Family

More than our Presents

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More than our presents, our kids need our presence. They want, and need, us. IN their lives. It’s the greatest gift we can give, to them…and to ourselves.

 

Photo Credit: A Christmas Gift Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures

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Home Alone

If stacking up gifts under the tree means racking up debt that will consign us to overtime labor in the coming year, it’s not worth it. Deep down, our kids don’t want to be home alone with things while we slave away at the office just to pay it all off.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: House, Home, Structure – Free Image on Pixabay – 2595330

Our Greatest Opportunity

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If in pursuit of making our kids happy we rob them of our presence in their lives, we’ve missed our greatest opportunity. What they need is relationship—not with a screen, a gadget, or a piece of plastic, but with the people most important in their lives.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Christmas, Star, Winter, Family – Free Image on …

What our Kids Really Need

Postcard   new  year   clock‘Tis the season when kids make their lists and we check them twice, determined to please the ones we love with that perfect gift. But before we gear up for another trip to the shopping mall, let’s take the time to stop. Breathe. Put those lists down. And consider.

What is it our kids truly need?

Written between the lines of holiday wants lies something deeper. Something more costly than anything our imaginations can conjure up. Something that can’t be bought at the mall.

My friend once lamented that she got a second job so she could get her kids all they needed, only to find they needed something more. Her hours of labor provided for material things while robbing her family of precious time together. She was slowly losing her kids to technology, and eventually to gangs, drugs, and more. Looking back, her greatest regret was missing out on her kids’ lives for the sake of getting them more stuff.

As we think of the kids in our lives, most everyone would agree one of our greatest endeavors is to make them happy. It’s at this juncture that we stand to lose the very thing we venture to gain. If in pursuit of making our kids happy we rob them of our presence in their lives, we’ve missed our greatest opportunity. What they need is relationship—not with a screen, a gadget, or a piece of plastic, but with the people most important in their lives.

If stacking up gifts under the tree means racking up credit card debt that will consign us to overtime labor in the coming year, it’s not worth it. Deep down, our kids don’t want to be home alone with things while we slave away at the office just to pay it all off. More than our presents, they need our presence. They want, and need, us. IN their lives. It’s the greatest gift we can give, to them…and to ourselves.

13 Reasons to Live: Longing for More

It was sunny, a pleasant day for a picnic. We were surrounded by people and laughter and food. The kids were enjoying themselves on the playground. And I wanted to cry.

Our friends had invited us to this African community get-together, where ethnic music soared joyfully from the loudspeaker, competing only with the friendly conversations at the surrounding tables. The warmth of the weather was matched only by the warmth of the relationships. There were still crowds gathered beneath the pavilion when we finally left, after the sun had disappeared behind the trees.

It’s been a few weeks since that day, and I still haven’t quite pinpointed what it was that triggered me to near tears in the midst of it all. In some ways, it was the beauty of the day stirring up a longing in me. You know, that empty ache in the soul that can’t quite be explained.

What struck me most, beyond the abundant variety of delicious entrees, the relentlessly happy music and the overwhelming number of people in attendance, was the strong sense of community, and the joy in the midst. The people were open, welcoming, loving, embracing. Everyone seemed to enjoy one another’s company.

In the midst of the busyness of modern culture, we’ve lost this appreciation of community.

I think much of the depression we face today is due to this lack. We bury ourselves in work and technology and things, all in unconscious effort to avoid what we most desperately need. In our pursuit of the world’s definition of success, we fail in what’s more important: relationships. If you find yourself longing for more, maybe part of what you’re longing for is meaningful connection with others.

We were created for community. And we’ll be lost until we find it.

Community is not just being under one roof at the same time. It’s sharing in one another’s joys and sufferings. It’s bearing one another’s burdens. From what I know of those who gathered at the picnic that day, they’ve celebrated together, but they’ve also suffered together. And that suffering builds strength in relationships. And overcoming together breeds genuine joy.

God has placed you here on this earth for a purpose, and part of that purpose is to contribute your gifts, your personality, your talents, and your life to community. You are needed and you are necessary. You’re here in this generation for a reason. Ask God to show you that reason, and to fill your life with his purposes. Ask him to lead you to strong, healthy, life-transforming community.

And when you find it, you’ll find you have reason to live.

Carved

Even the ones I love most deeply here on earth will fail me. There are times when they won’t hear me, or see me, or know what’s going on inside of me. And I will fail them in the same way. But my savior has carved me on the palms of his hands, scars from the nails which held him to the cross.

 

Photo Credit: holding hands | “…holding hands with her dad as though she w… | Flickr

13 Reasons to Live: Not Forgotten

Have you ever felt invisible? I have. At least once a day. Often more times than I can count in one day. Completely and utterly invisible.

It happens in my classroom. I say something with what I believe is enough volume for the entire room to hear, but my students continue in their routine as if I’d said nothing at all. The other day one of my preschoolers seemed excessively absorbed in her activity and oblivious to me calling to her, “Sweetie, do you even hear me? I’ve said your name at least seven times.” “No, teacher,” she replied. “You only said it three times. I’ve been counting.”

It’s no different at home, with my kids. Time and again, I make a request to my son or daughter while they’re engrossed in play, unaware of my invisible plight. One time I asked my son why he wasn’t listening, and he told me, “Wait a minute, Mommy. I can’t hear you. Let me get these fruit snacks out of my ears.”

There have been times when I’m pouring out my heart to my sweet husband and he turns up the radio to hear the sports score. And times when I’ve shared an entire story at a family gathering only to find no one was listening. Or times when I’m in the store waiting for help and the clerk walks right past me to the person across the aisle.

It’s one thing to feel invisible, another to feel forgotten. I remember years ago, desiring children while others years younger than me had more kids than they could handle. And after, going through the long, lonely, and painful adoption process…twice. Even today, my heart now filled full with the joy of motherhood, I find myself waiting in new ways, for different things—sometimes tempted to think I’ve been forgotten.

What carries me in the midst is the reminder that I’m not invisible or forgotten before my father in heaven. Even the ones I love most deeply here on earth will fail me. There are times when they won’t hear me, or see me, or know what’s going on inside of me. And I will fail them in the same way. But my savior has carved me on the palms of his hands, scars from the nails which held him to the cross.

He knew me before the beginning and he will carry me through to the end. Not a tear goes uncollected, not a prayer goes unheard, no matter how long I wait in the in-between, or no matter that the answer may be no or not now. He always hears and ever answers, even when it’s not the answer I desire or expect, I know I’m not forgotten.

If you feel forgotten, know that there is a God whose name is El Roi, “the God who sees me.” When no one else sees. When no one else cares to see. His eyes invade our hearts with light powerful enough to split the darkness and birth new life. Knowing we are seen, knowing we are heard…knowing we are KNOWN is reason enough to live.

 

Comic Credit: Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

Photo Credit: Alone, Man – Free images on Pixabay