Tag Archive | love

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

You Make My Heart Smile

Brittanys-Eyes_edited-1I’m learning things from an intelligent and candid young woman.  She is amazingly beautiful to look at, untarnished, unconscious of how truly stunning she is.  Yet what I continue to observe is how radiant she is—how exquisite she is on the inside.  And she’s so young!!  Not yet battered by what the world will send her way, she is already so wise and so caring.

What I have learned from her most recently is the vision she has.  The discernment.  She looks at a large, lumbering, sometimes silly young man and sees so much promise, so much capability—and truly her knight in shining armor.  He is a brilliantly independent thinker, ready with his opinions, outspoken, yet wise beyond his years—so she’s not mistaken.  Just very young to have spotted this ambitious young soul and know without a shadow of a doubt that he’s the man for her.   I’ve loved seeing how her growing love for him has completely grounded him.  What an impact—and I don’t believe she knows that her love for him is the catalyst.

Let me share with you a few comments she has made about him:

They met a couple of years ago, during high school.  And only a few months into their relationship, she listed this poem beside his photo:  “Say farewell to the dark night, I see the coming of the sun. I feel like a little child whose life has just begun, you came and breathed new life into this lonely heart of mine” (Back at One, by Brian McKnight)

Then a few months later: “When a girl is in love you can see it in her smile.  When a guy is in love you can see it in his eyes.”  If you could see the photo she posted with this comment, you would totally understand.

She has been through all sorts of escapades with him, some adventurous, some calamitous and yet she comes up with this statement that’s way beyond her years:  “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

Her continual gratitude for him and what he means to her is a gift in itself:  “You make my heart smile.”

What a sweet, sweet spirit to see him as a gift for her:  “I must have done something right, to have you in my life.”

Beside a photo of the two of them relaxed, laid back and laughing themselves silly is the wise-beyond-her-years admission:  “Thank God I’ve finally found someone I can be my completely stupid self with and we still enjoy every second of it.”

And when he was trying to help her in an awkward private moment:  “Every girl deserves a guy who looks at her everyday like it’s the first time he saw her.”

This young woman will never have to fear her man being miles away and tempted by anyone:  “It’s not every day that you find someone who can put up with your bullshit. Hold on to them with all you have.”

And ultimately a worldly wise woman who knows how to tempt, how to entice, how to endear and “keep” (for lack of a better word) a man’s interest:  “A legal kiss is never as good as a stolen one.”

I wanted to share this portrait of a shrewd and truly perceptive woman’s approach to her relationship and her future in hopes that it will inspire you to do the same.  This world has sometimes fostered a lack of integrity; it encourages lassitude and an almost anarchist attitude toward life.  Yet I’ve learned that she is living proof that somewhere out there is another person who is meant to complete you; who will improve you just by being aware that you exist.

A Blossom on the Vine

How can I even give a tiny hint of a complaint about my weight, my job (or lack of) my mate, my children, my sleep (or lack of) when I stop for even a moment’s reflection, TRUE reflection of what my Creator is, who He is, what He’s done. And how sad His picture of me as a loving child must be.

He’s created me, filled me with distinctive tastes, talents, longings, purpose; guided each step of my life, many steps more than He planned, probably, because of my many wayward and wilfull steps in the opposite direction.

He listens to my confessions, my deeply felt apologies and concrete determination to step forward only to watch me slip away within minutes of my decision. How low. How despicable. I can no more vow to do right than I can hold my breath for an hour. Times like these serve to reinforce my total understanding that I don’t live and breathe each day; His Grace, His Totally Beautiful and Unending Grace lives and breathes each day. I am just the blossom that flourishes on the vine of His Glorious Love and Grace.

SHIVERING IN THE SUNSHINE

MF

The daring spring sunshine felt like summer in full swing, even though it was only mid-February. And I ended up drenched and freezing. But I remember it as the most beautiful rainy day I’ve ever experienced.

We drove to Best Buy, and shopped a bit. Both of us were dressed in shorts and tank tops, it was so unseasonably hot outside. I had just moved to Fort Worth—Euless, actually, transferred by American to their headquarters. He came down from Kansas City to spend the weekend. We split our time between seeing the sights, house-hunting and drinking in the unbearable sweetness of being alone together.

Anyway, we couldn’t decide on a purchase, so we left. On the way to our car, the sky turned black within seconds and the Texas thunderstorms poured down upon us as we ran, laughing hysterically, to my red ‘99 Mustang. By the time we reached the car and dove inside, we were soaked—I remember I had the hiccups, I was laughing so hard, sticking out my tongue to catch the raindrops dripping from my nose.

We scrambled into the dry warmth of the car, shutting the rain outside, but the staccato beat was still almost deafening. So loud and nonstop. We couldn’t even see the car next to us, the raindrops were so close together.

He turned the key, and my Shrek soundtrack started playing again. It had been playing when we drove up to the store before. “My Beloved Monster and Me,” from the Shrek movie—which had just come out. In fact, we had just recently seen the movie and adored it. He gently brushed a dripping tendril of hair from my face, cupped my chin in his hand and said, “That’s got to be our song”—and kissed me. It sounds really hokey to say it, but at that moment, I got totally lost in his brown eyes. Time seemed to pause, as if there was a “rest” written into the minutes composed for that day. He was listening to the part where it says,

“She will always be the only thing
That comes between me and the awful sting
That comes from living in a world that’s so d___ mean.”

And we knew. We both just knew.

At the time, I laughed and asked how I was supposed to wear the coat with 4 sleeves. But I was touched to the very core of my being. Because I knew that he meant the world was waiting for us just around the bend. The endless stresses of raising teenagers had finally ended. We had completed our obligations of raising the last of 11 children, (5 of them mine, 6 of them his) and were on the threshold of beginning our lives together—that wonderful empty nest that parents work so hard to experience.

It’s been over ten years now since that day. The red Mustang is gone and I’m in Oklahoma now. That world that’s so mean? It actually delivered terminal cancer to our door within 2 months of that day. And he was gone 107 days later.

Yet every time it rains really hard. Every time I hear that song. Every time I’m stuck in a downpour, I remember. And it hurts. And it’s so bittersweet. And I cherish it every time I remember. Some things are just meant to hurt. And that’s okay.