One Thing Your Marriage Needs

4 Scripture Prayers to Pray Over Your Marriage #praytruth #marriage #prayer #Scripture

Marriage is hard! {Can I get an “amen”?!}

My husband and I are currently in a season of 4 small children, crazy work hours, and not a lot of sleep. Factors that, alone, add a lot of stress to a marriage, but combined, can become toxic. I know that many of you can relate because you, too, are in this season of young children, challenging careers, and pressing responsibilities. But every time I express the challenges of marriage during the little years, someone else reminds me that marriage is hard in their season, too!

Marriage can be beautiful and joy-filled, but every relationship comes with its own set of challenges.

One of the most important things we can do for our marriage is to pray for it. We must be praying for our spouse and our relationship!

Read more here.


{I’m over at For the Family sharing 4 powerful Scriptures to pray over and for your marriage!}



I wrote a whole book of prayers based on Scripture for wives to pray for their husbands. I’m giving it away for a short while longer. Get it here, or it will be available for pre-order soon!


Praying for Our Kids — 5 verses to pray

In the past 3 weeks, I have spent 2,471 minutes nursing our newborn baby. Crazy, isn’t it, when you consider how much time is spent feeding a little one?!

To be honest, I have been convicted about how I’ve been spending that time. While it’s easy for me to hop on Facebook or Instagram or get further ahead in one of the books I’m reading, God has been reminding me what a unique opportunity this time is to pray for my children!

The reality is that we have moments like this sprinkled all throughout our days. We might not have 30 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time in the morning, but we do have the few minutes we’re washing the dishes or waiting in the pickup line at camp or sports or school. We have 5 minutes while we clean the bathroom or 10 while we mow the lawn. We have longer stretches on sleepless nights while we snuggle a little one back to sleep.

Will we take advantage of those little moments and take time to pray?

I’m writing over at For the Family today sharing 5 Scriptures to pray over our children. I hope you’ll join me there!

5 Scriptures to #Pray Over Your Child -- and get a #FREE book with #Scripture prayers for our husbands {for a limited time} #parenting #marriage #family


Resources for You:
Praying God’s Word for Your Kids: A Resource List

Pray Truth: Praying God’s Word for my Husband’s Heart (FREE for a limited time)

How to Really Change our Kids’ Hearts

How to Really Change the Hearts of our #Kids  #family #Bible #devotions #parenting

I wrote a whole post about family devotions, and it was shared over 800 times.

I’ve written lists of great devotional resources for families and have shared in parenting classes about family devotions and praying with our kids and living authentically at home.

But that doesn’t mean we get it right all the time. In fact, most of the time, we have a long way to go to be where I want to be.

Family devotions can be challenging. Whether it’s because of a busy schedule or lack of leadership or just plain apathy, it’s easy to ditch the effort and skip family devotions all together! Ever been there?

I’ve had many of the same doubts and questions others have shared with me:

  • Where do we start?
  • Which resource is best?
  • Is the effort paying off?
  • What if it’s me leading and not my husband?
  • Do family devotions make any difference?

On and on the questions run, leaving many of us feeling overwhelmed. {My tendency is to overthink things and get stalled before I even start!} But I’ve learned (am learning?) to begin somewhere — to just start!

If you’ve ever felt these same insecurities or asked similar questions, can I just encourage you? Start somewhere. You might not choose the best devotional available. You might not have the best plan in place. But starting somewhere is better than not starting at all!  

Begin. Start where you are and make changes as you go. A little bit of God’s Word is whole lot better than none.

We had a re-start like this in our family this summer. Our family Bible time was set on hold with the arrival of our newest little one, and getting back into normal routines took some time. I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know the best way to start again, so we chose simple.

I grabbed this book off my shelf, even though it’s one we’ve used in the past, with the plan to go through slowly, spending only 5-10 minutes a day at the breakfast table talking about God’s Word and praying together.

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t expect much, but Friends, God showed up! With this little resource, during our short time together, God spoke to us through His Word.

Though I hadn’t planned it, the verses and stories in the first few weeks of the book were exactly what we needed to hear, totally applicable to the individual struggles we were all facing, and provided for great conversation with the kids!

I was so struck by how God takes the little we give and multiplies it. 

Even more than that, though, God reminded me that we can’t change our kids, and we can’t make our kids change. It is the Holy Spirit who works in their hearts and changes them. One way He does this is through the Word of God.

Among so many other advantages, God has promised that the Word of God is reliable, powerful and doesn’t return empty to the One who sent it.

My job is to expose my children to the Word of God, to help them hide His Word in their hearts. The rest I trust to the Holy Spirit. If I’m not getting my kids in the Word, how can I expect the Word to do its work in their hearts?

We are living proof that even a few minutes together in the Word is worth the effort. Just begin.


Question for you:

What keeps you from reading the Bible together as a family? What can I do to help or encourage you?


Resources for you:

How to Introduce your Child to Jesus 

Teaching your Child to Pray

Family Devotions: Resources to Help your Family Grow


Flickr Photo Credit: Helga Weber (original photo without text)

*Affiliate links are used in this post, at no cost to you, of course! Thanks for helping to support this blog!

We Will Call Her Eleanor

Three weeks ago, we welcomed our newest addition to our family — Eleanor Hope Alison Dawson.

our sweet girl

So many of you have asked about her name, I thought I’d write up a post about it!

I am eager to share the story behind sweet Eleanor’s name because, like the names of our other children, her name is  a testimony to what God has done in our lives!

All of our children have at least one family name as a middle name. For Eleanor, that name is Alison, after my mom.

We want every other name we choose to mean something. Not only will these kids answer to these names for the rest of their lives (!!!), names have a way of molding us, defining us in a way. So choosing names for our children has always been a prayer-filled, thoughtful process. 

Our Eleanor is no different. She was named as a result of God’s promises to us, and I am eager to see how her life continues to demonstrate the promises and character of God.

As we looked through girl names, we loved the name Eleanor.


When Josh and I heard the name, we had totally different thought processes. I’m still laughing at our different perspectives because each is so typical of us. {I love this man God has given me, and I’m so thankful that we get to do life together!!}


Josh’s take:

People have asked how we decided on the name Eleanor, and it’s funny because when Erika and I were talking about names, I mentioned that I liked that name. Erika looked up the meaning and loved what Eleanor means.

Me? I am a huge nerd, and love fantasy stories and classics like Lord of the Rings. I liked the name because I remember this clip from one of my audiobooks:

{Subscribers, click here to view this video.}
Frodo asks Sam what he will name his new daughter, and asks if he will follow the old custom of naming her after a flower, like Rose.

Well it will have to be a beautiful flower…because you see I think she is very beautiful, and is going to be beautifuller still…” said Sam.

Well, Sam, what about Eleanor, the Sun Star? You remember the little flower growing in the grass in Lothlórien?” said Frodo.

Yes, Mr. Frodo, I remember. That is what I will name her.” said Sam.

So, many things go into your decision when you’re picking out a name for your kids. Names have meaning and last. When you see your little one enter the world for the first time, you just know.


Erika’s take:

For me? Well, it was a different thought process all together.

When I heard the name Eleanor and learned that the name means “God is light,” I knew it was to be her name.

Above all, we want all of our children to know the Gospel, to understand and experience in a personal and deep way that Jesus is the light of the world and whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life! (John 8:12).

We pray that each one of our kids will trust the Lord as their light and for their salvation (Psalm 27:1), having a steadfast assurance that they are chosen and as a result, can show others the goodness of God because He called them out of the darkness and into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9, Matthew 5:16).

But her name, meaning “God is light” is two fold.

This past season has been a challenging one for me, one in which I’ve battled the darkness that threatens to overwhelm in depression and suffocate the free, joy-filled life God has given me.

Many days were a battle to get through. It wasn’t all bad of course — so many days were normal and joy-filled and beautiful. But there were heavy days, too — days when the clouds rolled in thick and I’d cry on my bed or on the floor or locked up in the bathroom, overwhelmed, weary, defeated. Days where my mind felt attacked and the darkness would inch closer and closer, threatening to overwhelm. With every ounce of strength in me, I’d cling to Truth and cry out to Jesus.

As my kids laughed merrily and played full and free, I fought demons in my mind, wielding the sword of Truth, but wondering how bloodied and bruised I’d end up. I was warring in my mind for a freedom that seemed out of reach, even though it was already mine in Christ.

But God was so faithful. He always is.

our girls
I was walking through a particularly hard time and spent so many nights, mornings, and in-betweens crying out to God, asking Him to remember us, to intervene, to bring healing and hope. And one night He did that.

God gave me a dream. It was somewhat abstract, far-away feeling, but I remember it so vividly. The feelings, the images, the freedom.

God gave me a promise in that dream. He is the hope giver, and He was promising hope. He, who is the Healer, would come and heal!

On those dark days and in the fog, I clung to Jesus, inviting Him to shine His light over the darkness of my sin and fear and doubt, and I clung to that dream God gave me – that promise of hope.

When hope seemed impossible, the healing never coming, I’d hold up this promise, offering it right back to God as my sacrifice, my way of saying, I believe you. I trust you, no matter how long it takes. My hope is in You!

Repeatedly during this season, through Scripture, through prayer, through the encouragement of my husband and friends, and so often through the laughter of my children and their tender hugs and prayers, God would draw me out into light and hope and freedom.

There is no darkness too deep or too dark or too far for Him.

God is light, and in Him there is no darkness. His light dispelled the darkness I was fighting. Once again, He saved me. 


We prayed over this new baby, asking God what her name should be.

He led us to Eleanor Hope, and we pray that she will know and live the light and hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We pray that she will be a Light shiner and a true-Hope giver.


{ps — for all of you asking what her nickname will be – because just about everyone has asked!!! – for now, we will call her Eleanor.}