Praying For Your Daughter – Teri Lynne Underwood

Posted By on November 13, 2019


we know that God’s desires for all to be
saved so we pray fervently for our children’s salvation and we pray for
them to be steadfast in their faith right and we pray for them to share the
gospel but the hardest one is that we pray for their sanctification because
that means we have to get out of the way when God is doing the sanctifying work
in their lives welcome to the focus on the family
broadcast helping families thrive Terri Lynn welcome to focus first time right
yes first time it’s good to have you you know let’s dive right in what prompted
you to start your online community and praying for girls that’s so specific
well I have prayed for boys my whole life because I have C brothers but I
think that you’re praying for boys you know we’re a little different the older
sister no you know I often describe myself as a prayer failure or is never
really sure what or how to pray I grew up in a ministry house and I knew how to
study my Bible and I knew you had a teach and do all those things but prayer
first of all sitting still felt a little overwhelming for somebody that’s a
little high-energy like me but also I just was never sure what to pray or how
to pray and especially once I had Cassidy I just realized I got to pray
something for this kid because this world will devour her you know you said
something that catches me I want to make sure I understood what you said you
prayed for your brothers yeah okay so where was your dad a pastor yeah and
were you concerned for your brother’s what what what drove you to pray I
prayed that I would let them you know continue to exist they drove me crazy so
I mean I just I think prayer for me was always that Lord please fix this kind of
prayer yeah from the time I was little I just came to our brothers just they
drove me crazy anything I was doing I don’t know if you all have younger
siblings Johnson eldest you’re the eldest I’m in trouble dear are you
trying to control this broadcast oh and I’m here saying let’s just have fun
that’s what it’s all about my prayer life is I I kind of just prayed in the
moment for whatever seemed most obvious and as I became a parent I realized
everything isn’t obvious and there’s so many things that can go wrong and how
like cover all of this and I thought no wonder Paul said pray without ceasing
but um I it was I just remember studying my Bible and realizing I didn’t have to
figure I went to pray God told me what to pray yes but you know in that context
it’s helpful for us to understand you and Scott getting married a couple years
in your marriage deciding yeah like we did it’s time now to have children yes
and then it wasn’t that easy right you thought it would probably be pretty easy
like most couples what do you what happened because I think that sheds
greater light on having cassadee and then we’ll talk about that was it right
Cassady yeah so just speak to that for a month well you know like all people we
just we are both firstborn so we were totally in control right everything we
decided this is what we’re ready now we are ready for children Scott was doing
student ministry at the time and we had seen all that student ministry entails
and we thought we can do this and so we decided we were ready and we may have
been ready but the Lord was not ready for us to yet be parents we still had
things I think that he wanted to teach us yeah and also I think you know God
can see ahead of us and he knew what the road had and he knew there were lessons
we were gonna need to learn well I mean you went through different phases I
guess I’ll describe it in reading your book I mean you mentioned you know that
going to the doctor’s and looking at an infertility issues and all that kind of
thing so you’re looking at the calendar and all that stuff and it’s a lot of
pressure on you yes yes it was very stressful and Scott was on staff at a
church and you know when people have been married a couple of years and
especially when they’re on staff at your church everybody’s like so what are you
gonna have a baby when are you gonna and it felt like all of our friends were
having babies and we were just like what what’s wrong with us what is are we are
we gonna be inherently failures at this that God is protecting some child from
us or what you know we we we looked at a lot of different options we decided that
a lot of the infertility treatments were out for
for a number of reasons and finally we really just kind of reached a point
where one of the doctors said we can try this one more thing and it was some
shots um for Scott he was gonna take some shots and so we did that I think it
was probably eight or nine months ironically and then that’s how that
works I found out I was pregnant and it was such a shock it was a shock to both
of us but fantastic it was a blessing it was literally a miracle but in that
whole process God used of course his word and music Scott’s a minister music
worship leader and it was those things that God used to minister to as well and
I would think your routine if I could call it that in the most positive way
for praying for Cassidy began before she was even conceived probably right
there’s prayers of desperation well in moving that direction now what did that
look like as a want to be mom and then the wonderful news that it happened it
moved from is this ever going to happen to am I gonna fail at this wow what a
direction firstborn like have to be the best at this am I gonna be the best at
this and I think there was this idea in my head that I was gonna be the best mom
ever that’s a firstborn trait that’s right
there I’ve got to be perfect yeah do this and so absolutely and then you
mentioned you know that by the time they’re two you realize you can’t
control them and certainly I realized that before then because when she
started moving and wasn’t where I put her down I thought hey I have zero
control in this scenario here like I am at best containing nice your prayers
were different then at that point then they were earlier on you talked about
praying for your brothers yeah yeah let me specifically though you talked about
praying for your child Cassidy for her identity yeah that really caught me why
was that the thing I struggled as I think most young girls
do in lots of different ways with where I fit in I just I’ve always felt that
need to perform I don’t think my parents necessarily put that on me I think that
some of that’s just personality and wiring and birth order does have an
impact yeah I’m just a performer I just I words of affirmation is one of my love
languages you know I just and so this idea of my identity so much I realized
as the longer I was in the word I realized how much I had allowed my
identity to be shaped by what I had done instead of who God says I am and I
looked around at all the students that we had ministered to over the years and
their moms and my friends and I thought this is real you also mentioned that we
can teach our daughters to live with a heart wholly devoted to God I mean I
think as a parent of two boys that is my objective how do I move them in such a
way maybe that’s not even the right way to say but you know help them in that
journey in that walk with the Lord to make sure that the Lord is the most
important thing in their lives how do you do that as a mother of daughters
well I think the biggest thing I’ve learned about especially about heart
that finding their identity and then finding their heart for Christ is our
kids see how we live when nobody’s around
that’s convicting yeah and encouraged yeah hopefully it’s terrifying I mean if
you think about that’s at the most terrifying thing to me is the idea that
caste has observed so much that I’m not even aware that she’s observed terilyn
let me ask you this question for the moms who are struggling in that place I
don’t think the goal is to be perfect I mean I think the Lord wants us to teach
our kids that we’re actually not perfect that we do make mistakes that we are
sinners saved by grace that’s the message of the gospel yes but we don’t
want to overdo that we don’t want to be so imperfect that we’re not a good
example to them how do you find that balance and how do you communicate to
cassadee if I could get personal yeah how do you strike that bounce say
honey I’m sorry I go back a lot of times too when when Nathan confronted David
you know and David was so offended by the idea that someone would be so
clearly wrong and then Nathan said but that’s you and I think in my heart I
know God saying keep that’s you and I feel that weight of that and when that
happens I have no there’s nothing in me that can resist that I think that
irresistible grace that God gives me just propels me to feel like I have to
say right now that I’m sorry and I’m probably gonna do it again like I’m
probably gonna make that same mistake again
I’m probably gonna lose my cool I’m probably gonna say something I shouldn’t
have I’m probably gonna you know just be
unkind and thoughtless welcome to Parenthood
but I’m sorry and I’m wrong and not just I don’t know I thinking that part of
that also is not saying which I think we do a lot as parents well you know I’m
really sorry that I said that but if you had just done what I told you you know
but not shifting the blame you know and just owning our own our own sinful
hearts gives our children than permission
to be sinners who receive grace that’s good
and today I’m focused on the family we’re hearing right from the heart of
Terri Lynn Underwood and you can find her book praying for girls asking God
for the things they need most as well as a CD or free download of our
conversation at focus on the family comm slash broadcast terilyn I want to ask
you about a tender time in your life you mention in your book so just tell me if
I’m going too far but you had a real struggle about 19 to 22 I think you
referred to them as your your dark years first of all what was happening and then
then I got a couple of follow-up um I I think it was just a culmination of just
a lot of you know bad choices lack of understanding of who I was in
Christ I’m out to Christian College I was raised in a Christian home and
somehow again back to that message of identity it just had never sunk in and I
had performed and done everything I was supposed to do at the level I was
supposed to do it and yet still there were so many things in my life that just
didn’t add up you know and they didn’t make sense and they didn’t and I didn’t
I just didn’t believe what what people said was true about me that God said was
true about me I looked in the mirror and I could see just a really big mess of a
person and I didn’t know how to fix it and so I kept on making those same
mistakes trying to make it somehow make sense and it didn’t and so ultimately I
landed in a place where I thought and I can remember very clearly having this
thought of there’s no way to fix this there’s no way to fix this feeling like
you’re unfixable yeah and and I’m all I’m gonna do is keep hurting people for
the rest of my life and I love these people too much to keep hurting them
what was your remedy my remedy was a bottle of pills and I took a valium
every 10 minutes for about two hours ish and by the grace of God only I mean only
by the grace of God I’m here today I ended up you know in the hospital and in
a place that people who knew me were like what is going on with her because
of course the consummate performer is never letting anyone see the brokenness
and so I just I was living this very duplicitous life of what was going on
outside versus what was inside and I I think that drives everything else I do
now is that I know that what you see on the outside of people especially girls
is very rarely what’s really going on inside right and man I mean our hearts
break for that moment but you again through God’s grace you’re able to crawl
out of that dark place yeah I think it’s important for us to describe that I
would love to tell that story because a chance to talk about one of my favorite
humans yeah my dad I’m named after him he’s precious and I
woke up in a hospital bed on suicide watch which is crazy and even now it
doesn’t feel real and I looked up and there was my dad he driven all night to
get to where I was and he said whatever this takes for however long it takes or
there and does that feel like yeah I get tears in my eyes you got tears yeah it’s
not like in that moment that was the voice of God like for the first time in
my life I thought this God that my dad has told me about my whole life you know
and lived out in front of me my whole life this God is real because those are
the words those were the exact words that I never knew I needed to hear
but whatever it takes however long it takes we’ve got this we’re gonna keep
doing that it sounds like unconditional love absolutely absolutely and and it
was always there and I think that’s the part that um that we often miss in our
grace stories whatever they are is that unconditional love is always there we’re
just so busy doing whatever it is that we do that we forget to see it well and
I think as parents you know we’ve lived more years than our children and so we
know a better path and so when we fight internally when we’re arguing with
ourselves about conditional unconditional love to give that wisdom
sometimes accept accepted sometimes not accepted yeah
becomes really difficult because we feel like we’re in a place where we’re being
demanding or we’re not showing that kind of love yeah self-condemned right and
it’s hard because you know scripture is very clear that you know the father
disciplines the child that he loves and so we as parents have to discipline
sometimes and we have to say the hard things and but I just I think in that
moment it just it’s it forever changed the course of my life I mean my dad took
me back home he was pastor as a slowly Church in Missouri they loved me so well
they accepted me and I did the Bible study that I say
kind of changed my life which is experiencing God dr. Henry Blackaby
anyone my age are older I think has done it and you know I just I hit that point
and so many times in my life since then I’ve come back to that same Bible study
and been like okay yeah this is these things are still true and it I fell in
love with God’s Word in a way I’ve never understood it and felt it before
and you know putting these pieces together you’re a daughter who has
prayed for obviously by your mom and dad and that’s a wonderful story as to how
your parents prayed for you in your moment of crisis now you have Cassidy
she’s your girl and in fact she’s about that age yeah when you think I thought
about that before the program I thought your daughter’s about the age you were
when you were thinking the best you know the best answer to the plight is to end
your life yeah I hope by personality partially but also by intentionality
that she has a better grasp i watch her and in the last year especially I
watched her thrive in a way that I you know if for those who haven’t read the
book you’ll you’ll read a lot about the struggles that we really had it wasn’t
it’s not been an easy relationship and it’s not been an easy road for us
because we’re so different right and she’s never you know been she’s she’s
the one of my favorite people I say all the time if I could choose a friend I
would choose her and she’s the most loyal good friend anyone ever had and I
hate that people her age don’t always see that but I’ve watched her in the
last year just I’ve watched so many prayers that I prayed for years and I
think that’s the part as a mom that’s hard because we we want the instant
gratification of the prayer that we pray before they’re born to be true the day
they are born and sometimes it takes 18 years for the four our prayers to come
to fruition in their life and then it’s just like okay do I trust God do I
really trust God that his love for her is greater than mine and his plan for
her is so much more beautiful than mine and am I willing to just
keep persevering it’s so good I want to get to some of the meat in the last few
minutes so you speak about the five hours yes I sound like a pirate saying
that yeah the five hours but talk about those five hours okay
I would love to you because this I think this is so important as mom’s the first
one is that we read we read scripture to our girls we read scriptures with our
girls and we read scriptures about our girls but also encourage them to read
the Bible for themselves I shall read yeah just read reads the first one the
second one is rewind and I think this one is the one we miss because how often
have we read scripture and not really understood it yeah right you know you
don’t want me to admit that do you I mean so we we rewind we read it again
right for understanding and we we just stay there and I tell people all the
time cuz I teach Bible in my church and I tell people all the time if the Bible
is living inactive then it’s okay to read it again and again and again yeah I
think it’s meant for that process actually and so we we rewind we read it
again to make sure that we understand and then we reflect giving ourselves
space when I teach I tell people we’re gonna do this we just finished Ephesians
for example in my Bible study so we just taught through visions and I told
everybody I was like okay here’s what you do next read Ephesians again so you
reflect on what you’ve read so often we rush from one thing to the next and then
repeat so we’ve read it over and over I don’t think there’s anything wrong with
spending a lot of time in one space in scripture and I mean I mean like a year
you know spend a year in a book and just read it and just reflect on it and let
that book teach you something and then finally this one I think is the one
that’s the biggest gift of grace to moms and girls everywhere and that’s restart
when you drop off because you will you just pick it up and start again yeah and
those are good things to remember each one of them I love the the repeat you
know to do it again read it again that fits for all of us you also in addition
to praying for them for daughters to know their identity you also pray for
them to have good relationships yeah how
would that prayer go and what does that look like and how did you communicate
that to Cassidy I think for me that’s focusing on traits a lot of people when
they pray for relationships they pray for this specific like they’ll say hey
we pray for my daughter’s future husband or for her whatever was wrong no
absolutely not and love that have all those books too but I realized something
that as I was reading in the Gospels that Jesus there were ways that he
treated people no matter who they were he was humble whether he was dealing
even when he was dealing with the Pharisees who were you know his nemesis
he was still humble and gracious and so there’s an element of those character
traits that if we pray those than it they transfer into every relationship
and I think that gets to the core issues and if we’re honest relationships are so
hard and and we don’t know like we pray I of course pray for whoever Cassie will
marry one day but I have no way of knowing when that will happen or if that
will happen right or what that will look like and so for me it was much more
important to pray that she be kind that she be humble that she’d be gentle
I like that generosity was another word you spoke in fact you also talked about
praying for your daughter’s understanding of her purpose and God man
that sounds like the biggest one of all yeah I said that in the book I say it
feels like this one should have been first but it really felt also like the
best way to end we know that God’s desires for all to be saved so we pray
fervently for our children’s salvation and we pray for them to be steadfast in
their faith right and we pray for them to share the gospel but the hardest one
is that we pray for their sanctification because that means we have to get out of
the way when God is doing the sanctifying work in their lives I’m just
wanting to amplify that did you hear that parents you got to get out of the
way for God do work you know Gina and I will often talk about that in terms of
mountains and valleys and parents we struggle
allowing our children to go into valleys yes but that is where the Lord teaches
so holy so purely so effectively is when we struggle I mean look at what happened
to you that was your valley yeah it was a big Valley yes for you to go through
yeah I’m contemplating and trying to take your own life
yeah and then your dad pulled you out with the Heavenly Father in the midst of
all that and I think when we watch our kids I tell a story in the book I had
prayed before Cassidy’s freshman year I think that God would let her know that
he was enough and I say later that if I had known what that looked like I don’t
think I would have prayed that prayer I don’t think I would have prayed for her
to know that God was enough if I had known that meant he was literally gonna
strip away everything else from her but on this side of today I can look at it
and go that was so good we couldn’t him we wouldn’t been able to see yeah yeah
Terri Lynn you know literally millions of people are listening and there’s that
mom or moms who are really struggling because they haven’t done this well
maybe it’s been a lot of conflict a lot of fighting whatever it might be
imagine her sitting right where I met and speak words of life into her what
would you say to that mom that comes to you and says Terri Lynn I’ve blown it
I’ve not done that I’ve not been the parent I needed to be to my daughter
mm-hmm I would say I think two things one that God’s strength is made perfect
in our weakness so own that and admit that I have not prayed I mean I you know
I said the very beginning I I pray this way because I’m a prayer failure I don’t
know what else to pray except for God’s Word and so I just believe that it’s
true and so I just pray it but the second thing I would say is to remember
this and and I don’t even know who told me this first but I’ve had so many
people say this as I’ve said to so many people and it resonates that we have to
remember that our children are not our enemy and
we are fighting for them not against them yeah Terry Lynn man thank you for
pouring out your heart and being so vulnerable I know it’s not easy to talk
about these things and what happened to you is a young lady but it’s powerful
and it does help people to connect to your story and ultimately to the Lord
well thank you for having me I just learned a long time ago that it’s okay
to share my weakness because it points to God who’s so strong hey I’m John
fuller and thanks for watching get more info about focus over here and
more from our guests over there and be sure to subscribe to our channel as well

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 5 comments

  1. Encouraging, insightful, thoughtful words that can be applied to real life…real moms and real daughters. Thank you for your transparency.

    Reply

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