Monday, May 29, 2006

Love is an Action

Today I vacuumed my bedroom and bathroom. Unfortunately, our bathroom floor has carpet (nasty carpet, too – but it will soon be going! J). Now, I seem to have a mental block to vacuuming those two room, so it can build up sometimes. But my husband really likes to have the floors looking nice, so I decided that, for him, I would try to keep them clean.

As I began vacuuming today, it occurred to me that perhaps love is an action verb, rather than a noun. We had always been taught at school that love is a noun – a thing that cannot be seen or felt, but a noun nonetheless. But it seems to me that the expression of love is one of the most important things in a relationship. To my husband, a clean floor is an expression of love. And so, to be a blessing to him, I did my best to vacuum our floor all nice and neat.

Many people think that love is a feeling. I used to think so myself. When I was young (younger??), I felt the goose-pimple rush of blushing infatuation just thinking about my dear hubby. Evenutally, however, that teeny-bopper feeling grew into a deeper commitment to respect, love, and be a blessing to him. I learned that love is not merely a feeling. Love is an action based on a decision. I decided, years ago, that I would love my husband. And these 22+ years, I have been expressing that love in a myriad of different ways, showing him that I love him. I sometimes have those gushy feelings of infatuation, but I have decided that I will love him with or without feelings through various loving actions. These little expressions of love keep our marriage going these many years.

Love is putting lego arms on tiny little lego bodies for my daughter. Love is getting up and making breakfast when I don’t feel like it. Love is trying to keep a clutter-free home so we can all enjoy it. Love is serving a cup of iced tea on a ninety degree day. Love is making a mess decorating Christmas cookies, even though I hate voluntarily making messes. And love is being willing to let your sweet daughter go, to be the wife of a godly young man and make a home for them both.

Love is serving. Love is selflessness. Love is sacrifice.

Love is an action.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Joys of Soulwinning

In our town near Fort Hood, the city hosts an annual Festival which draws crowds of close to 120,000 each year. This is quite a leap from our normal population of about 40,000! Folks come from all over central Texas to enjoy the heat, the booths, the rides, and everything. Our church here has had a booth set up at the festival for the past few years. But not a booth to sell anything, and not a church booth - a soulwinning booth! At the booth there is a display which asks folks questions about God, the final question being something like, "Did you know that God can't let a person into heaven unless they have been born again?" From there, the onlooker has the opportunity to learn how to be born again, and if they want to, they can go talk to someone who can explain what being born again means, and how, according to the Bible, we are born again.

Last night was my opportunity to "woman" the booth, while my oldest daughter stayed at home with the children. (I couldn't "man" the booth, could I?) It was quite a blessing for me to take the time to pass out some smilie booklets (with the gospel in them), and then to talk to several groups of people about the Lord. I even had the wonderful opportunity to lead a young lady to Christ! This was such a blessing to me!

But even more wonderfully, each of my three oldest children have had the opportunity to present the gospel to many people. Some folks have even trusted Christ as their Saviour through their witness! This is truly exciting for me. After all, isn't that what the Lord left us here to do? Isn't that what life is all about? What a wonderful thing to be able to point others to the Saviour! And I am blessed that it has been quite a boost to my young folks, as well.

They are on their way home right now - I can't wait to hear the stories tonight!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Mother-Daughter Relationship

Ah, blessed springtime! The time of new growth – new leaves, new flowers, and baby chicks. I love spring, almost as much as I love fall. I love to grow things, whether it is a plant, a tree, or a baby chick. Or even just a baby!

With Mother’s Day here, I’ve been thinking lately about the relationship between mothers and daughters. I enjoy a wonderful relationship with my oldest daughter, as well as each of the younger ones, and I know it is a growing process. This growth does not happen overnight, nor does it happen without some work on my part, but the harvest is tremendous!

One of the most vital things in developing good relationships with our daughters is a vision! Having a vision for a good relationship with your daughter is vitally important to passing our faith onto the next generation.

Deut 6:2 says, “That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all His statures and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.” I think this applies to daughters as well. After all, who will be raising your grandchildren?

(Psalm 78: 4, 7) “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength, and His wonderful workds that HE hath done…That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments”

Catch a vision for what the Lord can do through you! You have the incredible opportunity to impact the next generation for Christ. Then, through them, we can reach the world! This is a very big vision, but it begins at home, one heart at a time.

It is so important to have a multi-generational vision. This is the eye that looks beyond ourselves and our own desires and needs, even beyond our own families and church, and looks deep into eternity. Think about some of the great mothers in Scripture:

Jochabed, Moses mother was nursing a future prophet of God, called the meekest man on earth

Hannah, the mother of Samuel, changed diapers of the man of God of whom it was said that “God did let none of his words fall to the ground”

Ruth, the mother of Obed, grandmother to David, held in her arms the one who would be father to the great king of Israel, called the “man after God’s own heart”

Who were the mothers of these godly mothers? We are not told who they were, but we know from the lives of these ladies that they must have been godly women! Think about it for a minute - Who knows whose diaper we are changing? Who knows whose dinners we are making or whose messes we are cleaning up? We may be raising a great man of God, or the mother of someone who will greatly impact our world. How vastly important this business of training and loving children is!

It is this very vision, an eternal vision, which will enable you to look beyond the drudgery of the day-to-day tasks and see the working of God in your family. It is this vision that will help you do whatever it takes to grow a good relationship with your daughter.

Ask the Lord to help you be an agent of His eternal will! He desires to use you to guide His daughters in the right path!

Have a Happy Mother’s Day, and enjoy your daughters and all your children!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Communication in The Techno-age

In this techno-age when all you have to do is pull a cell-phone out of your pocket, whip off an e-mail, or hop into your vehicle to pay a visit, why is it that we talk less and less to each other?

Back in the “old days,” before people began going around in cars, it would be the typical thing for people to head out for a Sunday drive with the horse and buggy to go visit some neighbors or relatives. With the work for the week being done, they would spend hours sitting on the front porch talking, laughing, and telling stories while the kids would play. Evening would come, and with it, chore time, so the family would gather back into the buggy for the ride back home. These weekly excursions were a treasured time, a memory not soon forgotten.

And much transpired during those times. Binding a family together, those old stories were told and retold, sometimes losing their shape, but always getting more interesting. The kids learned about how Grandpa was out hunting and his friend accidentally shot his foot (hunter safety), or how Grandma thought that painting an ice-box white would turn it into a refrigerator (childish thinking can get you in trouble.) More than anything, they learned that their parents were kids at one time, making mistakes and learning about life, just like they were. Those wonderful times of communication were a way of transferring values, beliefs, and philosophies about life.

But times have changed. Though we have become a faster, sleeker society, with tools for communication all around us, we rarely develop those close relationships which breed wonderful memories. Not even with those of our own household! Though we have so many useful appliances to help us get our work done faster, we no longer have those blocks of time of several hours to just sit around and enjoy being with someone. Something is missing in our relationships. Is it really that we have very little time, or is it simply a matter of focus?

What a wonderful thing it is to know that you are known, and better yet, to know that you are also loved, even though you are known. That’s what friendships are! But, oh, it is so much better to have those blessed friendships with those of your own family! Not only do we share the same genes, the same family history, and the same background, but we also share the same home, and I can be with them all the time! It is the hunger to develop those close relationships among family members that will drive you to take the time necessary.

With all the techno-inventions screaming for our attention, it would be highly difficult to turn from them and take time to be with the family. But that is what we must do, if we are to build close relationships! So, take the time – turn off the tube, walk away from the computer, and leave your cell phone at home. Go to some quiet place with your family, look them in the eyes, and begin the blessed journey of communication. Talk, laugh, tell jokes! And most of all, love them, and tell them so.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

The Importance of Communication

My husband likes to take me out to lunch once a week, if possible, so today he took me to a great buffet in town. We had such a nice time, talking, laughing, reminiscing, and just being together.

The Lord has blessed us with a sweet daughter who will be getting married in a month and a half, and, since I have a great desire to be able to call her when she disappears to far-off Michigan, and our current phone contract is up, we decided to go to another cellular phone place and change carriers. This phone service will allow me to call her mobile to mobile for free – unlimited talk time. And, I also was able to get a camera phone – which means that when the Lord begins blessing us with grandchildren, I’ll be able to see them!

All this is relatively expensive, but communication is so important, I am ready and willing to pay the price! What relationship can survive without healthy, loving communication?

We need to do whatever is in our power to communicate to our families. They need to know we love them! Hopefully I will be writing on this more later, but suffice it to say, they need focused, real, and consistent expressions of love. May the Lord help us to that end!

Friday, May 5, 2006

Bridal Shower

Though it almost made it to being a surprise, Kathryn found out about the Bridal Shower just a few minutes before arriving at the church where it was hosted. Ah, the "blessings" of younger siblings! She was, however, very pleased, and I think was still somewhat surprized.

We had a great time. There was food, a beautiful two-tiered cake, a fountain with lights, and of course all the decorations. Presents were everywhere! Such kind people the Lord has blessed us to know.

The devotional Mrs. Harvey gave this evening was such a blessing, also. She spoke simply, from the heart, and also from much experience. She is the kind of godly older woman that we all can look up to and learn much from.

I have heard of Bridal Showers of worldly people who have had wicked games, ungodly discussions, and gifts shown before all that are only meant to be seen in private. It is refreshing to be in a Bridal Shower where lewd things are not brazenly discussed.

The purity and sanctity of marriage is at stake when we take the wonderful and precious things of marraige and treat them as base, lewd things. There can be no room for compromise in these areas in the life of a godly Christian, for to do so would cheapen our own relationships. I am thankful that my daughter and her fiance recognize the dangers in flirting with worldly atitudes.

Long live the godly home and the pure marriage!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

I had the wonderful problem today of having little ones almost constantly underfoot. My husband was at work, and each of the older children were busy with things that kept them out of the house most of the day, so it was me and my 3 little ones at home. I taught Lydia and Johanna their math lessons (2nd and 1rst grade), made lunch(with their help), and, while Jason took his nap, the girls did their phonics, and reading. Then, after Jason woke up, it was time to start dinner, and they all helped me cut up the melon, etc.

It seems to me that many mothers with large families tend to ignore the little ones. The commotion caused by a family with a lot of children of many ages sends some mothers into a tailspin, and they sit in their seat, holding their heads and saying, "Don't bother me now, I'm trying to get something done. Go play." And there IS so much to do! I find myself going from the time my feet touch the floor in the morning to the time I pull them back under the sheets at night.

I was taught long ago from my mother that if you tend to a child's needs when they need met, then you will have a contented child, and I have found it to be true. Each of my children have needs throughout the day - from the 2 year-old to the 20year old - that need met, and can only be met by me! Sometimes I feel that there is not enough ME to go around! But the Lord is faithful, who will not put on us more than we can bear. If He has given us these children to love and take care of, He will give us the strenth to do the job!

I have been reading about those who have their little ones with them while they work, garden, cook, clean, etc., and how that binds the hearts of mothers and children together. So I've been trying it with my yong children. I want them to learn to enjoy work, and to know how to do things around the house. It serves two purposes: they learn how to work, and they get to be with me! They LOVE it! (And that's an understatement!)

Even when the big ones are grown, the little ones still need that time with Mom. Though it is very difficult, I want to do my best to meet that need. So far, my little ones are happy, contented, and learning!