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Posts Tagged ‘family life’

save the date.pngAs a little girl, I was enthralled by tight rope walkers. The thrum, thrum, thrum in my ears nearly matched the staccato of the drum roll as the circus performer scampered with seeming ease from one end of the wire other to the other.

There, a woman climbed upon the man’s shoulders and then stood–her sequined costume winking beneath the spotlights. Fixing his gaze on what lay ahead, the man’s slippered feet danced deftly across the cable until both he and his passenger were safely delivered to the opposing platform.

Like the tightrope walker, there have been times when I’ve felt as if my life has balanced precariously on a thread. When obligations, expectations and unwelcome revelations continued to pile themselves one atop the other until I began listing from side to side, my attention wandering from the Point of it all to the distraction of that day or month or year.

In a world crowded by to-do lists and text messages, Facebook feeds and Pinterest perfection, parenting guilt and I've-got-this-grit, many of us stumble across the tight rope wondering when we'll lose our footing. Click To Tweet

In a world crowded by to-do lists and text messages, Facebook feeds and Pinterest perfection, parenting guilt and I’ve-got-this-grit, many of us stumble across the tight rope wondering when we’ll lose our footing. Slip off the side. Drop that something or someone who relies on us to keep moving forward.

And our lives become unsettled. Unsteady. Unbalanced.

With all of the demands of the family, church and world how can we possibly maintain healthy balance?

Like the man on the wire, we must keep our eyes fixed on the One who guides us from point to point Click To Tweet.

Like the man on the wire, we must keep our eyes fixed on the One who guides us from point to point. The Shepherd who leads us through the dark valley to the mountaintop. The Light who illuminates the way when we’ve lost the ability to go on in our own strength and realize the depth of our need for Him.

It isn’t easy. Our world is one of unending needs and unmet demands, but unless and until our lives spill over with Christ will we be able to offer our lives as a willing sacrifice for His glory.

Then, we will begin to realize that some burdens are His alone, others are gifts meant to be shouldered with Christ, and many aren’t intended for us at all.

Finding balance in an unbalanced world is all about fixing our eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (MSG)

My prayer for today? May we each put Him first as we step forward in faith. Amen

Blessings,

Tammy

P.S. I’ve created a sweet little bookmark to remind us of the most important part of living a balanced life–seeking Him. You can download it here. Monochrome Leaves Coloring Bookmark

Monochrome Leaves Coloring BookmarkMonochrome Leaves Coloring Bookmark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As a little girl, I longed for a normal family life–a Brady Bunch sort of family life that included trips to the Grand Canyon, sack races in the backyard, and the resolution of any conflict within a thirty minute time frame.  Whatever you say, Mike. My childish longings found fertile ground in the solitude of my imagination where I created a rich landscape of characters who allowed me to foster dreams of what might be…someday.

Someday finally arrived. And from the moment he slipped the ring on my finger,  I knew we would have a “normal” family. Which we did–and do.

Our family is as normal as any other.  Socks never seem to match, the children argue about important matters…“I have he biggest spoon!” Meanwhile, my husband and I marvel at the ridiculous things we say…”Who put underwear on the dog?” These are the small delights and details of an everyday family.

But, along with the regular we’ve experienced the unwelcome–those changes in perception or circumstance that so substantially impact one person that the rest of the family feels the aftershock.  None of us are exempt from these experiences.  While we can’t identify with every situation, we can understand the disappointment, fear, and grief associated with them. Alzheimer’s…infertility…cancer…depression.

This, dear friends, is the normal of people living between the worlds of Today and Forever.  Today’s normal is a beautiful, imperfect challenge.  There are joys and sorrows; hurts and triumphs. If we pause for a moment from our rushing and worrying, we might just catch a glimpse of our Eternal Someday in a child’s belly laugh…an old couple’s tender kiss…a father praying for his family.

Someday…

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My Son Connor Goes Cliff Jumping

Teen Tip #1To Attain Optimal Growth

Drink a huge glass of milk (read pint) before bed.  Now stretch.  Results noticeable by morning.

Possible application for middle-aged moms?  Follow the above procedure.  It may work on that little muffin top.  Anything is possible!

Teen Tip #2–Problem Solving Ability

Forgot your keys?  Stayed out past curfew?  When the confines of your compact car become unbearable, consider climbing the roof.  Knock at your parent’s window.  They’ll be alternately concerned and disbelieving, but will be certain to invite you inside.

Possible application for middle-aged husbands?  Consider attempting the same routine at your wife’s window if you’ve had a fight with your beloved.  What woman could resist a man willing to take such a desperate risk to make amends?

Teen Tip #3–Ignore Common Sense Questions

You’re parents said it…and so have you.  “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?”  Live life and jump—especially on your 16th birthday!

Possible application for middle-aged parents?  Pray fervently.

All of these tips are the result of actual events and discussions.  More to follow…

 

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Transition–the uncomfortable place I find myself when the latest move, deployment, or reunion requires adjustment.   As with most military families, one of the most challenging transitions for our family involved the return of my husband from his tour.  This doesn’t seem to make any sense, does it?  After all, like a young mother anticipating the birth of her child I spent months imagining what life would be like when my husband returned safely from Afghanistan.  Emotions ran the gambit—joy, relief, and anxiety—until the day finally arrived.    But, after a few weeks of renewing family relationships, the day-to-day reality of sharing life set in.  We had to adapt to togetherness as much as we did to being apart.

Rules of Engagement

Two-hundred-forty days of boots on the ground—not including training.  That number symbolizes the amount of time Dave spent in the combat zone and away from the home front.  It also defines nearly a year of our family life.  Dave slept on a narrow cot; I slept (or lay awake) between two anxious children.  He dealt with insurgents outside the wire; I installed a home security system to keep adventurous teens inside the home.  My husband ate the cold remains of what had conveniently been labeled food; I served cereal for supper.   The “normal” of each of our lives assumed a different shape. Now that he was home, how were we to re-engage?

I could temporarily vacate my parenting role; perhaps enjoy an emotional vacation while Dave re-established his position in the home.  Or, maybe I should assert my way of doing things.  Why exchange predictability for a different approach?  Unfortunately, I sometimes waver between these two extremes.  But scripture reminds all of us to “consider others better than yourselves.”  (Philippians 2:3)  Neither approach is acceptable.  Wives and husbands—even those experiencing the interrupted lifestyle of being a military couple—provide their children with a level of stability and security when family norms are jointly agreed upon and managed.

Love and War

The distance imposed by Dave’s deployment clouded my thinking in the same way a dust storm filled the desert sky.  Was he safe?  Did he still love me?  Would he come home?  Such thoughts, constantly a part of my mental landscape, stung.  Unfortunately, remnants of the storm remained behind even after my husband’s return.  What if became my new mantra.  What if Dave isn’t happy to be home?  What if being a family man seems less appealing than it did before?  What if…

Fear and negativity, my strongest adversaries, threatened to invade the confines of our home.  If Dave expressed frustration or felt overwhelmed by the demands of four children and an unusually independent wife, I reacted defensively.  Separation required we re-examine boundaries, adjust to the climate, and expect the best of one another.

Standard Operating Procedure

Our first step toward preparing for transitional trials was to create a plan in advance of major change.  We set aside time with each other to discuss questions, concerns, and feelings.  Then, Dave and I prayed together.  After all, what better way is there to support a marriage and family?  And, thanks to technological advances, praying for one another—and our family–continued throughout training, deployments, and more.

While we expected difficulties, we didn’t invite them.  I quickly learned that when my inner monologue developed into a diatribe, I had to “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 2:5) and replace it with positive thinking.

Finally, remembering the storm will end provides motivation to continue.  Eventually the dust settles and, sometimes, an oasis lies within reach.

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Thunderstorms - Thunderstorm Photo (24879713) - Fanpop fanclubs

Strife seems to build like a summer rainstorm in the Rockies-slowly, visibly.  Once in a while the clouds drift by merely casting threatening shadows, but other times it seems as if there is nowhere to hide.  Even the house shakes beneath the rumbles of poorly managed conflict…hurtful words…stinging accusations. In a perfect family–the family none of us has–there would be less finger-pointing and more folding of hands in humble prayer.  In a perfect family every response to perceived infractions would pass through God’s filter of loving kindness, sifted by his gentle hands.

My family isn’t perfect.

How, then, does God expect me to respond to the blustery winds of anger and discontent?  How can I encourage the healing of a damaged relationship or wounded hearts?  By responding in love–sometimes the greatest test of commitment to a personal faith in Christ and the most difficult action to take in the aftermath of dissension.

Recommended Reading

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Scripture for Reflection

So…no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (MSG)

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10. You would rather sleep than go out for a relaxing dinner with your husband.

9. Previously a fashion statement, scarves now camouflage everything from leaking breasts to baby spit up.

8. Eating something from the baby’s high chair tray qualifies as your lunch.

7. You wear slippers in the kitchen because you don’t have time to sweep the crumbs on the floor.

6. Your water bill doubles. Who knew a baby could create so much laundry?

5. You cry more than the baby does when she has her shots.

4. People you’ve never met will offer their parenting advice. “Oh, she has a flat head. You’re letting her sleep on her back too much.”

3. When friends visit, they have to request an instruction booklet to access the baby-proofed toilet–which, remarkably, only takes your baby a few minutes to figure out.

2. Now you understand how much your parents love you.

1. You’ve just met a miracle–and realize nothing this beautiful could happen without a loving God.

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