Thursday, June 28, 2018

Do You Believe It All?

I've been thinking about these verses...

2 Timothy 3:16 - 17 (KJV) 

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
What does 'given by inspiration of God' mean?  Is there some meaning other than the obvious 'inspired by God'?  So I looked in some other popular translations:

(NIV)  All Scripture is God-breathed 

(ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God

(NASB) All Scripture is inspired by God

Imagine you and I have a mutual friend, Cathy.  Neither of us have seen Cathy in a while... You mention that you are going to see Cathy and I say "Tell her I said hi!".  So you get there and you say "Oh, I saw Dana and she said to 'tell you Hi'". Who told Cathy 'hi'?  You did, with your mouth, but they were *MY* words.  Because you voiced them does that make them any less mine? 

So, if you believe this verse and it says all scripture is inspired by God.  All is all. Then that means you believe the whole Bible, everything it says.

We can't pick and choose what verses we believe.  We can't ignore the ones we don't like, the ones that condemn activities in which we participate.  The Bible isn't a 'feel good' book that you can use to justify your choices by cherry picking verses or using bits and pieces of verses.   

Either we believe all of it or none of it.  There's no in between.

And our God, who is mighty enough and awesome enough to create the entire world in six literal days is Surely able to preserve His word for all time!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Grief... A Walk on the Beach

Have you ever been to the ocean?  Walked along the beach... You know the ocean is there, if you turn your head you can see it, you can almost always hear it, but you aren't directly affected by it until a wave washes up on shore.  Sometimes there are gentle waves that just wash across your feet. They affect you but not harshly, it's just the ocean letting you know it's still there...

But sometimes, when you least expect it, a huge wave comes crashing toward you.  Sometimes you are aware of it and can run away from it but you still know it's there and it has still affected your path... sometimes it takes you completely by surprise, maybe your guard was down, maybe you were engrossed in your thoughts, or whatever... but it sneaks up on you and Slam!  Knocks you flat on your back.  Overwhelms you.  Completely throws you off your path.

The ocean is predictable, it's always there. Waves always wash ashore.

The ocean is unpredictable, you never know how the waves will affect you, will alter your path, will cause you to refocus.  You know the waves are coming yet you can not really prepare for them.

You are you.  The beach is your life.  The ocean and it's currents, they are grief.  Living with grief is walking along the beach... knowing grief is out there, sometimes way out... sometimes knocking you down, always there.

Learning to live with grief is learning to live with the ocean.  Surround yourself with people who will watch the ocean currents for you, who will notice 'a big one is coming' and will help you prepare for it.  Or who will come and hold your hand as the waves come.

Be that lifeguard for someone in your life.  Look at them walking along the beach, watch out for the waves washing ashore.  Have a perspective they can not have.  Run to them when they are in danger.  Be there for them.  You don't have to say anything.  You don't have to have all the answers. They don't even have to say anything.  Your presence speaks for you.  Just be there.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

When the Two Become One, Pink is a Lovely Color

Marriage.

I mean, you know it's gonna happen some day.  You Want it to happen.  You want your children to 'find true love' and make grandbabies for you (lol).

But there's so much more to it, so much that I didn't understand, or consider, or know to consider. It's hard.  I didn't think it would be.  It's beautiful and wonderful and hard.  No one told me that part. 

The thing about two becoming one is that they are not ever one again. When you marry, when you give yourself to someone and they give their self to you, it all gets mixed up and divided out into two again but each one is now part of the other one and its like mixing red paint and white paint and getting pink paint.  You can divvy that pink paint up into two parts again but it will still be two cans of pink paint.  It will never be a can of red and a can of white ever again.  That's how it should be.  It's God's plan and His plans are perfect.

But no one told me that part. As a wife I understood it but as a Mama, I didn't even think about it.  The implications it would have on me, my child, my other children, my family dynamics.

It's not a bad thing, I'm not saying that.  I'm just saying I never thought about it from this side of the porch, ya know?

So it takes some reevaluating, it takes some learning to understand this different person, this pink person. It takes seeing how the red helps the white to be the best pink ever!  It takes realizing your red child is now your pink child and there's another new pink child to envelope and love.

And pink is a lovely color after all.

Parenting Adult Children

It's hard y'all.  

And not just hard.  But heavy.  Important.  Essential.

I remember the days of babies, diapers, nursing (all.the.time), homeschooling, short nights, long days,  Sometimes those days were hard, physically bone-wearyingly exhausting. But precious and fulfilling... and I honestly loved every one.  I was consumed with the 'here and now' (as I should have been). I didn't give thought to what it would be like when I had adult children.  I wouldn't even have known what to think?  I would have probably thought it would be so nice, so easy, they would be 'all grown up'.

But it's hard y'all.  I don't know how to explain it.... the questions are hard.  The midnight discussions deep. They, too, are precious times.  I think why it 'feels hard' is because it's weighty.  The decisions they make are big ones, life-changing ones... They go from "Mama knows everything", to "I know everything" before they settle into "Nobody knows everything"!  It's a beautiful, wonderful, difficult, gut-wrenching process. And nobody tells you it's coming.  You get them all raised up and think you are done.  But you are not, gear up Sister, the hard part is coming!  

Don't get me wrong, please understand... watching them mature, and grow and blossom into adults is a true blessing.  But it has more challenges, more pain, more everything than I expected. 

You know what I think?  I have heard so many people say "Oh my adult children are such a blessing, they are my friends (blah blah blah"  They are not your friends.  They are your children.  Given to you by the Lord God Almighty.  Don't quit being their Mama because they are 18.  This is still parenting age, they still need you (but don't expect them to always know that or admit it!)  This is when all of those lessons you taught them while they were growing up come into play, where the proverbial water hits the wheel. This is when it all starts to make sense to them and they see, really see the applications of all you have taught them. They will have questions.  They will have questions you don't want to answer.  They will have questions you can't answer. But you talk and you talk and you pray and you search the scriptures and you find those answers together.  

Be there for them.  Learn to listen with your whole self.  Don't listen to reply.  Listen to understand.  Hear what they are saying even when they are not saying it. 

You will come out the other side.  The time will come when you will look at those adult children and realize they *are* your friends.  That through the whole process, you have found a friend, made a friend. But, please, don't ever stop being their Mama.  Children never stop needing their Mama.  Be there, make sure they know you are there.  Times will come, they will face challenges, they will suffer pain and loss... they need to know you are there.  Mama first. Friend second. Always.

In Search of a Mentor: Find Them, Be One


I'm 50 now.  I've always been excited to turn 50.  Fifty is a grown up.  

Strange.  I don't feel any different.  

I've been thinking a lot lately about life.  My children are so self-sufficient and I have too much free time for my brain.  I'm 50.  I think my brain just loves to toss thoughts up and see where I go with them!

Anyway, today something triggered a flashback to my younger self.  The self that was busy with school-age children, toddlers, babies, pregnancies... homeschooling, working on home businesses, busy days that were sometimes overwhelming but always fulfilling.  Days when 'getting them fed and clothed" were the only goals I accomplished. Days that I look back on with some measure of longing... simple times when I didn't realize 'the days are long but the years are short'.  

I remember crying out to the Lord for a Mentor.  This Wonderful Woman would be everything I wanted to be.  She would have it all together, never miss days of schooling, have a perfectly functioning house, never have a mountain of laundry, and sleep all night long. She would have the same values as me, she would have the same preferences, she would have 'walked the path' before me and she could give me guidance in every area.  Contented sigh.  Oh, Lord, please... where is she?!  And I looked and I prayed... and she was so elusive... I could not find her.  Over time I think I just gave up... and you know what I discovered when I stopped looking?

I found her.  And her.  And her... the Lord had answered my prayers but in ways I had not recognized (isn't that the way it is sometimes?) The Lord met my needs, each of them, through *different* women.  Wow!  What an idea!  Why did I think there was that One Special Woman who would be My Mentor?  He sent me an amazing friend who shared her knowledge of healthy cooking... one who is an amazing, patient, kind mother.... one who loved sewing and taught me to smock ... and on and on and on.  

I want to encourage you, young mamas, if you are looking for, feeling a need for a mentor in your life... look around you.  I bet the Lord has women already there in your life.  Women who will speak the truth in love, women who have the gifts and talents that you desire.  Keep  your eyes open.  Listen.  Watch.  Then ask questions.  Those Mamas who are on the path, they may be way ahead of you or only a step or two ahead, but they want to share what they have learned with you.  They want to share God's truth with you.  They want you to learn from their missteps. They want to be a blessing to you.  

Then, do the same.  Look around you, look for those young Mamas who are a step or three behind you.  Reach out to them.  You will be blessed, I promise you that!