I love the saying, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." As a parent, the only other alternative is getting cranky when things don't turn out as planned--and who wants that?!
Yesterday I had an opportunity to make some lemonade. A friend was visiting, and I thought it would be fun to take Gayle, my grandma and the kids up to our local ski park where they give gondola rides off season. Unfortunately, we were off season for that! We looked around the view from the ski park, and then I tried to come up with something to do with a van load of people.
We ended up going to Norms News (an adorable soda fountain for lunch) but before that we stopped at Whitefish Beach. We piled out with our cameras and had a fun time posing for pictures. Some of them actually turned out pretty good. (A photography field trip that I hadn't planned!)
And, gee, I might even use some of these on our Christmas cards. I especially love the one with my grandma and her great-granddaughter. Isn't it adorable?
This morning in the shower I was thinking about what I wanted to say to all of you. And I mean it from my heart.
Today, my friend, I give you a gold star. You deserve one, you know. You have a heart toward being the best parent you can. You love those kids . . . even when they act so unlovable. You give your time, your energy, your heart and often don't get much in return. I take that back. You get a lot . . . a lot of laundry, a lot of messes to pick up, a lot of frustration, I know.
You get a gold star because you desire for your children to know God. Not just know about Him, but truly connect with God's heart. You're not perfect, no one is. But you're willing to take a hard look at your mistakes and try again. You take your weaknesses before God and seek His strength.
Parenting is harder than you thought, but much more rewarding too. You love it, yet (if you're like me) you're also thinking ahead to a time when things will be easier. (Please, Lord!)
You get a gold star, my friend. Imagine it smack in the middle of your forhead. And the best thing is that you not only have my applause, you have God's too. In fact, you get two gold stars . . . because He's also placing one on your heart, that only He can see.
Gen X Issues
There is a great article about Gen X Parents that my friend, Cara, emailed to me. Check it out here.USA Today: Round and round they go.
Here is a section about Gen X Parents:Gen-Xers may have been among the large numbers of latchkey children, whose mothers worked. They want a stable family and a balanced life with more hands-on help from dads. Also, they're somewhat wary of technology because they didn't grow up with it, experts say.
"Liat Baranoff of Menlo Park, Calif., and her attorney husband, Jeremy Burns, are both 31. Baranoff works four days a week teaching middle school science. Burns tries to stay involved with the parenting of their 19-month-old son, she says.
"He refuses to work more than a 10- or 15-minute commute," Baranoff says. "He wants to have dinner with him if he's going to be working until midnight."
David Hamermesh, 36, a project manager for a mortgage company in Ann Arbor, Mich., has two children, ages 10 and 8. He and his wife, Amy, have banned TVs and computers from their kids' rooms and have strict rules about using them.
"We have set time limits for how much they can spend with electronics each day," he says. "It gets very complicated."
I'm not sure about you, but I can relate with both of the issues brought up. For example, when we were in the process of building our home, there was one criteria when it came to looking for lots--it had to be within a 15-minute drive of my husband's work, and it is. And John is able to come home for lunch at least two days a week (depending on his meeting schedueles), which I love.
Also, we are very picky about eletronics. (TVs and computers have to be in public view and must have guards against all the evils of the world!) My friends are picky too and one of our common topics of conversation includes questions like, What are your rules for computer games? How many hours a day can they play? When do they have to turn them off at night?
Twenty years ago, these were non-issues, yet to us they are real problems that we need real solutions for. But instead of hearing from the experts, we like to hear what other parens are doing.
So, what is your take on these two issues?
And . . . have you come across any good resources lately for Gen Xers?
Guest Blogger...Cara Putman
Fingerprints and Hugs
Fingers pressed to the glass. A smile that split his face. As I parked the car, Jonathan pushed open the storm door and flew down the sidewalk toward me.
He jumped up and down. Then when I picked him up, he hugged me, then patted, then hugged again over and over with a smile I hope I never forget.
He really missed me!
And I needed to know that.
Sometimes, as the parent who is always around, it’s easy to feel over-looked, taken-for-granted, even invisible. But after being gone for five days, I saw such a joy in my children’s eyes I couldn’t help smiling in response. My husband later told me Jonathan had insisted on being parked in front of the open door for the sixty minutes between my call from the airport and when I drove up the driveway.
Can I admit part of me was secretly thrilled!
At the same time, when I got home and saw Abigail and Jonathan I felt a quiet whisper in my soul. “Be careful. They won’t always respond with this exuberance. They won’t always be this small.” As I stand at a new fork in the road, I needed that reminder. Those pudgy fingers pressed to the door will soon be longer than mine. It won’t happen overnight. With Jonathan, it won’t even happen in the next five years. But before I know it, I will turn around and my son will be taller than me. My daughter will be dating, headed to college, and on her own.
So on the days I get tired of pudgy fingers wrapped around my leg refusing to let go, I will remember how wonderful it felt when they squeezed so tightly around my neck because of his excitement Mommy had finally come home.
And I will whisper a silent prayer that my heart will never be hardened to just how precious those tiny fingers and each moments are.
A few years ago, I came across a used book in the bookstore called, Streams in the Desert
by L.B. Cowman. I knew it had to be a good one because the pages were nearly falling out of the binding. Sermon notes, poems, and Scripture verses were tucked within the pages. And many passages in the book were underlined. When I read the pages for myself, I was not disappointed.
Overall, the book has one theme, "Finding Hope in challenging times." My old copy of the book is retired on the shelf, and I had to purchase a new one. It's one I'd recommend you look up too.
I don't know about you, but raising kids is one of the most challenging things I face. My husband, John calls kids "moving targets." Just as soon as you've honed in on their unique needs they're moving, changing, growing and have new, greater, more challenging needs!
This morning, during my devotional time (which I'm finally getting around to at 11:30 a.m.) I came across these passage of a poem from L.B. Cowman's book, and I thought that it could apply to our parenting challenges:He was better to me than all my hopes;He was better than all my fears;He made a bridge of my broken works,And a rainbow of my tears.The stormy waves that marked my ocean path,Did carry my Lord on their crest;When I dwell on the days of my wilderness marchI can lean on His love for the rest.
I don't need to expound on those words. I think they speak for themselves. I just wanted to share how they touched me today and to agree that Jesus is better to me than all I hope for and fear on this parenting journey.
What is your goal as a parent? To make sure you child gets into a good college? Or he grows to be a great ballplayer or musician? To ensure she is a benefit to society—loving and serving mankind?
These are all good goals. Worthy. They are the reasons we sit through all those baseball practices and schedule in music lessons. These are dreams we ponder during pregnancy, prioritize during preschool years, and pay for during elementary school, with hopes of payoff when our children reach their teen years.
Our dedication can’t be denied, but the question has to be asked . . . are we hitting the mark? Is all our time, money, effort paying off? If your kids are anywhere under age eighteen these are good questions to ask. And in asking them myself, I came across an answer—sort of.
This is a quote from Oswald Chambers in the devotional book, “My Utmost for His Highest.” Chambers is talking about the goals of missionaries in this passage, but I feel as if it’s the same whether you are a missionary, or a parent, or a wife, or a Christian of any sorts:
“The goal of the missionary is to do God’s will, not to be useful or to win the lost. A missionary is useful and he does win the lost, but that is not his goal. His goal is to do the will of his Lord.” September 23.
Deep, huh? Read it again.
My goal as a mom is to do God’s will. It’s not to make sure my kids get good grades, eat healthy food, or develop good habits. I WILL do all those things, but that is not my goal. My goal is to do the will of my Lord.
For my family, this includes homeschooling. It includes studying the Bible every night with our kids and praying as a family before we go to sleep. It means serving God and children weekly at church. It means opening our home to the orphans and widows (literally).
John and I have come upon God’s will for our family over time. It’s not like we purposely set out a time schedules for our children’s spiritual development and then plotted how to get there. (Although if there was a book that helped parents do that, I’m sure I would have bought it!)
Instead, we have grown in our own walk with the Lord. We daily seek Him in Bible Study and prayer—alone and together. We bring our kids’ needs before the Lord, and we listen to that gentle nudging.
One example is lately I’ve felt God asking me to make it a priority for one-on-one devotional reading with the kids. I’m working that way, and I haven’t arrived (one is on board, with two to go). But it’s on my mind and heart and I’m taking steps that direction.
My goal is to do God’s will. God’s will includes many things, but mainly it’s bringing the eternal into our minds and focusing on what God desires from us, which isn’t much—just our souls, minds, hearts, and hands.
This whole thought may be overwhelming, but remember that knowing God’s will always comes down to one thing: relationship. And when your relationship with Jesus becomes the focus of your day and the joy of your life, it will affect every other relationship you cherish.
Like a love struck teenager, as you think about Jesus during the day, talk to Him, and rejoice in awe of His love for you, you will grown to know His voice. And His voice will be your guide daily . . . hourly. And as you take this path to Jesus’ heart, your children will follow. As you model and mold a relationship with the most important aspect of your life, they will learn how to do the same . . . through you.
Deep, I know. But it’s real and freeing. It’s also much easier to focus on one thing “Jesus” than any ten-point plan for raise godly men and women. Guaranteed.
10 Questions for Mary Byers
10 Questions for Mary Byers1. Tricia:
I've heard somewhere you're an enthusiastic and energetic speaker. What energizes you? Are you an introvert or an extravert?Mary:
I’m energized by helping people live up to their God-given potential, which is why I like to both speak and write. I believe if I can touch one person through my words, then I’ve been successful. So many people are living lives of “quiet desperation” (Did Thoreau say that?) and that saddens me.2. Tricia:
One of the topics you write/speak on is managing conflict. If you could give one piece of advice for those of us who RUN whenever there is the slightest hint of conflict, what would that be?Mary:
Here’s the advice: Remember that conflict does NOT age gracefully. The longer you let it go, the worse it gets. And here’s some assistance: for those who RUN, learn these two questions: “Can we agree to disagree and still be able to work/live together?” and “What did I do or say to make you feel that way?” These two questions will make it easier to address conflict. Finally, practice focusing on areas you and someone you have conflict with agree on rather than focusing on your differences. This will enable you to overcome the differences.3. Tricia:
I'll let the whole world know that you helped me come up with my writing tag, Reflecting Reality, Honoring Truth . Amazingly, this fits all my writing--from my fiction to non-fiction. In three easy steps, how can writers do this for themselves?Mary:
Ask yourself these three questions and immediately write down the answers you “hear” in your heart:
1. What drives you in your writing (i.e. why do write do what you do?)?
2. What message resonates with you that you want to share with others?
3. If you had to sum up your writing in a sentence or two, what would you say?
Once you’ve done the above, look for the theme that emerges. Your tagline will likely come from what you’ve unearthed in this exercise.4. Tricia:
You seem like a wonderfully busy lady, what do you do for fun?Mary:
Fun? What’s fun? Seriously, I love to get together with friends, I ride my bike (a blue “Coastal Cruiser”), and spend time with my family (a hubby and two children). My favorite fun (after the above) is to get lost in a good book. There’s nothing better!5. Tricia:
If there was one phone call that would leave you jumping for joy, what would that be?Mary:
I entered a writer’s contest this summer and I’d love to hear that I was selected as one of the winners.6. Tricia:
The title for one of your books is, "How to Say No and Live to Tell About It." What is one thing you've said no to lately?Mary:
Believe it or not, I said no to writing a book proposal this summer for what I hope will be my next book. Instead, I followed my own advice and said, “Now’s not the best time for me. May I get that to you in September?” Even though I wrote How to Say No , it’s still something I have trouble with so I was proud of myself!7. Tricia:
You help people figure out their priorities. What is one priority you have for the rest of 2006?Mary:
I’ve assigned a theme for each of the past five years of my life. The themes reflect the one over-arching goal I have for the year. This year is “The Year of Bigness” which reflects my desire to more fully grasp how big God really is—and how he wants to do big things in my life (and everyone else’s too!). My goal is to be quiet enough to hear God’s call on my life—and courageous enough to take the steps necessary to act on that call.8. Tricia:
Italian or Mexican?Mary:
Mexican, no question. I had my first burrito when I was ten years old and I haven’t looked back since. Kraft Spaghetti dinner (which I grew up on) just didn’t cut it after that!9. Tricia:
What is the last book you checked out from the library?Mary:
The Weekend Marriage. It’s impacted me so deeply that I’ll be co-teaching a Sunday School class based on its precepts with my husband and another couple this fall. The bottom line is this: our marriages aren’t what they could be because we’re so time-starved. Instead of whining about it, the author challenges us to decide what we’re going to do about it. Thankfully, she also shares some ideas about how to respond to it. It’s an incredible blessing to be teaching this class with my husband because we survived a REALLY bumpy patch in our marriage years ago and I’m humbled by the way God restored our love for one another.10. Tricia:
If all the blog readers were invited over for dinner at your house tonight, what would you serve us?Mary:
Tenderloin cooked on the grill, buttery corn on the cob, green beans (fresh from my garden!) and red, white and blue popsicles for dessert (just because they are so much fun!).
tagged for this meme because . . . she thinks I have a lot of time on my hands. (And what in the world does meme
stand for?)Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Housecleaner at Lake Shastina golf course.
2. McDonalds babe.
3. Teddy bear crafter (my handcrafted teddy bears were in five states!)
4. NovelistFour movies I could watch over and over:
1. 13 Going on 30. Love the Thriller dance-scene!
2. The Sound of Music—yeah, I pretty much agree with Robyn and Julie on this one
3. It's a Wonderful Life. Yes, I'm a sap.
4. Ever After. My favorite Drew movie.Four places I have lived:
1. Weed, CA (I was a cheerleader for Weed High. Yeah.)
2. Redding, CA
3. Anderson, CA
4. Columbia Falls, MTFour things I like to do:
1. Dance with my kids (DDR video!).
2. Go out of town (anywhere) with my husband.
3. Watch movies with my family. (We're currently hooked on old Alias series.)
4. Hit an awesome clearance sale.Four of my favorite foods:
2. Tamales, enchiladas, tacos … basically almost anything Mexican.
3. Ice cream bars (my weakness!)
4. Thai food.Four places I would like to be right now:
1. Banaff, Canada
2. Prague, Czech Republic
3. Orando, FL . . . I love those theme parks
4. Hawaii . . . or any other sunny beachFour websites I visit daily:
I do a lot of research, and I order way too many books :-)
2. CAN Marketing Blog
3. Christian Women Online
4. The Visual Thesaurus
Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Paris, France
2. Buffalo, NY and Niagra Falls (For a WWII reunion!)
3. Frankfurt, Germany
4. The Hague, NetherlandsFour friends I think might respond
—-hmmm (Of course, after they all get back from the ACFW conference!)
Guest Blogger...Alyice Edrich
In today's day and age, everything is about equality (the state of being equal: having the same rights, privileges, ability, etc), it is about women's rights, and who is better than whom.
It is about what others can do for you, rather than what you can do for others. It is no wonder that with this kind of thinking, the world views submission as a weakness. To the non-Christian community, submission is merely another word for slavery. It means domination over another or unwillingly giving up one's own rights and allowing another to be in control.
With thinking like this, we can see why our world is in shambles and why we must reach out to God for guidance. This meaning is so far from the biblical meaning of submission. Submission in the biblical sense opens us up to a whole new world. A world that sees through the eyes of God and acts accordingly. Biblical submission is one's willingness to serve others rather than be served. It is a humble self-imposed attitude of servitude. It is not meant to degrade, rather it is meant to uplift. It is meant to teach us what it truly means to be free and to see with the heart.
For you see, when we serve others without expecting anything in return, when we do it out of the kindness of our own hearts, when we do it for the mere joy we see on another's face, when we do it because of our great love for God, we do it for ourselves. For this kind of servitude ends those ugly emotions that keep us in bondage, that confine us and restrict us from being all that God has called us to be. And, it allows others a chance to feel that we trust them, that we care about them, and that we value their worth in our lives.
Take our children for example, from the moment of conception we willingly put aside our wants, needs, and desires to accommodate them. We voluntarily lay down our lives for them, and we respectfully (treat with dutiful regard and considerate concern) become whatever they need us to be. And we do all of this out of our undying and hopefully, unconditional love for them. Christ did the same, if not more for each one of us.
He desires for us to promote this same attitude in every relationship of our lives, especially with our spouses. I will admit that in the beginning of my marriage, I had seen so many bad relationships that I was not going to allow a "man" to have any control over me. I did not want to lose sight of myself, I did not want to be taken advantage of or become too vulnerable, I did not want to depend on another living soul so completely, and I wanted things to be done my way. But as time passsed, and my trust in my husband grew, as well as my love for the Lord, servitude could not help but happen.
When you love God so much and you take time to learn about God and His desires for you, you cannot help but want to share Him with everyone you meet, and what better way to do it, than biblical submission??
Alyice Edrich is a freelance writer and the editor of an award winning magazine for BUSY parents.
Visit her at http://thedabblingmum.com
or read her about her life at http://dmwrites.com
10 Questions for Dena Dyer
10 Questions for Dena Dyer1. Tricia:
You write and speak to moms. What is one tip you have for the upcoming school year?Dena:
Well, I always empty my son Jordan’s backpack the moment he gets home from school to check for homework, notes from the teacher, etc. And then I make sure he sets out his clothes and backpack the night before…so to avoid the morning rush. I’m blessed to have a hubby who likes mornings—so most of the time, he gets up with Jordan and lets me wake up with our youngest, who still doesn’t always sleep through the night!2. Tricia:
What's one mom experience you swore you'd never share with anyone. (I'm horrible, I know!)Dena:
Just one? I’ve had so many….One that sticks out in my mind--I knew better, by the way--but in first grade when Jordan kept getting in trouble at his school, I told him that he was embarrassing his dad and me. I’ve regretted that ever since. I never want my kids to feel like I’m ashamed of them. I try to continually tell them that they are a blessing, and that though they make bad choices sometimes, that they are wonderful people.3. Tricia:
You're involved in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers International). Why do you feel it's important for moms to stay connected?Dena:
We can feel really isolated and think we’re the only one who struggles. When you get together with other moms, though, you realize you’re not alone—and you’re not crazy. You’re completely normal! And fellowship with other moms can get me through some rough days. Laughter is healing, and refreshing. There’s always a lot of laughter, food and fun at MOPS meetings. I love it!4. Tricia:
I love your Groovy Chicks Roadtrip (TM)
THANKS! J They are really fun books. We are blessed to be able to compile and share them with other women.
What's the grooviest thing about being a mom? Feeling my child’s hot breath on my neck—and smelling his clean, just-bathed smell—when we cuddle and rock at the end of a long day.5. Tricia:
What do you think are the top three biggest struggles moms face today?Dena:
That’s a hard one. I’ll list three, but I think there are more. First, isolation—we are more connected (blogs, email, cellphones and Blackberries) than ever but it’s an artificial connection. Many of us live far from our families, so it’s hard to have the support we need when kids get sick (or we do!), etc. Second, insecurity—we wonder if we’re doing anything right. We worry that we’re going to “mess up” the parenting thing. And we haven’t always grown up with the best role models, so we’re not sure how to “do” mommyhood. And third, time. We are so busy—and we wear that as a badge of honor. (I just read where author Lisa Harper said, “busyness is not a spiritual gift.” I like that! I need to remember that!) I think moms have to be super-intentional about not letting their schedules control them, rather than the other way around. If we’re going to leave a legacy of love and faith for our children, we MUST say “no” to certain things in order to say “yes” to family time, worship experiences, and our own spiritual lives.6. Tricia:
In turn, what are the top three struggles that kids face?Dena:
Whoa…that’s an even harder question. If I look at my oldest son (who’s a “tween” now—yikes!), I’d say living up to their parents’ expectations—because we Gen X parents have big ones—dealing with lots of homework (much more than we ever had) and finding solid friends. If they have siblings, then sibling rivalry/jealousy is a biggie, too.7. Tricia:
What's one music CD that both you and your kids love?Dena:
Go Fish’s “Splash” CD.8. Tricia:
If you created a children's book series modeled after your kids, what cartoon animals would they be?Dena:
Jordan would be a hyena (zealous, funny and fierce) and Jackson would be a baby monkey (rambunctious, hilarious, and cuddly).9. Tricia:
Your family does "Table Talk." Can you briefly explain this?Dena:
When we eat together, we take turns telling something nice someone did for us. It’s an affirmation time and keeps us in an “attitude of gratitude” for small acts of kindness. (My hubby might thank Jordan for drawing him a picture, and then I might thank Jackson for spending time cuddling with me) The kids love it.10. Tricia:
What is one thing you shared in Table Talk over the last week?Dena:
I thanked Jordan for being nicer with his brother…he’s been pretty rough with him since Jax was born 2 ½ years ago…and for doing his chores with a better attitude.
Dena Dyer http://www.denadyer.com/
Amazing Grace-land, my blog:http://www.denadyer.typepad.com/
Free Books for Gen Xers!
SPREAD THE WORD . . . tell all your friends!
Calling all bloggers
, MOPS groups, parenting clubs, Sunday school groups, and people with really BIG mouths.
I'm putting together my influencer list for Generation NeXt Parenting. (Which means I'm looking for people to give a free
book to who will spread the word
It's a non-fiction parenting book for Gen Xers (born between 1961-1981). To give you a taste of the "flavor" of this book, all the chapter titles are 80s songs. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun . . . You Gotta Have Faith . . . Once in a Lifetime . . .
(The book will be out the end of September.)
Here is the book description:Generation NeXt Parenting
Get Real, Become Focused, Begin Thriving!
You're a generation of parents aspiring to excellence in every way, but you're also just plain tired. You don't need another parenting book promising perfection or another formula guaranteeing great kids; you need practical advice that shows how to deal with your and your children's hearts.
If you're worn out from trying to do too much while giving your child every opportunity under the sun, if you're striving to excel in every way but suffering from a lack of focus, this book is your solution. It will help you understand how your specific tendencies are common to your generation as a whole.
You'll embrace the positive qualities that enable you to parent for God's glory. Lay a firm foundation and thrive as you raise up the next generation!
. . If you're interested in a FREE
copy email me your name and address. And let me know how BIG your mouth is . . . and how you can help promote this book!Also, if you have a BLOG, I'll send TWO free books. One for you and one to give away!
hotmail.com (change at
The God of (and in) all things . . .
This morning I was going through my old notes and I came across this quote by Henry Blackaby.
"The constant presence of God is the most practical part of your life and ministry. Unfortunately we often assign God to a limited place in our lives. Then we call on Him whenever we need help. That is the exact opposite of what we find in the Word of God. He is the one who is working in our world. He invites you to related to Him, so He can accomplish His work through you," Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God, p. 55
Can God be the God of spaghetti sauce? There is much happening in my day that can be labeled “practical” rather than “spiritual.” There's the cleaning, shopping, walking the dog, making spaghetti sauce etc. But should those things be more spiritual? Can they? Can God meet me in the kitchen as easily as he meets me on my couch during my morning quiet time?
My grandmother seems to think so. She prays and seeks God’s guidance about everything. In fact, she’s so in tune with God that He speaks to her throughout the day about every that concerns her, even what to cook for dinner.
I used to think that she was a little “out there,” until God started doing it for me too. For example, once He remind me of the frozen turkey in the freezer. I got a wild hair and cooked it up. Later, I had the opportunity to invite friends over for an impromptu meal. A coincidence?
One main thing that I’ve gotten out of Experiencing God (I think I've gone through the workbook on my own 4-5 times) is the fact that God is at work in this world. He’s moving, He’s shaking, He’s doing His thing. But it’s up to me to seek Him and join Him. That seeking takes being humble. It takes listening. It takes obedience to that gentle stirring even if it’s inconvenient.
Of course, right now one of the biggest areas of my life in which I seem to depend on God’s guidance is balancing writing and motherhood. What do I need to work on, for whom, when? Am I giving my children enough of my time, my energy, my focus?
What does it mean when editors contact me out of the blue? Is that God’s work, asking me to join him? Should I be saying “no” more?
Am I listening to God's voice when it comes to my children? When I feel His prodding to put down "one more thing" and just spend time with them?
Is God maybe getting me to the place where I can only succeed with his constant presence? Yes, I'd like to think so. I need His guidace daily, hourly.
And you know what? I think that's exactly where I'm supposed to be.
For daily updates on my newest novel, check out www.triciagoyer.blogspot.com
When Your Best Doesn't Feel Good Enough...
When Your Best Doesn't Feel Good Enough By Alyice Edrich
Have you ever felt as though your best is not good enough, as though you are at your wits end, and cannot go on a minute longer?
Welcome to the human race. It seems that most of mankind has felt this way at one time or another. It is not uncommon to want to throw in the towel when you feel unappreciated, or as though all your hard work does not matter. Just think what Christ must have felt like as he took on so much to save mankind from total condemnation in hell. To have been spat upon, beaten, ridiculed, made a mockery of, ignored by the high priests who claim to have known his father and the list could go on and on.
And yet, he took those unappreciated moments, and turned them into a victory for his Father; our Father. How proud and pleased God must have been in his son. And, how honored we truly are to have a brother like that. Could you even fathom the whole concept? To give your life for millions upon millions of people who condemn and deny you. And even more so, to give your life for millions upon millions of people who will never know you, never to see, hear, or touch you?
And yet, that is an example that Christ has set before us. Sometimes, we are the army of Christ that no one truly sees, that no one truly understands or appreciates. It is not our job to look for praise from mankind, for man is self-centered and does not always see another hurting or non-hurting soul. It is merely our jobs, as Christians, to do the best that we can and leave the rest up to God. The important issue is not ourselves; it is Christ and what Christ would want from us. And, believe it or not, if no one else seems to notice, Christ does. Christ knows and God knows, every thing you do; from the tiniest kind gesture, to the biggest most awful sin you have ever committed. And thus, your tasks will never truly go unnoticed or unappreciated.
In closing, at one time or another we all need to feel appreciated and there is nothing wrong with that. For without it, we could not do our jobs as effectively as we do. Appreciation is sort of like the gateway to doing a better job. It boosts our egos and our self-esteem and makes us want to try harder. But often times, we do not get the appreciation we feel we deserve, or even need.
And that got me to thinking why I do what I do.
I do it because I love to see the smiles on those little one's faces when they are having a good time with some activity that I planned for them. And I feel good when they want to give me a hug or tell me that they missed me when we were on vacation and most importantly, for Christ. I believe that somehow, I am bringing kids to Christ.
One step at a time.
freelance writer and the editor of an award winning magazine for BUSY parents.
Visit her at http://thedabblingmum.com/
or read her about her life at http://dmwrites.com/
SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING?
I have three kids ages 12, 14, and 17. If you have teenagers, then you know they know everything
. This is especially true for homeschooled teenagers. Every time I try to teach them something I get this look that says, "Yah, I already knew that."
So, if you're like me. Then next time you get "that look" here is something that could help . . .
SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING?
"Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left hand and "lollipop" with your right. (Bet you tried this out mentally, didn't you?)
Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.
No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.
"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".
Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
The sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet. (Now, you KNOW you're going to try this out for accuracy, right?)
The words 'racecar,' 'kayak' and 'level' are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes).
There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.
There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious."
TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard. (All you typists are going to test this out.)
All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.
A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds. (Some days that's about what my memory span is.)
A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
A snail can sleep for three years. (I know some people that could do this too.)
Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
Almonds are a member of the peach family.
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
Babies are born without kneecaps they don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.
February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.
In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
If the population of China walked past you, 8 abreast, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.
If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an average of 6 months waiting at red lights.
Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.
On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament building is an American flag.
Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite!
Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated. The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.
The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.
The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket. (Good thing he did that.)
The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.
There are more chickens than people in the world.
Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.
Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
So for all you smart kids out there .................. Now you know everything!
What Family Means to Me
There are many types of kids to love. Those I've given birth to. The one we're in the process of adopting internationally. And the ones that God places in my life for a season . . . or so I think.
My "extended" family now includes numerous teen moms I've mentored over the years. Some I consider friends. Some I've unfortunately lost track of over time. Then there are those who became as much a part of the family as anyone else. Nathan and Kayleigh have been that for our family. (Check out the photo of them last year!)
I think Gen Xers appreciate the idea of extended family more than most. We grew up sometimes knowing m
ore about TV families than our own. Our friends became our closest connections during the crazy 80s. And all along we wanted someone to belong to--someone who understood. Now, it seems, we often open our homes and our hearts to those in need of help and care. And in return we are impacted.
Yeah, I've given a lot of help to Nathan, Kayleigh, and the kids . . . but I've received so much in return. Just as each one of my kids brings a new color of joy to my world, so do the "adopted" ones that are now part of me for life
More than anything, kids are copy cats. They see how their parents relate to the world, and they follow.
I had a humorous example of this over the weekend.
Saturday I threw a baby shower for one of the moms I mentor. She also has four-year-old and two-year-old daughters. Her two year old is an adorable kid who's finally getting some words. (Mama, Dada, Nana--that's me!)
We were in the middle of cleaning up from the shower when suddenly we realized we didn't know where the two-year-old, Audrey, was.
"Where's Audrey?" I asked, then we went scouring the house.
When I came to the bathroom door I expected a mess awaited me inside. The light and fan were on and the door was locked closed. I knocked, "Audrey?"
As clear as could be she responded. "I going pee-pee."
Now, she's not potty trained, and the door was still locked, and I imagined all the things that could be floating in the toilet at this moment. Her pee-pee in the toilet wasn't one of them.
We got the door open, and there she was. Light on. Fan on. Diaper off. Audrey sat on the toilet and declared again, "I going pee-pee." Okay, the truth was, she was sitting backward on the toilet, but I give the kid an "A" for effort.
Later, when I was thinking about it, I realized how much Audrey had picked up even though her mom hadn't been actively teaching her. She even flipped on the fan for goodness sake!
I see the same things in my own kids. Often, I even hear my words in their mouths when they're talking to others--such as my son's words to his sister about her new job at a soda fountain.
"You know Leslie, it only makes sense the place actively seeks out homeschoolers to hire. It makes sense that if their parents are going to dedicate all that time to their child's education, they'll also spend time on their child's moral character, which makes a great employee."(Wow, they do listen!)
Audrey's incident also got me thinking about who we, as parents model ourselves after. After all, we may have grown up (a little) but we're still copy cats too.
So, my friend, who do you follow?
It's okay to shout out the Sunday School answer, "Jesus!" It's a good answer after all. But I don't know about you, sometimes I just need flesh to watch for a while--like a friend or an acquaintance who models how I want to be.
During my life, my eyes have scoped out different people at different times. In fact, the reason I started homeschooling is because I saw a homeschooling family who had a great relationship between the parents and teens. Even though my kids were toddlers, I thought, I want that.
But I didn't stop there, in all areas of my life, I'm continually on the look for others who are a little bit ahead of me, succeeding in the areas I desire to excel in.
I'd love to hear about some of your life-models. Who do you choose to watch and follow? Why? Also, what is one thing you've learned?
Check out my blog www.triciagoyer.blogspot.com to follow me on my whirlwind journey writing my next novel!
And for a little writing encouragement, check out: www.writerquotes.blogspot.com
More Answers from Sherrie Eldridge!
In a recent interview with Sherrie Eldrige, more questions arose concerning her book 20 Things Adopted Kids Wished Adopted Parents Knew
. Sherrie was kind enough to return and answer two of them that were asked:1.
In Chapter 17, Ms. Eldridge talks about, "Don't tell people I'm adopted without my consent." Well, that's a little difficult for us. With inter-racial adoption, it's usually obvious to everyone. Do you have any advice for us?Sherrie:
This is a good question! Usually, with inter-racial or international adoptions, it is obvious that adoption has touched your lives. Racism is a totally different subject than what I am addressing here. What I'm talking about is the development of basic trust between you and your child. No one, especially an adoptee, likes to be pointed out as "different," even though we all are, whether our skin color shows it or not.
Let me give an example. One woman I know introduced her 4-year-old son to me as her "adopted son." The poor little guy hid behind his mom after the insensitive introduction. True, you can't keep the confidentiality that your child has been adopted when it is written on him/her by the skin color, but you can honor her as an adopted person by not labeling her in front of others. This is the issue I'm addressing. For fascinating answers to the racism question, visit www.answersingenesis.com
In the chapter about being honest about birthparents, conception, etc... Ms. Eldridge does mention that "you may not have all the answers, especially if you adopted internationally." We really don't have ANY answers. Being honest with my daughter means telling her I DON'T KNOW. Do you have any advice on how to handle this a little more?Sherrie:
Yes, with international adoption, there is the "missing history" aspect to help your child integrate into his/her identity. I agree, honesty is always the best--many times you have to say, "I don't know."
Let me say, however, that the subject of birth parents can be very threatening to some adoptive parents, and they avoid it like the plague. Out of sight, out of mind! Not so in the heart of an adoptee!
Let me take you a step further in addressing the "I don't know" statement. Your child still has the need for connection with the birth mother. How can you meet that need?
A couple of ways have been special for me, as I don't know half of my birth history and never will. Both answers and insights have come from Scripture. Deuteronomy 29:29 says that "the secret things belong to the Lord." Knowledge of who my birthfather is, is a secret. Only God and my birth mother know who he is.
The same Lord who hung the moon and the stars has my birth father in the palm ofHis loving hands. If He wanted me to know who he is, it would be no trouble. Since He hasn't revealed it to me after much searching, I trust that he is in God's hand and I will know someday, although I believe on that day it won't be very important!
The second thing that has helped me is the concept behind the children's book I have just written called Forever Fingerprints
, due out the summer of 2007, by EMK Press. I won't ruin the surprise for you, but it definitely deals with this aspect of not knowing one's history, yet still having the need for connection.
Visit my web site http://www.adoptionjewels.org/
, and at the bottom of the welcome page is a place to sign up for updates. Sign up, and you'll be notified when it is released.Thank you, Sherrie. I'm thankful to have such an amazing resource as we go through our adoption journey.If you have any questions for Sherrie, please leave them in the COMMENT section. Thanks!
President Jewel Among Jewels Adoption Network, Inc.http://www.adoptionjewels.org/http://www.sherrieeldridge.com/
My son, Nathan, was commenting the other day about his two hamsters. "Mom, they have totally unique personalities. One is calm and likes to be held, the other is wild and always on the go. "
"Just like kids," I responded. "No two are exactly the same." Or should I say no "three," because I witnessed this in my kids this own week.
On Labor Day we took time off and went for a seven-mile hike. (3 1/2 miles each way, and it was the most laborous thing I've done all year!) I had to chuckle because my kids' personalities on the trail were a perfect example of their personalities in life.
Cory took the lead. At age seventeen, and a first born, he has to be, uh, first . . . always. He set the pace and forged ahead.
Of course, he had to watch out because his sister was hot on his tail. Even though Leslie is three years younger, it has always been this way. My daughter has never been the ruffles and lace girl that I always imagined I'd have. She had no time for girl stuff, she was too busy keeping up with Cory. Even at age 3, she was reading . . . for the very fact I was teaching her brother. Even last year, Leslie skipped ahead a few grades in school because she looked at Cory's work and declared, "I can do that."
On the trail it was no different. She stayed not more than one step behind her brother at all times. Then, when she'd think she'd have a chance, she'd attempt to bolt ahead. Unfortunately, her brother is still quicker, and even if she did
get past him, he was strong enough to literally pick her up and set her back in place.
Then there is my sweet boy, Nathan. I've always said he's the easiest kid ever to raise. He's kind and thoughtful. He's never much trouble because he's content wherever he's at, even if it's behind everyone else. He has nothing to prove and won't fight for first place. On the trail, he trudged behind--dead last--happy to chat with his mom and dad, unconcerned with the struggle of the other two ahead.
Years ago, I was wasn't so comfortable with these differences in my kids. I pushed Nathan too much, while at the same time trying to get the other two to slow down and stop their frantic pace for first. I attempted to mold them into something they weren't . . . something I envisioned the "perfect" children would be like.
My kids refused to be perfect.
Then, God started talking to me, and I realized (duh) that He didn't make my kids as totally empty vessals--ones in which I needed to fill with all the stuff I think is important. Instead, He created them as unique individuals, and it was my job not to forge their paths (or to scream directions every step of the way), but to make sure they stayed on the trail. What a concept!
Of course, when it comes to actual hiking, even keep them on the trail is a challenge. We hiked to a waterfall, you see, and guess who wanted to hike to the top? And guess who wanted to join her big brother?
The picture above is Cory and Leslie looking down on the rest of us from the top of Morrell Falls. To put it in perspective, below is a photo of Nathan and I. You can still see Cory and Leslie as tiny dots just left of the top center.
You can also see the where Nathan and I considered best . . . still on the bottom, sitting on a comfortable log, cheering them on, but content to watch them forge ahead.
Last night I was innocently cooking dinner, listening to Sara Groves, and chatting with my husband when the UPS man showed up on the doorstep. (I'm learning to l-o-v-e the UPS man!) I opened the box from Multnomah, and SURPRISE! my first copy of Generation NeXt Parenting was buried in confetti and tied with a ribbon.
Wow. What a great feeling to hold the actual book in my hands. It's a fatter baby than I pictured, stuffed full of Gen X info and insight. I especially smiled as I flipped through it and noticed all the quotes from YOU, my friends! You are just too wise, and your input really makes this book shine.
The books should be hitting the shelves soon! Please pray that God will get it into the hands that need it. This is HIS book . . . and holding it in my hands just amazes me. After all, it was just about one year ago that I first got the IDEA . . . and now it's done and in print. That is truly only something God can do!
Thanks for celebrating with me!
10 Questions for Sherrie Eldridge
10 Questions for Sherrie Eldridge1. Tricia:
Sherrie, as you know my husband and I are in the process of adopting a baby girl from China. It seems every time I tell someone about our journey, I hear the words, "My husband/wife and I have always talked about adopting a child." What do you think is the number one concern that keeps couples from moving past the "thinking about it" stage to the "doing it" stage?Sherrie:
Adoption experts say that there is usually a “dragger” and a “dragee!” Perhaps lack of unity between husband and wife is the presenting reason. This can result from financial concerns or differing emotions and perspectives. If infertility led the couple to the door of adoption, are both really ready to accept the fact that there won’t be a child whose face will mirror theirs? Based on my research with nearly 200 parents, I can say with certainty that many secretly wonder, “Can I provide all that this child needs?” “Will I be able to love an adopted child as much as a biological child?”
There also is the aspect of God’s will. “If God would only write a message in the clouds, then we would know!” I remember when I told our oldest daughter about a friend’s unexpected pregnancy. She started crying and when I asked about the tears, she said that she felt such a burden for the baby and the birth mother. I believe a mom’s heart was born at that time. I love Psalm 139:16 that says something like this: “Every single day of our lives was planned before any of them came to be.” To me, as an adopted person, this means that my life is not a mistake, I am God’s creation. Second, that God hand picked who my birth and adoptive parents would be. He knew exactly what combination of influences was necessary to make me into the person He desires. And last, if He knew every day of my life before any one of them ever came to be, He must have a very special plan for my life. Even though we can’t rely on feelings as a barometer for proceeding with an adoption, we can depend on God’s Spirit within, to give us the will and the heart to do it.2. Tricia:
In your speaking and writing, you never try to sugar-coat the adoption journey, rather you believe both parents and children can grow in the midst of the unique challenges. What are some of these challenges?Sherrie:
You’re right! I’m not good at sugar coating because I believe with all my heart that it is the Truth that sets us free. Sometimes truth hurts, but it is necessary. One of the unique challenges is that adoptive family living is based on loss. Loss for the adoptee of a sense of connection and belonging with the birth family, loss for the parents that adopt of the first nine months of life while the baby is in the womb and the miracle of birth, and loss for the birth parents of a vital part of themselves. It is important that everyone involved understand this loss and the message that it brings. The message is that loss can be redeemed by Jesus Christ!
I love the way God shows us how to deal with adoption loss in Ezekiel, chapter 16:4-7 (Living Bible). He is speaking to the orphaned nation of Israel and He doesn’t tell them to bite the bullet and pretend it never happened. He doesn’t tell them to buck up and be strong. No! He acknowledges the emotional reality of the adopted person. “On the day you were born, you were thrown out into an open field, unwanted….” Most birth mothers don’t throw their babies out, although some do. This is not to give a bad rap to birth mothers. It is God saying, “I understand your pain.” Then, God says, “….and I called you forth to life…” God calls us to life through a relationship with Jesus Christ. And then, the frosting on the cake—He declares His opinion of us—“a jewel among jewels.” Now, that’s what I call redemption!3. Tricia:
I noticed one of your speaking topics is "The Love Language of Adoptees" How do the love languages of adoptees differ?Sherrie:
Because of our early life loss of the birth family, we adoptees tend to look at life through a lens of rejection. If a phone call or letter isn’t returned, guess what? We interpret it as rejection! I always tease fellow adoptees by saying that if our AOL mail flag says “no mail,” we interpret it as rejection. There are certain well-intentioned statements that non-adopted people say that make us cringe inside, instead of receiving love. One example is, “Your birth mother loved you so much that she gave you to us.” The way many adoptees interpret this is, “Well, if love is what ‘got rid’ of me, then I don’t want anything to do with anyone else’s love. Love must hurt.” To an adoptee, love and abandonment don’t equate. Yes, the birth mother may make the most loving plan possible and have an incredible adoption ceremony. But to that baby or child, when the mother disappears, it equals abandonment. Absence equals abandonment to many adoptees.4. Tricia:
When we were going through our adoption material, I noticed one of the agency's recommended books was, "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew." Can you share one of the twenty things?Sherrie:
The first of the Twenty Things is the loss mentioned above. The second is that the adoptee will likely have emotional vulnerabilities resulting from the loss. We’ve already discussed looking at life through a lens of rejection. Other vulnerabilities are having mixed feelings about our adoption, but feeling we must always put on a happy face, especially on birthdays. This summer I spoke at China Heritage Camp Too in Denver, Colorado and two of the mothers had read Twenty Things. They told me that their children had perfect attendance at school and were the picture of health, except on their birthdays, when both ran 102 degree fevers. Our bodies remember the pain! Goodbyes are upsetting to most of us. Will that person really come back? In the book, there is a list of emotional vulnerabilities. I encourage parents to use this as a springboard to study their kids so they can learn their vulnerabilities. Then, they must share them with the children. Many parents are afraid this will make the child feel inferior. Just the opposite is true. It may be the first time that your child feels understood and accepted unconditionally. It also provides an opportunity for parents to become the child’s number-one cheerleader in life.5. Tricia:
Can you share about our own adoption experience?Sherrie:
I was adopted at ten days of age and carried into my parent’s home by my adoptive grandmother, Leah Cook, who was the social worker on my case. My dad always said, “You were so small, I could hold you in the palms of my hands!” He loved telling that story until his dying day at age 83, and I loved hearing it. I didn’t think much about adoption until my husband and I had our first daughter. I sat in the OB-GYN’s office and read about how babies develop. It was so fascinating and I began wondering if my birth mother had the same questions when I was developing in her. That led to other questions, such as, “Is she still alive? Do I look like her? Would she want to meet me?” I was determined to find her and let her know that I had good parents and a happy life. I wanted to take any guilt away from her. My husband and parents thought it unwise—basically, I believe they were afraid I would be hurt. So, I pushed it all beneath in the guise of perfectionism until I was about 35. Then I began searching on my own. I searched for 12 years to no avail and subsequently hired a sweet old lady who loved adoptees. She found her in two days! Within two weeks, my husband and I were on a plane bound west to meet my birth mother. I didn’t know if I would laugh or cry. It was uncharted territory. I did a little of both. To make a long story short, my birth mother was kind from a distance and things soured as the week progressed. She was not able to receive the love I wanted to give. Two days after returning home, I called to thank her for the visit. I knew when I heard her voice that something had dramatically changed. She began verbally attacking me and announced she wanted nothing more to do with me. I heard her words in my ears, but at that very moment, a Scripture came to mind: Isaiah 49: 15-16: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Yes, she may, but I (God) will never forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Your walls are always before me.” I realized that Jesus Christ was standing with me in my deepest adoptee fear. I wouldn’t trade that painful moment for anything, for I realized that His power and sweet presence is far deeper than any pain life can throw at me.6. Tricia:
Why was it important to you to be a voice for adoptees?Sherrie:
We adoptees tend to be well defended and don’t often talk about our innermost thoughts about adoption. When I wrote my second book, Twenty Life-Transforming Choices Adoptees Need to Make, I interviewed more than 70 adoptees. Afterwards, they said, “I know I’m not alone anymore.” Someone needs to be a voice for those that have no voice—especially the unborn and little children. It’s important to me because I believe God has called me to wrap words around feelings and experiences that are unique to adoptees and difficult for them to understand.7. Tricia:
One of the things you talk about is an adoptees ability to recognize his/her special needs. Why is this so important?Sherrie:
Special needs are the same as emotional vulnerabilities that we discussed earlier. Once we recognize those vulnerabilities, we gain some form of control over the situation, instead of feeling like a helpless victim of circumstances. We can say, “That triggered adoption loss,” and then go on with life.8. Tricia:
Is it true that many adoptees place very high standards upon themselves? Why?Sherrie:
Many adoptees expect perfection, not only in themselves, but also in others. Just ask my husband of 41 years! The reason we expect perfection is that we live in a fantasy world much of the time, dreaming of that perfect family/person out there that may be ours someday. My layman’s understanding of “the family romance theory” is that all children, adopted or not, get ticked off at their parents and want to find another set of parents that would be perfect. However, when non-adopted children reach the age of 7-8, they realize that mom and dad aren’t perfect, they’re not perfect, and that no one on earth is perfect. They give up the fantasy parents and move on.
However, the adoptee still has a set of parents out there somewhere. If parents see their children gazing out the window, they may be thinking of those parents. They may be either a king and queen or street beggars. Another reason we may become perfectionists is to keep the pain at bay. That’s what I did for years until I just couldn’t deny the fact that I wanted to find my birth mother, no matter what anyone thought.9. Tricia:
In what ways can parents help celebrate a child's differences?Sherrie:
Parents can celebrate the child’s differences by acknowledging them, instead of trying to make the child just like the family. Some parents say to adopted children, “You belong!” They don’t say that to biological children. That only alienates the child further. They can say things like, “What would our family be without you? You add so much to our little group!” Have a cultural dinner for your child, but make sure that you celebrate each family member’s culture, not just the child’s, or the child will feel “different.” The best thing is to take them to Heritage Camp. Check out www.heritagecamps.org
. These are incredible opportunities for adoptees to be with fellow adoptees and parents with parents. We all need each other. How I wish I could have had such an experience!10. Tricia:
Finally, how does adoption reflect God's heart?Sherrie:
Adoption reflects God’s heart because He loves the lost, the least, and the littlest. I believe He has a special love for the orphan. If you go to our site at http://www.adoptionjewels.org/
, there is an article called “The Awesome Legacy of the Orphan.” Many adoptees fear being forgotten by God and others. What incredible proof in Scripture that God loves the orphan. Also, adoption is not the plan of some adoption agency or person, it is GOD’S plan for forming His family!
We are all God’s creations, but not His children, until we are born again through Jesus Christ and adopted into His family. Jesus Himself was an adopted Son, so we can follow in His footsteps. More than anything, I believe adoption reflects His sovereignty. Only by accepting that He can do anything in any way to bring glory to Himself, can we have peace about relinquishment and adoption and know that it is all by His grand design.
Thank you so much!
Guest Blogger...Alyice Edrich
Loving Your Spouse Bible Study
As my husband and I sat down to our weekly bible study-to work on the 'Loving Your Husband' or in my husband's case, "Loving Your Wife' bible study-I was left wondering if this study was really for me. After all, I was the one always sacrificing in my marriage, the one always lifting the extra finger, and the one going the extra mile. Why should I be asked to re-evaluate my role in this marriage? Why wasn't I learning how to change my husband? To make him a better mate?
But as each week passed, I soon learned that the thorn in my own eye was jeopardizing the marriage I so desperately wanted. I had to put forth an effort to see myself in a new light. I had to learn to see what needed to be changed and accept the things that didn't and I had to learn to take responsibility for my own actions and stop trying to change my husband. This was not an easy task for me as I grew up having a very low self-esteem and self-worth.
It took nine long years (after meeting my husband) to build up the confidence to accept the fact that my flaws and imperfections were part of being human and that they didn't make me an unworthy person. And now I was being asked to not just accept my flaws but to re-evaluate them so that I could learn from them and in the process learn why I did what I did. I thought I'd quit before I ever finished the study, but as each week passed, I left with a new sense of freedom. I left feeling good about myself, the things I learned about myself, and the things I knew I needed to change.
Each week left me wondering if I had done my best, if I could've done better, or if I was pointing fingers to make myself look better.
It wasn't always easy. In fact, there were times I couldn't believe the guilt signals God gave me. You know them, don't you? That feeling deep within you that makes you aware of your wrongs, the signals that nudge you to accept responsibility and apologize-even when you don't want to?
As time passed, I could see how God took my life's path and redirected it in such a way that He lead me to my husband-who in turn, through his uncertainty of Christ, drew me closer to God. For you see, my husband grew up knowing about God and His Word, but he never really had a relationship with God. I, on the other hand, thought I always had a relationship with God, but soon realized that conversations alone weren't enough, I needed to get to know Him through His Word-the Bible.
Doing the 'Loving Your Husband' and 'Loving Your Wife' bible study changed our marriage forever. Instead of always pointing fingers and finding fault in one another, we began to look at how we each played a role in our arguments. We learned to take a step back and re-evaluate the roles we played, and then return with a clearer understanding of how we may have hurt each other. We relearned the importance of making time for each other, going on "date night," and doing little things to show we care. And we learned that allowing God into our marriage was not only a spiritual requirement, but the medicine to heal all hurts. Allowing God into our marriage meant our marriage would be built upon a firm foundation-not shaky ground. And it meant that our paths would forever intertwine.
By the time the bible study was over, I had fallen in love with my husband all over again. Its deep studies, meditations, prayers, and devotionals reminded me of all the good within my husband. Taking the thorns out of my own eyes wasn't easy. There were many things I wish I never knew things about myself, but in the end, the things I learned were the things I believe helped save my marriage.
If you haven't attended a bible study geared towards building a better relationship with your spouse, I encourage you to take a step of faith and sign up for one today. It can be the difference between loving your husband and simply living with the man you're married to, as a roommate.
Loving Your Husband Book
Loving Your Wife Book
Alyice Edrich is a freelance writer and the editor of an award winning magazine for BUSY parents.
Visit her at http://thedabblingmum.com
or read her about her life at http://alyiceedrich.net