TBT: The Emptying of Motherhood

TBT: The Emptying of Motherhood

Motherhood is filled with emptyings -- from the emptying of the womb in childbirth to the emptying of self in child-raising to the emptying of the nest, the ultimate goal. The stripping is hard, every step along the way.

And eventually, it may mean being alone on the day when moms have always been lauded and honored. This happened to me early on in the empty-nesting process. It could have shattered me were it not for my Abba Father's loving gifts to this hurting mama. 

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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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The Emptying of Motherhood

The Emptying of Motherhood

Motherhood is filled with emptyings -- from the emptying of the womb in childbirth to the emptying of self in child-raising to the emptying of the nest, the ultimate goal. The stripping is hard, every step along the way.

And eventually, it may mean being alone on the day when moms have always been lauded and honored. This happened to me early on in the empty-nesting process. It could have shattered me were it not for my Abba Father's loving gifts to this hurting mama. 

Read More

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

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


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

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]

An Open Letter to a New Mom

HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY, dear New Mom!

Welcome to 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 & Old Experienced Moms of every generation