Today was wonderful. It started with breakfast, a great day at church, then shopping and dinner. I got some much needed shorts, and some perfume…ahh…it smells so wonderful. All day today was about mothers.
I think it’s wonderful to take a day out and acknowledge your mom for all the great things she’s done for you–like give birth, or clean up your puke or mop up your forgotten frozen beer in the freezer when you were too young to be drinking and the butt-whoopin’ you got for drinking too young to begin with. (thanks mom, but I still swear it wasn’t mine!) Mom’s do above and beyond for us. I know, I have a mom. I know, I am a mom.
Yesterday I was wondering what my family was going to do for me. Fear crept up at the thought that maybe they wouldn’t do anything. My husband works long, crazy hours. My kids are –well, they are kids. I convinced myself that if they didn’t do anything for me, that I would be okay with that. (yah, right! My husband is amazing!) Then this ugly feeling crept up in me. This nasty, too familiar feeling that can ruin you, than can rob you of all joy possible….this….feeling of ….
At the end of the conversation with myself, I convinced myself that I was entitled to presents, and doting and acknowledgement. That somehow, because President Wilson thought it was a good idea to make it a recognized holiday…or Hallmark encourages us to use their words to describe our love for our moms….or the flower industry convinces us that mom’s like already dead things that will continue in that process…somehow, I was entitled. I deserved it. Damn it, I earned it!
In that moment, those feelings of entitlement robbed me of the joy that comes with serving my family. I love taking care of my family. In fact, today, I found it difficult to not handle things. Probably because I”m a control freak, but that’s for another post. Even though I work hard to love my family, I am not entitled to anything. I serve my family because I want to, because I’m called to. Do I want to be honored and respected for what I do? Absolutely. But I want it to flow out of a natural love of God through my kids and husband, showered over me. And I want it everyday. Not because I deserve it, but because I find joy in showing that love to them, and they will ultimately find joy in showing it to me–and any other person in their life.
Mother’s Day should not be that have-to day when we painstakingly try and figure out what to buy a woman who already has everything. It’s a day to do a heart-check.
Are the things you do in your life for your family a natural outflow of God’s love?
Is your reservoir empty? How can you refill it?
Do your kids show a natural outflow of God’s love in their lives?
Love God first, everything will come easier!
You are loved,
Ever have a crappy, horrible, why did I get out of bed kinda day? Tuesday was mine. It started with lower back spasms and muscle relaxers. Then it turned into this:
“Mom, I have a headache.”
“Do you need me to come get you?”
“No, it’s okay. We’re on lockdown anyway.”
“Apparently there are kids with guns on campus.”
Meanwhile, my phone rings. It’s about the middle child in middle school:
“Your child is suspended from riding the bus for three days… “
And then when I picked up the youngest from Private Christian School, the teacher told me this:
“He can be such a good, loving child, but if I could’ve paddled him today I would have.”
So how’s that whole Parenting According to Amos thing going for me? I won’t even ask you, because most likely your children are close to perfection and you’ve just humored me in reading what I think God is saying to parents through the prophet Amos. Most likely your children get all greens or smiley faces on their agendas. Most likely your children live up to every single responsibility you ask of them. Most likely your children get all A’s on their report card (not even one ‘F’, not even one). Most likely you just pity me, looking down on me with a pierced mouthed smile, trying to let me know through your eyes that someday, I will be a better mother and everything will be okay.
But in the meantime I take this to heart–like God is telling me to straighten it up, to tighten the reins on my little family:
“Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you…against the whole family…”Amos 3:1
Oh and it doesn’t stop there either, because verse 11 says this:
“An Adversary shall be all around the land; He shall sap your strength from you, and your palaces shall be plundered.”
God was speaking of the Assyrians at the time, but now, I consider my adversary Satan himself. And yes, he is sapping my strength and yes, he is plundering my palace. My child was held in a classroom for 2 hours yesterday so the 10 police cars full of officers could search students class by class. (There were kids peeing in bottles in the corners of rooms–no kidding. I have photographic evidence, but I’ll spare you.) My boys are forgetting their manners, and what obedience is, and how important honesty is to our family, and to God.
But I am reminded that the Adversary is the real enemy, from the beginning of my life to the end of my children’s. I must discipline my kids, I must teach them a better way of life. I must teach them to fight from a place of Victory in Christ, because if I don’t stop the disobedience now–if we don’t teach our kids honesty, responsibility, respect–then one of our kids could be the one at school with a gun.
When God speaks of disciplining his chosen people of Israel in the book of Amos it’s because he knows the possibility of the outcome if he didn’t. We can’t ignore the possible outcomes in our own kids lives.
What are some ways you need to stand firm against the ADVERSARY and not allow him to sap your strength?
What is your worst day ever with your kids?
Share with me!
I grew up in the Lutheran Church. Lutheran’s are a lot like Catholics. We didn’t kneel, and we didn’t stand up quite as much. But there were hymnals to sing out of , and pews to sit in. My brother and I sat together in a sibling unity, like it was us against the church body.
I traveled back in time on Saturday night. We decided to visit a church where I could be anonymous. Not many churches have Saturday night services any longer, so I picked one that had a great website, agreeable Faith Statements and seemed legit.
What I didn’t know is that it was Charismatic.
And to echo my earlier sentiments: Nothing brings two brother’s closer than a 3 hour long Charismatic church service. The boys sat in front of Michael and me, playing hand games, whispering and giggling. It was them versus the church body.
It seems this world is so intentional about catering to the needs of every child, separating every child by their appropriate age, giving them each their own stores, their own ministries, their own nights, their own, their own, their own…
Saturday reminded me how we are robbing our kids from childhood experiences that bond siblings with each other. I’m wondering if this catering to our kids thing hasn’t totally affected our parenting and the increase of sibling rivalry.
Michael and I talk of times we were BFF”s with our siblings, and we had the opportunity to gain that relationship because we were raised in families where the circumstances forced kids to stand in unison against their parents, and the rest of the world for that matter.
If you ever have the time, take your kids places where they are forced to bond and you are seen as the bad guy. I think it’s an old military tactic, but I can assure you that it works.
Tolerance. This is the buzzword that looms and makes my job so much harder. We are living in a world of gray that refuses to accept a standard and allows whatever feels right, looks right, seems right, without regard for any such thing as absolute truth. I would say the lines are getting fuzzy, but it seems lines no longer exist.
This is particularly true in regards to male and female. I remember the year I bought Cody a baby doll for Christmas. He would be as mortified at you knowing this as much my husband was that I encouraged it. He wanted a baby, he wanted to be a dad. THAT I could not discourage. So I bought him a doll, and he played daddy with it for about two minutes and then the thrill was gone.
He didn’t want the doll because he wanted to be a girl, he wanted the doll because he wanted to explore the role of a dad, the role of being a man. But now, things have changed….
Now, our world is promoting genderless-ness. As if there are no innate differences in how we were created. But we ARE different. Scientists don’t disagree–well at least I don’t think they do. I am pretty sure they can tell you all the differences between our anatomy and physiology. And the differences would be clearly defined, no fuzzy lines. Boys have these parts, girls have those. Boys have this kind of hormone, girls have allllll of these kinds of hormones. It’s true. It’s absolute.
In the Bible, our gender differences are absolute. Men-work. Women-have babies. Really, it says that. It also says that God created us in whichever way he created us– either as a woman or man. He never makes a mistake. He never says, “oops, I accidently put a woman in a man’s body or vice versa.”
So now that I’ve covered Science AND the Bible: why is our world okay with removing the boundaries that clearly define the differences between male and female? And more so, why is it shameful to be accepting of our genders as beautiful & exciting, part of a bigger vision that is unfathomable?
I read an article this morning about a son we “refused” (that’s a whole other article) to wear anything but dresses, so his dad decided to wear dresses with him. I read a children’s book that encourages demasculation by referring to her son as a princess boy. I’ve seen young girls so terribly ashamed of their bodies and being feminine that they pile on layers and layers of clothes to cover themselves, I had a 9 year old girl so ashamed of herself that she changed her name to something that “sounded like a boy” so no one would know she was a girl.
Parents–STOP. I implore you. Instead of erasing the lines that clearly define us as humans created beautifully, with complexity and purpose, encourage your boys to embrace their roles as leaders and warriors, fighting for what they believe in and rolling up their sleeves to get the work done. Show your girls the beauty within themselves without having to use their bodies to gain approval or hide their bodies in utter shame. Allow both of them to see how their genders contribute to the workings of this system we call humanity. Please, let your boys be boys and your girls be girls. You will be sorry if you don’t.
A journey begins. This week, my family and I will be creating life long memories, that we will talk about in years to come in conversations that start with “do you remember that time….” My man, along with three kids in tow are on our way. We are driving to a conference in North Carolina with a pitstop in JAX to see friends, and a detour to South Carolina on the way home to see more friends.
Our drive started with…yes a nap, for me and the kids, we left Michael in silence to do the dirty work. We woke up and took a waltz through a citrus market, with free samples of pecans and oranges. I told the kids to eat up–dinner was served.
All this past week, I’ve been praying for God to do something great in our family through this trip. I asked for burdens to be lifted, his voice to be heard, and for us to draw closer to each other. So the van broke down. No kidding. On the way to church this morning, the van just turned off. So we are piled in the taurus, kids snuggled up next to each other, closer than they have been to each other in a long while. God answered my prayer, I suppose. Next time, I should be more specific, huh?
We should all be intentional about creating Remember-That-Time’s. One day, it will all be that is left of us. My family and I constantly recall the sayings, doings and itme spent with my grandmother. She helped shape and form us, and the memories of her are rich and deep. I want to leave that for my children. We should all strive to create moments with our kids.
We should not rush to get to the destination. We should not make them hurry to the bathroom so we can get back on the road. We should force them to look at the beauty of the trees while we drive, even if they roll their eyes. We should jam out to oldies, loud, as they beg in the backseat to “please change the station.”
Everyhing we do with our kids is not just about the right now. It’s about the forever. I want to pass on a little piece of who I am, and we we are as a family during this road trip, showing my kids how to push through difficulty and exhaustion, how to have fun in the process, and how to create a Remember-That-Time they can share with their own kids someday.