Family, Friends, Colleagues, & former students,
Today is sort of a milestone in my faith life. 10 years ago today, my wife Bethany and I first became parents.
Grace Rosa Mallory is in herself an "Ebeneezer Stone," a constant reminder to us of what God has done and continues to do, truly living up to her name- Grace.
After 96 hours in labor at Kaiser Permanente, she was finally taken by C-Section. We believe that the fetal distress she was in caused or contributed to many of the challenges that she's had to face growing up that God has used to shape her. But from the very beginning, it was God's grace that she even survived in the first place.
Last weekend we had a family out-to eat "party." This weekend, she'll have a "friends party." Tonight she has a soccer game but we'll probably order pizza or something to recognize the day. But I think that what would be infinitely more valuable than any presents or cards we can giver her- would be to "blanket" her in prayer.
I've asked some of you to pray for people before, sometimes in celebration, sometimes in crisis. Would you take a few minutes today to pray with us for our oldest daughter?
When she was two we worried that she would ever speak. Thank you for the Speech therapy that she received from Nebraska Medical Center and that she communicates better every year.
When she was four, we wondered if we'd failed at potty training. Thank you for the help she receives from the Children's Clinic at the University of Iowa and that her bladder is becoming stronger every year.
She learned to peddle and climb at the same time that her younger sister Ellen did. Thank you that she now enjoys soccer and softball and playing like other kids.
When she was eight, we found out that she has double-vision. Thank you for the aggressive vision therapy she received from Heartland Vision Specialists, so that today she loves reading and learning to play the piano. Her balance and self confidence grew so much.
Help her Lord, with the challenges which she still faces.
Please help her and heal her so that she won't have accidents anymore and never has to be embarrassed by them.
Please help her comprehension skills and her ability to focus and study. Help her understand her Math and Spelling and Social Studies better, be more organized and improve her grades.
Please help her to be healthy and more fit, help her to become more active and to enjoy exercise. Help her to keep up with her peers in PE and Softball, so that she doesn't feel left out.
Please help her to continue to grow and mature socially so that she can get along well with others and feel like she belongs and fits in at school and with friends.
Comfort her through the hard times, so that she can share Your grace with others whom she sees hurting.
Please make her a woman after Your own heart, Lord.
Help her to continue to grow in her love and knowledge of You and Your Word, God, so that her relationship with You will continue to flourish. Remind her every day that she is yours and use her as an instrument of Your love. We thank You that she loves Church and spending time praying to you and praising you. Help us as parents (and adults in her life) to continue to encourage her in her faith.
Live in her Lord, Holy Spirit, and produce good fruit in her life and character development, grant her love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
And finally, Lord, thank You for blessing, guiding, protecting, and providing for her future. You know the plans You have for her. If it be Your will, prepare a vocation for her where you will bless her and she may be Your instrument, blessing others and advancing Your kingdom. Prepare for her a husband who will love, care for and honor her just as You, Jesus does for Your church. Guide her, lead her and protect her so that she will walk in Your ways and patiently seek Your will for her life.
God, ten years ago I thought that these ten years were going to be difficult, but from where I see things now, I imagine the next ten years as being more important and full of more challenges than the last. Please guide Bethany and I to parent Grace the way You would have us.
"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of her.*
So now I give her to the LORD. For her whole life she will be given over to the LORD."
~1 Samuel 1:27-28