Archive for November, 2010

God-Our A Spiritual Retainer

The past two weeks have brought two milestones to our family. First, our oldest grandchild got his LEARNER’S PERMIT to DRIVE—that’s huge!!! My, oh my, where has the time gone? I can remember– in PERFECT detail– picking him up—him being first born grandchild, John Luke— from Mother’s Day Out and purposely taking the back roads so he could sit in my lap and “drive” us home. He had such good driving skills then. He could turn the car on a dime. Backing out—no problem; parking—a breeze; right turn, left turn—easy! Propped up tall and straight, I trusted him completely. Yeah, right! What I trusted was my ability to control his little hands, making sure we stayed safely between the oncoming cars and the ditch that could potentially harm us. With me in control, I knew we would be safe. It’s a different story now. He begs to drive everywhere we go and I reluctantly say yes. I told him the other day that I’m just nervous because I can’t sit right beside him or with him in my lap. He smiled his sweet smile and patiently listened to me give him driving tips and say slow down a few hundred times.

Milestone number two. This same grandchild, John Luke, came over last night to reveal a smile so bright it could melt an iceberg. Well, if the iceberg were his grandmother (trust me, if you’re not a grandma yet, it doesn’t take much). He had just gotten his braces off. Most of you either went through the braces ordeal personally or with your children, so you know the excitement of getting them off. Remember that slick, smooth feeling your teeth now seemed to have? After my FOUR years of braces, I loved to run my tongue over my smooth teeth. What a great, freeing feeling that was!. Those poor teeth had been “controlled” for months. But would they stay that way? Could they handle their newfound freedom or would they ease back into their original crookedness?

Oddly enough, these two milestones have so much in common. You may be ahead of me and have figured it out on your own. Both of these milestones have to do with control and freedom. John Luke has reached the next stage in his life, just as his teeth have. With the twist of a wire or a well placed tiny rubber band, the orthodontist had the power to make John Luke’s teeth straight or crooked. And, as I held John Luke’s tiny hands tightly in my own, I had the power to make our car go straight or crooked.

Just as it is for John Luke, it is for each of us and for our children. Letting go is never easy, but the alternative isn’t welcome either. There isn’t a parent alive who would wish their child to stay in a state of childishness. Oh, we all cry from time to time at the swift passing of years. We sometimes look at pictures with a sense of melancholy, thinking it would be fun to hold our teens as a baby just one more time. But, in reality, no one wants their children to stay children. It’s not natural. But, it’s not easy giving over the control we once had and letting them make decisions—decisions that could determine whether their path stays straight or becomes jagged.

To keep teeth straight, the orthodontist fits us with a retainer. I’m sure you remember that as well. A retainer is important as it’s job is to keep newly straightened teeth in place. It helps “control” shifting. Obviously, no two retainers are alike and the length of time needed will vary because every mouth is different. Hummm….that’s a little like the learner’s permit, don’t you think? For a length of time, an adult will still have a little control. The newly trained driver cannot go out alone–yet. But, it’s not permanent. A learner’s permit and a retainer are only for a short time. Ultimately, our teeth and our children will be TOTALLY on their own.

That could be very scary EXCEPT, as Christian moms, we know that our children are never totally alone and niether are we. We have a loving Father who stands ready and is capable of holding our hands while we drive and acts as our “spiritual retainer” to guide our steps and keep us going in the right direction. I love how the Message says Psalms 54:4: “Oh, look! God’s right here helping! God’s on my side, Evil is looping back on my enemies. Don’t let up! Finish them off!” Don’t you love it?

God is right here, right now, right there for YOU and YOUR children!

Have a great week, leaning on the awesome God who loves to sit right beside YOU and “drive” YOU to Godly greatness.

Hugs, Chrys

Put the Thanks Back in Thanksgiving

Have you seen the cute commercials running right now advertising Disneyworld? The Disney marketing team has apparently found actual video footage from families who have told their children they are taking them to Disneyworld. I just love it! The kids are at first stunned and stare in disbelief, then they question the parents again, then they start jumping up and down on the couch screaming with excitement. So adorable!

When was the last time you got so excited about something happening in your life that you jumped up and down on a couch? I’m sure it’s been quite a while. Even if you had an event that evoked that level of excitement, as adults, we rarely express it that way; right?

Well, we have an event coming up that you should be “jump up and down on the couch” excited about and that is Thanksgiving. “Oh…is that all?” you ask. IS THAT ALL! It’s just the one day our entire country sets aside time to be THANKFUL. That’s all! Now, think about it. We have a holiday that’s only purpose is to exercise our vocal cords with two little words, “Thank You.”

In one of the original Thanksgiving documents it reads “All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings.”

So simple. So sweet. You mean there was no mention of school being dismissed, booking your airline flights, stocking up on Stouffer’s Stuffing Mix, making plans for Black Friday, looking up the recipe for pecan pie, designing a cute centerpiece made with little pilgrims and corn stalks, watching two or three football games, assembling a 1000 piece puzzle, gobbling up sweet potato casserole, catching the latest movies, snapping pictures at the school program, and settling in for the Macy’s Day parade??? I can almost hear one of our forefathers saying, “I just meant for everyone to be thankful. That’s all. Ye have taken Thanksgiving to another level!”

Yes, YE have! Somewhere down the line, apparently some people got “jump up and down” excited and started adding more and more “things” to our list as a way of celebrating Thanksgiving–all good and fun things, for sure. BUT the one most important thing may have slipped off the list—saying thank you and being thankful.

I love school programs and the Macy’s day parade as much as you do, if not more, but we have to go back to our roots on this one and put the “thanks” back in Thanksgiving. Let’s all be sure we include time in our celebrating to let our children EXPRESS their thankfulness to God for the blessings in their life.

Colossians 3:15 says it so well,”Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” It really IS that simple.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving week. Give God the glory!



What a Deal!

And the debate continues. Seasoned psychologists, educated child experts, experienced doctors, nervous moms, and sleep-deprived dads– everyone has an opinion. Should or shouldn’t children be allowed to come into their parent’s room at night? Ask any child and the answer is “Yes, of course”. Ask any parent who has had a wiggling, kicking, bed-wetting child in their bed lately and the answer is a resounding “NO!” Ask any grandparent who only remembers snuggles and giggles and the answer is “Sure, what does it hurt?”

For many, including people from other countries, they can’t figure out what makes this topic so controversial. But for those who argue against the practice, we are warned that children could form an irreversible dependence on the parents or a child could be smothered as a soundly sleeping parent might roll over without realizing it. Truth be told, I’m guilty of having one or two grandchildren in our bed quite often. So, I’m not one to debate the issue. In fact, for the better part of the past two weeks, I have found my half of our roomy king size bed reduced to approximately six inches, give or take an arm or a leg.

While the debate rages on, I think most people would agree on why a parent’s room is so enticing for children. In a healthy family environment, children come into a parent’s room looking for safety, security and warmth. For a brief time, parents love this about their children. Often, the first night young parents hear the sound of tiny feet scampering across the room, they actually smile. They reach down and help their little darling, who isn’t quite big enough to climb up yet, reach their destination. Then mom and dad settle in for what they believe to be a sweet, one-time, precious moment in parenting history. But, soon the joy of the moment is gone. The trip to mom and dad’s room becomes a way of life and night, after night, the child wedges between mom and dad. He or she falls quickly to sleep, leaving the parents to spend agonizing hours trying to get comfortable with an extra limbs flailing around the bed. Yes, once this fun begins, children seem to set an internal alarm clock telling them exactly when mom and dad have dozed off and it’s safe to go to their room.

A few years ago my son, who loves his children very much, found himself dealing with this issue. He had finally reached the breaking point and came to the conclusion most of us parents (that excludes grandparents) eventually come to–children have stay in their own beds! In an effort to put a positive slant on it, he took the route that I’m sure psychologists would find most appropriate—offer money. One night he sat his two little ones down for a little talk. They were three and five at the time, so I’m sure they weren’t too happy about this conversation. But, he had a good plan. He told them that if they stayed in their bed all night he would pay them one dollar, but if they got into his bed that night, they would owe him 25 cents. Feeling rather proud and confident of his plan, he kissed them good night and put them to bed.

Awww….a night with no feet in my back, he thought. But, around 2:00 AM, the familiar pitter-patter of little feet was heard once again, only this time it was followed by a clinking sound and then a little warm body settled in for the night. The next morning my son discovered the source of the clinking sound as he found two dimes and a nickel on the nightstand beside his bed. A very smart five-year-old had decided it was worth the money to share his parent’s bed, so he paid his way in.

Oh, what lessons our children teach us! Twenty-five cents was nothing to pay for the warmth, security and love one little boy needed during a dark, lonely night. What price would you pay for warmth and safety on a dark lonely night? Twenty-five cents? Twenty-five dollars? No price would be too high if the return was what you needed, would it? But the reality is the price has already been paid. I love the words to the song that says, “He paid a debt he did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay.” A long time ago, God put two dimes and a nickel beside our bed and said, “Climb in. I’m here to hold you tight and keep you safe.”

Have a great week, resting in the arms of Jesus.

Hugs, Chrys

A Sweet Reward

Okay, I heard the sweetest thing last night. After a very busy “out of town” weekend, I rushed home to attend a church event. I threw some cookies in the oven, unpacked the toiletries, freshened up my makeup, grabbed the warm cookies and flew out the door. My suitcase was still to be unpacked and, since I hadn’t had internet reception, emails were waiting to be answered. But I could get to that later in the night.

I picked up my daughter and her four children and we headed out to enjoy the fellowship of people we love. It was so fun getting to share some car time with my precious grandkids and listen to the things they had done for the weekend. But, that wasn’t the sweetest thing of the night.

As I arrived at the church event, I was greeted by three more of my grandchildren. I had only been gone three days, but you would have thought it was three months. Each one jumped in my arms (even the ten year old—I told my back it was worth it), and gave me the biggest hug. But, that wasn’t the sweetest thing.

Later, after we ate and fellowshipped with our church family, we went down to a campfire area where we sang songs of praise and worshipped under the stars. It was such a blessing to have three generations singing and praying together as we looked up into the clear, starry sky. It was amazing, but that wasn’t the sweetest thing.

As the evening came to an end, the youngest grandchild, Aevin, began asking to spend the night. My brain was saying, “it’s not a good night” but my heart and my mouth said, “Sure.” After all, work can wait, but little children grow up way too fast.

So, home we came and, since Aevin had been outside in the dirt all evening, a bath topped our priority list. I ran some water as he scrambled out of his clothes and encouraged me to make it warm. There’s nothing like a warm bath on a chilly night, even for us moms, right? Rare, but nothing like it!

As Aevin played with the bath toys and chattered about the things we did at the fellowship that night, I listened with one ear and unpacked my suitcase. Then he said, “I made up a song last night for daddy.” Of course, that got my attention. “Well, then, sing it for me,” I said. “You know that song, we sing about God? I changed the words,” he said. I was intrigued and then came the sweetest thing.

“Oh, Dad, you are my dad and I will ever love you. Oh, Dad, you are my dad and I will ever love you, “Aevin belted out with a twinkle in his eye. How precious is that?

My son is a single dad who works hard every day to make his home one that is God-honoring and secure for his children. His journey has been a difficult one and I have certainly helped him, but I have not taken the job of raising his children away from him. He has risen to the challenge and I think this song of praise from a child to his earthly daddy is proof that he has been successful.

Many of you are living through difficult times, perhaps you’re a single mom. Psalms 3:5 says “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.” Many nights you may go to bed thinking you cannot handle another day, but you do because you know that God will sustain you. He will wrap you tightly in his arms just as a loving earthly father does and when you wake up, you will be renewed and armed to face a new day. Your rewards may not be monumental in worldly terms, but a song, a touch, or a smile from a child who loves you will tell you that you matter and make a difference!

Have a blessed week resting in your Father’s mercy and grace.

Hugs, Chrys