Marriage

The Painful Side of Mother’s Day

Blog_CactusFlowerMother’s Day is not a bouquet of fragrant flowers for everyone. For some, it feels more like a fistful of pain-inducing thorns—an unwelcome reminder of things lost. A day meant for honoring mothers becomes a time of remembering the one who was never there, or the one who left to soon. Or it maybe it awakens the droning ache of unfulfilled longing for motherhood.

For many years, that ache was my Mother’s Day companion. Though I was blessed with a good mom who inspired in me the certainty there was no greater calling than motherhood, I was unable to have children in the biological sense. Adoption was always something my husband and I had desired to pursue, so it was no hard decision to journey in that direction. The process, however, was another story.

While the outcome of adoption is always beautiful and miraculous, the process is the emotional equivalent of the pain and exhaustion involved in pregnancy and labor multiplied exponentially and drawn out for years. Despite all the toil and sacrifice, there were times when I wondered if it was ever going to happen. And more times than that I was tempted to give up.

My daughter turns nine this month. Her favorite past-time is playing with her four year-old brother. I sit here now, laptop on the kitchen counter, surrounded by bags of clothes they’ve outgrown. Exhaustion is setting in after a full morning at the laundromat and an even fuller afternoon of dishes, potty training and more. I spent the evening cuddling my son and reveling in my daughter’s smile, knowing God turned all my tears in to songs of joy. My children were worth the wait.

Through all my waiting, I learned that every tear sowed waters the ground for joy to spring forth. And that is my prayer for those who suffer on the painful side of Mother’s Day. May God give you eyes to see through your sorrow, and ears to hear him speak peace to your storms. May you know that our God is the lifter of heavy burdens and the comforter of all who mourn. He is able to sustain the weary, uphold the weak, and repair the broken, turning tears of sorrow into seeds of hope.

Source: The Painful Side of Mother’s Day

Photo Credit: Crown of Thorns, white spiked cactus with little red flower http://www.flickr.com

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The Things We’ve Left Behind

blog_rearviewmirrorI admit I was embarrassed to have my friend visit my small apartment. She lived with her family in a large house on the nicer side of town. We’d just moved after years of outreach work in the inner city. Much of our resources had gone to that work, and more recently to the adoption of our two kids. We didn’t (and still don’t) have the material abundance of the typical American family. So I wondered what my friend would think.

In the course of our conversation, she mentioned how lonely she was. Her big house was too often empty, her husband working long hours to cover the mortgage. The kids spent much of their time alone in their rooms, engrossed in whatever new technological gadget excess had afforded them. They had so much, but had lost much more in the process.

When she left, I sat on the couch and looked around our humble dwelling place…grateful. Living with less has afforded us so much more than money can buy. Living simply was a choice we made years ago, not only so we could give more, but that we could enjoy the short time we have together. Having less has enabled us to invest quality time with each other, and with our kids.

As I drive by the large yet empty homes that fill our streets, I can’t help but wonder…what have we left behind in search of the American dream? We think bigger and more equals life. Yet we’ve lost much life in the process. It seems the more we acquire materially, the more we lose relationally on account of the time it takes to maintain our possessions.

Sometimes I’m tempted to think my life is less because we have less. I have to remind myself to remember all we’ve gained in the process. And should we ever be granted abundance, I pray I never come to the point of forgetting what’s truly important.

“Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9)

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Rear-View Mirror, Mirror, Car – Free Image on Pixabay …

The Legacy of Love

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

(1 Cor 13:7)

Source: The Legacy of Love

A Blessed Mess

blog_stable

A farmer who wants a harvest doesn’t need a clean stable. The ox that helps him bring in the harvest will do more than make a mess of the stable, but with that mess comes blessing.

 

Photo Credit: Barn – Free images on Pixabay

Lived In

Blog_Living RoomWhen I was a teen I babysat at a house where all the furniture was covered in plastic. My Mom told me, “That house doesn’t look lived in. A house has to be lived in.” And that’s the reason my home looks so VERY lived in today.

Couches aren’t meant to be covered in plastic! They’re meant to be comfortable. Homes aren’t meant to be sterile. They’re meant to have traces of life…everywhere. Who wants to live in a mortuary?Blog_PlasticCouches

If you have kids, there should be crumbs on the floor and handprints on the windows. There should even be an occasional landmine of toys. My son likes to make artwork with his sticky fingers over every surface of the house. My daughter likes to scatter her books everywhere she goes. Yes, it bothers me…sometimes. But more often I’m reminded of how long I prayed to have kids. And that means I prayed for all that kids bring with them.

There’s a Proverb that says, “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” A farmer who wants a harvest doesn’t need a clean stable. The ox that helps him bring in the harvest will do more than make a mess of the stable, but with that mess comes blessing.

Children bring with them a harvest of life and joy. Their little messes are worth it. Yes, my husband and I teach our kids to clean up after themselves. And we’ve cleaned up after them more times than I can count. And yes, I’ve snapped as many times when the place was getting unbearably messy.

But in the end, I’m glad our home is LIVED IN. That’s how it should be. And I’m blessed because of it.

P.S. The very real blog post A Little too Real inspired my thinking that led to this post. It’s a great read!

Another PostScript…Take a look at the pictures above. Where would YOU rather live?

Abundance

Nature Winter Bird Wildlife Frost Cardinal Snow

Sometimes I’m tempted to think my life is less because we have less. I have to remind myself to remember all we’ve gained in the process. Living with less has afforded us more than money can buy. And should we ever be granted abundance, I pray I never come to the point of forgetting what’s truly important.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo Nature Winter Bird Wildlife Frost Cardinal Snow – Max Pixel

Your Legacy

beyond_yourlegacy

To choose love over hatred requires change. It means letting go of our hurt and fear in favor of the higher calling. Generations to come will reap the harvest of our choices, for good or for evil. Hate breeds hate; love breeds love. Love, though met with hatred, will ultimately prevail. What will your legacy be?

Source: Two Fires