Archive for Family
God has been really working on my heart this last month when it comes to being gracious. Certain family situations have changed causing there to be some, well…. let’s just say awkward situations. I think I can leave the explanation at that and still make my point.
When you are dealing with family members (or even friends, coworkers) that you don’t particularly get along with for whatever reason – you are faced with some very big challenges. I think lately I have been quick to judge in these awkward situations. It’s easy to do that when you feel you are being judged. It seems a part of human nature to find points of contention and use them as a barrier between us.
A really dear friend of mine – a woman who is very strong in the Lord – told me a while back that I should take this situation as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to be gracious. It’s a chance for me to extend my hand – to be welcoming, inviting, encouraging. She reminded me that I didn’t know the whole story of where this person was coming from. And if I took the time to be an ambassador to my family, I might gain a great friend. I might defeat the judgment coming from the other side, and I’d be acting in a very Godly manner. I could be the one to change this person’s position on certain issues of disagreement.
Why is it that I don’t listen to the advice of my wise friends?
Well, I do listen. Sort of. I HAVE been trying to make an effort. But I find myself having a negative attitude when I am home in the confidence of my husband. I can be very critical. And that’s NOT an appealing attitude for a Godly woman to have. So I’m trying very hard to make a conscious effort to be the ambassador for Christ I should be – and I’m working on the attitude in the privacy of my home. I’m working on changing this attitude within me so that being gracious is not a chore – something that I do because I feel I have to. But rather I want to be warm, welcoming, and accepting and not have it be forced. I can do this easily with the people I love, and even to people I don’t even know – so I should be able to get past this bone of contention and act the same way.
I think it really comes down to humbling myself. I may have more experience and more knowledge than this person. But I’m not any better. And God did not call me to be best friends with all, but I surely do need to show love…
Maybe this is something you are struggling with? Maybe you may face this in the future. If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share. I could really use some encouragement when it comes this this situation.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are meant to be joyous times spent with family and friends, giving thanks for all that we’ve been given and celebrating the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.
But sometimes, the holidays hurt.
Picture a little girl, sitting by the Christmas tree. Lights surround her in a house full of warmth and love. The aroma of spiced cider, fruit pies, and baked goods hangs in the air. The little girl wears a flouncy dress and has a fancy bow in her hair.
She looks perfect, her surroundings look perfect. All is right in her little world.
Just because things look pretty and good does not mean they are.
What if I told you this little girl sat over by the tree, in the corner, to avoid a family member who verbally abuses her? That this little girl, not old enough to cry out and tell someone that an adult is hurting her, is experiencing pain that she will carry into adulthood. That this pain will color her world and how she interacts with people for a very long time.
We all carry things with us. Whether it’s pain from past abuses, the anger and frustration associated with divorce, or any number of other things that we could label as “baggage.”
It’s there. It may look different to each person, but we all have something.
To those of you who are not experiencing some kind of hurt this Christmas season, please say a prayer for those who are.
And to those who feel like you are suffering alone…know that you are never alone.
Many people have experienced what you are going through and they are there, just reach out to someone.
Remember, we have a Redeemer who will wipe away your tears.
This season, like many of you, I am dealing with some hurts. Some from the past, a few more recent. But this time I am challenging myself to remember the Serenity Prayer and to dwell on what it means.
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Are you dealing with a hurt this holiday season?
Have you done so in the past?
How have you/will you deal with it this year?
What promises does God make us about going through times of trial?
I have always tended to be a loner. Growing up, I was a solitary person, and even now, though I am better about it, I often keep to myself. I’m not good about calling people either. I painfully admit that I cannot remember the last time I called my own mother. I try to call my dad at least once a week, but I find that even this is difficult for me to do. I don’t expect people to call me, and so I don’t really think twice about calling other people unless I have something to ask or tell them. I know people that call their parents every day and talk to them for a long time, and I it is hard for me to fathom what could be so important. When I write I tend to be verbose, but when it comes to conversation, it is often difficult for me and I find I have little to say.
This Thanksgiving my cousin exhorted the rest of us to call my grandmother. She is elderly, alone, and often sad and lonely. My aunt used to work part time from home, and she had more time to spend with Grandma, but things have changed. My cousin has kids that keep her busy, and the rest of us are spread about the state or country. Since I have never been good about communicating, distance doesn’t make it any easier.
I know I should call my family members more often – especially my parents and grandmother. My dad and grandma are alone most of the time, and I could do a lot to make them feel better if only I called and spent 10 or 15 minutes chatting. It is something I definitely need to work on. I need to set aside some time – like I do for the Lord and cultivate those important relationships. Even though we are different, with little in common, I think it would be a example of Christ in my life and show my love for them.
It seems to me that in America older generations are forgotten, cast off, or neglected. We take our old people and put them in nursing homes. Sometimes this is necessary, but I wonder what our society would look like if we returned to a culture of respecting our elders, taking care of them at home… American culture in general treats the elderly as worthless, when they are the ones with wisdom and knowledge to share with us. We can learn so much from them, if we took the time to care for them and cultivate relationships. When I think on this, I do not want to be counted as one who neglected the family that raised me.
So I encourage you all, as I work on this myself, to call your grandma, your grandpa, your mom and dad – who ever may be lonely and in need. Make time for them. Set them as a priority in your life. See what you can learn from them. And experience the work of Christ in these relationships – even if it may be difficult.
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Deu 5:16
I wasn’t always the black and white pragmatist you sometimes see. Growing up, having a few more life experiences, really shook my romantic notions about the world and how things work. Namely, the passage of time and what is really in a life.
Bear with me. I may be about to go out on a limb here.
As a child, my mind was full of wonder. Touches of that wonder remain with me, but as I grow older I find myself less in awe and more just…working. This isn’t something I’m proud of. It just…is. I must constantly submit myself to God, the work he is doing in me, and stay in his Word so that my soul might be pierced by its truth. Left to my own devices I fall into a pit of questions and confusion.
What is really in a life?
I’m a fan of period dramas, epic novels that cover centuries of history, and mini-series that show the culmination of a life in a few nights of television. It struck me recently just how accurate fictional depictions such as these can be.
In Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth or any number of works by Edward Rutherfurd, you’ll find generations of characters in the pages of one book. You may be attached to a character one minute and the next find him dead under a pile of rubble. On paper, this gets annoying to me. I cannot get attached to a character because I know that he or she will die within the next one hundred pages. And while it may annoy me to read it, the fact is — it’s true. In tracing my family back to their origins, seeing how few generations it takes to get from, literally, The Beginning to where I am right this second, I see how quickly the years slip by. My life seems to take a long time, but every generation can be counted back on a single page.
Our lives are flickering candles
There is no way to know what length of time we have here. In honoring our fathers and mothers we are promised a long life (Exodus 20:12), but how long?
Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone–as though we had never been here. – Psalm 103:15-16 (NLT)
Fading flowers, a flickering candle that burns for a time and then snuffs itself out, windows on a train as they flash by — our time here is unbelievably short.
What will you make of your time?
And so my question is, what will you do with it? Will you sit back and watch it pass? Or will you be an active participant, an investor in the future of the souls of your progeny and those around you? While Psalm 103:15-16 reminds us how short our time here is, verses 17 and 18 remind us what our time here is for:
But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!
Obedience to our Lord. That is what it’s all about. Everyday, taking the time to remember and obey His precepts and live out His plan for our lives.
How will you live today?
Father’s Day is one of my favorite days. I love my dad and like to be able to celebrate – even if it’s just hanging out of the back deck, a cookout, or dessert. It’s a simple thing, but so important! My dad is a great example of the way a father loves his children, and I am so blessed to have been given a great dad. It reminds me constantly of the way our heavenly Father takes care of and loves us.
I’d like to celebrate our Heavenly Father tomorrow -it’s Father’s Day, and appropriate to remember all that He’s done for us. Tonight I’m going to visit my dad with dessert, and tomorrow my husband and I are spending the day with my father-in-law in Cooperstown. And through it all I with thank God for the blessings He’s bestowed! It’s going to be a great weekend!
In what ways do you celebrate your dad and your Heavenly father?
I’d love for you to share…
Podcast: Play in new window
We talk about moms, celebrating Mother’s Day and dealing with infertility (National Infertility Awareness Week).
I attended a funeral last night. I wasn’t close to this person, but nevertheless, I cried. It’s my typical reaction. Death is all around us, everyday, yet for me it takes going to a funeral to bring certain emotions to the forefront of my mind. I sat in the pew with my father and sister, there to support our family friends I’ve known my entire 28 years. Before the service began, my sister was talking about her patient’s brush with death – a code blue as she was walking out the door. My dad was discussing some medical tests with my sister. He has a slightly serious condition that could worsen and is potentially life threatening….
And so throughout the service, my mind wasn’t on Dolores. It was on my dad; my wonderful, inspiring, generous father. And the pain at the thought of losing him to death brought more tears to my eyes than Dolores… because I trust that she knew Jesus and is with Him.
My dad. He’s not saved, and it scares me. It makes my heart ache. I never thought a person could feel quite this way – an actual ache deep inside for ones that you love. Growing older, I have started to come to face the reality of death – both physical and spiritual. Funerals bring this to my mind and remind me that I have work here to do. I have a message to share, because our time here is short and there are people dying out there who don’t know Jesus.
I hope that you don’t have to go to a funeral any time soon, but maybe your heart can be pricked by the pain I have felt these past two days… please let it inspire you to treasure the ones you love, to love them all the more deeply, and share the Gospel of Christ so that one day we won’t have to experience this pain ever again.