Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Blessing of Family

I just returned home for a week with my precious sister. Next to my dear husband, she is my best friend in the world. Twelve hours separate us but it makes our time together that much more special. When I was ten and raising her, I would have never dreamed that she would be the mother that she is. She won't take insult to that! She remembers her whining and stubbornness and dramatic emotional outbursts that would lead to passing out. She is now one of the most gracious women I know. She tells me what I need to hear, both good and bad. She may be my baby sister but I learn so much from her. She carries such grace, a trait she learned from our great-grandmother. I'm not sure she even realizes it, though. It is not easy living so far apart. I don't have to joy of watching my nephews grow up or helping her paint and decorate her new home or going on lunch dates together. It is true, though, that absence does make the heart grow fonder. Our time together is just that much more sweet. When the kids and I arrived home, we had to anxiously await for Tim to arrive home the next night from a 10 day mission trip to Honduras. I was is west Texas and Tim as in a 3rd world country for our 13th anniversary. What is it about being apart that makes you realize how blessed you are? My husband is the absolute delight of my life. Being apart from him makes me grow more in love with him. Everyday that Tim was gone and the kids and I were in Texas, my wonderful father-in-law called to check on me. What a precious man that loves me as his own. God gave me the most wonderful in-laws. When Tim arrived home, he showed me pictures from his trip, many of which included pictures of children at an orphanage. My heart completely breaks for children who have no family. As I've pondered over these past few days, God has gently reminded me of the blessing of family. His establishment of the family was to give us a glimpse of His love and our relationship with Him. The love I share with my sister, my husband, my in-laws, my kids, my grandparents, my parents, all give me a picture of my relationship with God. And what a good God He is to bless my life so richly. My seven year old and I were having a conversation a few months back, and he said "Mom, we aren't rich in money but we are rich in love." Oh the heart of a child. There is no greater blessing in life than family. As women, we must be diligent about protecting our family relationships, cultivating a deep love and providing for our children that glimpse of God's love through the relationship that we have with them.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Servant's Heart

One of the many things that God has had to teach this pitiful heart of mine was how to truly be a servant. Being in the ministry will put your servant's heart to the test for sure; serving others regardless of what we receive in return. As followers of Christ, we know that He came to serve, not to be served. However, I'm not so sure that we translate that into our everyday life as wives and mom's. As women, we may serve others well, but when it comes to our family, we store up a little bitterness. At best, we serve with the expectation of something in return; praise, appreciation. We wash the dishes, do the laundry, cook multiple meals all the while, storing up frustration, bitterness, anger, when we aren't thanked or recognized or appreciated. God has had to teach me that that is not a true servant's heart. That is doing things out of a need for self-approval. Ladies, we must find our worth in Christ, not in others acknowledgement of us. Taking care of our family is the greatest way we serve Christ. When we realize that all of those mundane duties are for Him, we release our families from our expectations. This was one of my primary motivations for this blog and one of the greatest reasons my tagline is "How to delight in everyday life." The everyday mundane is not so delightful when we are waiting on others to appreciate and approve of us; when our focus is on what they give us in return, the chores of the everyday are a frustration at best. When we gain a right perspective that we are serving Christ, not our family, our entire attitude changes. I still don't enjoy doing the dishes, but I don't whine about it anymore! And what I've discovered is that when my attitude and perspective changed about the duties of everyday life, so did the attitude of my family. They naturally appreciate me, they aren't forced or guilted into praising me. A few months ago, I began reading the book "One Thousand Gifts." If you've not read this book, I encourage you to take the time. It is no coincidence that as God was teaching me this truth, I began reading this book. In her book, Ann Voskamp (mother of 6) states, "When the laundry is done for the dozen arms of children or the dozen legs, it's true, I think I'm due some appreciation. So comes a storm of trouble and lightening strikes joy. But when Christ is at the center, when dishes, laundry, work, is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains. Passionately serving Christ alone makes us the loving servant to all. When the eyes of the heart focus on God, and the hands on always washing the feet of Jesus alone-the bones, they sing joy, and the work returns to its purest state: eucharisteo (thanksgiving). The work becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness." Mother Teresa once stated, "The work we do is only our love for Jesus in action. If we pray the work...if we do it to Jesus, if we do it for Jesus, if we do it with Jesus....that's what makes us content." I didn't realize it until the past few years, but this is what my precious great-grandmother was teaching me each day when she would sing her hymns while washing the dishes, doing the laundry and working in the garden. I pray that today, your heart of worship flows from the duties of everyday life.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Household Harmony

I'm still trying to determine the easiest way for my readers to navigate my blog. Right now, all I know to do is to tell you when I've posted on one of my pages. Although I am not yet posting as regularly as I had hoped, among my summer chaos, I've managed to find a few moments to post on my 'household harmony' page, a "parenting with purpose" series. I am far from a parenting expert but I hope that what I've learned over these past few years will offer encouragement to you.