Sometimes, You Can See It

As a parent of two older teen sons, there are often times, I wonder if we’ve raised them right.

When their attitudes are stinky, and their relationships are floundering. When they’d rather threaten to “punch you in the face” to show brotherly love than express a kind word. When they’d rather goof off and smart off than do what they’re told and help out around the house.

As a parent, you work real hard to train up your children in the way they should go. You work real hard, constantly hoping your words are matching your own deeds, and somehow, that example is being seen by the tiny feet (now big feet) that follow.

As a parent, you spend long hours teaching the hard lessons, conveying life truths and praying, “Dear Lord, help this child to hear and understand what I’m trying to tell him.”

As a parent, you’re continually pleading with God to protect, guide and help, give grace, and most importantly, to love and help them to realize just how much.

And you wonder…

Are they getting it?

Will they hear it?

Much more, will they believe, receive and repeat it?

Then, in one brief moment, one twinkling of an eye, you get a glimpse…

You and your sons are sitting in a restaurant, awaiting your food, and an elderly couple pulls up in the rain. The husband is bent over in stature, trying desperately to help his wife, who is just as feeble, to get to the door and out of the downpour.

All of this has been in your peripheral vision, not completely cognizant of the events, until at the same split second, you hear your 18 year old’s chair loudly scrape the floor, and by the time you turn to see him, he’s already at the door.

He proceeds to hold the door, take the lady’s hand from her husband (so he can go park the car that’s been running on the curb) and he proceeds to walk the little lady to her table and make sure she’s alright.

Wow. He’s gonna be okay. Not just ok, he’s already become an amazing young man, and I just got to see the proof of it.

This momma’s heart is full. ❤️

Embrace Your Grace

I received this wall art for Christmas, and it made me cry (For those of you who know me, yeah, I know that’s a shocker! 😂) This meant so much to me at this time, because my husband and I had just had a conversation a few weeks ago about this very thing, and I was trying to believe in my heart what my head knows to be true of this statement.

If you don’t know me (which, just read a few past blogs tagged “family,” and you’ll quickly understand), you may not know that my family is my world. That old adage, “God, Family, Country?” …yeah, that just about sums me up. I love my family, and I love spending time with them. It doesn’t really matter what we do. Yet, there are times, when I feel like I need to be a better mom for them. No, honestly, I feel like I need to be “Supermom,” and as much as I counsel other moms that this is a farce, and they should never try to live up to this fantasy, sometimes, I find myself falling into the mind trap as well.

A few weeks ago, that was the problem. I was feeling overwhelmed with a “to do” list and piles of clean laundry to be fold, and a ton of other “musts” to be accomplished. I was feeling down and out, because I “didn’t have time” to fix meals for our family, keep us on a good, healthy schedule, fix the boys’ lunches, keep the house “spit-spot” clean, and follow all the expectations that a “good mother” should follow. I was feeling like I don’t do enough for my little family, and I was unloading on my husband. He listened…and listened…cuz, he’s such a good man.😉

We got through the junk, and we talked about improvements that were actually needed, and then he put his arms around me and just hugged me. He said, “I love you. You’re a great mom to our boys, and I wouldn’t want any other woman as my wife.” Then, he gave me this piece for Christmas. … you see, now, the reason for all the tears? (Yeah, I told you he was great!) 😉

I told you this story to tell you this: if you’re a mom, and you’re struggling today with feeling overwhelmed, insignificant, less than, lonely, etc., there is hope. Don’t allow the “Pinterest Moms” and “Facebook Supermoms” of this world to bring you down with expectations and burdens that you were never meant to carry. Recognize that God wouldn’t have put you in the family you’re in and wouldn’t have made you the mom of the kids you have if He wasn’t going to equip you and help you to be who He’s called you to be!

Will you need to re-evaluate your priorities, agendas and goals from time to time? Yes. Do you need to make sure you’re keeping “the main thing the main thing?” Yes. Will you need to step back from failures and mistakes, forgive yourself, ask for forgiveness from others, and start anew? Yes. And will there be needed improvements along the way? Oh. My. Goodness. YES AND AMEN!!

However, if you’re never doing these things, you’ll never grow, and your family will never be challenged to be more. A beautiful garden never becomes truly beautiful unless it has a season of pruning.

Just remember, you have to find your own niche here in this world of “motherhood.” You have to do what’s truly best for you, your husband (if married), and your children. What works amazing for one family might just bring down disaster in another. What would never work for your family might work perfectly for mine.

None of us are clones, and God never intended us to be! Can we learn from each other? Yes. However, every family must seek God to find what is His best and become just that!!

Pinterest

Themomcafe.com

Mother’s Day Can Be Tough

Motherhood can be so tough sometimes. We constantly feel like we will ever measure up. We don’t have enough time to do all the things we should do, all the things we want to do, all the things we must do. We make mistakes. We carry guilt. We live with regrets.

We compare our lives with the next mom, and we believe we should be better, or we believe we are better; either way it leaves us feeling empty and so much less than. We want more. We want less. We strive to be better, different or just simply unique in this life in which we long to succeed.

Then, Mother’s Day rolls around. All the cards, all the words, all the commercials, the candy, the gifts. Do we deserve all that? Do we want all that? Do even we need all that? For one day out of the year we should be treated like a queen; yet, too often the ashes of our past and our pain cloud the skyline of love and generosity.

Too often, those who have experienced the loss of those tender heartbeats, those tiny hands and feet and those little coos, they are burdened with more tears, more grief, more torn and shattered dreams. Many times, those who have never heard, have yet to see and may never embrace, will see those precious notes of laughter like liquid gold captured in such fleeting moments, be wisped away like sand through their fingertips. They are left on these days feeling so much lower, so broken and bruised, tattered and marred.

Where is the hope? Where is the life? Where is the new birth that is promised with the dawn? Will it ever come? Was it ever meant to be? Is it ever for me? Is it ever for you?

Some will never take comfort in a Higher being. Some will never seek out the faith I have found, but I stand here as a living testimony to His grace, His power, and His promises come true. The ashes will be turned to beauty. The mourning will be turned to gladness and joy. The despair will be turned to praise like the morning sun. One that envelopes and consumes your very being and soul.

How does it come? I do not know. How does it transpire? I cannot comprehend. When does He bring it to pass? I cannot tell. The only answer I have is to confirm the Why? Because He loves you. He loves me, and through that love, all things are possible. ❤

Happy Mother’s Day!

5/14/2017

Where Are They Going?

It’s our job, as mothers, to train them to be men, to live strong and free in this wild world. It’s our duty to equip them with the tools they need to be a man, a husband, a worker and a leader. 

We work hard to teach, give advice and impart wisdom for those short 18 years we have them within our home. It’s not easy. It’s not without failures. It’s not without mistakes. 

Yet, when we allow God to guide, and we allow Him to love through our tender hearts, they will follow the right path. Even if they stray, His Word will always call them back to the right Way. His love will always whisper within their souls…no matter where their little feet may trod…

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Double Digits

Reblogging this today in lieu of his birthday week. I so love this little man who is that little anymore! ❤️

the grizzle grist mill

This week, we celebrate my sweet baby boy turning 10! It is so hard to believe. It feels as if it was just yesterday when he was a baby.

He is my sensitive, caring, very observant child. He loves to play, and he loves to cuddle. He is tenderhearted; yet, fierce in competition and intense in convictions. He has a love for life and adventure like his Daddy, and he has a calm, quiet nature like his Momma. He smiles easily and loves to just be at home.

He is eager to please and sensitive to others’ feelings. He has a strong but compassionate nature, and he has a love for God that has only come from Him above. At night, I will often find him, in his bed, having fallen asleep reading The Word. He’s always been very intrigued by what the Bivle has to say, and I simply…

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Your Words

 

psalm-19-14

kellyarcidiacono.com

Your words matter. Your words count. What you say can wound or heal those around you. Choose your words wisely.

Years ago, our nine year old son came home from school sad. He felt like he had a bad day. Now, this child has always been more sensitive to those around him, to his environment, words said and actions done. He’s my rough-and-tumble, tenderhearted boy. He likes things to be peaceful and stable, fun and joyful, and this day hadn’t been quite like any of that.

He told me about his teacher snapping at him, how kids had laughed at him, and how the lunch lady had harassed him. As the story played out, I realized the teacher had “jokingly snapped” at him when he told the other kids to be quiet in line, causing the kids to chuckle around him, and the lunch lady had “jokingly harassed” him when he spilled a little of his spaghetti from his plate, saying, “Your mom needs to teach you how to do this.”

Now, to you and me, as adults and people who have experienced pain, criticism and strife, what he went through may not be that big of a deal. I could tell, by the information he had given, that his teacher hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings; she probably didn’t even think twice about it. There was no part of bullying or harrassment meant in her statement.

Don’t we all do that from time to time? We will quip our answers “short and sweet” to those around us, never assuming that it might impact them differently than we intended. Yet, the sharp remarks he received from those two adults at lunchtime, combined with the snickering of children around him, had cast a cloud on his usual joyful demeanor and caused him to feel like his whole day was just horrible.

proverbs-18-21

mybible.com

As he grows, he will learn how to handle jokes, sarcasm and harassment. His tender heart may not always remain as tender, but I can assure you, this day reminded me that we should all be more cautious with, not only what we say, but also the attitude and tone in which we say it. There are times for sharpness, and there are definitely times for rebuke.

Don’t mistake my comments here to be an agreement with the recent cultural push for a kinder, meeker society where we can give no rebuttal to anyone without a cry against “tolerance.” When there is evil and wrongdoings present, it angers me to hear those trying to settle down a conflict when the only persons they’re trying to calm down is the very one confronting the sin or wrong being done! It seems this nation is working hard to excuse certain beliefs, actions or opposing viewpoints simply because they’re “new and culturally accepted.” These actions and attitudes are not what I’m talking about here.

I am referring to the words we use with those closest to us and the tones and attitudes we portray behind these words. It is so easy to be in the middle of having a bad day, be approached by a child and respond to them by snapping their little head off. It’s so common to be stressed out, right at the time of a deadline and just “blow a gasket,” simply, because your spouse asked where a clean pair of socks are. It’s such a ‘knee-jerk reaction” to be worried and concerned over a situation and respond to your ‘aggravating’ teen in an overemotional manner instead of stopping to realize they weren’t trying to get on your nerves; they’re just being a teenager. I know. I’ve been there, and I wonder if you have been, too…

proverbs-12-18

deebrestin.com

The heart of a child, a teen, and even our spouse are at stake when we allow our emotions to rule over our words and actions. We should not only have the mind of Christ, but we must have His mouth as well! Let our words always be tempered by His grace, love and Truth.

psalms_19-14

kingjamesbibleonline.org

 

Hold On Tightly

I want to be so close to God that His nature is mine. I want to walk so close to Him that our steps combine, and I find myself tripping over His. I want to be so in tune to His voice that I hear nothing but what He longs for me to hear.

Yet, I find myself time and again, wandering on this path He has set. I find myself distracted from where He is, and I end up tripping over my own fleshly desires and appetites. I get clouded in my vision and become reduced to a straining-to-hear-even-a-whisper MESS of carnal reasoning and wisdom-like-faith filled with nothingness.

Why do we slip so easily? How is it that we entered this race so passionately, only to realize we may not endure till the end? I have found it is so similar to a child’s journey through life. As a babe, he clings desperately to his mother in exteme demand for his every need and desire. As a toddler, she learns to toddle along, still needing help but ever learning strength and resilience on her own. As a teen, he pushes back, needing space and independence to find his voice in this world. Finally finding adulthood, flying to depths beyond and, often times, wishing that we could one day return to the comfort and security of a mother’s arms.

Maybe, that is why Christ said, “…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven...” (Matt. 18:2-4) Maybe, we work so hard to become “all grown up” that we forget to hold tightly to His hand. Just maybe, if we held tighter to His hand, we would find our steps are sustained by His grace rather than our own strength. Maybe, we would find this journey of life just a little more endurable, not because we have easier days of circumstance, but because we lean so heavily into His presence that He carries us through those moments rather than us trying to walk through them alone.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

 

 

Where Are You Leading Them?

millstoneLet us never lead a little one to stumble. I have found that this Scripture can be interpreted in so many different scenarios. Literally, it can mean leading small children away in their faith (or in other things, for that matter). It can, also, mean distracting new converts from their new commitment to God’s calling, and it can even be mature Christians being directed down the wrong path by prideful, egotistical or ambitious fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

As Christians, we must be so careful not to lead “little ones” astray from the Word of God and from what He has in store for their lives. The Bible says it is better for a millstone to be wrapped around your neck and you thrown into the depths of the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble! In case, you don’t know what a millstone is, it was one of the large circular stones used to grind grain in grist mills years ago.

milllstone2

markcommentary.blogspot.com

When we are called into leadership, when we are called into teaching capacities, and even when we are placed in situations by God to help someone learn more about Him, our number one goal should be to lead them closer to Him not away from Him! We can only do this as we seek His face and listen for His answers to their questions and wonderings.

Whether we are a parent, a mentor, a teacher, or simply a friend, we should never take lightly a position of influence in someone else’s life. We should boldly walk in the authority He gives us but never because of our own wisdom, strength or abilities. We should approach it with buckets full of humility and grace, lest we get filled with pride and lead one of His precious ones away from what He has in store for them.

Let us be ever prayerful and ever mindful when it concerns someone who is impacted by our words and deeds. Let us always be humble and full of grace, and never let us take lightly the positions of leadership and influence He gives us in someone else’s life.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

 

His Delight

Over my lifetime, I’ve heard so many people talk about how God is our Father…that He’s really like our “Daddy.” He’s the one who delights in us. He’s the one who thinks we are precious; we are the apple of His eye; we are simply like a treasured child in His sight. He loves us that much.
I am precious in my Daddy’s sight
This analogy is great… unless you never had a Dad who delighted in who you were as a child. This is a wonderful illustration for those of understanding; however, for those of us who grew up without a dad present, without a father who showered us with hugs and smiles, without a Daddy who daily convinced us of His love, this picture of a loving Father just doesn’t quite make sense. It doesn’t quite bring the measure of comfort and peace that those who propagate it may wish to convey.
So, how do we translate this kind of love to those with whom a father’s love is foreign? How do we paint a picture of “Daddy’s little girl” or “Dad’s little buddy” to that one whose own father was abusive, neglective or even absent all together? How in the world do we portray this image of a wonderfully, loving father who enjoys seeing His children happy and full of life? The only way I have found to communicate it is by learning about it myself and sharing my life experiences with those whom I encounter.
…He delights in me…
Sometimes, it’s revealed to me by a surprise, tangible blessing like what happened last year on two different occassions: I was on a mad-dash Easter dress hunt the night before Easter. At the very  last minute, I decided I was just going to drop by a store and see if I could find something new. As I was pulling into the parking lot, I had a little prayer conversation with God. I said, “It sure would be nice if I could just walk right in and just a cute pink jacket to go with my pants. I know, I don’t have to have it, and I’m okay with not. I can always wear that old suit I have. I just don’t feel comfortable in it, but it’s really ok, not a big deal.” I went in, looked at one rack, went to next, and there it was. Right size. Right fit. Perfect. Two weeks later, we were at a ladies retreat, and they had a white jacket on display that I just loved! I thought it was so cute. At the end of the retreat, I mentioned this to the lady who owned it, and she handed it right to me. She said, “You enjoy it!”
…I am His precious child…
Sometimes, His delight is shown to me by what others share with me. A widowed friend of mine told me one day, “I am spoiled. I asked Him to help me see Him, and He has. I see the little things He does all around me, the little blessings He does for me everyday, and I feel treasured by my Father. I am cherished by Him.” Another friend was recovering from major surgery. Someone brought her a quilt the very day she returned home, and the person didn’t even know she had had surgery. The quilt was made with scriptures on every square. She said she felt blanketed in The Word while she recovered, and it was a reminder her of God’s love for her. She said, “It was as if in that moment, I could feel Him saying “I love you, you’re my precious child.”
…I am the apple of His eye…
Sometimes, I am simply reassured of His delight in His love for me in nontangible ways…a prayer unanswered, a wound healed, a moment of protection, a feeling of peace through the storm, or a simple reminder of His faithfulness even when I am not. He loves us, and He delights in us, His children. No matter what type of earthly father you may have had during this lifetime, you can be certain that your Heavenly Father loves you more than you could ever imagine! You ARE the apple of His eye. You are His delight!
 
deut32.10apple.eye

flickr.com

 “In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.
The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him.”
Deuteronomuy32:10-12

Mom’s Job

We, as moms, have so many jobs, so many responsibilities to fulfill. These change often, too, depending on the age of our children, the different seasons of life, and the various needs of our family. What my roll was, as a mom with our boys, 10 years ago looks somewhat different than today; yet, I have found a few “mom jobs” to remain constant over the years. If these go missing, chaos seems to presume.

  Speak Life – It is our responsibility to speak life into our home and our children. We need to encourage, admonish, admire and lead by example. Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…” When we speak life to them, it is the beginning of their seeing Christ. It causes them to see a better way than where their fleshly desires would entice them. When we speak life, it guides them in truth. Solomon, the wisest man in Scripture, had a mother who spoke life into him. You can see that in Proverbs 31, when she admonishes him about drinking and shares with him what kind of “good woman” he should seek. Speaking life is not condoning sin or emphasizing failures. It is giving them God’s best in their moment in order for growth, strength and transformation to occur.

  Provide Liberty (freedom) – It is incumbent upon us to give our children the freedom to grow into the man or woman they are meant to be. We begin this from a very early age. We hold their hand to teach them to walk, and then, we let go so they can. We hold onto the back of the bike so they can get steady, and then, we let go and watch them bike around the block on their own. We help them in so many ways, at the beginning holding on to make sure they’ve got it, and then, we watch them as they learn to do things on their own. We must do this with their dreams as well! It is our job to help them to dream and to one day fly to higher heights, and we must give them the freedom to do so! When we hold on to tightly, or we hold them back because of fear, competition or even jealousy, we cripple them and cause their way to be harder than it needs to be. They may still reach their dreams, but oh, the hardships and battles they have to face along the way!

  Give Love – It is our calling to love those God puts in our care. We were made as nurturing creatures. We were created as networking beings, to reach out, to connect. We have been developed to care, to cry, to comfort and to cover our loved ones with our love and prayers. If we are not reaching our arms up in prayer and out in love, we will wreak havoc on all those around us. That’s why it’s so important for us, as women but especially as mothers, to release anger, bitterness, strife and unforgiveness. If we hold onto these things, we don’t just simply “cover it up and hope it goes away,” as we often want to believe we can. It breeds in our home and eventually manifests in all areas of our lives, as well as, in the lives of our children. We must love. We must care. We must reach out. Hannah brought a new coat to little Samuel every year at the time of the feast offerings. There is a whole book in the Bible devoted to the story of Ruth and how she not only loved her husband but how she loved her mother-in-law. Esther changed the heart of a king by her love for her God, her husband and her people.

It is said, “The mother is the heart of the home.” I tend to agree with this statement, but I want to make it a little more specific. I believe she can be the heartbeat of the home. With her attentiveness, her effort and her consistent focus on Christ, she can not only keep a hand on the pulse of the home, but she can also become the heartbeat of that home. If she is stable, loving, courageous, bold, prayerful, gentle and kind, her home has a better chance of being the same. If she is imbalanced, hateful, fearful, lacking in prayer, grouchy and just plain mean, her home will most likely emulate the same attitude and personality.

Men weren’t created to do these things the way a woman was! They have their own purpose and their own calling within the home, but it is different than a woman’s. We have a purpose, and we must fulfill it, or everyone loses!

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”   Proverbs 31:28-31

Happy belated Mother’s Day!