The Comfort of Knowing He has me wherever I am-Thoughts on Psalm 139

Psalm139

“O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me.” Psalm 139:1

Have you ever wanted to run away from home? Did you ever do it? I did. I packed my pink little bag and “ran” down to the very end of the sloping back yard and crouched under the cherry tree, hoping my mother would miss me. Turns out, she was so busy in the kitchen, when I finally trudged back up the hill to the house, she was still in the kitchen busying herself and hardly noticed that I had been gone! Years later,  in another house in another state, sitting behind the wheel of our family station wagon, I was so bent out of shape from whatever my mother was saying to me, that I seriously contemplated driving far, far away. But as I sat in the car, I thought of the song by Ken Medema “Lord, are you looking for me? And what makes you think you can find me?” Even then, as a teen, the words to Psalm 139 came to my mind.

“Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence?”

I just sat in the car and cried. Part of me wanted no one to find me; yet, most of me was comforted that no matter where I fled, He would be right there with me. I put the car in park, got out, and went inside to my room and cried and sought the Lord, eventually resting in Him.

Many  years later, at a ladies retreat at Camp Peniel in the San Marcos area, found me sitting on the front row with my Spiritual mom, Doris, and my sister in the Lord, Susan listening to Rose Whitelock talk about Psalm 139. With her hands she formed a small box as she quoted “Thou has enclosed me behind and before, and laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high; I cannot attain to it.” Vs. 5-6. Ever since then, I have drawn comfort from that image of the Lord God surrounding me, His gentle protective hands over me.

“O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me….Thou art intimately acquainted with all my ways.” Vs. 1-3.

Do you know anyone who knows all there is about you? And is okay with how you are? Very few of us can count more than one or two folks in our lives we can say this about. We don’t want to be so well known; yet, part of us really do.  Macrina Wiederkehr, in her devotional book Abide: Keeping Vigil with the Word of God says,

“Many of us struggle with the difficulty of knowing ourselves; thus it can be a comfort to rest in the truth that there is someone who is lovingly familiar with all our ways yet not bent out of shape. The lamplight of God’s eye shines upon our sins and weaknesses, our love, our heart’s yearnings. All is known. Nothing is hidden. A change sometimes occurs in our lives when we are able to accept God’s knowing gaze. Slowly, the “knowing of God” begins to console us rather than frighten us.” Pg. 69.

The first twelve verses became a comfort to me in knowing that no matter where my feet took me, God would be there. Flying in a plane, taking a cruise on the open ocean far from home, trying to run away, hiding even in busyness, or alone in my school room, desperately trying to figure out how to best teach the children, He is there. With me. Not as an angry Ogre waiting for me to falter, fall or fail. No. Waiting for me to let Him be seen by me. Waiting for me to lean into Him. Waiting for me to want Him. This Psalm is about a Father knowing so much about His children yet, He yearns for them to rest in Him and let Him be known by us. To draw up close to Him wherever we are, confident in the fact that there He is.

“For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb…..My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eye have seen my unformed substance.” Vs. 13-16

God made us, crafting every detail of our bodies in the exact place it needs to be. The kidneys go here; the heart, right in the middle, the multiple systems-nervous, skeletal, circulatory- weaving in and around and through the human body perfectly, intricately, precisely; just as He designed. He drew up the road map that each unique human was to follow and planted it neatly into each DNA. Yes, it’s scary. But isn’t it also so very comforting to realize that the Maker wants to relate to us as a Father to His child? That is hard. We aren’t comfortable with someone, anyone, knowing all our deepening spaces. Our true frailties. Our failed, flawed dreams. No. Not anyone.  Isn’t that why we find it hard to imagine that the Potter truly yearns for the pot to know Him, the potter so well? (Take a look at Jeremiah 18:1-6)

“How precious are your thoughts to me, O God!” How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand When I awake, I am still with Thee.” vs. 17-18.

Imagine! He has that many thoughts of each of us!

I took a walk along the beach recently and stopped suddenly and said, “Lord, thank you for loving me just as I am!” And I just let myself snuggle up into that truth. He. Loves. Me. Do you let yourself realize that He, Your Maker, truly loves you? Just as you are?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”

Vs 23-24.

 When I think those thoughts not of love or care for myself or others, remind me, Lord, to steer away from them. Lead me away from those destructive thoughts into the everlasting loving thoughts of You, your children, your ways.

Father, thank you that you know me. Help me to understand that it’s okay for me to let you further in to the deepening spaces of my soul. Help me to rest in you, to give you all my fears, to allow you to shape my thoughts with every breath I take. To be as joyful in meeting you as I am my closest friends; to want to have that intimate time with just you and to rest in the fact that you have me. You love me. You carry me. You are with me wherever I go. Thank you. In Your name, Amen.

(Check out “Fork in the Road” by Ken Medema, 1972.”Lord, are you looking for me?” is about 32 minutes in to the album) https://youtu.be/XVKgCb3CMnM

 

The Gathering at the Table

the dining table one

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Words – Edict. Message. Speech.

It happened like this.

One day while sitting in my friend’s golf cart out at the beach access, we began to talk about desires of the heart. We had walked the mile from post to post to exercise our bodies. But our hearts were yearning for something too. Yearning for more than just another social hour.

We yearned for meat. The meat of the Word.

Since my single mom’s group in Houston  was going to start a new Bible Study in January, I wondered,  perhaps you’d like to do the same study here at Sea Isle, I asked my friend. Where in the world were all these ideas coming from? Yes! She exclaimed. I’d love a daytime Bible Study! It’s hard getting back out in the evening, she said. And besides, since Harvey, we haven’t started our ladies study back up at the church. We’ve been focusing on helping the folks in the neighboring small community. Around the same time as our conversation, a new Sea Isler from the Northeast expressed the same yearning…..teaching from the Word. Soul Food.

Thus, in January, three of us souls gathered in my home at our long glass-topped table on Friday morning at ten. We prayed. We read scripture and we shared our stories bit by bit of how God was taking care of us. As we rose from the table that first morning, we had no idea what God had in mind for us at our table at Doves Rest.

Since that genesis of three on January 19th, the Lord Himself has brought about twelve to our table. Oh, not at once! And sadly, some have lives that have kept them away far more than they would like. But the core – about ten of us has remained quite steady.

Here’s one God-sized story from our time at the table.

In March Wendy returned to Sea Isle from her home visit with family in the Midwest. She had heard there was a ladies Bible Study going on and she wanted to come. Of course, we said! Come! She came, bringing homemade brownies and a burden. She found a seat close to me. We began. Who else was there? Our first two ladies – Amber and Nancy, making four of us that morning. As we began to open God’s Word, something, who knew what was said that triggered the tears? But they came. The Kleenex was brought to the table. We listened and cried inside with her. Oh, the long held burden she had been bearing. The loss of her teen son to an illness. Four years her grief has held her. We prayed as we hurt for our new friend. When we rose to circle up and voice the Lord’s Prayer, I wondered. Would she return?

Wendy came again. And again, even as  the Lord brought new souls. One Friday, as two more ladies gathered at the table with Amber, Wendy and Nancy, we heard again of Wendy’s hurting soul. But this Friday, Violet and Suzann reached across the table, hands outstretched, hearts and words extended as they told their story. You know, they each said, Grief share helped us tremendously. In fact, the Grief share that meets here in town literally Saved. My. Life, said Suzann as tenderly as she always does. Violet had attended in her home state when she lost her husband. In fact, she said, I needed it again and I went through the course three times. The last two they asked me to facilitate. It is what got me through the dark journey. Meanwhile, she was busy on her phone. Suddenly, she raised her eyes to Wendy and said, the Grief share is meeting one more week before the end of this course next Tuesday. Why don’t I go with you that night? I’ll pick you up. They exchanged phone numbers. And with that, Wendy was on the road to healing!

https://www.griefshare.org/

Wendy continued to come to our Sea Isle Community Bible Study, as well as to our Sunday church services at our Seaside Church down the road. She opened up her home to my husband and me for Sunday lunch, followed by more folks to she and her husband’s Sunday afternoon home cooked meals.

The weekend of Mother’s Day I was in another state with a long time girlfriend to honor her son’s law school graduation. On Saturday I received this text from Amber:

“Wendy is going to be baptized next Sunday!”

Joyous tears filled my eyes. Oh, Jesus, I whispered.

wendy baptized one

wendy baptized three

 

Of course, I could not wait to return to the table the following Friday to see whom the Lord would bring to study His Word. Wendy came, along with nearly all of our core and some more! Looking intently into her eyes, I asked Wendy, what made her want to be baptized. Well, I know I went to church as a little girl and I was sprinkled, but somehow. She paused, looking around the table at all of us, this Bible Study has been making it clear that I need to ask Jesus to forgive me and to get more into His Word and get to know him more. I smiled. You believe, right? Oh, yes. I think I always believed in something, she responded, but this study has been making it more real as to what Jesus did for me on the cross. He died for me. I believe. You could see the eyes all around the table, brimming with joyful tears.

How we all knew the Holy Spirit was so with us that day. Each Friday.

What happens at the table? What is going on? Prayer. Preparation. Release. Every chair is prayed over each Friday morning before anyone sits in them. Preparation and much prayer happens before the women come; but most importantly, release. I never really know who is coming, what burden they bear, or how God will work in their lives.sea-isle-bible-study-three.jpg

So I release all expectations to Him.

For now, we are each rejoicing over what God is doing in and through our Wendy. She ordered six more Bible Study books to take back to her home in the Midwest when she leaves soon for the summer.

She is our resident missionary already!

Words. These ladies who gather around the table at Doves Rest are diving into God’s Word seriously for the first time for some, in years. They are questioning. They are struggling. They are growing. They are getting context and the story. And they are taking it home with them. Personally, I’m growing as I learn to study a bit deeper and pay attention to what the Lord wants me to present each Friday.

The take away for you? As a public school teacher for many years, I wasn’t able to get to a Bible Study very often. Not until these recent years in this new season of retirement. I’ve attended and grown and yet yearned to teach outside of a church building; to reach out to some who may or may not be regular church attenders.

Sea Isle Bible Study one

Open your hands and heart and see God move. Look around where you are and ask.

Lord Jesus, show me the ladies of all ages who are yearning for your Word. I open my hands and heart and home. I sit with you awhile with my Bible open. You teach me. You show me. You work in and among the ladies you bring to my table. All for you. In your name. Amen.

doves rest sign

Cherishing time with Mom

“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16

She was wearing sunglasses. Why do people, especially older women a bit beyond middle age wear sunglasses inside? Okay. She may have sensitivity issues with the lighting. Or she had just come from the eye doctor and had her eyes dilated. Who knows? But the eyes are the window to the soul, the communication tool that usually tells the truth. So when she started to get in line at the bank I stepped back and let her in front of me. I was waiting for Mother and told her so.

 

“Oh, that’s your mother? Treasure the days you have with her. I still miss my mother. Lost her twenty years ago, but when I see something I know she’ll like, I start to say something like, “Look at this, Mom” and have to stop myself and remember that she isn’t here.”

 

I do enjoy time with my mother, I responded. And indeed I do, but her encouragement made me think a bit deeper about our time together. Made me want to look into her eyes a little longer, hold her hand a bit tighter, even for a moment. And take her compliments to heart.

mom alone two

Honestly, we do have a very good relationship. We’ve both worked on it. From this end, I have to honestly admit that even as recent as these four years since retiring, have I let go of past words of hurt. I’ve let go of rehashing how she treats me as if I’m twelve and move on with it. After all, truth be told, my own grown sons often think I treat them like little boys from time to time and I have to rethink how to approach them and the situation at hand.

 

Instead, I’ve begun to enjoy this season with her – taking her out of her apartment in her independent living home to the grocery store, on a drive through the neighborhood to see the lovely landscaped homes, to the doctor’s office and back; even on a country drive to see the bluebonnets. More often than not, though, she arranges for the two of us dine with her girlfriends in the dining room before venturing out the door. Those lunch conversations with she and her friends have delighted my spirit of late, as they reminisce their childhoods and college days. They are each loaded with fascinating stories! They’ve grown up all over the country, traveled all over the world, worked and volunteered in such interesting pursuits! Their stories, including Moms’, are books unto themselves. Worth the time.

 

Our time together is sacred and know that this too will pass, but not without my noticing more closely our conversations, her insights, her laugh, her voice. And thank God for all of it. Our time together.

 

Her fingerprints are on my heart. Even before she goes to her eternal home, she is leaving me a legacy. A life well lived. Mom never meets a stranger. She knows everyone in her building. Knows when they moved in, who their children are, and if she doesn’t see someone she’s used to seeing often, she goes to their door and checks on them. It’s what they do. She treasures her friends, even those with peculiar habits and ideas.

 

Mom and I share a love of books, and, I’m starting to enjoy her favorite new evening television show, “Bull.” We also love giving and receiving flowers, dark chocolate, ice cream and hot tea.

She is by far much more proper than me. I’m flung to the winds in my dress, hair and style. She, on the other hand, is proper, careful to always look her best before she walks out the door. And, there is nothing out of place in her lovely apartment! Never!

 

But the greatest love we share is our love for our Lord. Countless times have I sat on her floral love seat as close to her in her lady recliner as possible, leaning in as we discuss something that was said in a sermon, questioning a passage of scripture, or trying to figure out what heaven will be like when we get there. We have held hands and prayed together, for one another, for our family, our friends, those we hold dear.

No, Tuesdays are not a burden. I look forward to the time with my mother now more than ever. This Mother’s Day, though, I’ll be away from her, but two of her grandchildren will have breakfast with her and it will be the highlight of her day! How she treasures her grands and great-grands!

mom with grandkidsmeredith and kids two

 

 

 

 

 

 

To you, my sweet readers, whether your mother and you share time together or not, hopefully you have some treasured memories of the good times with her. May the Lord give you opportunity to reflect with gratitude.

Lord, as I penned those last words, I am aware that not every daughter is blessed with good memories of her mother. Though it saddens me, it humbles me to realize how very blessed I am to have this loving and rich relationship with my mother. Grateful. Lord, be near to those, your daughters who know you. Heal their broken heart of hurt memories and flood them with assurance that You have them. You love them deeply always. And Lord, thank you for my mother, Louise. In your glorious name, Amen.

 

We can ALL chip in and help our students!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not into your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

416be30a1799f82ff2b52fefdc62ed47--southern-living-southern-charm

When Southern Living magazine came to our home, I pulled it out of the mailbox, eagerly turning to the very back page to relish in Rick Bragg’s latest story of his deep Southern roots.  So, with every single magazine I turn to the back page. Somewhere along the way, we’ve been receiving “O” magazine. I never ordered it and haven’t bothered to let them know our change of mailing address. Still, for a bit longer, it comes to us with the sticker of notice to let the publisher know of the new address. I’ve learned that whether I agree with Oprah’s views or not, I tend to glean something worthwhile in every issue.O magazine

This afternoon I turned to the back page – Oprah’s essay entitled “What I know for Sure.” This month she talked about what she learned from her interview of fourteen folks following several recent school shootings. “There was one answer everyone agreed on: family. Protecting family. Caring for family. Loving family.” As I continued reading her essay, I reflected on what I heard Michael Berry say on his afternoon radio show on KTRH in his tribute to Barbara Bush.

“The Bushes are a clannish people. They take care of their own no matter what. Whatever will be said of Barbara Bush, and I believe most of it will be positive, she loved and cherished her family. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with a mother who stays home and focuses on her family.”

Were you blessed with a mom who focused on her family? Are you one of those moms who cares deeply about her family? Truthfully, I don’t know of one woman who doesn’t care about her family enough to fight for them. Maybe I live in a protected world, but honestly, I’m grateful to know moms who are devoted to their children, their husband, their parents, their family.

The point of Oprah’s article was a plea for all of us to come and stand together for the good of our nation’s families. Oprah asks the question, “Can we agree to use our common sense to protect the common good?”  In agreeing with Oprah, I also hope and pray that we can stand together for our families. What does this mean?

Here’s my take on how schools could help their troubled children:

First and foremost, parents, love your children with time. Spend incredible time with them, doing things with them that don’t require phones, i-pads or videos. Parents, listen to your children. Listen to their heart; listen to them read. Then, you read to your children.  And you be the authority in your home and be in control of your child’s electronic devices.

mom and her kids

Parents, befriend your children’s teachers –they are not the enemy. Most teachers have your children’s best interest at heart just as much as you do. It’s time for you and your teachers to be on the same team.

School administrators, reach out to the retired neighbors and the seniors in the area and ask them to donate an hour a week to one on one time with an “at risk” child. The counselor knows most of those children.

mentoring a student two

Fathers of the children in the area schools, including middle and high school, commit to one hour a week to walking the school. Presence is everything. Shooting some hoops on the court in the afternoon, or sitting down at the lunch room and engaging in conversation with those who generally sit alone. Believe me, the students can tell the fathers who the loners are.

dad eating with his daughter

Moms, along with your presence on the PTA committees and at Field Day, donate an hour of your time to listening to a child read aloud, not just an elementary school age child, but even a middle school or high school student.

Do you see the pattern? Donated time of presence in the school. Eye to eye contact with the students. One on one time with the students. Retired folks, one hour a week is huge to the school in your area!

 

Churches need to rally around the schools in their area and pray for them; go to the school to ask how they may minister to the students and staff in their school. Truthfully, every principal worth his or her salt would gladly welcome their help! Last spring after a recent flood, a family near our church came to our benevolence committee to ask for some help- a mattress, some clothes and perhaps some groceries. We gladly reached out to help this family. As it turned out, the principal of the children’s school heard about the need and came to us to ask if our church would “adopt” her school, and just pray for her staff. We jumped at the opportunity! Several members met at the school and walked the campus one weekend, praying for the faculty, students and parents of that school. And now, several members volunteer to mentor some children in that school.

The first words out of my young third grade student mentee this morning was, “I told my mom what my favorite days of the week are: Friday, Saturday,” and pointing his finger at me, “Monday because I get to see YOU!” Then he pulled out his newest Pokemon card to tell me all about it. Our hour was filled with some pretty vulnerable moments where he revealed his deepest heart cry to me before we played some games together. As I walked out the door after a lovely hour with him, I thought about whether he would remember our time together this year when he gets to high school. Then I thought, I don’t know, but I’m going to ask for him next school year.

mentoring a student one

Thank you, Father, for the opportunity to get to know this young man each Monday. Thank you for the time we spend together. May all of us Believers seek your face and ask You for your guidance in how we each may reach out to the children right in our own back yard. Be with the parents of our children these days. Give them your wisdom, strength, and humility as they raise our nation’s future. I pray they’ll use the Bible as their guide always. In Your name, Amen.

 

The set apart life….for a Most Holy God

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” II Corinthians 5:17
How do we go about our lives? What sets us apart?
Muslim women wear a hijab; Hindu women bear a mark on their forehead; Amish women wear a bonnet; Pentecostal women wear skirts, keep their hair long and wear little to no make up. Outward appearances.
In the Old Testament the Israelite priests were given specific directions on what they were to wear when performing their priestly duties. Down to the type of fabric, the colors, the style. They were to be set apart from the other Israelite people to honor a Holy God. Over and over the Lord said, “I am holy.”
The ladies had moved in to our little corner of the beach from all over the country! God brought them to our dining table Friday morning for our weekly Bible Study. As we mulled over the set apart life, one lady told us a story.
I had been hired to work in this office a number of years ago. My desk was in the back where I was given a job to do at this printing company. My task didn’t really involve the men who worked up front. I was content to work at my desk each day and fulfill my task. I hear the men bantering back and forth, telling stories. I am not asked to participate and I don’t mind doing my work. But one day, a man stopped talking to the other men and came back to my desk and said, “You’re a Christian, aren’t you?”
“Well, yes, I am.” “I could just tell.” Mind you, she told us, I had not said one word to those men about my faith. I had not been playing Christian music. In fact, in the short time I was at that job, I really had very few conversations with any of those men.
How did the man know I was a Christian? The other woman sitting across the table from the first woman said, rather matter-of-factly, it shows in our faces!
When I was a junior in high school, a new girl enrolled in our school in the spring of that year. As soon as I saw her sitting at a table in the cafeteria, I knew she was a Believer and told her. It was her unmistakable countenance in her face. She was wearing the fruit of joy all over her!
The Lord gives each Believer the fruit of the spirit. Did you know that?
Love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, faithfulness,
gentleness, goodness, and self control.
We have them! And when we ask the Holy Spirit to teach us each day, He reminds us of the fruit we have already been given when we put our trust in the Savior.
I asked the ladies the question:
What sets us as Believers apart from the world’s culture?
We did some digging in Colossians and found our clothing!
The old clothes are our earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Also, anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language. All that lifestyle represents a life apart from Christ.When we believe in Christ who died on the cross for our sins and gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us, then yes, we can still live in that mud pen. We can keep the old clothes on. But it would grieve the Holy Spirit and a walk with Christ would be non-existent. A walk with Christ is a relationship with Him. It is a two way relationship. He will always love us; but we can enjoy the fruit of a life in Him when we put off the old clothes and put on the new clothes.

We have been given a choice. Christ doesn’t come in our bedroom one day and go into our closet and yank out all our old clothes. No. He is gentle about this change. If we truly want Christ in our lives, we will want to yank out the clothes ourselves. And in place of the old clothes we put on:

compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We bear with one another and forgive one another if any of us has a grievance against someone. We forgive as the Lord forgave us. We never leave the house without putting on love, which binds all the other clothes together. We let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and we are thankful. Colossians 3:5-15.

 I don’t ever want to go back to the mud pen. Ever. I don’t like those old clothes. Occasionally, that old nature will rear its ugly head and I’ll say something ugly or start to hold a grudge. What makes me throw those old clothes out? My love for my Savior. When I remember what He did for me and how much I need Him, I bow my head and say, Forgive me Lord and turn (repent) from that behavior and run back to my closet and put on those new clothes again, with the scarf of love tied securely about my face.me

Lord Jesus, thank you for your forever love for me. Help me to keep putting on the new clothes each and every morning when I get out of bed, with the reminder that with these new clothes on, we are walking together, set apart from the world but ready to give a loving response as to the reason for the glow in our faces! In Your name, Amen.

	

Mentor Moms Hunger for Encouragement, too

 

” Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another”….Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT

women sharing hurts

One mentor, broken in tears, looked at the other, and said, “I was afraid to come to this group because you wouldn’t want me if you knew the things I’ve done in the past.” Shocked, the other took her in her arms and hugging her, whispered, “That never ever would have happened.  You are my sister in Jesus and I love you. As you are. If you only knew what I’ve done.” Leaning in to the two of my precious sisters in Jesus, I whispered, “We’re frail, fragile, and yes, forgiven women who know we need Jesus. And one another. Our pasts are who we are but they don’t have to define us. Because of what Jesus did on the cross He forgave us. We must forgive ourselves. That’s the tough part. We must move forward and lean in to His love for us every single day.”

Three of us seasoned souls stood together after the moms went home and spilled our hearts’ hurts to one another. Our moms need us; if they only knew how we mentors need one another! How we have to have our own venting time! Remembering a story of Mother Teresa and her Sisters of Charity, they would come back to their simple residence after a long day of pouring out to sick homeless souls on the streets of India and after a bit of dinner, would engage in sharing and laugher and joy. Yes. They had to. They found their source of joy in one another; in the fact that they knew their Heavenly Father, in whose name they were ministering long days every day, had them and knew they needed down time. Laugh time. Joy time in order to pour out to the hopeless the very next day.

sisters of charity laughing

So we mentors have to have a time to vent, but also to lift up and encourage.

We have to have some apart time from our pouring out to others. Rest. Relaxation. Even laughter.

 

We so get the struggles of our sweet moms. We know their lonely hearts, their daily struggles. Yet. They come, desiring some spiritual food and some genuine fellowship. We give. We realize only He provides the strength to even give them the hugs; to even show up.

God gave me the passion for those moms from the very beginning four Augusts ago. I’ve known all along that this is HIS ministry. His passion in my soul. I was never a single mom. I don’t come to them with experience, but solely the love of Jesus for them. I see the hunger in their eyes for truth and hope and I give them His love and His Word. When I walk into the room of tables and chairs I know God will show up and in the way that He does, to make His presence known.

Our hands are open – holding on to nothing. So He pours into our open hands His presence and strength and grace enough for that evening. Enough for that week. Enough. Just enough. Enough to make us thirsty again for more the next week.

Have we seen moms come and go? Absolutely. Didn’t Jesus witness the same? Are you also leaving? He asked His disciples. Oh, no, they cried. For you alone have the power and authority. Where else would we go? Where else? To whom? No one. Absolutely no one.

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father. As a result many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

John 6:62-68.

Now. Time for a root beer float to sip out on the porch in the glowing sunshine! Mentors, treat yourself this weekend.

root beer float

Father, thank you for my mentor friends. How I treasure their heart for you and for our moms. Open their eyes to see You in all things restful; all things fun; all things unstressed and give them courage to sit down and breathe, read a book, or take a long walk. Encourage their spirit and give them your strength for the next time we gather with our moms. In Your name, Amen

Mamas of Adult Children, we need to talk

adult hugging a son“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” I Samuel 1:27-28

The other day my younger son called on his lunch hour. “Hi, Mom.”

“Son! Are you okay???” My usual response.

“Mom. Please. You don’t have to ask every time I call if I’m okay. Those days are history. I just called to say hello!” Brought down to earth. Okay, Son. I get it. Sorry.

My son is twenty-seven. He has lived out of our home since he was eighteen or so and by God’s gracious hand and His never-letting-go promise, our son is doing well.

But the mom gene kicks in. The memories of those days when his calls meant he was not quite okay. And for a time it seemed to be one crisis after another. Again, by His sovereign grace, our son is learning how to deal with life’s situations and he is making more sound healthy choices.

Look at how mama bird trains her young. Mama shoves that baby bird to the edge of the nest after he’s had enough of the tiny surroundings and push! Out of the nest he goes! The ground is moving up closer and closer! He must flap his wings! And he does! By golly! He is doing exactly what he was created to do! Flying high in the sky!

Moms, our adult children are flying!

They are soaring and making good choices for the most part. But more than that……they are learning. Our children are their own person and they are learning what works best for them. We parents were given responsibility to nurture and teach our children for about eighteen years then set them free. If we failed in that area, may they forgive us. We are flawed failing folks like the parents before us.

I made MANY mistakes raising our two sons.

 But one summer a few years ago, as my younger son and I were driving somewhere and he was talking about forgiving those whom he had hurt during his poor choices days, I asked him to forgive me for the many mistakes I made while raising him in his childhood and youth. He forgave me. Moving on, I let go of the past and gave it all to God. I had to if I wanted to move on and stop feeling like a total failure. He, my son, had forgiven me. He, my Creator God, had forgiven me. (Jeremiah 31:34). Why was I hanging on? Finally, I mentally chose to yield it all up to Him. Whenever those memories return to haunt me, I choose to say, “Nope. Not going there. Those days are gone. I’ve moved on!” Sometimes I cry out loud so my brain and the enemy will know I mean business.

I  had to yield up my personal dreams and expectations for our sons.

I have yielded up my plans in order to watch what God is doing in their lives. Yielded up dreams but have continued to love and support our sons and be thankful for the Lord’s hand in their lives, whether they acknowledge God or not. Sore knees are proof that I plead with the Father for His care for our sons.

Moms, whether we have sons or daughters, they were created to thrive independently.

Lately, my friend and I have been chatting over the crisis her twenty-something year old daughter is in, seemingly emotionally stuck in a very hard place. Already, her choices cost her parents to cancel two vacation trips over the past eighteen months. My friend and her husband are frustrated and frazzled. “I am sure it is much harder to say this to a mom of a daughter,” I began, “than to those of us with sons, but….you may need to seriously consider letting her go. She is pulling you two down with her and you’re finding it so hard to see out of the hole.” My friend confessed that she and her husband had indeed been enabling their daughter to the tune of several thousand dollars over a two year period of time. She was finally seeing that they needed to let her make some hard decisions and allow the Lord to hold and protect her. He delights in taking care of His children and this daughter is a child of His; just caught in the deep woods right now.

Moms, we can drive our adult children nuts if we need to hear from them all the time.

We don’t even like to hear from girlfriends every singe day! We are busy and we need to allow our children to go on with their lives. We don’t need to know their every move. If we are so invested in their lives that we are texting or calling way too often, then perhaps we are the ones who need to “get a life.” Something to consider.

Here are some things to think about. Please. Or you’ll risk losing your relationship with your daughter or son for good.

They don’t need you to ask them if they gained weight lately!

  1.  Instead of commenting on your son or daughter’s appearance in a negative way –  you may want to leave that one alone. Or comments about how they look. If it isn’t kind, necessary, or true, shut up. Honestly. Your son or daughter still wants your approval and to be constantly criticized even as an adult hurts and drives a deep wedge. Stop.

They’re not comfortable telling you everything about their relationships.

2.   Instead of continually asking about their relationship with so and so, wait. Wait til they are ready for you to know about their relationship with so and so. And by all means, keep your personal opinion to yourself about the person!!! PRAY! God knows so-and-so much better than you. And He knows what is going on. And if…..per chance, your daughter or son makes a “mistake” pray! Ask God to guide the decisions of your son/daughter.

Make time to be with your son/daughter in a positive way.

3.   Make some time to be with your adult children in ways that they appreciate and delight in. My sons love that I make an effort to meet them for lunch or dinner from time to time.

They desperately need to hear you say it:

4.   I love you! Often. Meaning it. No conditions.

Be thankful for one another.

5.   You have much to be thankful for in your children. Tell them.

You and I both know of friends who long for even a phone call from a son or daughter who severed the ties. Be it a divorce, a death, ugly words that left the mouth before thinking…..whatever the reason, there is deep hurt and wounds so deep it will take a miracle to salvage. If I’m speaking to you, I’m so sorry for your hurt and will pray that God does a healing work in the life of your adult child as well as in you. The beauty of life in Jesus is forgiveness. Asking God to forgive me for hurting my son set me free to love him more deeply as the young man God created him to be. Our children are flawed. So are their parents! By God’s grace and forgiveness He is the one who set us free from the sin that entangles us and threatens our relationships.

Today if you are estranged from your son or daughter, take steps to ask God to forgive you.

If you sense that your son or daughter is pulling away, take a look at how you are treating him or her and back off a bit and let them come to you. Pray always and give thanks for the relationship you have. Let them know you love them and are giving them their wings to fly!

Lord, help all of us moms to love our children passionately while holding them loosely and allowing you to mold them into Your timeless image. We entrust them to You! In Your name, Amen.