It’s not about me. Or you.

It’s not about me. Or you.

Faith said some­thing to me the other day in pass­ing. It delighted my heart and gave me much to ponder.

She said, “Mommy, I can’t imag­ine you scream­ing. You’re usu­ally so calm.”

Ah. Well, while the Lord has cer­tainly done a huge work in my life, it hasn’t always been this way in our home.

You see, the Lord gave me three boys first. I remem­ber very clearly hav­ing three boys aged 4 and under. And hav­ing just moved across the coun­try. And being extremely frustrated.

Why wouldn’t they obey me per­fectly? Why did they have to make messes con­stantly. And dirty so many clothes each week? And DEMAND my time and emo­tions and work I had the baby, who stayed up until 3am most nights, want­ing to nurse and never sleep­ing in his crib. He would finally fall asleep and stay that way if I put him in a lit­tle seat. And then there was the strong willed two year old. He wrote the book on being strong willed. Don’t worry, I burned it. The book, that is. And then, the four year old was push­ing bound­aries, grow­ing way too fast for me.

I was exhausted. And ready for preschool to start so that I would get some of my old life back. I was so selfish.

I had a dear friend pop by one day. The boys were being lit­tle boys. I obvi­ously had not fig­ured out this par­ent­ing thing. In a moment of des­per­a­tion, I started count­ing to three to get my son to obey.

Seri­ously. And it embar­rasses me to think about how ridicu­lous I must have sounded.

My friend, oh how I love her and thank her daily for this — in my head, she has no idea how strongly she impacted our lives that day, said to me, “What hap­pens when you get to three?”

Blank stare.

I had never got­ten to three before. The obe­di­ence usu­ally hap­pened around 2 ½.

She sug­gested that I should require obe­di­ence just because I gave instruc­tion. I shouldn’t have to jump through hoops, stand on my head, or go through the rou­tine of counting.

Blank stare.

I never counted again for obe­di­ence. Now, I cringe when I hear moth­ers doing that. I won­der who is being trained. The mom or the children?

Slowly, I began to learn how to par­ent my chil­dren. How to teach them obe­di­ence, how to love them more. And patience grew.

And I real­ized that it wasn’t all about me. My chil­dren sin because they are sin­ners. They don’t do it to get me mad. They fell with Adam, just like I did. And so they will strug­gle with obe­di­ence and lov­ing and self­ish­ness. Just like me.

The Lord worked in my heart to give me com­pas­sion toward my chil­dren in this strug­gle. He man­aged to give me a joy in the midst of the strug­gles. It’s noth­ing short of a miracle.

And so, by God’s grace, my lit­tle daugh­ter thinks that it would be unusual to hear me scream. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for show­ing me a bet­ter way to be a mother, to love, to show them Your grace when they struggle.

And no, I don’t do this per­fectly. Not even close. But, my heart soars with joy and delight to think that my lit­tle Faith thinks it would be unimag­in­able to hear me scream.

Of course, her big brother said he could bring a snake by to show her what it would be like.

And that would do it.  I think I’ll pass.

I have more thoughts about this topic, but I think I will save them for another post. May the Lord bless you as you strug­gle through the days of rais­ing chil­dren. It’s no easy task, that’s for sure! I pray that they will be blessed as you seek the Lord for wis­dom to get through your days.

Remem­ber, it’s not about you. It isn’t about your com­fort, your ease of liv­ing, your per­sonal agenda.

But it is about your growth, your walk with the Lord, your cling­ing to the cross of Christ daily.

Walk in peace, in joy, in patience. You are rais­ing a gen­er­a­tion that will par­ent your grand­chil­dren. Let that sink in.

It’s not about me. Or you. It’s about Christ. And His children.


When Did Love Stop Hoping All Things?

When Did Love Stop Hoping All Things?

We’ve all been there: The Fam­ily tak­ing a peace­ful drive some­where. All is going smoothly. Dad is at the wheel, with Mom sit­ting by his side in the front seat. Con­ver­sa­tions flow­ing, per­haps some music playing.

Then it hap­pens. “MOM!!! He’s touch­ing me!”

The crime of the century.

And you know what we do, right? We do the prover­bial eye roll and say, “Stop touch­ing her and get on your own side of the car.” Just like our moms always said to us.

We typ­i­cally don’t actu­ally deal with the issue at hand because 1. it’s eas­ier to just tell them to stop touch­ing each other, and 2. it’s how we were trained to han­dle this par­tic­u­lar conflict.

And so it goes into other areas of life. In the end, we just want Johnny to stop touch­ing us and get on his own side of the car. It’s less messy that way.

Or is it?

We see this in the church, too, I think. We are so eas­ily offended by each other for any and every infrac­tion. Even the imag­ined ones. “They” are obvi­ously out to touch us, so we are on the look­out for any hint of a hand near­ing our side of the car.  They sneak up when we aren’t pay­ing as close atten­tion. And we often ASSUME mal-intent, rather than love. This is espe­cially true if we have been hurt before.

The truth is, they usu­ally aren’t think­ing a thing about us, but in the flurry of liv­ing life, their hand swings glee­fully in our direc­tion. Not in mis­chie­vous­ness, but in the joy of life. And yet, we cry out to Mom again in anguish at our obvi­ous abuse.

Some­times we deal with the con­flict because it’s what we are sup­posed to be doing, but so often we con­fess, for­give, and then get back on our own sides of the car. Back to look­ing for him to touch us again so we can cry foul.

What hap­pened to hop­ing all things? What hap­pened to for­give­ness that actu­ally has teeth? You know. I for­give you and now let’s go play. Not, I for­give you, but that is just what I have to say because it is the right thing to say, but I don’t mean any­thing by it. I’m the big­ger per­son, and now go get back on your side of the car and don’t touch me again. I don’t really like you, or trust you, or want to be your friend (or brother or sis­ter). And I don’t love you.

Even though in Christ we are com­manded to love.

And love is not rude. And it hopes all things.

I’m exhausted from the grudges. I’m tired of feel­ing like we will never have peace. I’m tired of being sus­pi­cious, and hurt, and in the mid­dle. Why can’t we all just stop sin­ning so much? And when we do sin, embrace the cross and be washed by the beau­ti­ful and per­fect blood of the Lamb? Why must we keep score? And expect hurt and sor­row? And begrudge it?

Who says we have any right to hold onto hurt? Where in the Bible do you find that we don’t have to restore rela­tion­ships, that it is okay to hate each other?

We see inter­net fights amongst Chris­tians of dif­fer­ent fla­vors and the­o­log­i­cal bents. We see blog­gers going at each other “to warn the flock.” What on earth must the unsaved souls think of our Lord’s bride? Why aren’t we ashamed of ourselves?

Let’s sit closely together. And let’s hold hands. Roll down the win­dows, and sing at the top of our lungs. Let’s learn to love again. God has given us to each other for edi­fi­ca­tion, to exhort one another, for encour­age­ment. We are God’s gift to one another. Don’t despise your broth­ers and sisters.

Come on over and sit on my side of the car. And please for­give me if I acci­den­tally (or pur­pose­fully) touch you. It’s going to hap­pen. Some­times my hands just wave about aim­lessly in the liv­ing. We won’t always agree. We won’t always see eye to eye. Some­times I will be wrong on this doc­trine or that. And some­times you will be.

But Scrip­ture is clear: They will know we are Chris­tians by our love. (John 13:35)

Photo credit

I’ve linked up here: A Wise Woman Builds Her HomeDeep Roots at Home,  Sim­ply Help­ing Him& Titus 2 Tues­days. Go check them out for more links to other blogs you might enjoy.


Love on the brain

Love on the brain

You know, her brother got mar­ried a few months ago. To her favorite babysit­ter. And her mama’s dear friend. And she got a new big sister.

And then we’ve had a few more wed­dings to keep the thoughts all fresh and cen­tral in her brain.

Faith sees mar­riage and love everywhere.

All of her stuffed ani­mals either have or are in des­per­ate need of a husband/wife. Even Samuel is mar­ried. To Mary. And they have a baby named Savannah.

That’s the other thing. They all need babies. We have way too many stuffed ani­mals. Who can say no to babies? We obvi­ously can’t.

Oh, there are so many sto­ries in what was sup­posed to be a short one. About pretzels.

Yes, Faith found a bride and groom today dur­ing her snack.

Pretzel bride and groom

Pret­zel bride and groom

I imag­ine they will need a baby…

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

Today we cel­e­brate 24 years of mar­riage. How can it be? The time has flown by.

We mar­ried the day after Mike grad­u­ated from the Air Force Acad­emy. It was the first day we were allowed to get mar­ried. We wasted no time.

And then we set off on a grand adven­ture, which has spanned three con­ti­nents, six chil­dren, and one daugh­ter in law.

We have been blessed.

It hasn’t always been easy. I don’t think it ever is. We have had our fair share of heartache and tri­als. And we have had many joys.

I can’t imag­ine embark­ing on such an adven­ture with any­one else. Who would get my jokes? Who would lay in bed with me late into the night laugh­ing at the antics of our chil­dren? And draw­ing pic­tures for me on the iPhone?

Who would try not to laugh at my mis­quotes? You do still try, don’t you babe?

I love the life we have made together. God has truly been the One who has been the con­stant, keep­ing us together, guid­ing you as you guide me.

Two are bet­ter than one; because they have a good reward for their labour…

And if one pre­vail against him, two shall with­stand him; and a three­fold cord is
not quickly bro­ken. Ecc 4:9, 12

So, here is to another 24 years! May the Lord con­tinue to work in our lives, sanc­ti­fy­ing us through each other. {I think you get way more of that with me than I do with you!}

I love you most!

I am my beloved’s…

I am my beloved’s…

Sit­ting in the park the other day, one of our friends shared with me that she loves the way my hus­band looks at me. It took me aback. I *know* how my hus­band steals looks at me, how we con­nect with our eyes, and how spe­cial it is. But, I had no idea that any­one else ever saw it. My hus­band still makes my knees weak. He gives me those but­ter­flies. I like to watch him while he is doing the things he does.

This last week, he was busy help­ing with the Fam­ily Eco­nom­ics Con­fer­ence. He did a lit­tle bit of emcee work, mod­er­ated a cou­ple of pan­els. That sort of thing. Every once in awhile, I would send him a text just to let him know that I was think­ing of him. I would watch him read the text, look up, and look for me. Our eyes would meet, and he’d give me that smile.

I love to get texts and emails from him. He sends them to me just to say he loves me, or some­thing along those lines. We flirt in our lit­tle texts and emails. It keeps things fresh and cur­rent with us. It keeps us con­nected. He has been so incred­i­bly busy over the last cou­ple of years. He has so many spin­ning plates to keep going. And so do I. It would be easy to lose each other in the midst of life. But, what would it ben­e­fit us or our chil­dren or the church, or the min­istry he works with, if we were to lose our mar­riage, the spark that we have, the joy we have?

God has truly pro­tected us and our mar­riage. I give Him all the credit and glory for it. My hus­band has strived to keep our rela­tion­ship a pri­or­ity in his life. And by doing so, my loy­alty to him, my love and affec­tion for him, and my heart for our home, has grown and flourished.

Ladies, I want to encour­age you to remind your hus­band of your affec­tions for him. Even, or rather, espe­cially, in times of dif­fi­culty and stress. It is never too late to build upon what you have. Take it up a notch. Don’t get lazy in the rela­tion­ship. Remind him of what it was about you that he fell in love with. Remem­ber why you fell in love with him. Build on that.

I have found that it can be so easy to get into a rut and just do the next thing on the list, ignor­ing the more impor­tant things that never actu­ally make it on the list. What we do may not in any way appeal to you or your hus­band. But I bet you know what will.

When my friend shared her obser­va­tions with me, her hus­band chimed in that he thinks Mike and I are such a great team, that we are so good together. I beamed inside. I know this is true. I live it daily. But, to hear that some­one else sees it, some­one I respect, my heart just about skipped a beat. May the Lord be glo­ri­fied for any good that is seen in us. It is all because of His abun­dant mercy and grace in our lives. My hus­band and I are both nat­u­rally self­ish and unlov­ing. As are most peo­ple. But, by God’s grace, we are able to love deeply. And my prayer is that our chil­dren will carry this legacy into their fam­i­lies. And that per­haps you, too, will be blessed as well. Let’s not depend on our­selves for this, but rely wholly upon the Lord, from whose hand every good gift comes.

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