Archive for May, 2011

A Weekend to Remember

Tom and I sat near the back of the large room. Two screens flanked the platform. An athletic type man spoke fondly of his wife and four small children. Like he cherished them. Like he missed them. He made me laugh. Reminded me of Ken Davis—just younger.

An older man who had the physique of a runner took the stage next, along with his stylish wife. They shared about their marriage. The ups and downs. The ins and outs.

The marriage conference was a present from my husband for my 52nd birthday. “A Weekend to Remember,” conferences are all over the world, sponsored by Family Life Today. It was the best conference I’ve ever attended.

There was a good mix of clean laughter and biblical teaching. There was time to reflect and time alone. Women met for a session and we bonded. The men did the same except their way of bonding wouldn’t work with women. We’re just different.

That was the whole point of the conference. We’re different. We think differently, communicate differently, and have different needs. It’s a God thing.

Tom and I have what most would call a good marriage. Even a great marriage. But this weekend, after 29 years of marriage, we both learned something.

And then, on the way home, we bought a puppy.

Some people never learn.

It was truly a weekend to remember.

Do You Trust Me?

The prince impostor stands outside of the beautiful princess’ window.’

“Do you trust me?” he asks offering her his hand and his magic carpet.

The words are familiar to her. She gives the dark-haired young man a shy look. Then she steps off her balcony for the ride of her life.

The movie Aladdin was not only a favorite of my children, but mine. I love the quirky genie and the handsome prince. My kids are grown now, but I often reflect on those words, ‘Do you trust me?’

I’m growing in trust. Didn’t even know I needed it until recently. Sure, I trusted Christ alone for my salvation, but I didn’t understand that I needed to trust him for money, health, the future, and (gulp) my family.

I viewed trust as a distant, other-wordly sort of belief. Kind of like the man who walked a tight-rope across Niagara Falls pushing a wheel barrel. The mesmerized crowd cheered and cheered as the man made several solo trips.

“How many of you believe that I can make it across again?” More cheering and approval. He was off the proverbial Nielsen charts! “Do you really believe I can?” The affirmations echoed louder than the falls.

“Who will volunteer to climb in?” Silence.

It’s one thing to say you trust the Lord, it’s another thing to live like it. Like in the way that I’m learning to trust God with my adult children. They are old enough that I have no control. But in order to move forward spiritually, I need to learn that.

Or trusting Him with my husband. Not trying to make him what I think he should be. Learning to watch and observe and pray as the Lord molds Tom into the man that the Lord God desires him to be.

I think I limit God with my expectations. He wants to do exceedingly, abundantly more than I ask or think in my family for His glory, not for my comfort and happiness. But He doesn’t work in the way I would have chosen, and it’s never fast enough for me.

But when He does the work—and I trust—there are multiple levels of growth. For me, for them, for those who watch and see how we live. It’s not pain free. Growth is always painful. But it is good.

So when the Lord extends His hand to me several times a day and says, “Do you trust Me?” I want to say ‘Yes.’ And just like the princess in Aladdin, step off my balcony.

For when I do that, I fly.

The Day After Mother’s Day

“If you eat this breakfast bar, you won’t be as hungry, but I don’t want to give it to you if you’re not going to eat it.”

Micah glanced at the package, spit out his toothpaste and said, “Yea, stick it in. Thanks for the lunch, Mom.”

Yesterday, this same 20-year-old started banging dishes around at 6AM then burst through our bedroom door. “Do you want regular eggs or Hollywood eggs for breakfast?”

I thought it was him in the kitchen, but since I never see his face much before 11 on his day off, both his presence and question surprised me. “I’ll take plain yogurt with granola.”

“How about bacon?”

“Sure.” I smiled as I thought of how the Mother’s Day gauntlet had been passed to him from his graduate-school-sister.

Still, that was yesterday. The one day of the year where the world takes a collective breath and thanks the one who brought them into the world. It makes mothers smile. It makes restaurants busy and it makes Hallmark rich.

But the day after Mother’s Day shifts back to any other day. I like getting back to a ‘mothering normal.’ It didn’t used to be that way.

When I first gave birth to Sarah, I thought the holiday would be magical. At the ripe old age of eight months, I hoped that she would smile angelically all day while my awestruck husband would create a five-star, seven-course meal. It didn’t happen.

When Micah was born, I thought two creatures should adore me. They didn’t. My husband Tom usually had to work. So when Mother’s Day was filled with children’s tears, sibling rivalry, and dirty dishes, I was disappointed.

As I’ve grown up along with my children, I’ve appreciated just being a mother. Not the day.

Being a mother has taught me that days aren’t always perfect, that children are never perfect, but they’re dear. It’s taught me to stop thinking about myself so much—which is a definite improvement. It’s taught me that although mothering is so ‘daily,’ like delivering the newspaper, it’s a privilege. I wouldn’t change it or my children for anything.

It’s a privilege to watch my baby girl grow into a young woman who attends graduate school and cares deeply for others. It’s a privilege to observe a little boy turn into a young man who wakes up at 6AM to fix his mother breakfast.

Two of my friends have lost their sons in the last month. I’m grateful that I can fix a lunch for my little boy who stands six-feet-tall.

Happy Day After Mother’s Day!