Welcome to my musings...

After a 3 year hiatus from blogging (too busy parenting teens to have time to write about it!), I have decided to revive my blog. I look forward to sharing my perspective on mothering as I am at the tail end of my child-raising journey. Nothing could be more beautiful, more full of joy and pain and anguish, than the divine calling of motherhood. I pray my musings will bless you on your own journey, and that you will feel encouraged and equipped!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Father's Love

When I was a little girl, my daddy filled many roles in my life. He was my protector, my champion, my playmate. He kept me in line with just a look of disapproval, guarded what came into our house and family, and showed me what real love looks like. He taught me that the most important thing in the world was to love God and walk in His ways. He showed me what compassion means, demonstrating a servant spirit by the way he helped anyone and everyone who crossed his path, even if it was inconvenient. He always took time to teach me things, to hear my stories, and to listen. He made many sacrifices to provide us what we needed, and often what we wanted, even if it cost him dearly. To this day, I know that he would do anything for me or for my family. He is a beautiful picture of a father’s love.

When I grew up, I met the man of my dreams. It only took one date for me to know that this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Three and a half years later, we were married, and five years after that, our first child was born. Little did I know that the love I felt for this incredible man would be multiplied many times the instant I laid eyes on him holding our first child. He took to being a daddy instantly, not fearing the dirty diapers or late night rocking. He spent hours just holding our babies, then reading them books, playing cars and watching movies. He works hard every day at a job that is very demanding just to provide for me and our children. He never complains about getting up at 5:30 every morning, while the rest of us are sleeping. He, too, would sacrifice anything to protect and provide for his children, and his deepest desire is to see them grow up to serve and love Jesus. He loves being a daddy, and he is amazingly good at it. My heart melts when I see him with our children, when I hear their laughter as he teases them and when he encourages them to be all that God has planned for them. He, too, is a beautiful picture of a father’s love.

As if that weren’t enough, I am also blessed with a Heavenly Father who loves me. He exemplifies all these things I have seen in my husband and my dad. He, too, has sacrificed everything to take care of me…even at the cost of His beloved Son, Jesus. He did this so that I could be with Him forever, so that I would never have to be separated from Him by my sin. He forgives me, is patient with me, and He wants to spend time with me. He has given me an earthly father, and a husband to father my children, so that I can see a tangible picture of who He is and what a Father’s love looks like.

Because these two men love the Lord with all their hearts, He has been able to use them to bless me and my children. So, on this Father’s Day, I want to honor the men who have shown me the Father’s love. Dad, I love you, and I’m grateful for all that you have done for me. I just want to say thank you for all the sacrifices you made to give Scott and me a great life, and for the example of Jesus’ love that is so evident in your life. Thanks for loving me unconditionally and for loving my husband and children the same way. Alan, you are the best husband and father any woman could ever dream of having, and I am so thankful for you. I love the way you are passionate about being a father and the way you are so purposeful about our family life. I appreciate how hard you work and how you provide for us without complaining. I am so blessed by the way you support me in our homeschooling, not with pats on the back but with rolled up sleeves and an attitude of “how can I help?” You are an amazing man, and I am abundantly blessed to get to be the one who walks by your side in this journey of life.

Most of all, I praise the Father of all Creation, who has blessed me with these men and given me a picture of the Father’s heart…it is beautiful indeed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wasn't It Just Yesterday?

I just dropped off my oldest child, Molly, for her first day of work at her new job, a local fast-food restaurant. Watching her walk in the door, after praying together in the car, my heart felt a tug. Pictures flooded my mind of an adorable toddler with light brown, wispy curls, holding a piece of paper and a crayon as she seriously took my “order”. Seconds later, she would reappear, bearing a plastic tray with plastic food, which she usually managed to drop once or twice on her way to the Little Tikes table where I was sitting with my knees nearly touching my chin. As I pretended to taste her food and proclaim it the best I’d ever had, she would put her hands on her hips and suggest, “You want some more, don’t you, Mommy?” As I watched her disappear inside the restaurant and prepared to return home, my heart wanted to cry “Wasn’t that just yesterday?”

It seems that lately, there are too many “firsts”, which are starting to feel way too much like “lasts”. My daughter is growing up right before my eyes. Seemingly overnight, she has turned into a young woman, with insights and wisdom that sometimes catch me by surprise. Our conversations have turned from childish things to topics such as colleges, spiritual questions, and planning for her future. She has become my favorite shopping buddy, my right arm, and even, at times, a shoulder to lean on. The little girl who used to pepper me with endless questions about how things worked or speculations about imaginary princesses now invites me in for late night “girl talk”. The sweet child who used to play dress up with my fancy bridesmaid dresses and satin shoes now races in to say “Mom, can I borrow that white sweater?” The tiny ballerina who used to dance from room to room in her favorite “twirly” skirts now makes me weep with the sheer beauty and elegance of her grace as she dances en Pointe.

While I am overwhelmed with pride as I watch her fulfilling her dreams and reaching for her future, my mother’s heart also aches as I release yet one more of the heart strings attaching her to me and watch her spread her wings just a little bit more. What a bittersweet thing it is to see your daughter grow up, to be thrilled with who she is becoming even as you miss what she used to be. While I love the relationship we have grown as she has matured, sometimes I miss that tiny girl who climbed in my lap, begging for one more story, one more song. My mother’s heart will always see those chubby cheeks, those sparkling brown eyes, that charming girl who flitted around the living room, pretending to be Cinderella at the ball or Snow White running through the forest, even when she is all grown up.

We have many more “firsts” ahead in the next few years—first driving lesson, first date, first car, first love. Each year brings new opportunities, new challenges and new experiences. As she continues to grow into a beautiful young woman of God, my prayer is that I will be able to rejoice in the “firsts” without grieving too much over the “lasts”.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We Cannot But Speak...

Usually, this blog is devoted to writing about things related to the calling of motherhood. Occasionally, however, a topic lodges itself in my soul which can only be purged by writing about it. This morning, while reading the newspaper over breakfast, an article inflamed my spirit. It was a description of President Obama’s recent visit to Buchenwald, a former concentration camp in Germany. An estimated 56,000 people died here, and it is a testament to the absolute evil that can reign in the human heart when people turn a blind eye and refuse to help their fellow man.

I have visited another such concentration camp, Dachau, and I can honestly say it was the most chilling experience of my life. I was sixteen at the time, an exchange student to Germany, and visited this horrifying site with several of my friends, without our chaperone (who was German, and did not care to accompany us). We wept as we walked the utterly barren pathways, sobbed as we entered the gas chambers and saw the ovens where the bodies were cremated. When closing time arrived, and the gates were clanged shut (while we were still inside the camp), absolute terror swept over us and we ran for the exit, fearing we would be trapped inside this terrible, hopeless place. It was an overwhelming experience for a young girl, realizing for the first time the depth of evil possible within the human heart.

Mr. Obama stated that Buchenwald “teaches us that we must be ever-vigilant about the spread of evil in our own time, that we must reject the false comfort that others’ suffering is not our problem, and commit ourselves to resisting those who would subjugate others to serve their own interests”. While I agree with his statement in regard to the atrocities of Hitler in World War II, I shook my head at the audacity of this man. Our President has revealed himself as a man who will not stand against another holocaust happening right now in our very own country. He is no friend of the unborn, seeking to ensure abortion rights for all women, establishing policies and appointing people who are ardent abortion-rights supporters. Read Mr. Obama’s quote again: [Buchenwald] “teaches us that we must be ever-vigilant about the spread of evil in our own time, that we must reject the false comfort that others’ suffering is not our problem, and commit ourselves to resisting those who would subjugate others to serve their own interests”.

According to the National Right to Life Organization, since 1973 (the year of Roe v. Wade), there have been 49,551,703 abortions in our country. Almost 50 MILLION babies have been denied their chance at life. Countless women have been subjected to the heartbreaking consequences of abortion because they were told that it was only “a mass of tissue”, not a human life. And yet, we have looked the other way, believing that the suffering of these women and their unborn children is “not our problem”. Babies, who might have grown up to be scientists, composers, teachers, inventors, or even presidents, have been discarded to “serve the interests” of others, including the abortion industry. My heart breaks as I realize that WE are responsible. We have turned our eyes aside as this holocaust has continued for years, not recognizing or resisting the evil that dwells among us. As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” And that is what we have done…nothing. In studying the horrifying events of World War II, it is easy to condemn the people who knew what was happening to the Jews of Europe and who simply turned away, doing nothing to help them. But I have to ask myself, am I any different? What have I done to resist this holocaust we are experiencing right now? Years from now, will history condemn us in the same way we condemn those who didn’t resist the Nazi holocaust?

As Billy Graham said, "Our motto too often seems to be, "Stay aloof. Don’t get involved. Let somebody else stick his neck out." In the face of all kinds of conditions screaming to be rectified, too many of us find ourselves afflicted with moral laryngitis......Christianity grew because its adherents were NOT SILENT. They said, "We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard." Nor did they stop with expressing the great faith they had found. They stormed against the evils of their day until the very foundations of decadent Rome began to crumble. Is the church doing that today?" I pray that we will repent of our passivity and that God will give us the courage and the strength to stand for what is right, no matter the cost.