Tag Archive | Christ

Mama’s Reinforcer

My 3 brothers and I were rambunctious, curious, headstrong kids who were constantly experimenting, trying out new things, building contraptions, getting into scrapes.  Especially when we concocted pretend battles that earned us scrapes and more than one hilarious–if unexpected–outcome. (Tale for another time)

Yet when Mama said jump, we did.  Didn’t ask why.  Or argue.   We just understood that she was Mama, she was in charge, she knew best, and she had a little maple switch to back up her words if we disagreed.

She didn’t use it much.  She didn’t have to.  She knew that our history with her and our aversion to pain had taught us to trust her at her word.  The few times our egos got in the way and that little guy with the horns on my left shoulder prompted me to flip that big toe over the line a bit too far…I had the Truth of what I already knew reinforced.

Don’t get me wrong, I would never dare to complain about this.  It wasn’t excessive; it wasn’t cruel or meant to harm.  It was love in action; love showing us that we had firm boundaries in place for our safety and protection.  We knew that from her perspective, in her many years of wisdom earned the hard way, that she absolutely knew what was the right thing for us to do.  Our doubts were set to rest with a bit of stinging on the legs, a few tender tears, and a much chastened ego.

When I read again John 2: 4 today, (about the wedding in Cana) I had to think about mothers and their children.  As a mother of grown sons today, When I see a need to be filled, I quietly direct my sons in the same way that Mary did.  “Jack, we need more tea,” or “Seth, that box is too heavy for her.”  I know without hesitation that they will acquiesce, and help in whatever way my statement implied.  I know that’s taking huge license with the Saviour and His relationship to his mother, but that’s my personal frame of reference here.

Yet Jesus’ statement in verse 4 was, (as stated in the Hebrew Names Version),

4 Yeshua said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful or refusing to obey; He was simply asking her to consider His own perspective of His mission of salvation versus her more immediate temporal concern.

That is a huge lesson for me right now.  Recovering from an unexpected divorce, I have my own laundry list of immediate wants and needs that I’ve taken to Him, confident that He cares.  But He’s reminding me that His perspective is different from mine.  His purposes in the trials I face today are eternal, not temporal.

That’s quite a lesson for me.  I wanted to pass it along, for what it’s worth.  And to share with you one more bit of serendipity…the verse to encourage me that came to mind from this study was from I Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV).

Now, I have a children’s memory verse pad—it’s a post-it note pad with a different verse printed on every page in large print—I guess it’s used in VBS or children’s classes.  The top one was about children obeying their parents.  I used to stick them on the mirror and around the house, as reminders.

Haven’t used it in a while.  In a pinch, I turned it over and scribbled I Peter 5:7 down on the back of the last well-worn sheet that still had a bit of sticky on it. I folded the sticky edge down and stuck it with the verse I wrote showing on my bookshelf beside my desk.  It was a few moments later when I stood up to leave the desk, that I glanced at the notepad to see what the new memory verse would be.  Here it is: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

 

Memory verse pad

What’s next, Father?

Jenni on the highwayMidnight’s approaching.  I wish for something special.

Something unique to mark this year’s end.

Such a huge promise awaits just on the other side of the clock.

So exciting, that the approach has to be marked in a special way.

Special?  How about those stars shining down on me from thousands of years ago?

How about the soft, cold winds blowing across my face, that blew across the sands of the Orient  not long ago?

How could you ask for a more brilliant marker, a fancier benchmark than the glistening moon shining down on the face of the one that you love?

Ok.   That’s good enough for me.  Tonight has been recorded in a significant way.

Now, I’m ready for tomorrow and whatever He has in store.

Thank you, Lord.

How Wisdom Works

I find it terribly interesting that we call upon bits of wisdom stashed away in our inactive memories all of our lives.  Not necessarily those we sought after and committed to memory on purpose, but those precious grains that were sown by our parents or teachers, those that have proven themselves valuable over years of life and its perils.

Now when I see someone slouching I hear Mrs. Anderson, my 6th grade teacher who would line us up against the wall several times during the day and make sure our shoulder blades were touching the wall, that commanding voice rings loud and clear in my mind, “Stand up straight!”  And  I notice that I’ve already squared my shoulders, back straight.

There’s the obvious learned response of “OUCH, that hurts” when you touch a utensil that just came off the grill. But that’s not wisdom, it’s cause and effect.  Wisdom is knowledge that you knew how to apply.  But how did you learn how to apply it properly?

Whenever I sit down to a meal that I haven’t cooked, I hear my Dad’s voice in my memory  (especially when I see my best friend POURING salt over everything on her plate) “you need to taste each dish first and see what it tastes like; then season it if you need to.”  Sound advice—I’ve ruined a few tasty concoctions by salting or peppering first and tasting second.

And not once have I stepped into a bathtub or shower and begun my ablutions that I don’t hear my mother’s voice (asleep in Christ since 2003) telling me to “scrub those rusty knees!”  60 years I’ve continued to hear this.  60 YEARS!  But I still hear it complete with her inflection and tone.

While I sheepishly admit to singing on Memorial Day or other occasions when they play the National Anthem, right down to the high notes and the last phrase, “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”–that it’s all I can do to not yell, “play ball!!”  That’s just a learned response, I suppose.

I find myself, whenever I finish reading a lengthy passage of Scripture, hearing my father-in-law’s voice whenever he completed reading a passage aloud, “And may the Lord add His blessing to the reading of His word.”  And I add the same blessing myself, word for word.  Makes sense.

There’s an old joke of a younger man asking how the older man gained wisdom…he was told that it came from making good choices.  “But how did you learn that a choice was wise?”  “From making bad choices,” came the reply.

Of course, wisdom is a gift from God, and one that you’re instructed repeatedly to search for, to ask for, and to seek with all your heart.  I suppose it may be that nuggets that I’ve retained throughout the years are those my spirit recognized as wisdom.  What do you think?