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Confessing the Attitudes of My Heart

I couldn't pray for revival in our children's lives without feeling like it was an incomplete prayer—I needed spiritual renewal as well.
By Barbara Rainey

For several years I was part of a mom's prayer group in our school. We prayed for revival in our school and in our children's lives.

Every time I would begin to pray the Lord always brought me back to myself. I couldn't pray for revival in our children's lives without feeling like it was an incomplete prayer—I needed spiritual renewal as well.

Then, in the fall of 1995, I began to sense God working in my life in an unusual way. For many years as a parent I had struggled with feelings of anger toward my children. I was diligent in rectifying my mistakes when I made them—for example, if I yelled at the children and shouldn't have, or if I disciplined them out of anger, I would ask their forgiveness.

But now I realized that He wanted me to deal with the attitudes of my heart which had led to the anger. And, oh, that was difficult—to see my selfishness and my desperate need for Him.

God directed me to gather my children together to confess this to them. So on the night before Thanksgiving we gathered in the living room. Dennis and I talked about how God had been working in our lives during the previous months. I told them I wanted to make sure nothing I had done in the past would hinder them from experiencing the fullness of God in their hearts. Through my tears I confessed my sinful attitudes, and asked for their forgiveness.

They had never seen me like I was that night. So I think they were a little stunned, a little shocked. But one by one each of them forgave me.

Now, looking back over the years, I can see how God has worked. My relationship with each child is much deeper—God's peace is there. God began a process of spiritual renewal and awakening in our entire family that still continues.

Copyright © 2005 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

FamilyLife is a donor-supported ministry offering practical and biblical resources and events to help you build a godly marriage and family. 

Meet the Author: Barbara Rainey

Barbara Rainey is a wife, mother of six adult children (plus three sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law), and "Mimi" to nineteen grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1971. She and her husband, Dennis, whom she married in 1972, are co-founders of FamilyLife, a ministry of Cru that is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Barbara has published articles on family-related topics and is the author of Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember and When Christmas Came.  She speaks at FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember® marriage conferences and is a frequent guest on FamilyLife Today®, a nationally syndicated, daily radio program.  She and Dennis are the coauthors of several books, including Growing a Spiritually Strong Family, Starting Your Marriage Right, Moments Together for Couples, The New Building Your Mate's Self-Esteem, Parenting Today's Adolescent, Rekindling the Romance, and Moments with You. She co-authored A Mother's Legacy with her daughter, Ashley Rainey Escue and joined Dennis and their children Rebecca and Samuel on the book So You're About To Be A Teenager. Barbara has also co-authored Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest, with close friend Susan Yates, and A Symphony in the Dark, written with her daughter, Rebecca Rainey Mutz. And Barbara has written a series focusing on character traits for families, including the titles Growing Together in Gratitude, Growing Together in Courage, Growing Together in Forgiveness, and Growing Together in Truth.

Having faithfully served alongside Dennis for more than 30 years, both in ministry and at home, Barbara has recently launched a new endeavor called Ever Thine Home™.  This new line of products, including Christ centered ornaments for Christmas, teaching tools for Lent and Easter, and beautiful additions for your home for thanksgiving and year round makes it easy to express faith at home in a way that is both biblical and beautiful.  Her heart for Ever Thine Home is based on the familiar Old Testament instruction:

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:9, ESV)

You can read more about Barbara's work at

Find Barbara online on:
Twitter @BarbaraRainey and Facebook



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