Monday, February 29, 2016

Hardest Season Yet

Last week at work, I was sitting at my desk when an employee entered the office to retrieve an item, but ended up asking me what it was like to parent teens.  (Her children are much younger.)  I stopped what I was doing, exhaled, looked up, and said, "I'll tell you what I tell all mom with younger children.  Enjoy the ease of clothing, feeding, and playing with your children, because the teen years demand more of you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually than the younger years ever did physically."

Now, before you think this writing is about parenting, it isn't.

While it is true I am in my last push of parenting great kids, by the way; it is taking everything I have and then some!
 I, too, had been given the "head's up" by a few moms years back when I was that young mom with young children.
 So, on one hand, what I am experiencing is not "out of the blue," but still, it takes far more than I personally have.  So thankful I am NOT dependent on what I personally have, if you know what I mean..... and if you don't, read on.... it will become evident.

I spend a lot..... a lot....of time with God these days.  I don't say that to boast.  Oh, Lord, no.  I say that honestly and humbly.

That said, going beyond my personal walls, I have observed and witnessed society-at-large vehemently resists "growing up".  I was talking with my youngest.  He has become my pal.  My two elder children, though I love them immensely, are going through the natural migration to their own lives.  Between college classes, work, and what little social time is left over, they don't have a whole lot of "mom time" these days.  Oh, but don't think for a moment that I don't remind them to include me in their busy lives now and again!  (I can hear your "Amen" ...all you moms of older teens!  We can "Amen" together!)

Anyway, I digress.  I was casually conversing with my youngest, who is fourteen, concerning one of Paul's exhortations found in Corinthians.  (Yes, I do things like this regularly...... just ask my kids. Perhaps some think it odd, but I wholeheartedly believe it is a main pillar to solid parenting..... a MUST, if you will.)

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me."

I, for one, am thankful Paul took on the task of putting away childhood.  Such discipline gave way to him ultimately being used powerful by God.....even unto TODAY..... with my generation and continuing on to those who will come behind me.  I never cease to be powerfully impacted by the magnitude of Paul's personal decisions.  I am so thankful I'll have the opportunity to thank him, along with a whole host of saints who came before me, one day face to face.

I recently put this poster up on Facebook.  

But, truthfully it has been my observation that we collectively do not behave as if this truth is Truth. By and large, our behaviors tell a far different belief: that time is ours to do with what we want. 

Time is short. Of this, there is no argument.

Today is an "extra day" on the calendar.  Just maybe it will be used to ponder time over all, and more significantly how each of us is spending the time God has granted to us.  

Are you dwelling on the former things?  Continuing to think as a child?  To act as a child?  OR are you conducting your affairs as the adult you are and are meant to be, stewarding what has been granted to you with wisdom and responsibility?  

While I believe in balancing work with pleasure, we must be oh-so careful to not follow society's TIDE where the scale is so far tipped to the "pleasures of this life" that we neglect "the plow."  

I can't think of a better way to sum up my heart today for you than this.....

Take a moment before returning to the demands of your day and refresh yourself in the unshakable Truth.... No way could I do what I do without frequently taking time with Him.....He is my Director, my Sustainer, my All-in-all......

Happy Leap Day!  
Make it count!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Might come as a surprise....

.... I am NOT a Valentine's Day fan. 

Here's the rub for me: if a person is not going to nurture their special someone the other 364 days of the year, one day is not going to work a miracle.  Quite the opposite actually.

Yesterday (Valentine's Day), I was out with my two younger teens.  THEY  made the observation of a rather large number of men (actually not a single woman was observed) running here and there in a local grocery store, surveying the variety of stuffed animals, chocolates, and flowers for sale.

As my youngest son (and daughter) observed the scene, I turned to him and said, "Tell me what happens when one puts a month's worth of fertilizer on a plant in a single day."  He answered, "It dies."  Exactly.  I went on to further instruct him, "Learn from this. If you ever find someone who you want to spend the rest of your life with, feed her DAILY."

Jefferson Bethke stated it well yesterday, "On Valentine's Day, be kind, sweet, and thoughtful. But that doesn't negate the fact you should be doing that on the other 364 days too. In fact I heard of an older husband who would leave his wife sweet notes, give gifts, or take her out on dates and say 'happy nothing day.' I loved that. He wasn't doing it because of some weird cultural tradition, but doing it simply because he wanted to love."

Now, "Happy Nothing Day"..... I can get behind that.