The Writing in the Sand

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Where are your accusers? That was the question Jesus asked the woman who was caught in adultery. I’ve wondered all kinds of things when I’ve read and reread this story. This time it became more alive to me. I could see Jesus there……hear the stones thudding against the ground……..one, then one after another. I saw the dust fly up in my mind when they hit. I put myself in the woman’s place. I wondered where the man was?

We wonder don’t we, what Jesus wrote in the dirt. He did it twice kind of bending down almost as if He was pretending He didn’t hear the question. We’ve all done this from time to time. Someone asks you something and you don’t want to answer right away or maybe at all. You look off into the distance, look down at your hands…..sigh heavily. I think maybe Jesus did sigh heavily as He stared at the ground and moved his finger through the dust.

Where are you today? What guilt are you dragging around that you long to let go of? Where do you fall short in your accusers eyes and who are they? Is it a parent? An adult child? Yourself? The Church? A world that has dashed you into the rocks one too many times, one too many waves of grief……pain……loss.

The week is over and where are your accusers? Maybe it’s you telling yourself how you just don’t measure up against some standard you put on yourself. God doesn’t see us as failed experiments, friend, and neither should you. If it was you they dragged in front of Jesus that day with their fingers of blame the result would be the same.

The writing in the dirt, that line in the sand is for all of us who fall short, and we all do, everyday. Romans 3:23 kind of gives me hope: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Maybe on this Mother’s Day you are remembering a Mom who made you feel like you never measured up. Maybe you aren’t a Mom and others made you feel less than because of it. Maybe they even made you feel that because you never were a parent you don’t have the capacity to love fully. Don’t let that lie sink in. The stones of your accusers are falling like rain.

Here is a truth: there is a little mother in all of us. It’s how we’re designed. We are made in the very image of Who birthed the world itself. That is not to minimize the importance of good Mothers everywhere, but to bring us all up to where and how God sees us as individuals.

Embrace this simple truth today: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” It’s a good day to be released today. To forgive and be forgiven. The air of freedom is there. Take a deep breath and remember that there is room at the base of the cross for all.

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6

 

Mom’s Day

 

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With my mother’s death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable disappeared from my life. There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of joy; but no more of the old security. C.S. Lewis

I searched for this quote because it really affected me when I read it in one the Mitford series books. I realize that for many, this quote would not be so moving or strike such a chord as it did for me. For many people, today is a hard day fraught with mixed emotions and guilt. For that reason I hate the commercial aspect of it.

I wandered through the card aisle yesterday and saw many perplexed expressions and furrowed brows. I remember how my Mom always hated this day. She could never find the right card. My Grandmother wasn’t what you would call affectionate to her kids, although she provided a good home and delicious smells from the kitchen always. In that way, she did show love.

We all do the best we can, I guess. My wise friend never liked this day either. Her Mom was hardly ever affectionate either in word or deed to her daughter, and yet…..when her Mom was pregnant with her and was found with cancer, she refused an abortion. She brought my very best friend into the world 2 months early and I can’t imagine this world or my world without her. For that I will always be grateful to Joyce Dupree who had her first child at 16, a kid raising a kid.

Of both her parents, my friend says, “They did the best they could at the time.” If there ever was a grace-filled statement I don’t know what is. She cared for her Mom all through Alzheimer’s which I have written about here in the past.

And to my Mom, who has always been my friend as well as a great Mom, thank you for making Mother’s Day easy for me growing up. It was always a pleasure to find a card for you.

Mom’s do the best they can, and like this dove, they sit among thorns to keep us safe from the harsh realities of the world outside. And they prepare us the best way they know how. They mark us and imprint us in many ways. We carry some of them with us always, long after they are gone.

I always appreciated my old employer’s approach to Mother’s Day. The guys came around with a rose and a gift to every single woman, asking no questions. Because in the final analysis, all of us women are caretakers in some form or fashion. So Happy Mother’s and Non-Mothers day to all. Blessings on your day.

Nest

 

Think on these things

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Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Another weekend is here and I can hardly believe how fast the year is going. Working five days a week for me has really been a challenge, though it’s only four hours a day (a laughable amount) and yet it’s still getting up and ready 5 days. Twenty years worth of shift work (and 3 and 4 days off at a time) got me used to really being able to recharge, take trips, have my coveted morning time. So now when Friday comes I want to drink it all in, every drop.

Last night I waited in the brisk air down by the river for my geese family. There are two families with 5 babies each we have been watching. I was just about to pack it up when I saw them, just one family though with their 5 little ones. I got a few shots which I hope to look at today and share tomorrow.

It’s easier to stop the noise of the world immersed in nature. The apostle Paul knew how easy it was to focus on the negative. A cluttered, distracted mind has a tremendous ability to rob one of peace, even the peace God offers. But when we focus on God’s attributes our mind is stilled because we know He has all this in control. And He’s given us nature as a mirror to gaze into and remind us that He does.

I have found that the best way to get rid of distressing events that cloud the mind is to go for a walk. You see things you don’t normally see whizzing by in a car. And maybe try leaving headphones off too. Listen to the law mowers, the car doors, the voices of children…….life.

And know it will be okay. It all will. He’s got this and you.

And if you still have your Mom this weekend, call her or go and give her a hug but don’t get mired down in what the world thinks you should do and feel for Mother’s Day. Be sensitive to those who aren’t mothers who may have wanted to be. And to those without children who others who might make them feel less than. All of us women are caretakers in some form or fashion. Bottom line is enjoy the day whatever your circumstance! Being a good Mom is the hardest job in the world and that’s something we should honor everyday.

 

 

To those for whom Mother’s Day is painful

Something Worth Singing About

This is for those who for one reason or another, can’t wait for Mother’s Day to be over. I am not saying Mothers shouldn’t be honored, what I am saying is that Mothers everywhere, well good Mothers anyway, should be honored every single day. I also believe non-Mothers and those who wish to be Mothers, and those who may not have their own kids, but are Mothers to other Mother’s kids every single day should be honored every single day.

Don’t get me wrong. My own Mom made celebrating it easy, but I believe I am in the minority. My Grandmother, on the other hand, made my Mom dread Mother’s Day. Picking a card was always a nightmare. It’s all so complicated, this relationship we have right from the beginning. My Grandma lost a child and something makes me think that marked her for life. Maybe she felt that if she showed affection to her other kids that meant she was forgetting Annie.

Here is something you should never say to a woman who has not physically borne a child. “You don’t understand, you’ve never had children.” This is a barb that sinks deep, for it makes someone feel diminished, less than. It seeks to lift oneself over another, even if it’s unintentional. That very same woman you just wounded may just be the first to step out in front of a car for your child. That very same woman may have put herself in the path of physical jeopardy for the sake of saving a child, you just never know. I have seen women literally shrink, fold into themselves after comments such as these, I know, I have felt it myself.

This, of course, is not to minimize the importance of parenting. I believe it’s one of the hardest jobs anyone will ever do. Believe me, I believe good Moms and Dads are the hallmark of a healthy society. All of us single and childless people, divorced people, widowed people support you, we really do.

Last night, we were sitting around the fire and out of the blue Elaine looked at me pointedly and said,”I am not going to go to church tomorrow and watch all the Mothers be recognized and parade around like peacocks.” This will be her first Mother’s Day without her Mom.

To this I said jokingly, “Maybe they should have whips in the corners of the church for us non-Mothers who wish to self-flagellate.” Well, actually I got it wrong the first time, I said self-flatulate. We had a little laugh about that, after I explained the history of self-flagellation in the church.

Anyway, all this to say, be mindful and pray for all those who may be hurting this Mother’s Dad. And celebrate, yes……go out to lunch, make the most of you, let yourself be honored. I sent my Mom flowers and wish I could have seen her face when they came.

I will pray for all the Mothers (and Dads) out there, for your job is hard and it never really ends. I will also pray for those who prayed and cried and wished for kids who never came. And those who raised Nephews or took on Foster kids and never were honored enough.

I pray for those who lived through the unspeakable pain of having a child take their own life. I pray for special strength and grace for that, for it’s the worst thing I can imagine.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone. Treasure her if you still have her. If you are a Mom, bask in your day. And know this, that even neglectful, careless, disconnected, emotionally unavailable Mom’s may have been doing the very best they knew how to do at the time.

Today is an opportunity for us all to extend Grace to each other.

 

Can we talk????

I heard a quote somewhere that said something like, “we view ourselves as our mothers see us“…….I probably mangled the quote, and I really can’t remember where I read it, but the meaning stuck with me. Could it actually be true? There is no stronger bond than that of the parent and child, or more complex. If that is true, then the bond between Moms and Daughters is even more complicated.

For every daughter who has a mom worthy of the glowing phrases found in a Hallmark card, I am sure there are 4 or 5 that don’t. I am very blessed and grateful that it has always been easy for me to celebrate Mom’s day. My mom has made it so. She was there emotionally and physically for me, always…..she still is, I am happy to say.

Some daughters spend their whole lives trying to “get over” their mother. And some spend all their lives trying to please a mother who will not be pleased; who remains as emotionally and physically available as a brick wall. My best friend comes to mind immediately. Sometimes, as she says, “I thank her for doing the best she could at the time, and for giving me life.” I don’t know that I could be as gracious as she is.

My Mom always hated Mother’s Day. Finding a card was always difficult. My Grandmother was emotionally distant and critical of her daughters and yet displayed open affection for her son. In her defense, she lost a precious little girl to a shooting accident when she was only four. I often wonder if she just couldn’t allow herself to show affection for my Mom and Aunts because of her guilt about Annie.

Some things she did do right. She created a warm atmosphere in their home in many ways. They always came home to meals and home baked pastries and a clean house. To her credit, she was very demonstrative in her love for me and my brother. I think mixed in with her love for me was pity, since I was born 3 months premature and was a small pale child. She was always trying to feed me.

Even great moms struggle with guilt……they think they haven’t done enough. They see the mistakes they made instead of all the things they did right. My Mom told me on the phone yesterday, “It’s hard for me to think of myself as a good Mom.” I was floored.

As daughters we tend to remember that one barb that stuck, that one hurtful thing our Mom said that she may not have even been aware of saying, nevertheless we remember it.

Mother’s Day for those of us without kids can be uncomfortable. An innocent question like, “What are you doing for Mother’s Day” and all of a sudden I feel like I am on the other end of the Spanish Inquisition about why I don’t have kids. Most of the time it’s all in my head. They just asked a question, after all.

Just because I haven’t had any doesn’t mean I haven’t mothered in some way shape or form. In fact, I feel very sure that within all women there resides a she-wolf  that would step in front of a truck to save even someone else’s child. Its just a part of who we are.

There’s a whole world of children out there who have benefited by someone who picked up where Mom left off. Someone who sacrificed without giving it a second thought. Auntie, Grandma, best friend, teacher……Imagine where some of those kids would be if no one had stepped up.

There was one moment in particular when I felt like I was briefly ushered in to the Mommy community. I was dropping my little niece Lauryn off at school when I noticed the booger hanging halfway out her cute little nose. Instantly I was mortified that she might be teased by her classmates, so I took my bare finger (cause that was all I had) and got it out for her. Then I understood that thing that comes alive in you as a parent. That thing that says, I will do whatever it takes to protect you.

So today I honor all Mothers in whatever capacity you serve. Because being a good Mom is the toughest job in the world and one of the most important assignments God will ever give you. You deserve more than just one day…..

“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” — Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Happy Mother’s Day

Here’s a bouquet for all the Mom’s out there!

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9

Does anyone do something exactly like their Mom? I counted several things yesterday, I didn’t realize there were so many!

I scrape my fork on my plate just like her….
I make a certain face in the mirror when I am putting makeup on….
I say…..”Well???” when I don’t know what else to say….
I like tragedy to triumph stories….
I dry dishes exactly like her…
I can’t walk a straight line, I always drift one way or the other….

Most valuable things I have learned from her:
Don’t moan when you are sick, you will get more sympathy….
If you sing, it will make you and others feel better….
That having a relationship with the Lord is the most important thing….
Everyone has a story….
Get up and be positive, no matter how tough it is….
Reading the Bible can help you through anything….
And she taught me that prayer changes things….

I love you Mom!