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Friday, March 17, 2017

Forty years: Number nine

Continuing on in my "Forty Years Series", here is thought number nine ...
Life [hardly ever, maybe] never happens the way you think or imagine it will.
So you might as well save your thoughts, worries, and concerns for the current issue at hand instead of borrowing from tomorrow or next week or next year ... or never.

Case in point. I always wondered what it would be like when my daughter was asked for in marriage. Now that it's happened, I can look back and see it didn't go anything like I ever imagined it would. Thankfully I did not waste too much time thinking about it and left it to the Lord.

Now a dear brother has become a son-in-law, and my daughter is thoroughly enjoying married life. It's been nearly a month (2 days shy to be exact - feb 19, 2017) and she's learning more and more about this man we've known well and have loved for several years. Just the other day she said to me something like, "Mom, he's so much more than I ever thought!" She is one happy bride ... and he's pretty pleased himself!

I'm sure she could write a small book filled with 'what if' or 'I wonder' thoughts about marriage and how it would all go, and pretty much nothing in the book would be true for how it actually went. But thankfully, she too did a really good job of putting those thoughts in their place and spent her years serving the Lord.

So, save your precious time God has given you today for whatever is right in front of you, and leave tomorrow where it belongs ... in God's hands.

On a side note, getting a little personal here ... I was so blessed to have supper at my daughter's house for the first time a few weeks ago. Sure, I helped her get things ready, and helped clean up, but it was HER kitchen, HER meal, HER home, HER husband ... what a blessing!! I'm so proud of the woman of God she has become, and she just seems to get better and better.

It was a real blessing watching her prepare for this marriage - the way she handled it all was truly beautiful. And now another blessing watching her settle in to married life :) :) :)

Here is a video of the whole ceremony, message, open mic, and singing. Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Forty years: Number eight.

Continuing on in my "Forty Years Series", here is thought number eight ... yes, number eight. I've been busy. I don't think I'll make it to number forty before I turn 41. We'll see.

No matter how hard you try, you will not please everyone.

People will take your best intentions wrong. Some people will even expect you to be super-human, and fault you when you are not.

Maybe you've made mistakes in the past. Haven't we all? Even still, some people will forget that they too have made mistakes, and hold yours against you.

So what do you do? As long as you've done your best to seek restitution, just let it go. Focus on pleasing God, not man. And by all means, do not do the same to others!! Allow them to be themselves. So often we are 'let down' or 'disappointed' by someone because they do not meet up to OUR expectations, but really, that's not their fault, it's ours!

Love God and love man. It's really just that simple.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Forty years: Number seven.

Continuing on in my "Forty Years Series", here is thought number seven:

Be in the moment - especially when it comes to raising your children.

Time FLIES. How is it even possible that my oldest child is 23, my girl is 21, and my 'baby' is 19? If I would have truly known how quickly those moments would pass, I would have done a few things differently. So, for those of you who are just starting off or who still have children at home, here is some advice I'd like you to seriously consider.

At this season in your life, what is more important than raising your children? (and being a good wife!!)

I see so many moms spending way too much time on the internet, on social media, etc. So caught up in what's going on in other places that they miss the moments that are unfolding right in front of them. And for what? I've seen it over and over and over again. Mom is busy looking at her phone. Children get into fights and mom cannot discern what was the cause because she was occupied doing her own thing. Her judgments are not, nor cannot be, just and loving because she was somewhere else instead of where she should have been. Or they find something interesting or exciting ... they want to share but mom only gives them a small part of her attention. They are not stupid! They know when mom is really paying attention! Communication lines are being CUT instead of TIED. They will learn that they are not important enough to deserve mom's undivided attention. And if they do actually get her undivided attention, it only lasts for a few minutes, and then mom is back on your phone again.

Maybe mom does not use social media? Maybe she just likes to look up recipes and get organizing ideas? This can divide and rob attention too! She gets online "for just a minute" to "quickly" look up a recipe. An hour goes by and she does not even realize it. Where did the time go and what were her children doing during that gap?

I assume my daughter will have a family of her own some day. If her husband believes it's ok to have the internet in the home, I have counseled her to be VERY careful and heavily guard her time. Internet is not bad ... in fact, it can be a blessing and a very useful tool. But we must be very conscious about our use of it. When I finally got a hold of this, I found it easiest to set aside time to use the internet and did not go outside of it. So that is my counsel to my daughter and to you - set aside time that will not interfere with your responsibilities as a wife and mother. I believe it is best to set aside time when your children will be asleep and your husband will not mind.

And this is not just about social media!! Another area where I see time being robbed is during meals. More often than not, I see mothers making separate meals for their children, sitting them down to eat, getting their own meal ready, and by the time mom is ready to sit down and eat the children are done. They go off to do their own thing while mom eats (and uses the internet, watches tv, reads, whatever). Mom is a short-order cook, catering to picky eaters.

Eat your meals together!!!! Prepare a meal, put the food at the table, have everyone sit down, dish out the food, and eat. Talk to each other!!!! Give each person a turn to share one interesting thing about their day so far. What was one thing they have learned today? Or in what way have they been a blessing to someone else? The topic of possibilities is endless ... but the point is the same: talk! Learn about each other. Meal time is such a great time to bond with everyone in the family, and it can happen AT LEAST three times a day! We always ate breakfast, lunch, supper, and at least one snack together. It wasn't until the boys started working outside of the home that things had to change ... and guess what? I MISS THAT TIME THE MOST!

In short, pay very close attention to how you are spending your time when your children are still at home. Be sure you are in the moment. You will not regret it!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Forty years: Number six.

Continuing on in my "Forty Years Series", here is thought number six:
Never take life or health for granted.
When all seems to be going well, it's hard to even imagine things not going on as they are. But accidents and other things out of our control can and will happen. Live each day to the best of your ability, always doing the next right thing in front of you, and you will have no regrets. I think I will touch more on this in another point.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Forty years: Number five.

Continuing on in my "Forty Years Series", here is thought number five:
Love is a choice, not an emotion.
"Love" is a word that has been totally twisted and perverted. What so many see as "love" today is actually complete selfishness. And I think that's all I'm going to say about that ... for now. We'll see.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Forty years: Number four

Continuing on in my "Forty Years Series", here is thought number four:
Be careful when judging others - especially in matters you know nothing about.
The scriptures are very clear: passing judgment on someone else is a very serious business. Unless you are ready to be judged by the same measure in which you are judging others (Matthew 7:2), it's best to just keep your mouth shut and work on yourself. But even keeping your mouth shut is not enough!! The Lord knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts. If we really have a grip on what it means to love, we would just simply treat others like we would want them to treat us (even if that's not how they are treating us!).

Jesus says: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." James says: "Judgment will be shown without mercy to those who have shown no mercy."

Mother Teresa said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Forty years. Number three.

Continuing on in my "Forty Years Series", here is thought number three:
3. Though you may not understand everything, God's way is always best.
I seem to be learning this in a deeper and deeper way as each year and/or each new trial comes and goes. I will never forget the first time I really lost it when talking to David (my pastor - he called and checked on me long before we ever moved here). I unloaded on him and was a complete mess. After I was done letting it all out he just calmly said, "Well, just go through it." That has stuck with me through every single trial and struggle ever since and I am so thankful!

No, we may not understand everything ... and really, that's probably for the better. I mean, if I would have had the full picture of how my walk with the Lord was going to be way back when I first started walking I would have never took more than a step - maybe none at all!! But as you 'just go through' each trial that comes your way (embrace it, don't kick against it) you learn and grow in ways the Lord wants you to learn and grow.

He really does know what is best and we just have to trust him. He is shaping and molding us into the person he wants us to be.