a heap of waste and recycle next to a new quad runner.

We pitched the trash in the modified trailer. I fired it up the engine. “Jump in family. We’re going for a ride.”

With Austin on my right fender and Alicia on my left, we made our rounds. Who knew collecting garbage could be so much fun?

The next day, while clearing tables, I saw Alicia pushing a little girl in a wheel chair on a special swing. She ran up to me, “Mom, I helped Rachel. She needed a push.”

“That’s awesome! Good job Alicia!”

The week whizzed by. On our last night, we watched the camper’s talent show. It warmed my heart to watch my kids cheer on their new found friends

The next morning, the campers were bused back to the airport. Our team of eight volunteers was assigned one final task; to clean all the cabins and restrooms which accommodated 120 campers.

Five hours later, my sore body emerged from the last cabin. All done!

I’m grateful my family and I served together at Camp Attitude. We met a lot nice people, learned about special needs families and worked together as a team.

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Since our visit to Camp Attitude, I’m more aware of other’s needs. I don’t get it right every time, but it’s my heart’s desire is to be a conduit of God’s love.

Moving from praying to action requires planning. Here is some ways we can help others.

  1. Pray Pray God would show you who needs encouragement today. I often find these are my own children, friends’ children, my children’s friends, co-workers’ children, neighbors, my students or even Facebook friends’ children.
  2. Take Action I look for ways to encourage people God has placed in my life. Truth be told, this requires thought and energy. For instance, if I send an encouraging note, it requires that I have stationary and stamps on hand. You too can prepare things in advance you may need to encourage someone such as casseroles, gift cards, clothing, household items, etc.

God has placed children in your life. Who needs your encouragement today?

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I want to reflect your love to my child(ren) as well as other children. Give me eyes to see, ears to listen and hands to take action.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Your Turn

What is the one way you can love or encourage your child(ren) in your life today?

More

Looking for a good read about being the Mom God designed you to be? Read The Confident Mom – Guiding your Family with God’s Strength and Wisdom

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