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Blog, Faith, Parenting, prayer

The Gift of Motherhood

Happy Mother's Day

Today, Sunday, May 10, marks Mother’s Day of 2020. It is one of the most special days of the year and is the most popular holiday of the entire year to dine out, with nearly half of all Americans hitting a restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Mother’s Day started as an anti-war movement, with Anna Jarvis credited with founding it in the U.S. to promote global unity after the horrors of the American Civil War and Europe’s Franco-Prussian War. I can see why it was started that way–after all, we as moms are in a war with the enemy satan over our children! That’s why it is so important to pray every day over them!

Our three beautiful daughters Eden, Leah, and Heather

Our three beautiful daughters Eden, Leah, and Heather

When I was a child, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a mom and a writer. That’s exactly what happened. Today I am the mom of three beautiful, precious daughters, Heather, Eden, and Leah. I’m also the author of 20 books. I believe that being a mom is the most important, sacred job in the world.

mom and her baby

A mom and her baby

No worldly success that I could ever achieve as a speaker and a writer would matter if I didn’t have a close relationship with my children. Next to my salvation through Jesus Christ, my children are the greatest gifts God has ever given me. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” I so agree with this!

Jesus Christ oil painting

Jesus Christ oil painting

I’m 110% positive that I’ve made lots of mistakes as a mom. Our daughters are grown now and on their own. Since they moved out, I repented to God and our kids for any sins I committed as a mother as Ray and I raised them. I think it’s important to let your kids know that you’re so not perfect and you mess up, too, and that is why we need Jesus as our Savior and the Holy Spirit as our Helper. As I saw on a T-shirt on Etsy, it’s often a“Messy mom bun, Coffee Run, Get it done” kind of day!

Our beautiful daughter Eden with her "mom bun"

Our beautiful daughter Eden with her “mom bun” & her daughter Piper

But I also let our daughters know how very much I love them and how important they are to God and me, and that He has a great plan for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11). They may be grown now, but they’re forever on my mind. Sophia Loren said, “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”

My precious daughter Leah and me and flowers for Mother's Day

My precious daughter Leah and me and the flowers she bought me for Mother’s Day

One of the hardest things about the Coronavirus and the Shelter in Place orders has been that I haven’t been able to see my kids and my grandkids for over a month now. It’s been so hard! With the curve flattening, Missouri’s governor has begun to re-open the state for business. Yesterday I was able to see and hug our youngest daughter Leah! I picked up cheeseburgers and fries at Freddy’s and we went to the park, eating at a picnic table in the sunshine and fresh air. I was so happy to finally be able to hug her! To my surprise, she bought me some beautiful, fresh Azaleas flowers. 

I was so blessed she did this for me, but I told her the best gift was seeing her! I wasn’t able to see Heather and Eden too, but hope to see them and my grandkids very soon.

Ray also bought me some nice gifts: long-stemmed red roses, a Dove chocolate bar, Ghirardelli Chocolate Caramel squares, a pretty coffee mug, and a sweet card. 

Gifts that Ray bought me for Mother's Day

Gifts that Ray bought me for Mother’s Day

Washington Irving said, “A mother’s love endures through all.” This is so true. It’s not always easy being a mom. It is both the greatest and hardest thing in the world.

When they’re sick, all you want is your child to be well. When they hurt, your heart hurts. If they’re stressed out and worried about a relationship, their job, their finances, or the Coronavirus, then you’re worried for them, too. And if they get mad at you over something and stop speaking to you for awhile, you feel as if you’re going to literally die. Yes, this has happened to me with each of our kids at times when they got upset with me over something!

As their mom, I can get on their last nerve sometimes, especially when I’m being a “helicopter mom,” hovering over them and being overprotective. One way I know that I’m irritating them is they will say, “Oh, mother!” (They only call me mother when they’re annoyed; otherwise, I am just “mom” to them!) I’m still very much in process with this, learning to let go and let God, entrusting them into His tender care. He loves them even more than I do!

I’m so glad and grateful that we are closer now and that God reconciled us from past hurts. My children are my very heartbeat and I don’t know what I’d do without them in my life. I praise God for them!

Our family, Ray's 50th bday Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Our family
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Each of our daughters is so beautiful, spiritually gifted, highly intelligent, talented, funny, wise, and their own person. God made them “wonderfully and fearfully.” (Psalm 139:14) Heather being the wise, kind person she is, the adventure gal, and a leader. Eden with her Sanguine, zany, funny personality and her amazing singing voice. Leah with her quiet, peaceful ways, her love for her cat Jax and all animals, and her incredible artistic and musical gifts. I admire and enjoy our daughters. They are unique people, and I love how different they are, made in the image of God. 

Today on Mother’s Day, my prayer for our daughters are these verses:

3 John 4:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

Ephesians 3:20, The Message: “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

Heart on beach  Source: Unsplash

Heart on beach
Image Source: Unsplash

Thank you so much, Heather, Eden, and Leah, for the beautiful gift of motherhood. I love you with all my heart!

For all moms, whether biological, stepmom, adoptive, foster, or mentor to children, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day, one that is relaxing and fun. You deserve it! Your influence and your unconditional love are so important to your children. 

You can listen to my podcast, Nothing Like a Mom, by clicking here

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Blog, Ebooks, Family, Friendship, Writing

True friends

Me and my BFF Maria

Me and my BFF Maria

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”– Elisabeth Foley

In my blog on spring, A Chance at Life Again, I shared about my first children’s book that I’m writing, which should be launched in mid-March or late March 2020. It is about my and our daughter Leah’s black cats, Natalya (Nat) and Jax. The theme is friendship. 

Jax and Natalya

Jax and Natalya

I’ve never been the type of person to have tons of friends. Usually, I have anywhere from two to 10 close friends, with whom there is a depth of relationship, instead of having a lot of friends, where the relationships are shallow and even superficial.

In high school, there were cliques. Depending on your looks, clothes, type of car you owned, class grades, your family’s economic status, and more ridiculous things, the cliques were:

    • the “popular” group (usually rich, good-looking people who everyone wanted to be friends with);
    • nerds (intelligent students in the accelerated learning classes, and sometimes the popular kids were in this group, too);
    • jocks (students who played football or basketball, wrestled, were on the gymnastics team, and/or who participated in other sports and were good at them–they were often in the popular clique, too);
    • druggies (kids who usually smoked cigarettes and/or pot, drank alcohol, and/or took other drugs. Some of the popular kids indulged in drinking and drugs, and would have parties);
    • others who didn’t fit into any of the above cliques.  Painfully shy and socially awkward, I was in this group, often eating my lunch alone. It was a difficult, lonely time. As I matured and grew older, I learned better social skills and began developing close friendships. Today my friends are a vital part of my life, and I love them so much! You know who you are!

     

    I believe that Jesus’ ministry time here on earth exemplifies the types of relationships we can have with others:

  • The crowds of people whom Jesus taught. This would be similar to your and my Facebook “friends,” who are really more acquaintances (or even strangers we don’t know), our social media “peeps,” audiences where we speak, readers of our books and our blogs, etc.
  • Jesus’ disciples. These included men and women who followed Him more closely. These would be friends who we start to spend more fun time with, such as having over for dinner at our houses, doing a Bible study with at church or in our homes, etc.
  • Jesus’ 12 disciples. Your friends who you begin to confide in, asking prayer requests from (I have a team of intercessors who pray for me and my family), hang out with for a bbq and a movie at your house, people who are aware of the more personal details of your lives, whom you can really trust. Jesus chose these 12 men after all night in prayer, so they would spend time with Him, to preach, and to cast out demons. They would later spread the gospel throughout the world. These would be like my friends Liz, Ruth, Gala, Susan, Jane, Stephanie, and Dana.
  • The inner circle of 3, Peter, James, and John.  They are always listed first in the Biblical record whenever the apostles are listed by name. Peter along with his brother Andrew, along with James and his brother John, were the first set of disciples called by Jesus to follow Him. These three were the only disciples to witness the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:37-42; Luke 8:50-55); Christ’s Transfiguration on the Mount (Matthew 17:1-2); and Jesus travailing in prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane, before He was crucified (Matthew 26:36-39; Mark 14:32-36).  Jeff Atchinson said, “the Perfect Leader, Jesus, showed us the importance of narrowing in on a smaller circle for the highest degree of intimate training.” These would be like your best friends, who you’d trust with your very life. You know they  are loyal and they always have your back! These are usually people who, even if you go separate ways (such as moving), you can always pick right back up where you were the last time you saw each other, such as my friends Shelley Valasek and Kim Weber.
  • John who lay on Jesus’ breast, hearing His heartbeat. This is your very best friend. For me, that would be my daughters and my sister Maria. These are the ones I laugh with and cry with. They really know me–and love me anyway! My sister and I talk about everything, and we understand each other so well (we both have the same kind of warped humor!). 

Sometimes we meet people who are definitely not and will never be our friends. They simply rub us the wrong way, and/or vice versa. 

The Bible says in Romans 12:18 NASB, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

I believe this passage indicates that sometimes it is not possible. I think this is often due to personality types. They (or you!) are bossy, manipulative, narcissistic, controlling, rude, hateful, arrogant, or have something about them that just irritates or angers you. Sometimes people rub you the wrong way and/or vice versa. You know the type: people with an attitude who you feel like just slapping, but you control yourself!

woman shooting bird

I’ve experienced this in my own life, even recently. There was a woman at a part-time job where I worked for a season who, for whatever reason, seemed to not like me at all and would get easily angry at me. I tried my best to be nice to her, but she’d storm out of the office, offended over what seemed to be little, ridiculous things. Sad to say, we never got along. I no longer work there, and I’m so glad that I don’t have to deal with her any more!

Not everyone is going to like you or get along with you, or you with them. We can try our best to walk in God’s agape, unconditional love and forgive, but you and that person may never become friends. 

Woman in jacket. Source: Unsplash

Woman in jacket
Source: Unsplash

However, sometimes it IS possible. My children’s book is about that hope. I’m praying to launch it soon.

If you aren’t already signed up on my website’s mailing list, be sure to sign up with your name and email address on the welcome page at the bottom of the page. You’ll also get my free video training for speakers and writers about sharing your heart’s message, when you do. 

I’m personally so thankful for the friends I do have. Like my salvation through Christ and my family, I consider them a precious gift from God. 

Me and my precious friend Shelley Valasek, at the fountains by Crowne Center, Kansas City, MO

Me and my precious friend Shelley Valasek, at the fountains by Crowne Center, Kansas City, MO

 

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God’s repair shop

This morning I had breakfast at Quick Dine III, an old-fashioned, mom-and-pop-type diner here in town, where you can get the best, crispiest bacon ever, a good, very cheesey omelette with hash browns (plenty of ketchup!), and a decent, creamy, hot cup of coffee. The waitress, Joanne, is amazing, remembering exactly what you want, including your drink and hazelnut creamer for your coffee. 

omelette and bacon

omelette and bacon

As I waited on my usual order, I watched part of The Repair Shop on the TV, where the expert craftsmen restore heirlooms and antiques like music boxes, vases, and clocks to prove anything can be restored to its former glory.

The craftsmen were completely restoring a family heirloom-a large writer’s desk. The original, antique wood had chips and big cracks in it, and the wood was fading and dull. 

After they restored it, the owners could hardly believe this was the same piece of furniture. The desk was shiny with ornate, gold handles for the drawers, and it looked brand new. “It looks wonderful!” the woman owner exclaimed, with tears in her eyes.

expert craftsmen on The Repair Shop

I thought about how God does this with you and me in God’s “Repair Shop.” He takes what is chipped, cracked, and even totally broken in our lives, and turns it into His beautiful masterpiece through His forgiveness, grace, and mercy. 

Woman caught in adultery and Jesus, The Passion Movie

Woman caught in adultery and Jesus
The Passion movie

The power of Jesus’ Love completely restores you and me, making us into a brand new creation.

I’m so thankful for this. It also gives me hope for others whom I love, who are broken right now and need His healing, restoring touch.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

 

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