Friday, February 22, 2013

Observations of a Mother-In-Law

One of the passages of empty nesting is becoming the infamous "mother-in-law."

My older son, Ryan, married Joanna eight and a half years ago. Joanna and I had to get to know each other -- to learn to trust, to appreciate each other's strengths and to be respectful. Joanna is wonderful. She complements Ryan beautifully, and she is an integral part of our family.

Our younger son, Austin, has recently proposed to his long-time girlfriend, Kim. They will marry in September. It's been such a delight to watch as they make plans for their future. I'm happy to build a relationship with the young lady my son loves.

The way I see it, being a mother-in-law is a grand opportunity to be an example of love, acceptance and care. Instead of dwelling on the emptiness of my nest, I can rejoice in our growing family.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Savor the moments!

As a young mother, I was often encouraged to enjoy the child-raising years. More often than not, my internal voice would say, "Don't you think I want to do that?! I'm trying ... But I'm just so tired. I can't keep up enough to reflect on the 'joys' of parenthood."

I now understand what those well-meaning friends wanted me to know. They were offering a nugget of wisdom -- one day, you'll miss the bustling activity of toddlers hanging on your ankles, the thousands of questions posed by an inquisitive five year old and the rigors of carpooling children to karate or ballet or piano lessons. These are the things memories are made of. Deposit them in your heart and mind. Someday, you're going to want to re-live those hectic days. Believe it or not, you will miss it!

Well, I do miss it. Gratefully, God has preserved many of those delightful (and challenging) mothering episodes in my memory bank. That has prompted me to keep a journal of some of those memories.

For example, I recall one day when the children were helping their dad with yard work. They were given the chore of pulling weeds in the terraced area of our backyard. All was quiet -- too quiet. In their 'diligence,' their weed pulling had resulted in pulling up all my beautiful irises. At the time, I was steamed! Looking back, I find it comical and that their actions didn't warrant the reaction I had. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of the "iris incident." I love that I can have eyes to see that my children were trying to obey. They didn't pull up my flowers to hurt me. Quite the opposite -- they were wanting to please us.

God is teaching me through my walk down memory lane. How often have I tried to obey my Heavenly Father only to fall short? Yet, His response to me is forgiveness and compassion.

These memories and lessons from God comfort me when I'm missing the "good old days."

Friday, February 1, 2013

Something’s Got to Give!

Hello, friends. It’s been quite a while since I’ve written for my “At a Crossroads” blog. As you all know, life holds some surprises and roadblocks along the course, and you begin to feel that something has to give. Of course, when those surprises and roadblocks present themselves, there are also opportunities for learning and growth.

One of the themes that keeps cropping up is that dependence on God is critical for my daily living. When the load seems too heavy or the responsibility too great, God is my refuge. When I’m discouraged or worried, God provides peace. When my joy is lagging, God meets me where I am and shows me His goodness. Hmm, it all seems too simple . . .

The real issue here for me is that I get in the way. I think I can do whatever needs to be done in my own strength. How could I be so arrogant? How do I get past my own stubborn pride? I’m learning (relearning, actually) that coming to God in humble confession and releasing my ironclad grip on my destiny bring me to my knees. Oh, that I would remember the lesson that “when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10b)

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:28-29)