Thursday, November 15, 2007

If Ever You Worshiped

I wanted to share the lyrics of a song with you. They are not only encouraging to me, but they remind me that even the day-to-day, mundane things of motherhood can be an act of worship. I hope they encourage you as well!

"If Ever You Worshiped"
Words and music by Danny Oertli

It wasn't that long ago
You were a girl all alone
There was no way to know
How soon you'd have kids of your own

Now you're the first one awake
The last one asleep
Cleaning and making your plans
And there are days when it feels
Like there's no time to pray
You wonder if God understands

But if ever you worshiped it's now
If ever you kept your vow
You may not understand how
But if ever you worshiped it's now

The memory of leaves in the fall
Walking through the canyons so tall
God was so close in it all
Now your chance to worship seems small

You're the first one to taste
But the last one to eat
When everyone goes their own way
And it's your name that's called
In the deep of the night
One more hour of sleep floats away


Every shirt that you fold
Every nose that you blow
Is a gift to the Father above
Every lunch that is made
Every game that is played
Is an offering of love


Monday, November 12, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Interview with a Mom - Brenda

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

Brace and I are both 55 years old, and can hardly believe it! We have been married 33 years. We have 3 children, 2 of which are married, and 4 grandchildren.

We are empty nesters and love it, but I am sure this is because our children live near us and drop over quite often.

Why do you love being a mom?

I so agree with Ps127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Our children add such depth to our lives! When they were young, they forced us to give of ourselves for the sake of others – them. As they grew older and started thinking for themselves more, they challenged us. What do we really believe? Do we believe it is important enough to go through the struggle of getting them to obey? I have often thought, no human can change us like our kids.

Now that they are adults, they are wonderful counselors and friends! They know us so well, we trust them, we are secure in their love, they understand us, they are willing to be gut level honest with us. And, of course, now they are providing grandchildren. What beats that?!

What has been the most challenging part about being a mom for you?

Without question, the toughest part for me was dealing with disobedience. I really do not enjoy confronting people, and I am a type A individual. Getting tasks accomplished is a big deal to me. So, when my children didn’t obey, it was a double whammy. It took more time, and I had to confront. Often I resorted to the drill sergeant technique – talk loudly and sternly, and surely they’ll obey. I don’t recommend this approach, by the way. Once I was barking orders at Brett, and Daisha said, “Mom, he has to obey you. Just tell him what to do. You don’t have to yell.” That made sense to me, I tried it, and lo and behold, Brett obeyed.

Share your favorite bible verse and why it means so much to you.

Ps 33 has always been special to me, because it helps me see that my life is in His Hands. That is very comforting to me because I know He loves me with a perfect Love. He knows me totally, and knows absolutely what is best for me and mine. I especially like the last verse: “Let thy mercy , O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee.” I interpret that. . . . the more I turn over to Him, the more He’ll do; thus, it inspires me to run to Him with everything. I am so grateful He doesn’t weary of my coming. He actually wants me to.. …..He knows my weakness and knows I desperately need Him, so it delights Him when I come running. Isn’t that so wonderful?!!!

How do you keep your husband first in the midst of mothering?

When our kids were young, we started taking a date night 2 or 3 times a month. It was interesting. When we first started “dating”, we did a lot of arguing. I think there was a lot bottled up inside that we didn’t have time or opportunity to talk about. I’m so glad we didn’t give up on the idea. We kept at it, and soon our dates were very special, peaceful, productive evenings out. By the way, when we started this, we didn’t have much money, so we’d go to Burger King or Wendy’s. It worked.

Share a special holiday tradition that your family keeps.

Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving, we go to a Christmas tree farm and cut our trees. Then we all go out to eat. This is getting more difficult as our children’s families are growing, but it lasted a long time and was so fun while it lasted. I love Christmas!

Do you have any parting advice for young moms?

Oh my. . . I will preface this with the fact that I did not do or even understand what I am about to say, when I was a young mother. I made so many mistakes, and guess what. . my kids have made it. I’ll keep this simple. . .

The work is done in prayer. Sometimes that is all that God is asking us to do. Listen to Him, He’ll tell you what to pray.

Enjoy your kids as Jesus enjoys you. It is God’s job to raise them through you. So relax in Him.

I always feel guilty telling this to mothers with children at home, because I am an empty nester with lots of alone time, but here I go. .. . .Nothing can take the place of unhurried time alone with God. Know that I didn’t do this much at all until I got chronic fatigue syndrome 3 years ago and had to sit. I praise God for CFS because I have learned to know my Father like never before. The more I know Him, the more I trust Him, the more He can do. . . not the more I can do , the more He can do. That is the secret. It is like the difference between sprinkling your lawn and a wonderful rain.

One more thing. . . If you want your kids to be open and vulnerable with you, be open and vulnerable with them.

Thanks Brenda for sharing with us!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Quote for Today

"Providing consistent discipline for our children is always time-consuming, sometimes exhausting, and never done from afar. That's right, it's supposed to be difficult. Remember, nothing asks us to grow up like helping our children grow up. And seeking to discipline with ruthless consistency is asking yourself to grow up. It takes more time than you have available, more energy than you think possible, and more strength in the face of constant criticism than you think you can muster. But I know you can do it, and in fact, you already are. Reflect on the times when you have been consistent, when you have followed through. I guarantee you've been able to do it more than you think you have. Keep it going."

Taken from ScreamFree Parenting by Hal Edward Runkel

I've heard it said that parenting is the toughest job you'll ever love. The longer I am a parent (and the more kid's we have) the more this quote rings true. Being a consistent parent is even tougher, but I think the end results, if we are willing to put in the hard work of consistency, will be well worth it!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Captivated by Love

I commented in my previous post that I am learning to be intentional in the small things. Today, I read Proverbs 5. In verses 18 and 19 it advises men to "rejoice in the wife of your youth" and to "be captivated by her love."

I have been married 8 1/2 years and am learning that if I want my husband to rejoice in me and be captivated by my love I need to work at it. I need to be speaking love to him in a language he understands. I need to let him know (and not just assume he knows) how much I love him, need him and respect him. With the busyness of life and kids this takes some intentionality.

What are some ways you intentionally show love to your husband? Here are a few things I came up with that I want to consistently put into practice.

1. Send him to work in the morning with a real kiss (not just the typical quick peck)and stop what I am doing when he gets home and welcome him back the same way!

2. Make a better effort to have the house somewhat picked up when he gets home.

3. E-mail or call him during the day to let him know I am thinking of him.

4. Be available when he is home and not so distracted by my to-do list.

5. Buy his favorite foods at the grocery store (i.e. sauerkraut, guacamole and olives!)

I want to encourage you to be intentional in showing love to your husband this week (and feel free to share some of the ways you do that!). May he always be captivated by your love!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Intentional in the Small Things

Another week has flown by - filled with day-to-day routines, temper tantrums, and laughter - hundreds of moments that fill a day and make it unique. I can't believe it is November already. Time can be a deceptive thing, a moment (or hour) can drag on for an eternity, and then you blink and weeks have disappeared.

As time flies by, the important things of life can sometimes be pushed aside by the hustle and bustle of the everyday. Meaningful conversations and little moments that bind us together can be lost in the urgency of getting the next project done. The more this happens, the more life can lose its joy.

I am learning the importance of being intentional in my relationships. For me, this is learning to be intentional in the little things. Today my perpetual calendar reads, "Kiss you hubby every day--like you did when you were dating!," a "little thing" that brings joy to life.

I am learning the importance of
-turning off the TV to have a real conversation
-turning off the computer to play a game of Candyland
-taking the time (and money) for date nights
-putting my to-do list on hold to read a book to my kids
-stopping what I am doing to look my child in the eye and really listen to what they are saying

I fail at this more than I care to admit. The result is usually a feeling of disconnection from those I love. When I make my agenda more important than the relationships in my life, I usually suffer.

I think we were created to find fulfillment in relationships - first from God and then from those around us. Selfishness tries to rob me of that. It deceives me into thinking I will find more pleasure from putting myself first - in reality my selfishness sucks the joy out of living.

Life goes so fast. I hope in the end I will get it right more times than I fail. That I will have lived a joy-filled, relationship-rich life and that I will have no regrets for what I should have done.

Be intentional in your relationships today and take advantage of the small moments that bring life joy.