Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘family’

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
                                                    I well remember them and my soul is downcast within me.                                                          Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.  (Lamentations 3:19-23)

Image result for images broadview montana

Image result for images broadview montana

It sits on the edge of the wind-blown prairie and the Montana sky–an unknown town to most.  A strip of slender asphalt bisects the small rows of homes where Highway 3 snakes through the rock and golden grass.  A stranger passing through probably wouldn’t bother to wonder about the people living there or notice the two quaint churches pointing their steeples toward heaven.  A casual passerby wouldn’t care that the bar–a gathering place for regulars most nights- becomes a family hangout when the basketball team scores a victory.  And few will thank the farmer–the one pulling his hat down low on his tanned brow as he gazes across miles of burnished wheat–for getting dirt beneath his nails so that others can enjoy bread on the table.

But to me?  Well…Broadview is much more.  Broadview–and her people–are a significant part of my story.  It is a place of family…of pain…of remembrance–and of promise.

I left home when I was eighteen–certain I could evade memories…redefine myself…become.  What I didn’t realize was that God allowed me to have memories–both good and bad–in order that I would also have hope.

Through the eyes of hope I can look back and thank God for his mercies to me.

My family was broken, but the Father gifted me with 200 other people who cared–from the youth pastor and his wife to the school janitor.  My English teacher…the basketball coach…my 4-H leader.

Image result for images broadview montana

My grandfather lay in a hospital–his chest stitched from stem to stern while the fields were ripe for the harvest. A line of red and green combines dotted the landscape–each trolling the field and spitting shaft in the air.  The Life Giver sent his workers so that a farmer and his grandchildren would know the feeling of satisfied stomachs in the winter.

My childhood home lay smoldering–a heap of ashes.  Yet the Provider gave more than needed when donations from a lone Pancake Breakfast were stacked in front of us.

Broadview.

Insignificant?

Not at all–those 200 people made a difference.

Read Full Post »

In the sheltered simplicity of the first days after a
baby is born, one sees again the magical closed circle, the miraculous sense of
two people existing only for each other. 
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I thought I understood love–it’s complexity, depth, and vulnerability.  Then I had children and all of my preconceived notions about love were shattered.  Blossoming in their place like a seedling receiving its first drops of water, a pure, true love sprang up.  Tender.  Unselfish.  Sacrificial.

It was a love strong enough to urge a sleep-deprived mother out of bed during the black hours of the night to comfort a colicky infant; a love tender enough to encourage a mother to stay for endless hours in the NICU singing softly to the baby struggling to for every breath; and a love dedicated enough to stretch and exercise her son’s twisted feet despite his cries of pain.

I thought I understood love–then I had a Savior.  Tender.  Unselfish.  Sacrificial.

His was a love merciful enough to offer forgiveness to a lost and lonely child; a love tender enough to be a Father when she was without hers; and a love sacrificial enough to give his life in her stead.

Parenting is the closest I’ve come to experiencing the sort of love He has for us.  Real love.

Read Full Post »

I’m awakened by the sound of my daughter’s voice, “I want French Toast, mama.”

Through sleep-dimmed eyes, I notice she stands next to the bed–a peace-offering in her hands and a wide grin on her freckled face.  “I’ve brought your coffee.” Reluctantly, I leave the warmth of the bed.

Less than gracious, I stumble down the stairs and assemble the ingredients.  Milk…eggs…bread…cinnamon.  I wish I were still sleeping. “Is someone grumpy?” she asks. “Yes,” I respond honestly.  But, I smile as she wraps tiny arms around my waist and I’m reminded of how different life would be without her.

This one small act may be more important than so many others.

Work?  Someone else could fill my shoes.

Sleep?  It’s guaranteed twelve hours from now.

This moment?  Fleeting.

My family?  An eternal investment.

I feel my attitude change and I ask, “Three or four pieces?”

Read Full Post »

“Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands.  Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God.  Be a person in whom they can have faith.  When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.” 
―    Lisa Wingate

I may be wrong, but it seems most mothers I know struggle in this area.  The demands of family life are limitless.  How can we make time to care for ourselves spiritually, emotionally, or physically when it’s difficult to make it to the restroom a couple of times each day?  Isn’t our husband more important?  What about the kids?

As scripture says, “Consider others better than yourselves.”  Yes, we need to love our husband and children more than we love ourselves.  A wife and mother has an amazing privilege and responsibility to nurture, grow, and serve her family faithfully.  At the same time, we will be ill-equipped to love abundantly and sacrificially if our basic needs remain unmet.

I’m not suggesting a shirking of responsibility, but instead a proper approach and balance toward life and those people God has entrusted to our care.  In the words of Matthew 6:33, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”

When God remains in his rightful position as Lord of our lives, we rely on someone with unlimited strength and wisdom.  He equips us to meet the challenges of parenting head-on, filled with far more than our limited abilities.  As Paul reminds us, ”

Then he [God] told me, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”  It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size…I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

So, then…what is the most important lesson I’ve learned about love because of parenting?  To love God more.  I need to be full of Christ and the only way I can do that is make him the priority in my life.  Then–and only then–I will have the ability to truly love my children as they need to be loved.

Like Paul, I want to say..let Christ take over!

Action Steps

  • Make time each day to set aside your weakness and pick up his strength.  How?  Begin by scheduling an appointment with Him each day to pray and read the Bible.
  • Pray specifically for your husband and children.
  • Take a break once in a while.  Try to spend 15 minutes each day doing something you enjoy–reading, taking a bath, talking with a friend–and you’ll be better equipped to serve your family with a cheerful heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

They could be lyrics to a catchy jingle.

                 Driver’s lessons, swim lessons,

                 soccer practice, homework,

                 Business trips, staff training,

                 open house and PTO .

Instead, they’re additions to August’s jam-packed, back-to-school calendar and I’m left wondering when I’ll find time to sleep–let alone fit in enough marital romance to keep the fire’s burnin’ and my marriage a focal point.

Have you ever struggled to balance the challenges of parenting with the needs of your husband?  Do you feel as if you have to choose between the laundry sequestered behind the utility closet or a quiet moment shared with the man you promised to love and honor?  Even worse–are you too tired to care?

My answers?

1.  Yes–most days.

2.  Absolutely.  There is something about laundry!  It multiplies like rabbits and seems to get away from me no matter what I do.

3.  Ask me this question at the end of the month.

Pausing to consider the importance of spending time with my husband, Dave, I’m reminded of something his friend once said, “The day my wife had our children, she became their mother and stopped being my wife.”  I know I’m not responsible for Dave’s happiness, but I am determined that I will remain engaged in his life as only a wife can–despite the busyness.

So…how do I avoid putting my baby on the back burner–especially when we’re both in constant motion?  There are three simple ideas (ladies, these tips are for you!).

  • Get it on!  Your husband’s sexual desire is as much an expression of love for you as snuggling is for you.  Pencil in “the night” on your calendar and give yourself enough alone time to rejuvenate, refresh, and regroup.
  • Time out!  Set aside one time each month to schedule 3 to 4 dates.  Schedule a babysitter, trade with other parents, or take advantage of “Parent’s Night Out” opportunities at local gyms.  For a little added fun, take turns planning each date.
  • Reality Check!  If you don’t make the beds or do the laundry, they’ll be waiting for you the next day.  If you don’t invest in your marriage, your husband may not be.

Recommended Reading

1001Cover_Smallest

Scripture for Reflection

The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. (1 Peter 3:1 MSG)

Read Full Post »

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?  …     Matthew 6:25-34

Faster than an inquisitive toddler.  Able to multi-task from morning till night.  It’s a child safety lock…it’s a roadside work crew…it’s SUPERMOM!

Some days–before my feet touch the floor–I awaken to a ticker tape rattling off details in my head.  Child #1-Dental cleaning at 8:00 a.m., Child #2 and #4-Lunch money for school, Child #3-Program after school, Husband-Stop at drug store to buy deodorant.  Me–Go to work, greet students and parents, manage unpaid accounts, attend a staff meeting or two, and research state education mandates.  Before I know it, my mind has run through the entire day’s worth of activities and I’m exhausted before I even get out of bed.

Have you felt the same way?   Those are the times I have to reel in my heroic delusions (and fear of failure) and take a deep breath.  Nobody is Supermom.  I am just me–able to manage this moment–through God’s grace.  No heroics required–just a mother and wife who loves her family.

Ways to Avoid the Delusion of Being a Supermom

  • List the top 10 priorities for the day and then cross out the last 5.  Any items left undone will still be there for tomorrow’s list.
  • Take a break.  Even a ten or fifteen minute break rejuvenates creativity and energy.  Go for a walk, watch the clouds, exercise.
  • Share the workload.  You can’t do everything yourself.  Rely on your husband and children to pitch in.  (Chore charts are great!)

 

Read Full Post »

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.  (1 Cor. 13)

I wander through the aisles of Hallmark cards and wonder if I’ll find a card that honors her– without extolling the sort of childhood that never existed.  God nudges my heart. “It wasn’t what she wanted for you, either.”  I pause long enough to stop feeling sorry for myself and remember…chocolate chip cookies, coloring together, and all of the basketball games/recitals/plays/track meets she attended–proud I was her daughter.

I pass by the drippy sweet cards lining the shelves and choose one that thanks her for who she is.  She’ll like this one; it’s sincere.  I smile, knowing that –for a while–she’ll forget the sadness and just remember chocolate chip cookies.  And, maybe, she’ll know I’m proud to be her daughter.

Read Full Post »

Twenty years before, you would have noticed a simple farmhouse with a large picture window overlooking the fields.  Now all that remains is a blackened trunk sprouting unruly branches–the memorial of a family heritage, a symbol of struggle, and the testimony of living triumphantly.

That scarred tree stands next to a gaping hole, marking the place of my childhood home–a place I loved.  I remember a quaint, welcoming home with a picture window that invited the morning sunrise in every day.  Green grass, fed by the nearby creek, wrapped around the house and a stand of Russian olive trees waved in the background.

But one starry December evening, my childhood home was swallowed by angry flames.  Only the tree remained.

While the antiquated electrical system may have been at fault, I often wonder.  You see, our home was also a place of fear and dysfunction, rage and drunkenness, threats and retribution.  My mother, brother, and I were always at risk.  Then…I told.  Was the truth too difficult to bear?  Did the remorse result in the physical purging of guilty reminders?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.

But the blackened tree still stands–bravely pointing upward, bearing the wounds of its past, and determined to live the life it was meant to.

Friend, what scarred trees are there in your life that serve as reminders of personal struggle as well as His goodness and grace?

Read Full Post »

My manic morning began with the unrelenting pulse of the alarm clock reminding me that the day’s demands required my attention.  I silently pondered a mental “t0 do” list and groaned inwardly.  Better get moving.

 The standard pre-dawn routine halted abruptly when plumes of smoke erupted from my blow dryer and then…mechanical silence.  Strands of hair clung wetly to my head, my two youngest children were wailing because—well, they could, and my oldest son was yelling something about needing clean jeans and could “somebody” take care of the laundry.

Meanwhile, the clock continued its steadfast march toward the rest of the day.  Inwardly, I moaned.  How was I to face another day of maternal duty amidst the confusion and chaos?

I paused just long enough to offer up an abbreviated prayer, “God, please help me today.  I can’t do this myself!”  The Lord spoke gently to my heart. .  “You’re right.  You cannot manage everything without me.  In fact, you can’t manage anything without me!  Remember, Child, this is my day.  Exchange your burdens for my yoke and you will find rest.”

Ahhh…rest.

Read Full Post »

Belonging

The mountain valley—lush with wildflowers and evergreens—was the perfect setting for my sister, Tiffany’s, wedding.  The afternoon sun cast its warm, honeyed glow on the bride and groom while the soft sounds of birds singing joined the young couple as they made their vows.  The wedding party stood nearby—twelve bridesmaids in elegant dresses.   Tracy, our sister and the matron-of-honor offered silent, smiling support. 

Words of love.  Promises of tomorrow.  Yet, I sat in my chair battling with mixed emotions- adoration and resentment, happiness and pain.  Why?  Because I had been rejected.  My little sister—one whose tears I had wiped and celebrations I had trumpeted—had chosen a dozen  women to assist, encourage, and support her on one of the most important days of her life and I was not one of them. 

Thoughts of rejection pricked my heart.  What did you expect?  You are just the half sister.  You’ve never really been part of the family.  Weeks later, I continue to struggle with the unrealized hope of belonging.

In gentle reproach, God began assuring me of my true position.  Daughter, remember my words. “[You] have been set free to experience [your] rightful heritage.  You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own child because God sent the Spirit of his Son into your life crying out, “Papa!  Father!”  (Galatians 4:6 MSG)  You do belong—to me!  What more could you need?

What more could I need?  Nothing.  Rather than being rejected, I have been accepted—even adopted– as a daughter of the king.  I am part of Christ’s family.  I have a place of belonging.  

Do you, too, yearn for acceptance?  Then take hold of the certificate of adoption Christ holds out to you!  You’ve been adopted.  You belong.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: