Living as Abba's Child: Learning from Jesus

Living as Abba's Child: Learning from Jesus

The parent-child metaphor is perhaps the most tender picture of our relationship with God as believers.  This is so movingly expressed in the Scriptures by the Hebrew term for Father God "Abba," meaning "Daddy." As we approach Fathers' Day (though this is for moms & others also), let's take a break from the blog-type format.  Let's do a little digging into the Scriptures.  You may like this study for your own devotions or as a small group.

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Celebrating Love, Life, & a Son, 20 Years Cancer-free

Celebrating Love, Life, & a Son, 20 Years Cancer-free

This month is a special month. This month I celebrate my darling son and his amazing, godly life that our sovereign Father God spared 20 years ago ... and not only spared, but brought to abundant fruitfulness inside and out! Can I tell you the story? 

Twenty years ago on February 13, 1998, my beautiful baby boy, Jeremy John Loyd, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  OK, he wasn't a baby at the time...he was 20 years old and a sophomore at Grace College.  But as every one of you moms knows, your baby is always your baby.

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Abba's Little Girls: Mama-sisters

Abba's Little Girls:  Mama-sisters

Motherhood is a Sisterhood...unrivaled by any other (except perhaps, Grandmother-hood). So if you are a mom, you are my beloved sister...

And sometimes we mama-sisters just need to be daughters...Abba's (Hebrew for Daddy) little girls.

So this Mothers' Day, let us hear these restful words of promise from our Abba:

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Remembering to not Forget

Mom, Mommy the beautiful
Mom, Mommy the beautiful

Mom's graduation into glory has settled deep in my soul.  I'm writing so that I don't forget. In fact, that's why I started writing years ago...so I don't forget. So today I'm writing down the memorial, the remembrances in scripture, song, and prayer. Listen in..enter in if you would like...

Remembering the Lord as He lived through one humble little lady, my mom, Jeanette Agnes Galuszka Renner.

Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things Enter into the joy of your Lord! Matthew 25:21 NKJV

Prayer

Response: “We give thanks, O Lord.”

  1. For the eternal life Jeanette received through her faith in Jesus Christ…
  2. For the example of her consistency of love and devotion to Christ…
  3. For the love Jeanette unselfishly poured out on us her loved ones…
  4. For the mercy of God in allowing Jeanette to live long enough to see even her great grand-children…
  5. For the blessed hope of being reunited one day in the Kingdom of God…

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up.A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace...And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,14 NLT

God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:4-11 NIV

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” John 11:21-27 NASB

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:1-6 ESV

An excellent wife [mom, Babci, big Babci, sister, friend, neighbor…], who can find?For her worth is far above jewels…She opens her mouth in wisdom,And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.She looks well to the ways of her householdAnd does not eat the bread of idleness.Her children rise up and bless her…“Many (daughters) moms have done noblyBut you excel them all.”Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.Give her the product of hands,And let her works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:26-31

Conrad's Letter / Eulogy

TO MOM WITH LOVE AND THANKS WHILE ALL MOTHERS ARE SPECIAL, YOU MOM, (BABCI/BIG BABCI) ARE ABSOLUTELY THE BEST! WE KNOW YOU NEVER WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR IMPACT ON OUR LIVES, HOW MUCH YOU'VE MEANT TO US BUT YOU'RE HEARING IT NOW.

WORDS CANT DESCRIBE WHAT YOU'VE MEANT TO ALL US. THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, THE SACRIFICES, THE SELFLESSNESS, THE ACTS OF KINDNESS THE HARD WORK, WHILE NEVER COMPLAINING, MAKE YOU TRULY A GIFT FROM GOD TO US. WE THANK GOD FOR HAVING YOU AS OUR MOTHER. ACTUALLY THE ONLY TIME I CAN REMEMBER YOU COMPLAINING WAS WHEN YOUR FATHER BLAMED YOU FOR NOT PREVENTING THE BAD THINGS YOUR YOUNGER SISTER DID AS A TEENAGER. YOU KEPT THE FAMILY TOGETHER DURING DIFFICULT TIMES.

THROUGH DAD'SSEVERAL HEART ATTACKS, THROUGH MOVES OUT WEST AND BACK, THROUGH FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS, THROUGH ALL OF OUR TEENAGE YEARS AND ALL THAT CAME WITH THAT..AND WITH 7 CHILDREN A LOT CAME WITH THAT! THANK YOU MOM! YOU'VE ALWAYS SUPPORTED EACH OF US TO THE POINT WE ALL THOUGHT WE WERE THE FAVORITES. SEVEN FAVORITESI THANK YOU MOM!

YOU LEARNED NEW SKILLS AND TOOK A FULL TIME JOB WHILE CARING FOR 7 PLUS 1, DAD. AND THEN YOU GOT YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE IN YOUR FORTIES SO YOU COULD CART US AROUND, GO TO WORK AND ATTEND OUR GAMES WHILE DAD WORKED. THANKS MOM!

YOU SURVIVED AND FLOURISHED FOR 30 YEARS AFTER THE BRAIN ANEURYSM, FINALLY LETTING SOME STRAIGHT FORWARD FEELINGS COME OUT. BUT YOUR LOVE AND KINDNESS STILL CAME THROUGH.

YOU NEVER LOOKED FOR CREDIT ONLY GAVE IT, NEVER ASKED FOR ANYTHING FOR YOURSELF ONLY GAVE TO OTHERS, NEVER SPOKE BADLY ABOUT ANYONE, ONLY NICE WORDS. YOU WERE NEVER HURTFUL ONLY KIND TO EVERYONE.

WE DO BELIEVE YOU ARE A SAINT SENT FROM GOD. YOUR FAITH IS UNDENIABLE AND ALMOST GOT ALL OF US TO BE NUNS AND PRIESTS. (WELL YOU GOT ONE FOR A TIME ANYWAY.)

YOUR ACTIONS ARE WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM ALL OTHER MOTHERS. YOU "WALKED THE TALK"AND LOOKED FOR NOTHING IN RETURN. YOU TAUGHT US THE RIGHT WAY TO LIVE, TREAT EACH OTHER AND LOVE THE LORD JESUS. THESE ARE LEADERSHIP QUALITIES, MOM. I DON'T THINK WE HAVE USED THAT TERM WITH YOU, BUT THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE TO US, A LOVING, FAITHFUL LEADER OF THIS PACK GIVEN TO US FROM GOD THE ALMIGHTY FATHER.

YOU HUNG IN THERE WITH US OVER THESE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, IN PAIN AT TIMES, I THINK TO PREPARE US FOR THIS DAY. THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE!

SO NOW HE'S CALLED YOU HOME. WE KNOW YOU'RE RENEWED NOW WITH HIM. WE WILL BE HAPPY FOR YOU! WE THANK YOU, MOTH,' FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE FOR US AND OUR FAMILIES. DON'T WORRY, WE WON'T FIGHT. LET SNICKERS, PJ AND JUNKIE REST ON YOUR LAP. GIVE DAD AND BABCI A BIG KISS FOR US. WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND WILL MISS YOU!

Remembering to not Forget

Mom's graduation into glory has settled deep in my soul.  I'm writing so that I don't forget. In fact, that's why I started writing years ago...so I don't forget.Mom, Mommy the beautiful So today I'm writing down the memorial, the remembrances in scripture, song, and prayer. Listen in..enter in if you would like...

Remembering the Lord as He lived through one humble little lady, my mom, Jeanette Agnes Galuszka Renner.

Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things Enter into the joy of your Lord! Matthew 25:21 NKJV

Prayer

Response: “We give thanks, O Lord.”

  1. For the eternal life Jeanette received through her faith in Jesus Christ…
  2. For the example of her consistency of love and devotion to Christ…
  3. For the love Jeanette unselfishly poured out on us her loved ones…
  4. For the mercy of God in allowing Jeanette to live long enough to see even her great grand-children…
  5. For the blessed hope of being reunited one day in the Kingdom of God…

 

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AmFu58Tk2Y']

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace... And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,14 NLT

 

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmFM4jZasvs']

 

God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:4-11 NIV

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc0QVWzCv9k']

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” John 11:21-27 NASB

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrLafWZxczI']

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:1-6 ESV

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRFNg-Eyt_0']

 

An excellent wife [mom, Babci, big Babci, sister, friend, neighbor…], who can find? For her worth is far above jewels… She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her… “Many (daughters) moms have done nobly But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of hands, And let her works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:26-31

Conrad's Letter / Eulogy

TO MOM WITH LOVE AND THANKS WHILE ALL MOTHERS ARE SPECIAL, YOU MOM, (BABCI/BIG BABCI) ARE ABSOLUTELY THE BEST! WE KNOW YOU NEVER WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR IMPACT ON OUR LIVES, HOW MUCH YOU'VE MEANT TO US BUT YOU'RE HEARING IT NOW.

WORDS CANT DESCRIBE WHAT YOU'VE MEANT TO ALL US. THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, THE SACRIFICES, THE SELFLESSNESS, THE ACTS OF KINDNESS THE HARD WORK, WHILE NEVER COMPLAINING, MAKE YOU TRULY A GIFT FROM GOD TO US. WE THANK GOD FOR HAVING YOU AS OUR MOTHER. ACTUALLY THE ONLY TIME I CAN REMEMBER YOU COMPLAINING WAS WHEN YOUR FATHER BLAMED YOU FOR NOT PREVENTING THE BAD THINGS YOUR YOUNGER SISTER DID AS A TEENAGER. YOU KEPT THE FAMILY TOGETHER DURING DIFFICULT TIMES.

THROUGH DAD'S  SEVERAL HEART ATTACKS, THROUGH MOVES OUT WEST AND BACK, THROUGH FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS, THROUGH ALL OF OUR TEENAGE YEARS AND ALL THAT CAME WITH THAT..AND WITH 7 CHILDREN A LOT CAME WITH THAT! THANK YOU MOM! YOU'VE ALWAYS SUPPORTED EACH OF US TO THE POINT WE ALL THOUGHT WE WERE THE FAVORITES. SEVEN FAVORITESI THANK YOU MOM!

YOU LEARNED NEW SKILLS AND TOOK A FULL TIME JOB WHILE CARING FOR 7 PLUS 1, DAD. AND THEN YOU GOT YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE IN YOUR FORTIES SO YOU COULD CART US AROUND, GO TO WORK AND ATTEND OUR GAMES WHILE DAD WORKED. THANKS MOM!

YOU SURVIVED AND FLOURISHED FOR 30 YEARS AFTER THE BRAIN ANEURYSM, FINALLY LETTING SOME STRAIGHT FORWARD FEELINGS COME OUT. BUT YOUR LOVE AND KINDNESS STILL CAME THROUGH.

YOU NEVER LOOKED FOR CREDIT ONLY GAVE IT, NEVER ASKED FOR ANYTHING FOR YOURSELF ONLY GAVE TO OTHERS, NEVER SPOKE BADLY ABOUT ANYONE, ONLY NICE WORDS. YOU WERE NEVER HURTFUL ONLY KIND TO EVERYONE.

WE DO BELIEVE YOU ARE A SAINT SENT FROM GOD. YOUR FAITH IS UNDENIABLE AND ALMOST GOT ALL OF US TO BE NUNS AND PRIESTS. (WELL YOU GOT ONE FOR A TIME ANYWAY.)

YOUR ACTIONS ARE WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM ALL OTHER MOTHERS. YOU "WALKED THE TALK"AND LOOKED FOR NOTHING IN RETURN. YOU TAUGHT US THE RIGHT WAY TO LIVE, TREAT EACH OTHER AND LOVE THE LORD JESUS. THESE ARE LEADERSHIP QUALITIES, MOM. I DON'T THINK WE HAVE USED THAT TERM WITH YOU, BUT THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE TO US, A LOVING, FAITHFUL LEADER OF THIS PACK GIVEN TO US FROM GOD THE ALMIGHTY FATHER.

YOU HUNG IN THERE WITH US OVER THESE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, IN PAIN AT TIMES, I THINK TO PREPARE US FOR THIS DAY. THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE!

SO NOW HE'S CALLED YOU HOME. WE KNOW YOU'RE RENEWED NOW WITH HIM. WE WILL BE HAPPY FOR YOU! WE THANK YOU, MOTH,' FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE FOR US AND OUR FAMILIES. DON'T WORRY, WE WON'T FIGHT. LET SNICKERS, PJ AND JUNKIE REST ON YOUR LAP. GIVE DAD AND BABCI A BIG KISS FOR US. WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND WILL MISS YOU!

 

An Open Letter to a New Mom

Dear new Mom!

Welcome to Motherhood! You have entered a whole new mode of existence --that of being forever "MOM."  Your life will now take on exciting dimensions you’ve never before imagined.

You've probably gotten all kinds of advice -- some great, some good, some best to be forgotten!  Well, here's mine to add to the mix: “Stay a beloved child in dependent and intimate relationship with your Abba Father” (1John 3:1).

God tells us that we become like what we focus on  (1John 3:2; 2Cor 3:18).  As you focus on Him, you will more and more become like the Only Perfect Parent.

So let yourself “be parented” by Him everyday.  All else flows from that:  strength, wisdom, patience, insight, peace, rest, etc.  And you’ll need all of these and more!

Refuse to think of yourself as separate from your Father God (Col 3: 1-4) – that’s the devil’s trap.

Return in your mind and heart to that sacred, secure place in God from whom flows everything and anything that you will ever need.

Many blessings on you and your precious little one.

As I affectionately say,

We moms are ‘ruined’ for life – we can never not care again!

Welcome to that glorious Sisterhood!!!

With much love Jan & other  Old Experienced Moms of every generation

Beth with William 2015

 

 

 

Alone? On Mother's Day?

There are lots of emptyings in life.  There are deaths and losses of every kind.  There are ends of relationships...ends of jobs...ends of school-years...ends of eras...ends of phases of life.  Some of these are expected.  Some catch us by surprise! This Mother's Day, I think of an emptying that affects all mothers sooner or later...the emptying of the nest!

I know!  This is what we have been preparing our children for, right?...the launch, the flight out of the safety, security, and nurturing of their childhood home...out into the excitement of what God has for them up ahead.   But who ever prepares us moms?

I've always been an independent person. So releasing my children into adulthood...to make their own way...has caught me by surprise.  It has been harder than I ever thought!  In fact, it's been one of the swords that have pierced this mom's heart.

My mind goes back to a Mothers' Day at the very start of the emptying.   The Lord in a unique way comforted this grieving mother's heart.  It was at a time when my children, who were young adults, had just gone through some serious health crises.  So I was drained emotionally.

At that time, there were significant others in the picture.  So the issue of celebrating Mothers' Day became somewhat of a dilemma.  John & I decided to defer to the other mothers and postpone our celebration to the following Sunday.

That should have taken care of it, right?  But to my surprise, being alone on the real Mothers' Day was a grief to me!  I was doing my best not to wallow in my sadness, when the Lord surprised me with three gifts...three delights for a hurting mama's heart!  Three God-winks that most likely would have gone unnoticed had we been celebrating that day.

The first gift was finding old cassette tapes of my babies' voices.  (Keep in mind that in the 1970's early 80's, that was the best you could do to record audio.)  There were tapes of Jeremy and Beth when each of them was just starting to talk.  Others, when they were very young.  One was even labeled "doing school and being obnoxious!"  I listened...I laughed...I cried...as the bitter-sweetness of those precious voices washed over me!

The second sacred wink was catching sight of a mama house finch launching her babies.  Talk about the perfect metaphor at the perfect time!  Here the mama of the little family of house-finches, that had nested in a bush next to our porch, was giving this sorrowing mama a lesson in the circle of life.  I imagined mama finch saying her good-byes as each left the safety of her nest.  Was she grieving the way I was, or was she more courageous than I?

And last but not least, I just happened to come across a monthly letter from Telling the Truth, a ministry I had begun to follow.  I had tossed it aside to join my stack of others to be read someday.  By God's grace, in that alone time, I picked it up and started reading.  It all came together...

Stuart Briscoe, describing how motherhood changed his wife Jill, wrote:

When the baby was born, I stood by helplessly and watched the transformation that took place in my wife.  Motherhood changed her irrevocably.  As she nursed her child I detected a mysterious gleam in her eyes--a certain glow, a knowing, a secret insight that she shared with the new arrival.  She and he knew something that I didn't know.  I could do nothing more than observe and wonder at the mystery of motherhood.

He went on to say...

It occurs to me that the unique bond between mother and child makes possible an intimate nurturing relationship that men never know for they, by definition, are removed--they stand at a distance from the mother-child phenomenon.  But hard as it can be for the father to make the adjustment to the beloved intruder, there is divine genius in the arrangement.

For the day comes---all too soon--when the child must spread his wings and take flight from the nest.  Guess who struggles at this point?  The mother, of course!  Releasing and relinquishing are not mother gifts.

Guess who knows how to handle distance?  The father, naturally.  So as the wise mother has steered the puzzled father through the mysteries of nurturing, so the wise father now steps forward to guide the fearful mother through the anxieties of relinquishment.

And the child receives what he needs -- a healthy balance of mother nurture and father freedom... (Stuart Briscoe, Telling the Truth newsletter, May 1999)

What a comfort these words were.  Having never gone through this phase of life before, I was struggling.  And as hard as it was and would continue to be for some time, I had to realize in my experience that it is God's way to move my children into responsible adulthood.  It's their turn to step up to the plate of life and fulfill the will of God in their generation.

Emptyings are never easy...

But God's intent in the emptyings is never to leave us void.  He wants to fill us with a greater capacity for Himself...to fill us with a greater experience of WHO HE IS in every phase of life.

So dear mama-sister, if you are going through THE emptying of all emptyings (or so it seems at the time), open your eyes...there may be God-winks all around you, visitations from your Abba-Father to comfort a relinquishing mama's heart.

The God of my Mothering: the Rock I Can Trust

house-150x150
house-150x150

The wise woman builds her house; But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

Jesus liked to teach in "parables," stories/metaphors that teach a lesson.  One of my favorites is found at the end of the famous "Sermon on the Mount."

Read it in Jesus' own words:

Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man [woman] building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the ROCK. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man [woman] who built a house on the groundwithout a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great. Luke 6:47-49

What does that mean for us moms who are "building our houses" as we raise our children...and as we launch them into adult life?

WHO is the ROCK that Jesus is talking about?

Throughout the Old Testament, God is called a ROCK:

Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock. Isaiah 26: 4

Jesus, the Son of God, names Himself as the ROCK.

When Peter made his famous profession of faith, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus replied, “You are Peter (little stone), and upon this ROCK(large rock, bed-rock) I will build my church.” Matthew 16:16-18

Paul confirms this in his letter to the Corinthians:

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3: 10-15

Now the very practical question:  What does it mean as a mom to build upon the Rock that is Christ?

Of course, knowing, living, and then teaching our children the Word of God and God's way of salvation is paramount.  But in 2003, I experienced, in what was to me a very dramatic way, what it means to build upon the ROCK that is Christ.

Our daughter Beth was a junior at University of Dayton, majoring in Art History.  She was taking an archaeology class at the time.  Beth came home one day and said that the professor had invited her, based on some research work she had done in that class, to join a group of college students from the around the country. They would be going on an archaeological dig in Sicily during the summer to the exact site that she had researched.

Needless to say, it freaked me out!  To go that far away, with no one I know...probably no mature Christians, etc, etc!  But I had been learning  through some serious health crises (Jeremy's cancer, Beth's benign tumors, etc) to entrust my children totally to the Lord.  So Beth put in for a grant to fund the trip (because we told her we could give her a wedding or a trip to Sicily:), and we prayed for God's will.  I knew I couldn't stand in the way of God's will for her life.

Well guess what?  Not only did she get the grant, but UD offered her more money than what she applied for.  Now what college ever does that?  To me, it was a confirmation that the Lord was in this no matter how nervous I was about it.

In the meantime, I had been teaching through the Hebrew Names of God.  A cross-reference had captured my imagination.  Writing of the Israelites traveling through the wilderness in the book of Exodus, Paul says,

…our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the Rock was Christ! 1 Corinthians 10: 1-4

What did that mean...the Rock that followed them was Christ?  I would soon find out.

Back to Beth...she was going.  I was praying and trusting.  At our kinship days before her departure, we worshiped the Lord and sang the beautiful song Faithful One.  The lyrics grabbed me:

Faithful One, so unchanging Ageless One, You’re my Rock of Peace Lord of all, I depend on You I call out to You, again and again I call out to You, again and again

You are my Rock, in times of trouble You lift me up when I fall down All through the storm Your love is the anchor My hope is in You alone

The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: "I will be the ROCK that follows Beth from Columbus to NYC to Rome to Sicily, all around Sicily and wherever she travels, back to Rome, to NYC, to Columbus, and safely home again."

Beth Sicily
Beth Sicily

I had perfect peace!  We took her to the Columbus airport and I could freely and confidently entrust her to her ROCK! I shared the Scripture and the message from the Lord with her before she left.  And whenever I emailed Beth or talked to her, I said "Remember your Rock!"

When Beth returned, she told us of a time she ended up at the end of the bus-line and had to "follow the river" alone in the dark to make her way back to her apartment.  She was scared but sensed a Presence...because the ROCK that followed her was Christ.

Let me encourage you, dear moms.. When anxieties arise over your children’s welfare, remind yourself and them that the “Rock that follows them (and you) is the Lord Jesus Christ”. Turn every event on your day’s calendar into a fresh opportunity to depend on your Everlasting Rock.

ALL TO US Chris Tomlin

Precious cornerstone, sure foundation You are faithful to the end We are waiting, on You, Jesus We believe You're all to us

Let the glory of Your name be the passion of the Church Let the righteousness of God be a holy flame that burns Let the saving love of Christ be the measure of our lives We believe You're all to us

Only Son of God sent from Heaven Hope and mercy at the cross You are everything, You're the Promise Jesus, You are all to us

You're all to us You're all to us You're all to us Yes, You are

When this passing world is over We will see You face to face And forever we will worship Jesus, You are all to us

That was for This: Marisa's Story

This is my young, beautiful, godly friend Marisa.   She is a sweet, gentle soul who loves the Lord, His Word, and her family.

I met Marisa in a Moms' Bible study/prayer group I was with several years ago.  And I fell in love with her!

Marisa is a hard-worker.  She has four children ranging in ages from 8 months to 8 years.  Just take a look at her delightful little cherubs:

Don't you just feel like grabbing them right off the screen to hug their adorable little necks?  Yet, as all moms know, those four precious kiddos, especially at those ages, would be a handful for any young mom.  But not only that, Marisa is homeschooling!

Let's just say, she's busy...and, I would image, tired!

Oh, to have a break!

Wait!  It's Saturday night and that means CHURCH! Ah, church, with its peaceful, uplifting hour or two of praise & worship and its nurturing from the Word. Surely, Marisa will have that much needed break as well!

But one such Saturday evening church service, the Holy Spirit had other plans for Marisa.  And she shared it in a comment on a previous blog post.  These are her words:

...I can find myself striving and striving some more to be what I think I should be, but it is ultimately Him in me that brings about any good.

And He is SO good to enable us to act upon the prompters He places upon our hearts.

One Saturday evening I had a distinct urge that I should go volunteer in the church nursery even though I hadn’t signed up for that particular date.

When I told the hall coordinator I could serve she started crying.

Her husband’s unbelieving parents had come to the service that evening and my offer allowed her husband to be free to sit with his parents during the sermon.

Does that amaze you, as it does me?  Here this young mom, who so deserved that much needed break, in a very real sense, died to her own self-interest.  Why would she do that?   In order that life could be offered to someone else.  She may not have even been thinking along those lines.  However, she followed, what I like to call, the Lord's Holy Nudge,* rather than her own self-interests and legitimate need for a time apart from kids.

She found to be true what Paul had written centuries ago,

[We are]...always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:10-12 NASB

Only eternity will tell what "life" might have been birthed as a result of Marisa's responding to the Spirit's Holy Nudge.*

What about you and me, my friend?  Are we following those inner promptings?  They may not be our imagination, but rather the Spirit's call to die to our own convenience, comfort, interests, so that the Lord's life can be birthed in another.

If we do, we can experience, in and through our lives, the outpouring of the indwelling life of Christ:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24 NASB

*More about the Holy Nudge in our next post.

 

The God of my Mothering: the Unchanging God

Beth-Jeremy-e1305634179814-150x150-1
Beth-Jeremy-e1305634179814-150x150-1

Where had the years gone? Our son Jeremy was already married for 3 years and moving on with life.

Our daughter Beth --the "baby" of the family-- had just graduated from UD, gotten married, and moved to Arizona all in one month.  To top it off, our surrogate daughter Michelle, who had lived with us for about 3 years, moved to California a couple days after Beth's wedding.

Scan 9
Scan 9

Here I was with the "Empty Nest."  I guess I had lived as if there would always be young people in my home to spice up life.  Regrets started flooding in:  "I should have relished every moment more consciously."  " I should have enjoyed it more, rather than taking everything so seriously." And on and on with those thoughts that "eat you alive".

To add to all that, my mom was turning 80 and my mother-in-law, 81.  A friend of ours told us that statistically very few of those who enter their 80's live to be 90.  That hit me like a ton of bricks.  Chances are, we would be burying our moms in the next 10 years.  I guess I had taken it for granted that my hero of a mom would only be a phone call away or a day's drive away.

It wasn't that I didn't have other things in my life.  I had a "big" life...teaching ESL class, Bible studies, retreats...

G'ma & Babci 2008
G'ma & Babci 2008

But I was grieving!  Emotionally, I went into a months-long melancholy.

I started to ask myself, "What really endures in this life?"  In my head, I knew the answer, but I needed an answer for my heart.  Everything really important to me was drastically changing, and I guess I hadn't seen it coming!  Or maybe, being as independent and self-starting as I am, I didn't realize that it would be so hard!

Well, God, in His usual amazing way, started answering my questions and meeting me in my struggles.  In my devotions one day, I read:

In ages past You laidthe foundation of the earth,and the heavens are the work of Your hands.Even they will perish, but You remain forever; they will wear out like an old clothing. You will change them like a garment, and they will fade away. But You are always the same; Your years never end. The children of Your people will live in security.Their children's children will thrive in Your presence. Psalm 102:25-28 NLT

So what really endures no matter the changes in life?  The Everlasting GOD and those who belong to Him from generation to generation.

Let me ask you, dear moms,

When the "dust" of your mothering has settled, and you find yourself with "the Empty Nest"... When you start to lose the heroes of the previous generation, and you find yourself nearing the top of the generational ladder... What will stabilize you for the days ahead? To Whom will you turn...Who will never change and will be there for you no matter the changes?

May you find your comfort and stability in our Faithful, Unchanging God. And may you find your purpose in an ever deepening walk with Him.

FAITHFUL ONE Brian Doerksen

Faithful One, so unchanging Ageless One, You’re my Rock of Peace Lord of all, I depend on You I call out to You, again and again I call out to You, again and again

You are my Rock, in times of trouble You lift me up when I fall down All through the storm Your love is the anchor My hope is in You alone


Living as Abba's Child: "darling little children"

Years ago, when a friend had lost her last remaining parent, she said to me, “Now I feel like an orphan!” I’ve thought about her statement over the years and come to realize that we believers usually live like spiritual orphans.  We live as if we don’t have a Father Who tenderly loves and cares for us.  We live as orphans in a scary world.  But His heart is that we would live as His children in union with Him in His Son.

In his first epistle, the apostle John, by then an elder father of the faith, appeals to his readers (and to us) as “little children”.  The Greek word used has the idea of “my darling little children” or “honey” (“Hon’” as I call my little grandsons).  The word is in the diminutive form and so conveys great affection.

Spend some time exploring the seven verses in 1 John where he uses this sweet, affectionate word…keeping in mind that God our Father is speaking these words to you, His darling daughter or His precious son.

What is He saying to you? (Don’t forget to check the context, the surrounding verses, to get the whole message.)

1.  1John 2:1

2.  1John 2:12

3.  1John 2:28

4.  1John 3:7

5.  1John 3:18

6.  1John 4:4

7.  1John 5:21

Now that you’ve listed the Father’s encouragements and exhortations, pray over how they affect you and your relationship with your Abba Father, with His other children, with God’s enemy, and with the world.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Now look again at the second chapter.  In that chapter, the apostle John has special instructions to “little children” at varying stages of spiritual growth.

So within the context of being the Father’s darlings (and complete in Christ, Col 2:9-10) comes the realization that on the human, earthly level, we are at different stages in our walk with the Lord.  John pictures it as different stages of human growth:  babies, young men (teenagers), father (or mothers).  Keep in mind, though, that these are not chronological ages, but rather spiritual stages, no matter the chronological age.

I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. [Jehovah = I AM] I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children. [different Gk word, “a baby, infant”] because you know the Father [“Abba”].

I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. [Jehovah = I AM]. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:13-14

List the characteristic(s) of each stage of growth from these verses:

1.   babes, infants =

2.   young men =

3.   fathers =

While we are on this earth, there will be pitfalls and dangers at every stage of growth.  Read through 1 John again, making note of exhortations that could be particularly helpful to “little children” at each stage of spiritual growth.

1.    Baby Christians

2.    Maturing young Christians:

3.    Fathers/mothers in the faith:

Meditate on this central thought of 1 John.  Thank the Father for loving you and choosing you to be in His family.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:1-3

If you are studying with a group:

1.    What characteristic of a child do you feel you particularly need?  Why?

2.    Read each of the 7 exhortations to the “little children” in 1 John.  Discuss any that jump out at you.

3.    Which stage of spiritual growth do you think you are in?  Does it still help to know that you are a “little honey” to your Abba?

4.    Are there any pitfalls or struggles in your life that you would like to share with your sisters/brothers for prayer? Any exhortations from 1 John that match these?

Pray for each person immediately after sharing.  Invite the Lord into the area of concern.

 

Life to Life...Celebrating Love, Life, & and a Little Boy all Grown Up

Today I'm celebrating "Life to Life" and a precious little boy, all grown up...all by the grace of our sovereign Father God!

Fifteen years ago today, February 13, 1998 (Friday the 13th for those of you who may be superstitious), my beautiful baby boy Jeremy John Loyd was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  OK, he wasn't a baby at the time...he was 20 years old and a sophomore at Grace College.  But as every one of you moms knows, your baby is always your baby.

This was the same son I prayed for, gave birth to, sang hymns to while nursing, taught Scriptures and stories, cried over, laughed with, read to, taught and eventually launched into young adult life.  How could this be happening?!

To say the diagnosis was a shock is an understatement.  It was an incredible shaking...but also a perfect, but painful, opportunity to be "carried by Arms much bigger than our own."  We saw our son, on the brink of adulthood, walk through the trial of his life with grace, courage, and the strength of an Almighty Savior in the midst of his fear.

And oh the prayers that were answered!

  • and of course, many more...thank you to all who prayed!

So today I'm remembering and celebrating LIFE...Jeremy's beautiful, precious, God-honoring LIFE!

For those of you who know our son, you are incredibly blessed!  You know him as a loving, caring, humble, gifted, talented man who is faithful to his God, his wife, his sons, his family, and his friends and colleagues.  Can you imagine life without him?  I can't!

And so my treasured gift of a son, my Jeremy John Loyd,

Today I celebrate your life...and God's incredible mercy! And how I thank God for preserving your life cancer-free these 15 years in addition to your 20! May He give you many more for His honor and glory and for the joy and delight of all who know you!

With love and prayers as long as there's breath,

Your grateful Mom

I love you up to the moon And I love you big as the sky I love to watch you when you sleep I love to hold you when you cry

One day when you're older And taller than me I'll say I watched you grow Like a beautiful tree

I love you up to the moon And I love you big as the sky You'll always be my little man I love you the best that a mama can

And one day if you rise up And call me blessed I'll say it was a joy To give you my best

'Cause I love you up to the moon I love you big as the sky I love you up to the moon I love you up to the moon

Living as Abba’s Child: “darling little children"

Years ago, when a friend had lost her last remaining parent, she said to me, “Now I feel like an orphan!”

I’ve thought about her statement over the years and come to realize that we believers usually live like spiritual orphans.  We live as if we don’t have a Father Who tenderly loves and cares for us.  We live as orphans in a scary world.  But His heart is that we would live as His children in union with Him in His Son.

In his first epistle, the apostle John, by then an elder father of the faith, appeals to his readers (and to us) as “little children”.  The Greek word used has the idea of “my darling little children” or “honey” (“Hon’” as I call my little grandsons).  The word is in the diminutive form and so conveys great affection.

Spend some time exploring the seven verses in 1 John where he uses this sweet, affectionate word…keeping in mind that God our Father is speaking these words to you, His darling daughter or His precious son.

What is He saying to you? (Don’t forget to check the context, the surrounding verses, to get the whole message.)

1.  1John 2:1

2.  1John 2:12

3.  1John 2:28

4.  1John 3:7

5.  1John 3:18

6.  1John 4:4

7.  1John 5:21

Now that you’ve listed the Father’s encouragements and exhortations, pray over how they affect you and your relationship with your Abba Father, with His other children, with God’s enemy, and with the world.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Now look again at the second chapter.  In that chapter, the apostle John has special instructions to “little children” at varying stages of spiritual growth.

So within the context of being the Father’s darlings (and complete in Christ, Col 2:9-10) comes the realization that on the human, earthly level, we are at different stages in our walk with the Lord.  John pictures it as different stages of human growth:  babies, young men (teenagers), father (or mothers).  Keep in mind, though, that these are not chronological ages, but rather spiritual stages, no matter the chronological age.

I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. [Jehovah = I AM] I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children. [different Gk word, “a baby, infant”] because you know the Father [“Abba”].

I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. [Jehovah = I AM]. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:13-14

List the characteristic(s) of each stage of growth from these verses:

1.   babes, infants =

2.   young men =

3.   fathers =

While we are on this earth, there will be pitfalls and dangers at every stage of growth.  Read through 1 John again, making note of exhortations that could be particularly helpful to “little children” at each stage of spiritual growth.

1.    Baby Christians

2.    Maturing young Christians:

3.    Fathers/mothers in the faith:

Meditate on this central thought of 1 John.  Thank the Father for loving you and choosing you to be in His family.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:1-3

If you are studying with a group:

1.    What characteristic of a child do you feel you particularly need?  Why?

2.    Read each of the 7 exhortations to the “little children” in 1 John.  Discuss any that jump out at you.

3.    Which stage of spiritual growth do you think you are in?  Does it still help to know that you are a “little honey” to your Abba?

4.    Are there any pitfalls or struggles in your life that you would like to share with your sisters/brothers for prayer? Any exhortations from 1 John that match these?

Pray for each person immediately after sharing.  Invite the Lord into the area of concern.

[First posted May 12, 2011]

Alone? on Mothers' Day?

There are lots of emptyings in life.  There are deaths and losses of every kind.  There are ends of relationships...ends of jobs...ends of school-years...ends of eras...ends of phases of life.  Some of these are expected.  Some catch us by surprise! This Mother's Day, I think of an emptying that affects all mothers sooner or later...the emptying of the nest!

I know!  This is what we have been preparing our children for, right?...the launch, the flight out of the safety, security, and nurturing of their childhood home... out into the excitement of what God has for them up ahead.   But who ever prepares us moms?

I've always been an independent person. So releasing my children into adulthood...to make their own way...has caught me by surprise.  It has been harder than I ever thought!  In fact, it's been one of the swords that have pierced this mom's heart.

My mind goes back to a Mothers' Day at the very start of the emptying.   The Lord in a unique way comforted this grieving mother's heart.  It was at a time when my children, who were young adults, had just gone through some serious health crises.  So I was drained emotionally.

At that time, there were significant others in the picture.  So the issue of celebrating Mothers' Day became somewhat of a dilemma.  John & I decided to defer to the other mothers and postpone our celebration to the following Sunday.

That should have taken care of it, right?  But to my surprise, being alone on the real Mothers' Day was a grief to me!  I was doing my best not to wallow in my sadness, when the Lord surprised me with three gifts...three delights for a hurting mama's heart!  Three God-winks that most likely would have gone unnoticed had we been celebrating that day.

The first gift was finding old cassette tapes of my babies' voices.  (Keep in mind that in the 1970's early 80's, that was the best you could do to record audio.)  There were tapes of Jeremy and Beth when each of them was just starting to talk.  Others, when they were very young.  One was even labeled "doing school and being obnoxious!"  I listened...I laughed...I cried...as the bitter-sweetness of those precious voices washed over me!

The second sacred wink was catching sight of a mama house finch launching her babies.  Talk about the perfect metaphor at the perfect time!  Here the mama of the little family of house-finches, that had nested in a bush next to our porch, was giving this sorrowing mama a lesson in the circle of life.  I imagined mama finch saying her good-bye's as each left the safety of her nest.  Was she grieving the way I was, or was she more courageous than I?

And last but not least, I just happened to come across a monthly letter from Telling the Truth, a ministry I had begun to follow.  I had tossed it aside to join my stack of others to be read someday.  By God's grace, in that alone time, I picked it up and started reading.  It all came together...

Stuart Briscoe, describing how motherhood changed his wife Jill, wrote:

When the baby was born, I stood by helplessly and watched the transformation that took place in my wife.  Motherhood changed her irrevocably.  As she nursed her child I detected a mysterious gleam in her eyes--a certain glow, a knowing, a secret insight that she shared with the new arrival.  She and he knew something that I didn't know.  I could do nothing more than observe and wonder at the mystery of motherhood.

He went on to say...

It occurs to me that the unique bond between mother and child makes possible an intimate nurturing relationship that men never know for they, by definition, are removed--they stand at a distance from the mother-child phenomenon.  But hard as it can be for the father to make the adjustment to the beloved intruder, there is divine genius in the arrangement.

For the day comes---all too soon--when the child must spread his wings and take flight from the nest.  Guess who struggles at this point?  The mother, of course!  Releasing and relinquishing are not mother gifts.

Guess who knows how to handle distance?  The father, naturally.  So as the wise mother has steered the puzzled father through the mysteries of nurturing, so the wise father now steps forward to guide the fearful mother through the anxieties of relinquishment.

And the child receives what he needs -- a healthy balance of mother nurture and father freedom... (Stuart Briscoe, Telling the Truth newsletter, May 1999)

What a comfort these words were.  Having never gone through this phase of life before, I was struggling.  And as hard as it was and would continue to be for some time, I had to realize in my experience that it is God's way to move my children into responsible adulthood.  It's their turn to step up to the plate of life and fulfill the will of God in their generation.

Emptyings are never easy...

But God's intent in the emptyings is never to leave us void.  He wants to fill us with a greater capacity for Himself...to fill us with a greater experience of WHO HE IS in every phase of life.

So dear mama-sister, if you are going through THE emptying of all emptyings (or so it seems at the time), open your eyes...there may be God-winks all around you, visitations from your Abba-Father to comfort a relinquishing mama's heart.

My Mother...My Hero

mommy & me
mommy & me

Mothers are awesome creatures.  They are the lovely reflections of our Father God's unconditional, sacrificial, faithful LOVE!  Moms are the true HEROS of life, or should I say, HEROINES! My mother, Jeanette Galuszka Renner, is MY hero!

A few years ago, I wrote a letter to honor my "Mommy" as she turned 85.  We published mine, along with others from her children, grandchildren, and other relatives, in a book to honor this amazing lady.

I'm posting my letter to thank God again for the gracious gift of my MOM, my HERO ...and to encourage YOU to give thanks to the Maker of Mothers...for YOUR mother!

letter writing
letter writing

Also, don't wait to eulogize your mom.  If you are blessed to still have her in your life, tell her!  Better yet, prayerfully and thoughtfully write her a letter.  Don't assume she knows how wonderful and important she is...put it in print! (I think there's something sacred about the written word!)

Summer 2009

Dearest Mom,

Someone once asked me, “Who was the person who influenced you the most?”  Without hesitation I answered, “My mother!”  You, dear Mommy, more than any other human being, have profoundly impacted who I am and how I live my life.  I will be forever grateful to God and to you for your sacrificial love, your teaching, and your example.

young jeanette
young jeanette

There was never a question in my mind that you loved me unconditionally and with great sacrifice.  You were always on my side and helped me with school work, projects, etc. even though you had the others to take care of too.  I remember how skinny and tired you always were, forgetting to even to eat lunch (amazing to me as a child!) because of your constant care for all of us. You would always make sure we had what we needed and often even stayed up late sewing to make clothes and costumes for us.  I remember wondering how you could be happy never getting anything new for yourself.  Now I know that your happiness was in giving to your family.

mom & dad, young
mom & dad, young

I also remember your teaching.  You taught me to write my name in cursive before I went to school – something I took pride in!  You taught me to crochet, which gives me great pleasure even today.  I know you drilled school work with me and really wanted me to do well.

But most of all, I remember you taught me about God.  I have memories of us sitting together on the couch in our living room in Tucson, looking at the big family Bible together.  There were some pictures in it, so you told me about those Bible stories.  I remember that you often quoted a verse from the Bible that I have never forgotten:  “Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1Corinthians 2:9)

You gave me a view of God and His ways that has remained at the center of my life to this day.  You instilled in me that the most important thing in life is to do the will of God.  I heartily agree!

mommy & me
mommy & me

But you not only taught me about God and His ways and about life in general.  You showed me and my brothers and sisters what it is to live out faithfulness to God and your family by your example.  You didn’t have an easy life…there were heartaches, difficulties, and struggles.  You have often doubted yourself, but you have never doubted God and your love for your family.  You have always set us a good example of devotion to God through prayer, giving, and attendance at church.  And you have always been loyal, loving, and generous to all of us, your children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren.

It is a great pleasure to honor you today at this celebration of your 85th birthday!  The Bible says that a woman like you is a treasure to find.  I consider you among the greatest treasures of my life, and I do truly “rise up and call you blessed!”  (Proverbs 31:28)  You are my hero!

My love always

Janet Gale

mother of 7
mother of 7
great-g'ma of 4+
great-g'ma of 4+
grandmother of 12+
grandmother of 12+

++++++++++

I cry every time I hear this song...always thinking of my mom!  My niece Noelle sang it to my mom at her celebration. Listen and think of your mom...

Wind Beneath My Wings

It must have been cold there in my shadow To never have sunlight on your face You were content to let me shine, that's your way You always walked a step behind

So I was the one with all the glory While you were the one with all the strength A beautiful face without a name for so long A beautiful smile to hide the pain

Did you ever know that you're my hero And everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle For you are the wind beneath my wings

It might have appeared to go unnoticed But I've got it all here in my heart I want you to know, I know the truth, of course I know it I would be nothing without you

Did you ever know that you're my hero? You're everything I wish I could be I could fly higher than an eagle For you are the wind beneath my wings

Did I ever tell you you're my hero? You're everything, everything I wish I could be Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle For you are the wind beneath my wings 'Cause you are the wind beneath my wings

Oh, the wind beneath my wings You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings Fly, fly, fly away, you let me fly so high Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings

Fly, fly, so high against the sky So high I almost touch the sky Thank you, thank youThank God for you, the wind beneath my wings


1000 Moms Project

Abba's Little Girls

Jan Youth07
Jan Youth07

Motherhood is a Sisterhood...unrivaled by any other (except perhaps, Grandmother-hood). So if you are a mom, you are my beloved sister...

And sometimes we mama-sisters just need to be daughters...Abba's (Hebrew for Daddy) little girls.

So this Mothers' Day, let us hear these restful words of promise from our Abba:

1.  Open wide...and be filled...

I am the Lord your God...Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.  Psalm 81:10

open your mouth wide ps 81:10
open your mouth wide ps 81:10

2.  Dwell in Him...and find refuge...

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty... He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge...  Psalm 91:4

Psalm 91:4  Under His Wings
Psalm 91:4 Under His Wings

3. Lift up your eyes...and receive help...

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2

mountains
mountains

This Mother's Day...

may you open your heart wide to befilled with Him and His provision!  (Psalm 81)

may you dwell in Him and find refuge and protection from all dangers under Abba's wings! (Psalm 91)

may you lift up the eyes of your heart to your sovereign Creator Abba God for the help you need -- strength, safety, and stability! (Psalm 121)

Yes, even we mamas still need to be Abba's Little Girls :)

Total PraiseLord I will life my eyes to the hills Knowing my help is coming from You Your peace you give me In time of the storm You are the source of my strength You are the strength of my life I lift my hands in total praise to you Lord, I will lift my eyes to the hills Knowing my help is coming from You Your peace you give me In times of the storm You are the source of my strength You are the strength of my life I lift my hands in total praise to you Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

cild reading bible
cild reading bible

Psalm 121 is very memorize-able.

When my kids were very young we used to take car trips to New Jersey to visit my family.  It was a l-o-n-g drive, so one year we memorized Psalm 121 together as we rode along. To this day, I have fond memories and sweet emotions whenever I read or hear that comforting psalm.

Why not spend a little time this Mothers Day memorizing Psalm 121 together.  Bask in the care and protection of your Abba Father!

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  Deut 6:4-8

You may also like to visit some other Mama stories 

...especially Open Letter to a New Mom

Beth with Kaden 2006
Beth with Kaden 2006
Evan Arrives 002
Evan Arrives 002
Cortney with Carter 2008
Cortney with Carter 2008
Beth and Eli at birth
Beth and Eli at birth
John at playground in Metafe 138_5764
John at playground in Metafe 138_5764

You might also like to read Children Incognito

LIVING from a Reservoir

my men
my men

You cannot impart what you do not possess!This was a favorite saying of Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary.

John & I had the privilege of sitting under Dr. Hendricks' teaching in the 1980's at DTS. No matter the class, whether it was "Bible Study Methods" or the "Christian Home," this profound little truth would punctuate the "Prof's" lectures.

In my last post, we talked about Teaching from a Reservoir.  If Dr. Hendricks' statement is true, then teaching (or whatever we are doing) from a reservoir presupposes LIVING FROM THE RESERVOIR -- the reservoir of truth in relationship with Him who is the TRUTH.

roosevelt dam overflow
roosevelt dam overflow

So in a very real sense, whether it's parenting, teaching, "friending," "neighboring," working, ministering to others in a physical, emotional, or spiritual sense...you can NOT impart what you do NOT possess. And you cannot possess anything of real, spiritual value unless it is received from the Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).

When I was teaching preschool at Xenia Christian in the late 1990's, one of the perks I loved was Teacher Devotions.  I'll never forget the verse that a colleague shared one morning before class:

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue [tongue of a learner], to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Is 50:4 NIV

It's so easy to give out and give out and give out again...only to find ourselves running on empty.  I think especially of moms...talk about pouring yourself out for others!

How do we have what we need for whatever comes our way? Our usual way is to try to figure out what to say and do...or go get advice from a friend or expert, instead of going to Him who has the words of life (John 6:68-69).

While meditating on Is 50:4 one day, the Lord gave me a practical way to apply this truth to my life. It's by remembering 3 W"s -- Waiting, Weaving, and Working:

WAITING on the LORD. The verse begins with theSovereign LORD being the Giver.  That means that we are the receivers! So waiting on Him is key...rather than running around frantically to every other "source". And He has a tremendous promise for those of us who wait on Him:He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

WEAVING the LORD and His WORD throughout our day. It starts out morning by morning -- listening to Him. We awaken with thoughts of Him, giving up the day to His care. It ends with thanksgiving and trust for what came our way that day. In between, there can be short, sentence prayers...practicing the presence of Christ through out the day by conversing with Him, our best Friend -- listening and even journaling as we go through our day.

One of my fictitious heroes of all time is Tevye, the father in the film The Fiddler on the Roof.  The reason I love him so much is because of his relationship with God portrayed in that film.  He so easily talks with God -- being very real with Him about his frustrations and desires, truly weaving Him throughout his day.

The classic Tevye is especially seen in his dialog and song "If I Were a Rich Man."  There's a little section of that charming song where Tevye reveals to the Lord that the sweetest thing about being rich would be:

If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack To sit in the synagogue and pray. And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall. And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day. That would be the sweetest thing of all.

Tevye longs for the Word of God in ever growing depths.  Is that our desire too?  As with Tevye, it may be difficult for the longer times of devotion and Bible study, though it's well worth the effort to make that a high priority.   But what about also leaving the open Bible on the counter-top, desk, end table...grabbing snippets of the Word during those "open spaces" in the day?  Playing Christian music (instrumental and otherwise) and Bible teaching in the car, at home, in the classroom, at the gym, on walks/runs could permeate our days with peace and richness that come from thoughts of our Lord.

I love this verse: Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10 "Lord, I'm opening my mouth and my ears, fill them as You promised."

WORKING by HIS strength, wisdom, and insight Then with the instructed tongue, the tongue of a learner, we will have the words to sustain the weary oneswhether in the home, the classroom, the neighborhood, the workplace, the grocery store, on the telephone, on facebook -- wherever God may place us that day. This will be true because it won't be us, but HIM through us -- as us, His students/disciples living from the Reservoir of the Word in relationship with the Living WORD!

Oswald Chambers, in his classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest (September 2) speaks to this point:

He that believeth in Me . . out of him shall flow... .John 7:38

Jesus did not say - "he that believeth in Me shall realize the blessing of the fulness of God," but - "he that believeth in Me out of him shall escape everything he receives." Our Lord's teaching is always anti -self-realization. His purpose is not the development of a man; His purpose is to make a man exactly like Himself, and the characteristic of the Son of God is self-expenditure. If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain, but what He pours through us that counts. It is not that God makes us beautifully rounded grapes, but that He squeezes the sweetness out of us. Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.

When Mary of Bethany broke the box of precious ointment and poured it on Jesus' head, it was an act for which no one else saw any occasion; the disciples said it was a waste. But Jesus commended Mary for her extravagant act of devotion, and said that wherever His gospel was preached "this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." Our Lord is carried beyond Himself with joy when He sees any of us doing what Mary did, not being set on this or that economy, but being abandoned to Him. God spilt the life of His Son that the world might be saved; are we prepared to spill out our lives for Him?

"He that believeth in Me out of him shall flow rivers of living water" - hundreds of other lives will be continually refreshed. It is time now to break the life, to cease craving for satisfaction, and to spill the thing out. Our Lord is asking who of us will do it for Him?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:16-17

For further study look at Luke 6:39-49.  List everything the Holy Spirit "highlights to your heart" about teaching and being a "learner" (disciple).


The God of My Mothering: the ROCK I Can Trust

The wise woman builds her house; But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

Jesus liked to teach in "parables":  stories/metaphors that teach a lesson.  One of my favorites is found at the end of the famous "Sermon on the Mount".  Read it in Jesus' own words:

Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man [woman] building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the ROCK. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man [woman] who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great. Luke 6:47-49

What does that mean for us moms who are "building our houses" as we raise our children...and as we launch them into adult life?  WHO is the ROCK that Jesus is talking about?

Throughout the Old Testament, God is called a ROCK:

Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock. Isaiah 26: 4

Jesus, the Son of God, names Himself as the ROCK.

When Peter made his famous profession of faith, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus replied, “You are Peter (little stone), and upon this ROCK (large rock, bed-rock) I will build my church.” Matthew 16:16-18

Paul confirms this in his letter to the Corinthians:

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3: 10-15

Now the very practical question:  What does it mean as a mom to build upon the Rock that is Christ?

Of course, knowing, living, and then teaching our children the Word of God and God's way of salvation is paramount.  But in 2003, I experienced, in what was to me a very dramatic way, what it means to build upon the ROCK that is Christ.

Our daughter Beth was a junior at University of Dayton, majoring in Art History.  She was taking an archaeology class at the time.  Beth came home one day and said that the professor had invited her, based on some research work she had done in that class, to join a group of college students from the around the country. They would be going on an archaeological dig in Sicily during the summer to the exact site that she had researched.

Needless to say, it freaked me out!  To go that far away, with no one I know...probably no mature Christians, etc, etc!  But I had been learning  through some serious health crises (Jeremy's cancer, Beth's benign tumors, etc) to entrust my children totally to the Lord.  So Beth put in for a grant to fund the trip (because we told her we could give her a wedding or a trip to Sicily:), and we prayed for God's will.  I knew I couldn't stand in the way of God's will for her life.

Well guess what?  Not only did she get the grant, but UD offered her more money than what she applied for.  Now what college ever does that?  To me, it was a confirmation that the Lord was in this no matter how nervous I was about it.

In the meantime, I had been teaching through the Hebrew Names of God.  A cross-reference had captured my imagination.  Writing of the Israelites traveling through the wilderness in the book of Exodus, Paul says,

…our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the Rock was Christ! 1 Corinthians 10: 1-4

What did that mean...the Rock that followed them was Christ?  I would soon find out.

Back to Beth...she was going.  I was praying and trusting.  At our kinship days before her departure, we worshiped the Lord and sang the beautiful song Faithful One.  The lyrics grabbed me:

Faithful One, so unchanging Ageless One, You’re my Rock of Peace Lord of all, I depend on You I call out to You, again and again I call out to You, again and again

You are my Rock, in times of trouble You lift me up when I fall down All through the storm Your love is the anchor My hope is in You alone

The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: "I will be the ROCK that follows Beth from Columbus to NYC to Rome to Sicily, all around Sicily and wherever she travels, back to Rome, to NYC, to Columbus, and safely home again.

I had perfect peace!  We took her to the Columbus airport and I could freely and confidently entrust her to her ROCK! I shared the Scripture and the message from the Lord with her before she left.  And whenever I emailed Beth or talked to her, I said "Remember your Rock!"

When Beth returned, she told us of a time she ended up at the end of the bus-line and had to "follow the river" alone in the dark to make her way back to her apartment.  She was scared but sensed a Presence...because the ROCK that followed her was Christ.

Let me encourage you, dear moms.. When anxieties arise over your children’s welfare, remind yourself and them that the “Rock that follows them (and you) is the Lord Jesus Christ”. Turn every event on your day’s calendar into a fresh opportunity to depend on your Everlasting Rock.

ALL TO US Chris Tomlin

Precious cornerstone, sure foundation You are faithful to the end We are waiting, on You, Jesus We believe You're all to us

Let the glory of Your name be the passion of the Church Let the righteousness of God be a holy flame that burns Let the saving love of Christ be the measure of our lives We believe You're all to us

Only Son of God sent from Heaven Hope and mercy at the cross You are everything, You're the Promise Jesus, You are all to us

You're all to us You're all to us You're all to us Yes, You are

When this passing world is over We will see You face to face And forever we will worship Jesus, You are all to us

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoXPhuDVp4U[/youtube]

The God of My Mothering: the Unchanging GOD

Where had the years gone?

Our son Jeremy was already married for 3 years and moving on with life.

Our daughter Beth --the "baby" of the family-- had just graduated from UD, gotten married, and moved to Arizona all in one month.  To top it off, our surrogate daughter Michelle, who had lived with us for about 3 years, moved to California a couple days after Beth's wedding.

Here I was with the "Empty Nest."  I guess I had lived as if there would always be young people in my home to spice up life.  Regrets started flooding in:  "I should have relished every moment more consciously."  " I should have enjoyed it more, rather than taking everything so seriously." And on and on with those thoughts that "eat you alive".

To add to all that, my mom was turning 80 and my mother-in-law, 81.  A friend of ours told us that statistically very few of those who enter their 80's live to be 90.  That hit me like a ton of bricks.  Chances are, we would be burying our moms in the next 10 years.  I guess I had taken it for granted that my hero of a mom would only be a phone call away or a day's drive away.

It wasn't that I didn't have other things in my life.  I had a "big" life...teaching ESL class, Bible studies, retreats...

But I was grieving!  Emotionally, I went into a months-long melancholy.

I started to ask myself, "What really endures in this life?"  In my head, I knew the answer, but I needed an answer for my heart.  Everything really important to me was drastically changing, and I guess I hadn't seen it coming!  Or maybe, being as independent and self-starting as I am, I didn't realize that it would be so hard!

Well, God, in His usual amazing way, started answering my questions and meeting me in my struggles.  In my devotions one day, I read:

In ages past You laid  the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You remain forever; they will wear out like an old clothing. You will change them like a garment, and they will fade away. But You are always the same; Your years never end. The children of Your people will live in security. Their children's children will thrive in Your presence. Psalm 102:25-28 NLT

So what really endures no matter the changes in life?  The Everlasting GOD and those who belong to Him from generation to generation.

Let me ask you, dear moms,

When the "dust" of your mothering has settled, and you find yourself with "the Empty Nest"... When you start to lose the heroes of the previous generation, and you find yourself nearing the top of the generational ladder... What will stabilize you for the days ahead? To Whom will you turn...Who will never change and will be there for you no matter the changes?

May you find your comfort and stability in our Faithful, Unchanging God. And may you find your purpose in an ever deepening walk with Him.

FAITHFUL ONE Brian Doerksen

Faithful One, so unchanging Ageless One, You’re my Rock of Peace Lord of all, I depend on You I call out to You, again and again I call out to You, again and again

You are my Rock, in times of trouble You lift me up when I fall down All through the storm Your love is the anchor My hope is in You alone

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecmDytp3nNw[/youtube]