A Special Dessert

0 comments Posted on January 4, 2013

Blessing Your Family Into the New Year

by Linda Evans Shepherd

One day, after my then five-year-old son had an out-of-control tantrum, he looked up at me with tears in his blue eyes and asked, “Mommy, can we just start this day over?”

I leaned down and hugged him, “Of course we can,” I agreed, “we’ll count this moment as our fresh start and we’ll change this day from a difficult day to a wonderful one.”

These words were all it took, the fresh start wiped away the tears and changed not only little Jim’s outlook, but mine.  The storm was over and our day took a dramatic turn for the better.

Happily, life is full of fresh starts. For example, God, in his grace and wisdom, gives each of us a fresh start with each new day and every new year.  How wonderful it is to teach this concept to our children, especially in a day and age so filled with tragedy and heartache.

Learning the art of fresh starts is an invaluable tool that your children can use throughout their lives to help defeat difficulties, depression, or even teenaged angst, and to know how to call upon God to give them fresh perspective to their challenges.  The key is teaching your children how to call upon God, just as my son called upon me, so they can stay on the path to happier more fulfilling lives.

With the dawn of this new year, let’s pull our children close and give them a blessing of fresh starts and new, God-inspired goals. They will not only learn the art of seeking God’s grace, they will learn how to dream and set goals with his divine inspiration. Try hosting a special family dessert with the following exercises and prayers:

1. Set an empty dessert plate before each child and family member and explain, “This new year is like this empty plate.  We do not yet know what will fill this plate or what will fill this year.  Let’s take some time to stop and ask God to not only bless this plate, but also to bless this year, and to bless each one of us with his grace and help”:

 

Dear Lord,

We thank you for giving us a fresh new plate and a fresh new year.  We ask you to fill this year with you grace, love and help.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

2. Next explain that as you were preparing this special dessert, you had a lot of choices to make about what to serve.  You had to decide if you should you serve a plate of green beans, gum drops, or something else. Since you’re in charge of the dessert, you’re the one who gets to set the menu.  Tell your family that menu planning is a lot like setting goals for a new year. It’s time to plan and pray about what their goals for the new year should be:

 

Dear Lord,

We come to you to ask that you give us wisdom and divine inspiration to help us have your dreams and goals for our new year.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

3. If your children are old enough to work on their own list, have a paper and pencil set before them, otherwise, be prepared to act as the recording secretary for those who need help.  Ask each person to write down one to five goals for the new year.  Next, invite everyone to take turns sharing their goals. Afterwards, have a moment of prayer to dedicate these goals to God:

 

Dear Lord,

We lay these dreams and goals before you, and even give them to you. Help us to do our best to reach these goals in a way that honors you.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

4.  Just, before serving the desert, give each family member gathered a special New Year’s blessing.  Pray:

 

Dear Lord,

As you have given me your authority over my children, I come to you to give each one of them a special New Year’s blessing. I bless my children and family with love, joy, your presence and leading and with safety.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

5. Bring your dessert to the table, but before you serve it, tell the children that this year will definitely have some new and unexpected flavors and experiences in it.  Remind them that some flavors and experiences will not be their favorites; however God can use these experiences to accomplish wonderful things in their lives.  God can also cover difficult situations with his love, presence and blessing, plus God can give strength not only to get through difficulties, but to get through them with his peace and strength.  To demonstrate God’s covering, produce a can of whipped cream or other topping, and let those who wish, cover their dessert.  Tell the children that God’s presence can cover their problems with peace just like the topping covers their desserts with sweet.  Then pray:

 

Dear Lord,

We thank you that through your strength and presence we can get through all unexpected and uninvited problems this year. You can cover our difficulties, problems and even our sins with your love, grace, and peace.  Thank you!  I now bless my family with this famous blessing from your word, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)

In Jesus’ name, amen

 

In conclusion, remind your family that you can all have a fresh start in the power of God, whenever you need one.

As for my son, he’s had a series of fresh starts, goals, and accomplished dreams.  Just this past Saturday, his father and I were proud to watch him receive his diploma in computer science from Colorado State University.  Jim has just started a new chapter in his life.  But I am confident that he’s equipped to go forward.  I am equally confident, that with the principles described above, you can help launch your child not only into a happy new year, but into a life filled with promise.

Linda Evans Shepherd is a best-selling author on prayer with her books, When You Don’t Know What to Pray – How to Talk to God About Anything, When You Can’t Find God – How to Ignite the Power of His Presence, and When You Need a Miracle – How to Ask God for the Impossible.  Linda is also a busy speaker and the president of the nonprofit, Right to the Heart, which sponsors a blog you and your children might enjoy, www.FindingGodDaily.com.  You can read more about Linda at: www.VisitLinda.com.

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