Choosing to celebrate rather than grieve on Mother’s Day

Caring hands

Mother’s Day is a bittersweet time of year for me. Is it for you, too?

I struggle with a mixed bag of emotions; Full of grief and celebration. I have said goodbye to two wonderful moms in my life. The first was to my biological mom as she lost the battle with cancer at the age of 46. The second was to my adopted mom (my mother-in-law) that lost the battle to congestive heart failure at the age of 58. I grieve that I cannot call them on the phone, sit with them on the porch, laugh at silly jokes, or contemplate life together.

While I grieve their absence, I celebrate that they are in a better place with the Lord. I celebrate that there were times that I could cry on their shoulder, laugh until we wet ourselves, talk about different paths of life, and dream together.

I celebrate that I not only had a mom that wanted me but also loved me.

I celebrate having a second mom that took me in and loved me as her own.

Celebrating life is far better than grieving it, but many of you have no celebration within to offer.

Maybe you don’t know your mom or have a strained relationship with her.

Sister, we can choose to grieve what could, should, or would have been, or we can choose to celebrate what is true.

  • Celebrate the life we were given by God and the life He chose to use to bring us into this world.

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)

  • Celebrate the Moms God has given us:

MOM=My Other Mothers

Let me explain.

While I was blessed with two amazing mothers, God also gave me the gift of many other mothers.

My childhood girlfriends shared their moms with me.

A close neighbor that adopted my mom, as if she were hers, also loved me like a mom.

Women within the church have taken me in as a daughter.

My Step Mom of 28 years and Mother-In-Law of five years loved me as their own.

The many other mothers God has placed in my life have loved me with open arms, counseled me with great wisdom, taken me shopping, sat up late talking, and fed this hungry girl many times.

Who in your life has mentored you, spent time with you, shopped with you, cried with you, or prayed with you?

Celebrate them on MOM’s day (My Other Mothers’ Day) and let them know how grateful you are for them.

We will grieve our losses, but let’s honor God by celebrating the women He has brought into our lives. A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Confessions From A Wife Of A Snoring Husband

 

Couple hand together touch with love vintage filter tone.

Sometimes a girl just cannot get a peaceful night’s sleep! The nights with greatest promise are often interrupted by the subtle beginning of a “snore fest.” My husband, Chris, begins like a gentle house cat but often ends up like a lion’s thundering roar! Tossing right and left while pressing the pillow over my head cannot muffle his deep sleep symphony. The longer I listen the more frustrated I get. I have been known to kick him (gently of course) in hopes of ushering in some ever-elusive silence; however, it usually leads to another performance. Since putting my pillow over his face is still illegal in every state and territory, I’m left praying for peace, endurance, love, patience, and self-control.

Can you relate? Are there things about your spouse that drive you a little crazy? Habits that resonate like fingers on a chalkboard? Everyone does! But sometimes life can bring us to a place of fresh perspective. With one major life event, my disdain was transformed to appreciation.

A few years ago, I found myself sitting next to his bed in the ICU. I never imagined my 42-year-old husband would have open heart surgery–but there we were. Seeing him labor for each breath as he worked off of the ventilator, I prayed to hear him snore beside me in bed once again. (No kidding… I really prayed this.)

Everything had changed, and nothing had changed…except my perspective.

During those laboring moments of silently waiting for updates from the doctors, I pondered things what I had taken for granted concerning Chris. Things like him making my breakfast each morning, arriving home safely each night for dinner, flirting with me in the kitchen as I cook, making me laugh with his witty charm, listening to me rant about my day, and yes, his snoring, too. All of that was now a heartbeat from being stripped away from my life. The reality that “we are not promised tomorrow” sinks in like never before.

What might you be taking for granted?

  • Assuming that you have tomorrow to make things right with your friend?
  • Making that much-needed phone call to a loved one?
  • Sharing the gospel with someone God places in your path?

Scripture offers great wisdom concerning our tomorrows:

Don’t brag about tomorrow,
since you don’t know what the day will bring. Proverbs 27:1 NLT

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14

It is a difficult but necessary realization that tomorrow is not a promise for us. When we become comfortable in the assumption that there will always be a tomorrow, we often miss the value of our moments with family, friends, or loved ones.

In the ICU that day, once the ventilator was removed and we could speak, he soon fell asleep. Sitting next to Chris with a sense of relief, I heard it; A subtle snore! It was music to my ears; A melody I vowed to never take for granted or become aggravated with again. It reminded me he was alive. It meant he was breathing. (Okay, breathing loudly). It simply testified to another day of life together with him. Tears of gratitude streamed down my face.

What aggravation do you need to re-evaluate? Maybe it should become something for which you are thankful.

  • Clothes being left on the floor?
  • Lunch boxes needing to be prepared?
  • Last minute school projects?
  • Empty milk cartons left in the fridge?

Perspective. Often times it comes down to that. I’d love to say that I sleep peacefully every night and snoring is a faint memory, but I still find myself with a pillow over my own head. Now though, I consider that this mild interruption is a reminder of life and all the good that it brings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winning Ground in the Battle Field of the Mind

seeds-in-handsMy greatest battle takes place within my mind. It is where truth and lies, right and wrong, reality and fantasy fight for ground; Ground that is fertile, ready to sprout whatever seed is planted.  My mind is fragile and I must protect it! I fight to keep it in perfect peace which only comes from trusting God with all of my heart, mind, and soul.

Are your greatest battles fought within your mind?

Maybe you struggle knowing what the truth is anymore because the lies of the enemy have taken root.

Maybe you find yourself analyzing things to the point you become confused not knowing right from wrong.

Maybe your reality is fogged with fantasy in hopes to release the pain in your life.

The battle is real y’all and it can be exhausting as we fight to protect our minds. But wouldn’t you much rather fight for peace than live in bondage? As Christ- followers, God has already given us peace but we forfeit it when we stray from keeping our minds fixed on Christ. The verse I love to pick apart as I battle is Philippians 4:6-8.

“6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praisedwell on these things.”

With that scripture, I am reminded to pray with all of my heart, trust God for His promises, praise and exalt Him for who He is.  That is when my soul is revived with His peace.

As I was reading Deuteronomy 11:18-22 it reminded me of the importance God placed on the Israelites to impress His words on their hearts and souls. He instructed His Word to be seen and taught throughout the day as a reminder. I laughed as I realized our 3×5 cards and sticky notes with scripture was not a new concept. 😉

It was so important to God for them not to lose the battle of the mind! He had them place His commands and promises all around them in the following ways:

  • On your hand and frontals on your forehead
  • When you sit- teach them
  • When you walk- teach them
  • When you lie down-teach them
  • When you rise up-teach them
  • Write them on the door post
  • Write them on the gates

If this was an effective strategy then, I believe it still is for us today. Though it may look different, the concept is the same. God knows what we battle. He knows our thoughts. He also has equipped us to have victory. Don’t give up! Your mind is fertile ground and you get to choose what kind of seeds sprout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perspective from the stands

bandLast night was our high school’s final home game of the regular season. The excitement was thick in the nearly packed stands. At the same time the night provided a silent air of sorrowful reflection. As the final home game, it was “Senior Night” where the graduating class (players and Band) were recognized for their accomplishments and applauded in their future aspirations.

In the midst of great celebration, there was one special recognition that brought a reverent and reflective silence.  A young girl (one of school’s recent alumna) had lost her fight with cancer.  Her life cut short at such a young age reminded all that we are not promised tomorrow. (James 4:14)  The moment of silence was heavy and everyone stopped to acknowledge her life and to applaud her prolonged fight and resolve to LIVE every day of her life.

The game must go on! Boy what a difficult transition! We grieve the loss of life but we must continue to find joy in the life yet to live. Life must go on!

This brought to my mind the truth of how as interconnected beings, we as a “body” suffer together.  The principle of 1 Corinthians 12:26 came to mind: “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

Our team was not performing as well as hoped for and the game seemed to be a struggle most of the night. The spectators remained in the stands, hopeful the team would pull it together.  There were the predictable “ups and downs” but there was one special moment that brought us to our feet!  Our team recovered the ball!football 2

I was so encouraged at how those in the stands were willing to cheer the team on as if to say, “See you can do it, we believe in you!” Then HE caught my attention! A “precious needs child” stood to his feet and looked around trying to understand what was going on.  I saw it connect in his eyes when he realized…and then he ACTED! He turned back to face the field and began to yell out, “Woo Hoo!”

The excitement of the crowd had drawn him in and drew him away from his preoccupation with his “tablet.” It resonated with me… We, collectively, have the power to lift others up or to bring others down. Our choice in any given situation is contagious. All around us are “little eyes” watching and “little ears” listening…seeking to know how they should respond! Oh, the truth of this should prompt us to be ever so careful what we do, knowing they will mirror us, for both good and bad. We demonstrate before them how to live the life we are given, however long or short.

I wish I could tell you that our team won last night, but they did not.  WE lost! We still applauded the players. We will still get up and go see them play next week in the playoffs, because life goes on!

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