Friday, May 28, 2010

Parenting....the letting go.

Giving birth is one of those contradicting epic moments of life. The woman becomes a mother in a moment of almost unbearable agony that turns into a moment of unparalleled love and miraculous joy! The man becomes a father in a moment of helpless agony for his wife that turns into a rush of love and responsibility for this totally dependent wrinkled beloved little person that has inexplicably come from the union of him and his wife. A life has begun, and the two have become parents, and their lives will never be the same--forever. And this is the best case scenario....babies are, all too often, born into homes that are at best, not prepared for them, and at worst, dangerous for them. God only knows how some babies survive their childhoods! But this blog is about intentional parenting.

Parenting has its joys, no doubt. Each milestone is cause for celebration, when a parent loves his child. Each fever causes sleepless nights and prayers to be sent up. Each birthday requires cake, balloons, and presents! A parent's life is measured by the life of his child. Some parents lose themselves in the raising of the child and never get themselves back, until the child says goodbye for the last time. Wise parents make room for themselves and their marriages and thus perpetuate a healthy home, with healthy parents. But this blog is about the hardest part of parenting....the letting go.

One of my favorite photos of my kids is this: we are on a path leading into the woods. All of our children are in front of us, and there is no sign of me or my husband in the picture, but you know we are there, watching all four of them run ahead with glee, down the path, toward the woods, the older boys further down the path and the younger running as fast as their little legs will carry them, following their big brothers. It is a poignant moment, frozen in time, for it is a metaphor for the hardest part of parenting....watching our children running off into an uncertain future, praying they are prepared, knowing there is no way we have prepared them completely, as hard as we have tried. And still we let them go....we do, if we are really good parents.

But what if you KNOW your child is ill prepared for that future? What if you know, in spite of all your attempts to teach him and her about pitfalls, the child is bound and determined to fall into each one? What do you do then? You see him running ahead, eyes closed, arms open wide to life and all it has to offer, knowing there is a gaping hole down the road! What do you do then?? Well, I...for one...scream bloody murder, calling him back!!! "THERE IS A HOLE IN THE ROAD!!! STOP!!" Does he or she listen. Not likely. It depends on the type of learner the emerging adult is. If he or she is sensitive and well, wise, he listens to a word of advice, however frantic. He stops in his tracks and reasons out his next actions.
If she is reactive and fearful, she retreats behind her mother's skirts and abandons all resolve to establish independence, thus becoming stunted in growth at best, handicapped and dysfunctional at worst. If he is resentful and rebellious, he plugs his ears and runs ahead, daring disaster and not availing himself to any of his parents' experience, wisdom or insight. Sometimes this reaction may have reason behind it, if the parents' lifestyle has injured the son or daughter, but most of the time, it is willful foolishness that drives this response. Unfortunately, this path usually results in one disaster after another. And then there is the rare son or daughter who stops, looks back on the instruction he or she has received and then proceeds independently and wisely, courageous but prepared. That response to parenting brings peace and joy to the mind of the parent, not unlike the moment of birth, when just watching the newborn baby sleep brought tears to the eyes, warmth to the heart and total amazement to the lives of the parent. A wise child is truly the joy of his or her parents. Ironically, the responsibility of the parent for each type of adult child is the same.... to let go of the child and put him or her into the capable hands of God, whether or not that adult child relies on his Creator.

That is a stage of parenthood that mimics the pain of childbirth, for even with the most competent adult child, the parents wonder if their endless instruction has made any difference. They wonder what dangers lie in the road, as his young adult drives away to college or work for the first time. They gaze into the love-lit faces of their child on his wedding day and pray for a joyful union that will last him a lifetime, through sickness and health, babies and careers, disasters and prosperity...his dreams are our dreams! But let go we must. And there I am.

I pray that my life has been a beacon that will draw them closer to God. I pray that our marriage has given them a tiny glimpse of Christ's love for His people. I pray that our mistakes haven't wounded their hearts. I pray that their good memories outweigh their not-so-good ones. I pray they will love their spouses and children. I pray their spouses and children will love them. I pray for their children, our grandson and future grandchildren. I pray for their hearts, that they will grow in love. I pray for their dreams, that they become reality. I pray for our health, so we won't be a burden. I pray for their wisdom, that it will ever be growing. I pray for their souls and the souls of their children and the souls of their grandchildren...that all will be saved. And I let go, because....God is really their Father. He loves them more than we ever could. And He is in control!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Peace Be Still

The men had a healthy respect for the water, for they were fisherman by trade! They knew how quickly even a sturdy sea worthy vessel could get completely out of control in a storm. Every time they took their boats out, they inspected the surface for holes and weak spots. Even so, the unexpected can and will occur. So it was on the day Jesus went out into the boat with his friends, many of whom were fishermen. Jesus went down into the bottom of the boat, for He knew in Whom He had placed His trust, and it was not the men who were experts at sailing, His closest friends on earth.
While He was asleep, the wind and the waves became violent, and even the seasoned fishermen became afraid. Did they not know more about sailing than their teacher, Jesus, the Carpenter's son? Yet, the first thing they did was awaken Him! Why? Because they knew the voice of their Master could quiet the most dangerous storm. "Peace be Still!"

What do we do when storms rage within our lives? Do we imagine ourselves competent against the giant waves that assault us? Do we long to take care of troubles ourselves, and lay our accomplishments at the feet of Jesus? Sometimes it is as if we are saying, "See there....I don't need Your help. Help those who need You." Why do we treat our Savior like that? We need Him, not only to quiet the hurricanes that threaten to demolish our lives, but we need Him for our every breath! We may be able to ride the waves for a while "unassisted", or at least think we are. But soon we will find ourselves broken against the rocks on the shores of life itself....without hope. How much better our lives would be if we would go to Our Savior in our moments of need, let Him wrap His arms around us, protect us from the wind and the waves, and say to our weary souls, "Peace be Still!"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Only a minute....

Only a minute...I found out yesterday--again--that a minute can change many lives forever! My daughter-in-law told me when I first began caring for my grandson, right after his birth two years ago, that she never had to worry, because I am such a careful person. Generally, I'm considered by everyone in my family too careful to the point of annoying. Yesterday I relaxed my standard a little, and it could have cost my grandson his life, and I didn't even see it coming! Long story short, we were on the way out the door when I decided to make a trip to the bathroom. Conner was happily playing with his cars at the coffee table, and my son Nathan was due to come home from work at any moment, so I shut the bathrooom door. I usually leave it open.

During Conner's nap yesterday I had been cleaning out our laundry room while visiting with son Don who came over on his way home from work. He got his fishing rods out of the laundry room, and I moved some things around on some shelves as I did the laundry, while we talked. Well, I must have uncovered some automotive lube, fuel injector cleaner that Don said he hadn't used in years. It must have been deep inside a low shelf that I couldn't see, but in just a few moments, Conner had gone in the laundry room, opened the bottle and poured it all over the coffee table and his clothes. I was washing my hands when I realized he had gotten very quiet, so I opened the door and saw the coffee table and the bottle and caught the noxious odor that was everywhere. Conner was quietly waiting next to his diaper bag right in the entryway. "Hi, Eee-Eee, Hi!" was what he said to me. I started taking off his clothes, and checking his mouth while I yelled out the door for my neighbor Lisa to come help me. Lisa and I washed him off, but the smell was so strong that we couldn't tell if his mouth smelled like the oil or not. I thought about calling 911 but called poison control instead. while Lisa scrubbed Conner off. They didn't think I needed to take him to the ER if he wasn't coughing but said he had to be watched for 6 hours for signs of respiratory distress. I also called Chris, because my thought was to take him to the ER anyway. Chris looked up petrolium distolates on the internet and agreed with the poison control, so I brought Conner home. Conner was very cooperative. Everytime I told him to stick his tongue out and I put my nose right in his mouth, he just did what I said. Once he was scrubbed off and outside, I couldn't smell the odor when I checked his mouth. I also had him suck on his paci and smelled that--thank goodness we haven't taken that completely away yet. (Lisa said this would be the day that Conner is convinced that Eee-Eee has completely lost her mind!) (true that!) :) And by the way....thank God for friends like Lisa, who came running when I called out the door to her...and for Tim Schwamb who prayed with me on the spot when I got to the church building last night! I don't think I would have been able to put together a cohesive thought last night in ESL otherwise! And thankfully Cam still brought me her precious little boy this morning! She wasn't worried about a reocurrance and even shared a funny story concerning his other grandma and a carton of ice cream.
Conner never did show any signs of distress....except by how weird everything was before he went home. As Lisa was saying goodbye, Conner grabbed her hand and said, "Want a walk, Nina!" (His special name for Lisa...) I think what he didn't say was, "Save me from Eee-Eeee....she keeps smelling my mouth!) Where, you ask, is Conner right now as I type my blog? Strapped in his high chair, eating breakfast and watching Sid, the Science Kid....maybe they will talk about the dangers of petrolium distolates. By the way, they are in many household products, which are no longer visable in my house.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Excellence. When I see it, feelings resonate within me so strongly that I cannot control the tears. God creates within us a longing for greatness! He stretches us and lets us fall like good coaches do with their young charges. Falling teaches us to stand. It teaches us to follow instructions and obey truths. I have fallen more times than I can count in my life. As I get older, it is harder to get up after a fall, but I have learned that it is not my strength that lifts me up, but my Father's.
In fact, if I stay close to Him, I am not likely to suffer a fall. Excellence. All I have to do is look at Him! "He who would be great among you must become the servant of all." That is a statement that seems counter-intuitive, especially in our culture.
"Greater love has no man than this....that he lay down his life for his friends."
Excellence--in the face of death. I see Jesus on the cross, looking up, praying for those who had inflicted Him with an agonizing death, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Grace in the midst of pain. True excellence.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Peace.....perfect peace!

Admittedly, my blog has gotten lost in the avalanche of technology that is life in 2010! Can you tell I have SNOW on the brain? ALL of us have snow on the brain here in No. VA! It has been fun! It has been insane! It has been COLD and WINDY! Full disclosure? I prayed hard for snow this year! I even asked God to give us some indication if our church was pleasing Him by giving us a snowy winter--kind of along the lines of Gideon's fleece! If I thought many of my friends would actually read my blog, I would never admit this! lol!

My desperation in the previous post has cooled off with the weather, and I'm actually doing so much better than I have in a long while. It had something to do with being desperate for change and actually crying out to God in my prayers...silently but desperately! He is helping me greatly...He is carrying me! I have been snowbound mostly for a week, and I've been alone most of the time, since my family works during snow storms. I am stocked up with lots of potential for baking, and I've been doing a lot of cooking, but I'm not looking to the food for comfort. I've been writing a lot, walking and shoveling snow. God has been filling me with peace, like the unmarred fields of snow that Don and I witnessed on our walks. There is something about being in the middle of God's handiwork...his overwhelming power...under His complete control, that calms the soul! Calm is what I need, and He is the Provider of peace! Thank You God, for snow days, for the beauty of the world around us and for Your constant care!

Friday, January 01, 2010

WARNING! Honesty and full Disclosure 2010

To be completely honest, I am as embarrassed as I have ever been to be posting this blog January 1, 2010. I could take the comfortable, treacherous, option of wallowing in frozen inertia and self-hate, but what would that accomplish? Here I am, Jan.1st, 5 lbs. lighter than I was last Jan. 1st, having gained back most of what I lost last year! I am not about to make promises. Apart from the power of God to change me, I have no hope of keeping promises. I have proven that once more. But, this is NOT me feeling sorry for myself. This is me sucking it up, getting back up on my chubby feet, and starting all over again! What else can I do? Give up? Read my lips. NEVER! To give up is to accept the fact that I will be following my dad on a short trip to the grave. My family deserves more from me than that! To give up is to toss aside the Ultimate power of the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Can He not raise me, too....regardless of how much I weigh.

I am finished eating my sorrow. I am finished eating my pain. I am finished burying my feelings under mounds of my own flesh! My Heavenly Father is able to understand my brokenness, The Great Comforter can soothe my pain, He can cope with the waves of emotion that I think I hold at bay, but really just stuff! The truth is, I am a mess on my own. I need redemption....every day. I am no different than you, however. We are all broken, and we all need redemption--every day.

Goals will follow. I need the structure. I'm not making any promises this year...only setting goals. I am starting this year, humbled by the last, hopeful for the future, because of Jesus and His love for me!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shame on Tiger Woods...and us!

Well, it's about time I dust this blogspot off! And why am I dragging my blog out of the cobwebs this evening? Because, this morning I heard an "expert" extolling at length about the reported infidelities of Tiger Woods on Good Morning America! Why was this woman considered an expert? Oh, because she is a Sexual Anthropologist!! In this era of 10% unemployment, what we need is more "Sexual Anthropologists" who can explain why men and women cheat on their spouses! (Of course! It's complicated.) NOT.

Our sex-obsessed, media and Hollywood driven culture, has made sex a public event, without great value beyond the momentary pleasure, and frankly, quite boring! Public figures seem to jump in and out of bed with "whoever", and, either people cry out in outrage, demanding to know the voyeuristic details, or shrug shoulders with the attitude of, "Whattya gonna do?" So now we need "sexperts" to tell us why an extraordinary athelete like Tiger Woods would be unfaithful. Why wouldn't he? It certainly hasn't hurt John Gosslyn much, well, except for his self-respect, the respect of his wife, much of the public and the future respect of his children. But whether people approve or disapprove, we all can have an opinion about his sexploits, because they are out there for all to see,
and it doesn't seem to matter to the media that, at least eight of those hearing all about it, whether first-hand or through classmates, will have their lives changed forever because of our "need to know" and "need to explain"!

Whatever happened to people having to do something heroic or at least groundbreaking in order to be newsmakers? Apparently, all one has to do to make the morning news is: become famous...and then jump in bed with someone other than the spouse. That will get the tongues' wagging and the keyboards tapping! Then, if you're lucky, they'll call in a "SEXUAL ANTHROPOLOGIST" to explain your actions. Afterall, we're all victims of something, and there is no right or wrong....just social illness!
No more "news" for me!