Sunday, February 24, 2013

It Was the Best of Times...

When I was a young mother, I read every book I could get my hands on about child-rearing, from the "experts"!  I soon learned, the hard way, that the books don't have all the answers and the real experts about children are usually around three feet tall, sucking on lollipops and jumping up and down on your just made beds!  Here's a few of my favorite moments, when the kids beat the experts out on how to raise your kids without losing your sanity!

My daughter, Christy, was six years old.  I had just finished reading a book by the experts (of course!) that gave this advice if your child tells you he/she wants to run away.  "Pack them a lunch and cheerfully bid them goodbye as they leave on their adventure!"  Accordingly, when my daughter shook her little six-year old fist at me and announced with all the fury she could muster in her littlle, itty, bitty frame "I hate you and I'm running away forever!", I dutifully followed my expert's advice and packed her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some oreos and kissed her goodbye at the door.  Confident that she would be shocked at my reaction and turn around running back to Mommy Dearest, I stood at the door waiting for her to turn around.  I stood and I stood and I stood, watching her little body bounce down the street, eagerly departing for - who knows what.  She didn't know - she just kept walking, and walking and walking, until I could barely see her little body in the distance.  Shocked at the outcome of my parental experiment, reality set in - not for her - for ME!  I took off running down the street, grabbed my little rebel by the hand and dragged her home crying all the way.  Once inside, I locked the door and informed my unrepentant runaway that she was stuck with me and did not have my permission to "run away" EVER AGAIN!  So much for the experts!

Scene two - flash forward to child number three - my daughter, Kim.  Now here was the most perfect angel of a child.  She slept through the night almost from birth, unlike her siblings who woke me every two hours like clockwork, demanding to be fed, changed, or - whatever - just for the fun of it, it seemed!  No Kimmie slept like an angel, smiled as if on cue, NEVER cried, and was just an all around perfect baby!  Until she hit two.  Then, all hell broke loose!  I already had two children so I should have known it was coming, but...  This child tested every boundary, and invented ways to let me know who was really in charge - and, trust me, it was decidedly not me! 

If I put her in her room for a time-out (something that had always worked with her siblings!) I would return to discover she had happily emptied all of the dresser drawers of its contents which were now hanging from the lampshades, and piled high in the middle of the bed waiting for me to repair the damage.  If there was nothing naughty for her to do, she invented it.  She was extremely creative, right from the start!  I put her in my room for a nap once, to separate her from her siblings.  When it grew abnormally quiet, I opened the bedroom door to check on her.  Forget the nap - she was happily decorating herself and anything else she could find with a tube of bright red lipstick she had managed to uncover from inside my purse, the contents of which had been tossed to the wind all over the room!

One could certainly never say that life was ever boring with Kimmie.  As a mom, I barely had time to catch my breath from one episode, then she was onto something else.  I will never forget the time she trotted happily into my neighbor's evening back-yard barbecue, wearing nothing but her infectious smile and giggling profusely.  She KNEW she was being scandalous and loved it, even at the age of three!

I have four grown kids, all two years apart in age.  When I was at this stage with them, I was exhaused constantly, wondering if I would even survive the mayhem.  But, just as older, wiser parents predicted, the time flew by before I knew it and they were off to raise their own little monsters.  The house was quiet, neat and always in order.  In short, life got rather boring!  If you have little ones, I hope you enjoy every golden minute of the "crazy" years.  It is all over before it begins.  These are truly "the best of times and, in some ways, the "worst" of times!  But, what I wouldn't do to take a trip back to yesterday.   Nothing else even comes close...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Whatever is Pure...

“Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right, 
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
think about such things.” 
Phillipians 4:8  NIV

“Now I lay me down to sleep.  I pray the Lord my soul to keep… “   Remembering that sweet, child’s prayer, I am laying down the burdens of the day along with my weary bones, seeking from the Lord a good night’s rest.  This day has been long and my mind is full of pictures I would rather erase.  Written in red permanent marker on my heart, I find it hard to escape the visual replay and the tape recorded messages running through my mind.  In a fit of rage that knows no boundaries and bows to no god but self, we fling our stony words about as if they are landing on steel poles that have no feelings and bear no scars.
The problem is, we are flesh and blood persons, with hearts that break and bleed and carry the scars for a lifetime.  What are we doing when we disregard the boundaries of kindness with our words and throw them to the wind, not caring where they land or how they wound?  We were made in the image of our God, tenderhearted and pure, seeking always the best in each of us and not willing to tolerate evil.  We were never made to hear or speak the vile, often, cruel verbal attacks that erupt all around us in today's world.  I wonder, if unkind words can wound us so deeply, what do they do to the heart of God, who is the very essence of Love?
We live in a time when anything goes, and that includes what we speak.  Verbal abuse is rampant.  It is laughed at on T.V. programs, as if degrading another person, made in the image of God, is an entertaining sport.  And yet, there is something so deeply ingrained in our spirit that, I believe, hiding beneath the false fa├žade of toughness to the point of brutality, we long for something better.  We are instinctively drawn to the loving kindness of the Lord.  He keeps seeking us, drawing us, reminding us, that we are made for something better.  We are made for Him.
As I seek His face at the end of a difficult day, I pray this simple prayer.  “Lord, tell me something good, tell me something true, tell me something pure, tell me something lovely, tell me something worthy of praise… Tell me that You love me.  Tell me that You understand.  Tell me about Jesus…”