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Day 12: Holy Spirit

Lord you know how messy family is. 

 

It’s not like we can hide our fights and misunderstandings from you. 

Or pretend we’re not selfish and stubborn.

If I’m honest, I thought we’d just sort of magically get along by now. 

 

I had dreams in my head of how we’d all get along. 

But it’s much harder than I thought it would be. 

 

It’s so easy for me to slip into a pattern of controlling everyone 

even when I don’t mean to. 

 

I don’t want to manipulate the people I love most. 

And yet, I’m tired, exhausted from the Holiday Hype 

and not on my ‘A’ game. 

 

I’m not sure I have what it takes to 

keep myself together through all the gatherings.  

 

And I absolutely know that I can’t manage all the big personalities 

and strong opinions of those around me.  

 

So this year, I want to do it differently.  

 

I want to invite Holy Spirit, 

the counsellor and comforter you sent to us, 

to be present at all times.  

 

I know that your presence can melt hardened hearts 

and restore connection and heal relationships.  

 

I want those things for my family 

and for every family we encounter this season.  

 

So Lord, just as you sent the Holy Spirit to come upon Mary 

and deliver peace to the world.

I ask for the Spirit’s  presence to deliver peace, love, joy, 

connection, and hope to my family, in Jesus name!

 

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

 

John 14:26

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

 

Romans 8:26

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.


Day 11: Dreams

 

Thank you for helping me trust you more over these last 10 days.  

 

This one might be the hardest though 

because it never seems like a good time to focus on me.  

But I’m facing transition. 

My kids are getting older. 

And I’m not sure what comes next. 

So help me trust you with my dreams and purpose. 

 

In fact help me be able to even begin to see a life beyond this season. 

You know how my circumstances make this hard.  

You see the losses I’ve experienced 

and know the dreams I’ve had to let go of in may life. 

 

Sometimes I feel like I’m living on autopilot.

One foot in front of the other. 

Daily day after daily day.  

 

The future itself feels distant and often hopeless.  

I’ve learned I can’t even count on tomorrow, 

so how do I live in hope for the future.  

I’m afraid to dream any more.  

I’m not sure I can handle the disappointment 

and so I numb out and binge on Netflix, food, shopping, 

or anything that can distract me from the monotony.  

 

But your word says there is Hope for my future. 

It says you know my days and have planned them out. 

And I know that as long as I’m living, I have purpose.

So I ask you to fill my heart with your dreams Lord.  

 

Replace my disappointment with your vision for what comes next.  

Help me dream again. 

Let my life be an example to my children 

of following you full speed ahead into the future.  

 

Let fear, disappointment, and concern of failure be far from me.  

 

Ignite my heart with your dreams for my life in Jesus name!

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 

Proverbs 16:4a

The LORD works out everything to its proper end

 

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” But doesn't that contradict what comes two verses earlier: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.


Day 10: Truth

 

Lord ground me in your truth this season.  

 

The enemy hates connection, hope and loving families.

His plans is for me to be consumed 

with cooking and shopping and all the extras that don’t really matter.  

 

He wants disconnection in my family 

and confusion in my household 

so distraction steals the focus from this season.  

 

It’s easy for me to get sucked into the details 

and forget how you desire for this season 

to widen our love and compassion for one another. 

 

I invite you to ground me deeply in your truth.

I want to look back on Christmas 2023 knowing 

it was your presence making the difference in my life.  

 

I want the peace I feel to be evident to my family. 

I pray it will compel them to your goodness, and kindness. 

 

You are our counsellor, redeemer, and friend. 

You are good, God. 

Ground me in your Truth and help me 

distribute your grace to those who need it most. 

 

I John 3:18

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth

 

Ephesians 6:14

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,


Day 9: Vision

 

Here I am again, stuck, in the same old patterns. 

Traditions, cycles, recurrent arguments, and unhealthy habits.  

 

As I prepare for times with family and friends, 

give me new perspective on my relationships.  

 

I’ve grown, I’m learning to see you in the world differently 

and I know my family is growing too. 

 

I may not know exactly how.

I may not have the opportunity or privilege 

to hear them share about what they’re learning. 

 

But I know you are faithful and believe you’re working 

all the time whether I see it or not.   

 

So as I approach conversations and anticipate connections, 

give me vision to see what you see.  

 

Help my words be full of hope as I connect with my family.  

Cause me to notice growth in my family. 

To speak life and bless the ones I love most.  

 

When I get stuck in the same old same old, 

remind the your vision  is what I lack Lord.

 

Let me see those around me like you do 

and use my words as gifts, in Jesus name!

 

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

Ephesians 3:16-17

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.

 

2 Corinthians 4:13

Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,


Day 8: Trust

 

God, I’m not sure I know what it means to truly trust you. 

 

I’d like to think I do. 

Sometimes it feels like I’m letting go of my plans 

and giving you permission to work how you want to.  

But I also know I have to go DO the things you’ve called me to do. 

Then I find myself attached to outcome and before I know it, 

I’m trusting in me again. 

 

It’s so easy to talk about trusting you and much harder to live it out, 

And that’s just me worrying about my own life. 

When it comes to my kids, it often impossible. 

I feel so responsible for them.  

 

I’ve spent my life guiding and shaping and sheltering them 

and now I’m just supposed to step back 

and let them (and you) take control?  

 

I know it’s the only way forward 

but what I don’t know how to do 

is get out from under the weight that their pain 

and challenges aren’t my job to fix.

 

I feel responsible, guilty, and stuck all at the same time. 

Worry eats me up. 

 

It’s come to this, I’m going to have to trust you to teach me to trust you. 

So today, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. 

 

I will simply trust that you’ll teach me. 

 

I’m not even going to try to trust. 

I’m just deciding to do it and believing you can do it through me. 

 

When my mind wanders to fear and control, 

send your spirit to remind me I don’t have to carry this burden.  

 

I’ll say it again, I trust you to teach me to trust.  

Thank you for lifting this heaviness from me, in Jesus name!

Psalm 2:12

I am blessed (happy fortunate, and to be envied) because I seek refuge and put my trust in the Lord.

Psalm 62:8

I trust in God at all times. I pour out my heart before Him;

God is a refuge for me. 


Day 7: Clarity

 

God my worry isn’t news to you.  

I get stuck in it all day long.

It keeps me up at night. 

 

I rehearse stories and fears and seem to 

constantly discover scary new outcomes.  

 

Anxiety is the war that never ends, 

an ongoing terrorist attack 

keeping my brain from thinking clearly.  

 

I know my own fears have trickled down to my kids 

and created anxious thoughts and habits in their lives. 

 

I feel powerless to help myself, 

never mind my children. 

 

But in the moments I find your peace Lord, 

I experience clarity that cuts through confusion 

and moves me forward into hope and healing.  

 

So this season, would you give me your clarity.  

When I begin to replay stories of terror and defeat, 

would you return my mind to you.  

 

Fill me with your love and grace.  

Calm my anxious heart.

Restore my clarity.

 

Flood my mind and restore your perfect peace 

in my heart and home in Jesus name!

 

Luke 12:32

I will not be seized with alarm and struck with fear, for it is my Father’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom!

 

Psalm 91: 4-5

God will cover me with his wings; I will be safe in his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend me. I need not fear any dangers at night or sudden attacks during the day. 


Day 6: Healing

When you’ve said ‘yes’ to Jesus 
and believed God when he says 
he’ll turn beauty into ashes, 
you can bet that ALL things are 
working together for good in your life 
no matter *what* it looks like! 

You can feel all your feelings 
without being crushed by them.

You can look reality in the eye and not retreat. 

You can lift your chin and square your shoulders and move forward 
one step at a time even if 
you don’t know where you’re going. 

And do you know what’s better? 

When you decide fear and shame 
won’t stop you from being honest with people or setting boundaries around your peace, you get stronger!

Someday soon you’re going to look back on this season and be so proud of yourself! 

It’s not easy to lead your family with your life,but it’s worth it!

Thank you for understanding my loneliness. 
Sometimes I just pretend my feelings don’t exist 
because I don’t know how to get through them. 

But I know the only way out is following your voice. 
You know the next step.
And I can trust you to get me there. 

My future may be uncertain but 
I can walk forward with confidence because I trust you. 
My future may be uncertain but 
I can walk forward with confidence because I trust you. 

I believe you are moving in my light right now
even if I can’t see it. 


Day 5: Hope

 

God I’m stuck in my head. 

My thoughts are full of all the horrible things that might happen. 

Hope seems like an impossible dream. 

Like a gift someone else might receive. 

Or a fairytale.

 

It feels like if I dared to hope in the middle of the mess,

it would be negligent. 

As if I’m not fully accounting for the seriousness of it. 

Or being irresponsible or foolish.

 

Psalm 46 talks about mountains crumbling and destruction and war.

I see it on the news. 

I feel it in my family. 

Most of the time, I fear for the future.  

 

I know in my head that my Hope is in you. 

But the future looks messier with every passing day.  

 

The world has never seemed darker, or scarier.  

I worry about my family constantly. 

I need you but I keep shoving you to the bottom of my list. 

 

When I forget would you remind me

I don’t have to have answers or solutions because I can trust you to lead me through,

 

Thank you that your presence is calming when my thoughts turn frantic.

 

You are God with us, Emmanuel and because of this truth, 

I choose to walk in Hope, no matter what, in Jesus name!

 

Psalm 33:18

The Lord’s eye is upon me because I fear Him [I revere and worship Him with awe],I wait for Him and Hope in his Mercy and Lovingkindness.


Day 4: Grace

 

Ok God, I’m gonna be real!  

 

These people have hurt my feelings.  

They have no idea how much I’ve sacrificed for them, how much I’ve given up, what I deny myself, and the weight I carry every day.  

 

I get it. It’s not really their job but if I’m honest…

I’m kinda over it! 

 

Sometimes, I’d rather not even need your help, but when it comes to giving these people grace, boy do I need it. 

 

I know it’s not right, but it’s like there’s always a war just below the surface.  

I’m tired, I’m needy, and

I’m gonna need YOUR grace to give THEM grace 

because I don’t always want to!  

 

Thank you that grace gives me perspective.  

And for reprieve the battle.  

 

I’m just going to trust you with this one because in my heart of hearts I want to give them all the freedom to keep growing and learning and becoming. 

 

But in my daily life, I just want to be acknowledged for who I am and what I do. 

 

Let my words and actions be filled with mercy.  

Let my heart be filled with the ability to forgive.  

Let my attitude reflect your healing in my life.  

 

Your grace is the GREATEST gift and I want to turn around and offer my family the same gift you’ve given me, In Jesus Name! 

 

Colossians 3:12

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,


Day 3: Forgiveness

 

Thank you for your forgiveness Lord and for 

teaching me to forgive others. 

 

I know when I get over myself and look back to you, 

you cover my anger, fear, and self-reliance.  

 

I also know that in return you want me to forgive others.

 

But easier said than done, when it hits close to home. 

Some of the deepest pain I feel has been caused by family.  

 

It’s weighing me down.  Sometimes I can’t stand it. 

Even though I know it’s wrong, I’d rather protect myself 

and guard my right to be angry instead of forgiving.  

 

Thank you that you’re not like me.  

That you forgive me, 

even as I struggle to forgive others.  

Would you remind of this, 

when my anger flares in protection of my heart?

 

My big kids are learning how to forgive others by watching me forgive them.  

I want to keep teaching them how to live and love.  

Help me lean into the hard stuff when I don’t want to. 

 

Let me be known for releasing my pain. 

For offering gentleness and forgiveness, In Jesus Name. 

 

Colossians 3:12-13

 

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.


Day 2: Love

Lord, thank you for teaching me how to love even, maybe especially, when feelings get hurt and pride is on the line. 

 

You see the pain of this year and know exactly where I need you love to fill me up.  

 

Help me turn around and fill my older kids up with the kindness and acceptance they need this year. 

 

As I wrap and cook and prep for our time together, 

I feel such love in my heart. 

It’s easy to paint a picture perfect holiday when I’m by myself and dreaming  of our time together.  

 

But in the real world, where feelings and egos collide, there are reminders of painful exchanges. 

 

And when pieces of broken dreams flood my mind, it’s easy for me to get defensive. 

 

Then, the love I feel quickly fades into fear.  

 

I don’t want to say the wrong thing and stir up conflict.

 

I’m afraid I won’t be able to manage my big emotions.

 

In those moments Lord, remind me I am loved. 

 

Fill me with assurance of this.  

Let your perfect love fill in all the cracks of my fear and begin to 

effortlessly flow out over my family.  

 

Let me see them for who they are but more importantly, let me see them like you do. 

 

I ask for your healing to reach into the unspoken loneliness we all feel and every member of my family with  your love. 

 

When I begin to veer backward into fear again, when I start worrying about presents and menus and past fights and current arguments, and the judge my worth based on what I’ve accomplished, quickly remind me of your truth. 

I Corinthians 13:1-7 

The Message

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.


Day 1: Grace

Lord I thank you that you ARE 

the Prince of all Peace.  

 

In your presence my heart quiets 

and my fears are calmed.  

 

Your direction provides calm guidance for every decision,

conversation, and potential conflict.  

 

You see the brokenness 

in my family.  

 

You know every moment of joy. 

 

You are near when I feel despair 

and don’t know what to do. 

 

When I choose to look to you, 

I know you will never leave me 

in confusion.  

 

You alone are my peace. 

This season, remind me of this gift. 

 

When I veer away from stillness, 

draw my heart to your perfect peace. 

 

Help me to love my family from the centered peace only you can provide, in Jesus name!   

 

Philippians 4:7

God’s peace [shall be mine, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. 

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