Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bittersweet By Heidi Rogers, mom of two

Bit•ter•sweet (adjective): arousing pleasure tinged with sadness or pain 

I think that describes parenting fairly well, wouldn’t you agree?

It starts even before they’re born – the joyous sight of a positive pregnancy test brings with it the plague of morning sickness. That precious first meeting takes place just after the torture of labor and delivery. Remember that first time they slept through the night and you woke up in a puddle of milk?
"Parenting is so full.
Full of both the bitter
and the sweet."

I imagine it only continues when you swell with pride, watching them walk to junior high all independent-like, then feel crushed when they’ve been teased. Do we even need to describe the whole they’re-16-and-can-get-themselves-places-but-now-I’m-worried-out-of-my-mind scenario? Ah, then they move out and we have freedom again. And we find ourselves missing even the painful parts.

Parenting is so full. Full of both the bitter and the sweet. And when Mary gazed upon her firstborn son so many years ago, I imagine she felt that very fullness. Knowing her son’s purpose, witnessing the fanfare accompanying his birth – perhaps this duality was exactly what she treasured up and pondered in her heart.  

Dear God, thank you for creating a mother’s heart. To love, protect, marvel, and even to weep. Help me embrace my child in a way that honors both him and you. Amen. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

He’s in the Room By Katie Kenny Phillips, MOPS coordinator and mom of three

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” (The Message). 
I wasn’t focused on much other than checking our middle son into Children’s Hospital. His lung function was bad, he had been sick for two weeks, and I was glad to be in a place where the professionals could take over my heavy burden.
"I’m convinced it’s times
like these that God holds me close,
opens my eyes a little wider."

They were hooking Luke up to an IV and getting him x-rayed when they told us what room we’d be in — Room 316.  My husband looked at me and said, “That’s significant, don’t you think?” 316. John 3:16. “Yeah,” I smiled. It never hurts to have the most popular Bible verse of all time as your room number.

When I stood outside Luke’s room one night, I could only pray, “God, my son is in that room.” God brought me back to 3:16, whispering, “Yes, I know. My Son is in that room too.”

I’m convinced it’s times like these that God holds me close, opens my eyes a little wider. He fills my heart with moments that make my spiritual bones stronger and less likely to fracture under the burdens of this life. Amongst many other things that happened during that time in the hospital, God made sure to put us in 316 for a reason. He wanted me to know he was most definitely in the room. 

Dear God, I love how you never leave me. Open my eyes this holy season to you very real presence in my daily life. Amen. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Confessions of a Not-So- Perfect Mom By Emily Nelson, mom of three

We arrived at the beach and started making sandcastles. After letting them bury me neck deep, I pulled out the ice cream maker and made homemade, organic ice cream. I snapped a funny picture. “This one is for the scrapbook!” I exclaimed, and they tackled me with a hug. Such a perfect day. Too bad it never happened.
My real beach day started with screaming at them to get in the car to beat traffic and ended with tossing beach toys onto the sand for the kids while I collapsed in my beach chair, devouring the latest People magazine. I didn’t even bring the camera. 

"He encircled me in a hug, saying,
Mom, you did just fine!"

As a mother of now-grown children, I Iook back and I’m tortured with what I didn’t do with my kids: take them hiking, educate them in museums, have family devotions. And I moan about what I did do: harsh words, wishy-washy discipline and over-involvement in non-family activities.

Yet one day, as I was recounting my lack of mothering skills to my 27-year-old, he encircled me in a hug, saying, “Mom, you did just fine!” That boy never has to buy me another gift for as long as he lives. He gave me the gift of peace that maybe, just maybe, I did okay. 

Dear God, thank you for being the perfect parent and filling in for all my missteps. May I know your love as you encircle me and say, “You are doing just fine!”

Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Review : Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

This book was such a breath of fresh air.  I have read too many Christian books for women that are about all the things that I’m failing to do as a woman of God.  They say “Do these ten things and you’ll be a Godly woman.”  They leave me feeling frustrated and defeated.  Captivating has the opposite effect.  The message is this:  Your heart matters more than anything else.  It’s about our love affair with the Savior and his desire for a relationship with us.  This book will draw you closer to God’s heart and your own.  You’ll love it! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bound and Determined By Alex Kuykendall, mom of four

A shower. That’s all I wanted. I mean, really, was that too much to ask? Determined, I got up early, made everyone breakfast, packed up school lunches, nursed the baby and was ready for my five minutes of soap and water. I didn’t need to do my hair or put on makeup, I just wanted to smell like something other than spit-up.

"Don’t underestimate
the determination
of a mother."

It was getting close to time to load up my school-aged kids in the car, but I was clinging to my vision of cleanliness when the babysitter arrived to watch the younger ones for the day. No! That time already? My eyes darted to the clock on the stove. Six minutes left until it was time to pull out of the driveway. I threw the baby at the sitter. “I’m just going to take a quick shower,” I blurted over my shoulder as I ran into my bedroom.

Five minutes later I emerged. “Wow! That was fast,” the sitter said as I marched into the kitchen and grabbed my purse and keys. Not yet a mother herself, I figured I was offering a bonus to her babysitting salary, a tip that I needed to remind myself of on a regular basis: don’t underestimate the determination of a mother (or the value of a three-minute shower).

Dear God, thank you for using my mothering to bring me closer to the woman you’ve created me to be. Thank you for small mercies like hot showers and time to take care of myself. Amen.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Best Salad Dressing Ever

¾ cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
¾  teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Mix and enjoy.  Store in the refrigerator for a few weeks.