Mother’s Day Memories

I remember one Mother’s Day, when my husband went home to Comox to spend the weekend with his father and stepmother and left me alone with two preschoolers and a morose teenager.  I had no sooner packed the three into my mini-van after a particularly challenging Sunday morning getting them all ready for church, when my son turned green and spewed his not-quite-digested breakfast from his car seat perch forward and into the back of my head.  My younger daughter, as if on cue, followed suit vomiting all over my mortified teenaged daughter.  Needless to say, we never made it to church, but I spent that Mother’s Day feeling very sorry for myself while caring for sick babies, calming a distraught and overly dramatic teen, and trying to get the puke smell out of my van.  When my husband phoned that evening to wish me a “Happy Mother’s Day” and tell me how “wonderful” his day had been, I spewed some choice words in his direction and proceeded to lambaste him with how awful MY Mother’s Day had turned out.  Feeling shell-shocked by my verbal assault about something he had no control over and should not have been accused and faulted for, he passed the phone to his stepmom, who proceeded to calm me down with her time-honoured wisdom and truth.  “Isn’t that what Mother’s Day is all about?” she said quietly.  “You were being a MOM today!  Congratulations on a job well done!”

Mother’s Day has come and gone for this year, and more memories have been made with my family.  I’m glad we made a weekend of it, starting the memory-making on the Saturday with my children coming up to The Ponderosa.  My grandbabies are an endless source of amusement and delight!  The playground that my husband so lovingly built for our children in the mid nineties and “restored” when our first grandchild was born, has become the favourite play centre for my three grands.  The seven-year old has to show off his climbing prowess, and his four-year old sister, who refuses to allow her brother to best her at anything, follows after him the best she can.  Seventeen-month old, Paxton can’t utilize the swings or climbing wall without considerable adult help, but the smile on his face when he accomplishes even the simplest of skills, makes us just beam with excitement for him…until he decides to eat dirt!  Hopefully we will have him trained from doing that before his little brother comes along some time this month!

It is a joy for me to have all three of my adult children drop in and just “hang out” with us now, not because we ask them to, but because they want to.  There were times in their teen years they could not wait to spread their wings and fly away from home, but now they seem to swoop in regularly and get a recharge of childhood before flitting back to their own nests where their adult responsibilities take precedence.  I love to see my kids visibly relax here at home.  I know it wasn’t always this way, and I praise God for creating an atmosphere of welcome for them here.

My youngest is now a proud “Dog Mom”, after she and her boyfriend adopted a dog from the local shelter.  Mila, has become my “Grand-pup”, and with four acres to run about here at The Ponderosa, Mila can work off some of her energy chasing balls, birds, bugs and grandbabies!  Like my grandbabies, the grand-pup already knows where Grandma stores the special treats just for her.  I tend to dole out “Grandma Treats” extravagantly whenever any of my grands visit.  Which reminds me, that after this past Mother’s Day weekend, I’d better stock up again!

Every year I look forward to creating more Mother’s Day memories, but admittedly there have been some over these many years of celebrating them, that have not been pleasant ones.  After experiencing two miscarriages, having empty arms while others celebrated Mother’s Day, was heartbreaking and painful for me.  The feeling of great loss, the first Mother’s Day without my mother was overwhelmingly sad.  Trying to celebrate Mother’s Day right after my third round of chemotherapy required Herculean effort to stay upbeat and positive.  Despite the heaviness of heart, those particular Mother’s Days have allowed me to empathize and pray for women around me now who have empty arms and long to hold their babies, or have suffered great loss, or are in the throes of a serious health battle.  I am also sensitive to those young moms of preschoolers, who feel frazzled and overwhelmed by motherhood.  For single moms, and widows who must parent on their own, I pray for them that they may know that their efforts and energy do not go unnoticed.  I pray for moms who struggle valiantly with their children through those tumultuous teen years.  I’ve been there…the struggle is real!  I also pray for the moms who have had to let their adult children go; to watch them make choices on their own, and then support those choices even if they are not the ones you might have made for them.

Lastly, I pray for grandmothers.  I consider this season of life as a huge promotion for me.  I’ve been promoted to “Grandmother” and there are privileges and perks I’ve never had before.  For one thing, I can pass a smelly, dirt-eating grandchild to his dad to be changed and bathed if I want to.  I can give Grandma Treats with wild abandon and I need not worry about spoiling my grandbabies whenever they come to visit.  It’s my prerogative!  It’s my job!  What happens at Grandma’s house, stays at Grandma’s house!  Mostly, though, I can delight in watching my children raise their children in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord.  On the days when they feel the burden of parenthood weigh them down, they can drop in anytime and I can encourage them by saying, “Congratulations, on a job well done!”

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Watch What You Say!

There are many things that I love about the internet.  I like the fact that I can research and discover all kinds of interesting things about the world around me just by “Googling” it.  I love staying so connected with my family and friends around the world through social media.  I love being able to download music, movies or T.V. shows that interest me and I can access blogs, books, online sermons, inspirational quotes and pictures that lift my spirit.

But there is a dark side to the internet too.

Being so interconnected to the world, also opens up the opportunity for seeing things that shock, hearing things that make me cringe, and reading articles and comments that bully and denigrate individuals on a regular basis.  It seems EVERYONE has an opinion on EVERYTHING and they are not afraid to express it, not taking into account who is hurt in the process.  I suppose the internet gives people a certain amount of anonymity and a kind of social freedom they would not otherwise have with a one on one, face to face conversation.  They feel safe bullying and expressing themselves online, with misguided courage in finding fault and openly chastising someone they would never have the bravery to confront or speak to in person.

Christians are targeted repeatedly by those who want to mock and malign our faith and our character online.  We can expect to be persecuted for our faith even online.  Freedom of speech extends to every individual I suppose, but there is a cost.  I am reminded of the song I sang to my children when they were very young:

“Be careful little eyes what you see…, be careful little ears what you hear…, be careful little mouths what you say…”

In this age of technology where we are so interconnected, no one can say, think, see, or do anything without it becoming public knowledge and there are always consequences if a perceived “sin” is uncovered and then openly shared online by those who stand as accusers.  In many instances, Christian leaders are condemned and judged online before all the facts have been revealed.  Online they are guilty and remain guilty even if future facts say otherwise.  What was said in the past, even flippantly, is used against them.  Who they may or may not associate with, becomes a way to justify attacking their theology or ministry.  Scripture is used to condemn them more so than encourage them to repent or to show them grace; to disparage rather than edify.  It benefits a condemned individual little in trying to change the mind of public opinion once it begins to spread online.  They will eventually drown in the murky waters of innuendo and gossip, with their reputations ruined and their Christian witness destroyed.  How terribly, terribly sad.

Who are their accusers?

Other Christ Followers…

…and Satan laughs at us.

It has become epidemic online to attack one another.  Christian against Christian, defaming one another in such a public manner on the internet.  When a brother or sister in Christ goes astray, there are right and wrong ways to mete out discipline.  The central purpose being to restore and not punish that person!  Jesus took the punishment for our sins. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  (Proverbs 10:17; Romans 5:8; Matthew 18.)  Certainly there are those who require to be called to account for misdoings, but to be accused, judged and condemned online first is just wrong!

How can we say we are different from the world, with our life-giving, life-saving Message if we behave as the world does online?  What kind of a witness are we to a watching world, if we criticize one another in such an open forum on social media?  How can we attack each other so publically when we are called to forgive, show grace, and be Christ-like in and outside the church?

Oh, that the Holy Spirit would constantly remind me of the “plank in my own eye” as mentioned in Matthew 7:5 , should I find myself joining in on any online conversations.  Let me be careful with my little eyes, ears, feet and mouths to not see, hear, participate in, and speak out of turn online against a brother or sister in Christ.  Let my opinions become like petitions lifted in prayerful, private conversation between my Lord and I.  Let me be able to model these fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control in person as well as online.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

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Maybe It’s Spring

Alberta has just come through one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record, and I   am thrilled to now see the white stuff melting away and green grass beginning to show.  Springtime for me is always a time of renewal.  It’s like I come out of my hibernating cocoon and start to flit about with renewed purpose and renewed energy.  As I’ve said on multiple occasions, I am NOT a fan of winter but for some reason only God knows, He has planted me and my family here and He still purposes me to stay.

Spring gives me renewed awareness to the beauty and blessings here on The Ponderosa, as we like to call our little acreage just north of Cochrane.  The Rockies show off their splendor, still wearing their winter coats of white, but shedding more and more layers as the weather warms up.  My garden looks bleak, I will admit.  Frost still lingers in the soil, so I won’t be planting my annuals for a couple more months.  Makes me just a little envious to see my southern friends share pictures in February of their flowers and foliage in full bloom.  One thing about our short summers in Alberta is that we have to take advantage of those warm months from June to late September and pack a lot of outside activity into them, before the hibernation season sets in again and memory-making is mostly confined to the indoors.

This winter has been long and dark in other ways as well.  I continue to pray for friends who have lost loved ones.  The enemy of this world seems to wreck havoc in ways that astounds me with the sheer cruelty, brutality and evil at times.  Over and over and over again I repeat this verse as a constant reminder: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”  (1 John 4:4)  Despite what is happening around me in the world and closer to home, I need to keep reminding myself that God is in control and He is GREATER than the evil one.

It’s hard to stay up beat when all the news seems to focus on the negative.  When my prayer list is full of those dear ones who are struggling with health, marriages, faith and family upheavals.  When I witness first hand the bullying on social media, the attacks on my Christian values and morals by people who just want to say and do ugly things just because they can get away with it.  It is in those times of discouragement, I need to take my “thoughts captive” and focus on the promises and great encouragement from Scripture.

Today, Psalm 121 was EXACTLY what I needed to read on this beautiful spring morning.  Perhaps it’s exactly what you need to read today too!

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

 

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