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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.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Forty years. Number two.

Here is my second thought. For the first one please see this post: Forty years. Number one.
2. As a young person, no matter how smart you think you are and how much you think you have figured out, you will realize some day (hopefully without too much regret and too many souls harmed) that you were not as smart as you thought you were and you will never have much figured out. Be swift to hear, slow to speak.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Forty years. Number one.

A few months ago I started a list ... it was supposed to be a list of 40 things I've learned in my forty years here on this earth. I had **planned** to publish it as a blog post :) but alas, it never got done. So instead, I will turn it in to several blog posts. We'll see how this goes.
  1. We must love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves. It's easy to say, but if your heart is not in the right place, it's impossible to do.
The number one thing I have learned in my forty years on this earth is: Following Jesus is rooted in a foundation of loving God and loving others. That's it. If it's rooted in anything else, it is your own religion.

What is love? Well, I actually did a post not too long ago about that very thing. Here is a link to it - LOVE - but I'll just post it below because it's not that long.

The bible has a lot to say about it, but how many really believe it? It is the fulfillment of the law - a pretty serious thing as far as I can tell. According to 1 Corinthians 13, even if your faith is so strong that it can move mountains, if you do not have love your faith means absolutely nothing. And even if you give every last thing you own to the poor, if you do not have love it profits you absolutely nothing. Or even if you have great knowledge and understanding of all mysteries, if you do not have love your knowledge is all in vain. You could even give your body up to be burned ... but if you do not have love, it means nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. ...
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Is this you? If you had to stand before the judgment seat right now, would the Judge say this was you? Do you suffer long with others? Are you kind to everyone? Do you seek to put the needs of others before yourself? Are you slow to anger? Do you think kind thoughts of others instead of evil thoughts? Do you shun and reprove gossip? If someone else falls, do you help them up?

It seems to me that as long as we have true LOVE for God and others, everything else will eventually fall in to place. If we are able to love others as Christ loved/loves them, we have his heart and are walking in his path. We are branches in the vine.

It starts and ends with love and love fills up everything in between.
~~~~ (end)

We show our love for God by putting action to our love - and that shows most by how we treat others. First, others in our home, then in our neighborhoods, then communities, and elsewhere. I've been really blessed reading Mother Teresa again here lately. She stresses that love starts at home. If you cannot behave in a loving way towards those in your very own home, how can you love your neighbor? And how can you love God whom you cannot see if you cannot love those in your own home whom you can see? (my thoughts, but they stemmed from something I read of hers)

It's easy to go out into the world and help others. Put on a good face, do a few good deeds, and feel good about what you did. But then when you go home, do you suddenly change? Are you as nice to your husband and children as you are to those you just helped out in the world? Do you serve them with a smile on your face and thankfulness in your heart? Or maybe you do not have a husband or children at home? The thought still applies; you know what I'm talking about. How do you treat those who are closest to you?

Do you love yourself as you are right now? There's something to that! I mean, if you do not love yourself as you are right now, how are you going to be able to "love others as you love yourself"? If something is not right, pray to God for help and strength to make things right. You must desire to change - desire to be pleasing to God.

So, love really starts first with YOU, in your own heart, and then at home with those who are around you every day.

Opportunities to be a blessing are ALL AROUND YOU!!! Purposefully look for them. Every morning when you wake up think, "How can I be a blessing to others today?" Maybe the answer will be something as simple as "be patient" or "smile more". "How can I show that I love this person?" Make a list if you have to :) :) :) and check it often. Sometimes that helps keep it in the front of your mind.

A word of caution. The bible warns us about women who are idle, busybodies, going from house to house talking about things they should not be talking about. In today's world, this can happen without even leaving your home: the internet and social media. Sometimes I cannot help but wonder what is being neglected so mothers and wives can spend time catching up on the latest gossip. It happens. It's very sad, but it happens. Satan is ***robbing*** you and your loved ones!! taking you away from your God-given responsibilities (blessings!) to participate in things that are not pleasing to God. Be careful! This is not the fruit of godly love!

Instead of being busy on social media, be busy filling your day with being a blessing and loving others. In return, YOU will be greatly blessed!!!