Any Time at All

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Gentle Reader,

Interrupting what is apparently going to be a series on the sisterhood of suffering (I often don’t know exactly what will develop when I begin writing something) to share some thoughts on motherhood.

What?, you think. She knows she doesn’t have kids, right?

Jen Wilkin writes:

Just as my biological children needed me to train them in self-control, industriousness, and obedience, so also do young believers in the church need those who are more mature to train them in godliness. Every believing woman who grows to maturity becomes, in her time, a spiritual mother to those following behind, whether she ever becomes a mom in physical terms. She fulfills that most basic calling of motherhood: nurturing the helpless and weak to maturity and strength. She helps the young believer to nurse on the pure milk of the Word, faithfully teaching basic doctrine and modeling the fruit of the Spirit. She sacrificially makes herself available, like the mother of a newborn infant, allowing her schedule and personal needs to be inconvenienced for the sake of caring for the spiritually young and vulnerable. And she understands the work to be not a trial but a sacred duty, finding deep delight in wobbly first steps of faithfulness and stuttered first words of truth. (emphasis mine)

My beloved youths chose to participate in 30 hours of fasting over the weekend, a fact that led to me being awake for 36-plus hours. For someone who loves sleep as much as I do, that was the real sacrifice. Not the logging off of all social media and leaving my phone in my backpack. Not the shunning of food (though I did come to realize how much I love coffee…and Nutella…and cheese [which I shouldn’t eat]…and all carbs). Keeping my bleary eyes open to make sure they were safe, not fainting, or fighting with each other – so hard. Part of me wanted to say, “Do whatever you want. Just don’t burn the church down,” and then find some quiet spot for a long nap.

But I’d do it again. No question.

There are not sufficient words to describe how lovely it is to watch them begin to process big concepts like compassion and justice. So many despise teenagers, find them annoying and basically useless. That many couldn’t be more wrong.

They got up very early on Saturday morning and (mostly) cheerfully served breakfast – that they would not eat – to homeless people. They want to go back and do it again.

They walked around a downtown section of our city, choosing to be bold and brave enough to approach strangers, to ask them for a bit of their stories and to offer prayer. Most of them were rejected. A few experienced the elation of being received. They want to go back and do it again.

They really had no idea that they go to school with people who don’t have food at home, or even a home at all. They want to do something about that.

They sat in silence on the beach for over half an hour, reading their Bibles, journaling, or contemplating nature. The majority said this was their favorite activity; they never have time for quiet. Some of them heard the Spirit’s whisper for the first time. The wonder on their faces…

They got hangry, like really hangry, but banded together and encouraged each other to see it through to the end, even as they made dinner together, a dinner that they would not taste-test (but turned out pretty dang good).

They served each other Communion.

…a motherless church is as tragic as a motherless home. Guiding the spiritually young to maturity is not solely the job of the vocational pastor, the elder, or the Sunday school teacher. The church needs mothers to care for the family of God. We must rise to our responsibility, eagerly searching for whom the Lord would have us nurture. There is no barrenness among believing women. Through the gospel, all become mothers in their maturity. And unlike biological motherhood, spiritual motherhood holds the potential for hundreds, even thousands of descendants. Older women in the faith, do you recognize the vital importance of your influence and example? Whom could you make room for in your life to guide toward maturity? Who needs the hard-earned wisdom you hold? Spiritual babies need help to open God’s Word, to live at peace with God and others, to be lights in dark places. Babies need mothers. (emphasis mine)

They really are “my beloved youths.” The affection that pounds in my heart is deep and real. I am their Cougar, their Sexy Grandma, their Second Momma. (Nope, I won’t explain the first two, because you definitely had to be there). I love listening to them, joking with them, being around them. I can hardly contain myself as they take those wobbly steps of faith.

So will I stay up all night, holding a young lady as she sobs?

Any time at all.

None of us needs ever to question our usefulness in the household of God. We have only to draw the next searching fledgling under our wing.

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The Wednesday Writers: Carol Emmert

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (1)

Gentle Reader,

It’s The Wednesday Writers!

No idea what I’m talking about? Read this.

Today we hear from my new blogging buddy, Carol Emmert.

Mom Needs a Sick Day

One of the hardest things for our families to hear is this: Mom needs a sick day.

This phrase may have struck fear in your own heart a time or two. It is often Mom who holds all the little pieces of the day together, and keeps the family moving like a well-oiled machine, so having a mom who is down for the count seems tragic. But it does not have to be a tragedy – it can be a time  for everyone else to practice their skills, and a time to appreciate what Mom normally does every day.

When children are little they rely on their parents for almost everything, as they should. But by the time they are six or seven, children should be learning how to do some of their own chores, and learning some basic self-care skills. If parents take a little bit of time each week to teach their children some basic household skills, the home will run much more smoothly – even when mom is sick. A small child who has learned how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on their own can be a huge help around the house. If they can brush their teeth by themselves- even better! If your ten year old knows how to make mac & cheese or scrambled eggs, they can feed your family for a week if necessary. If your teens know how to run the washing machine and clean the bathroom, even if it is not done quite as wells when mom does it, then dad can spend his time focusing on taking care of his sick wife, going to work, and bathing the toddler before bed.

The best way to not dread the phrase Mom needs a sick day is to be prepared for it. Everyone gets sick sometime – even mom. So make a plan for what you will do when mom does need a sick day, or for the time when she needs to take care of someone else – like Grandma and Grandpa. Sit down and make a list of age-appropriate chores and cooking skills for each child. Then make a family plan for the next few months and work on learning how to do them well. Not only will this help when mom is sick, it also makes it easier to clean the house before last-minute guests arrive, or before you want to head out of town for the weekend.

For those times when mom really does need a sick day, have some bottled water, some herbal tea, and some crackers on hand. If mom can make it to the couch, surely your five year old will be happy to share his crackers, and his favorite cartoon with her. Then your ten year old can make her some tea, or chicken soup for lunch. Rally around mom when she is sick. Show her how much you appreciate her by caring for her, and cleaning up after yourselves. Moms are usually quick to recover, and with some practice, the family machine will still be running when she does.

********

Carol-headshot

 


Carol writes at Home Sweet Life. She shares snippets of everyday life while homeschooling high school, plus her family
s love for Jesus, road trips and adventure.

 

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Five Minute Friday: Pass

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

I made it to work every single day this month. Big deal for me.

My eyes are droopy so this is likely to be short and sweet (okay, salty). Kate says: pass.

Go.

I’m an outsider. I’ve never had a positive pregnancy test or felt those first, fluttering kicks. Never picked out a “going home” outfit or set up a nursery room. Never felt the pain of labor or the joy of cradling a newborn in my arms.

Really, I’m okay with all of that. God knows everything we will face and sometimes releases us from emotional suffering in advance. He’s done that for me. I am confident that my family is as it should be at this time – Chris and the fat, neurotic dogs – and He will make it clear when and if it’s time for a change (as in fostering or adoption, not kicking Chris out of the house).

My point is that I’m not involved in the battle women wage against each other. I stand on the edge and look in.

And I think it’s stupid.

So, so stupid.

One woman judges another for not breastfeeding. Another gives the new mom a side-eye because she gives her fussy baby a pacifier. Co-sleeping or cribs? Cloth or disposable diapers? Homemade or store-bought baby food? Name calling. Screeching.

Sanctimommy.

Pass.

Women should not do this to each other. It’s not about “educating” anyone. It’s about feeling superior. Prideful. Smug. The choices that a woman makes in the raising of her children (barring neglect or abuse) aren’t anyone else’s business. There is literally no reason for one woman to care about the kind of blanket with which another woman covers her baby at night.

Please, my sisters. Support each other. No caveats, no “I just want to help you do what’s best…” If your input isn’t sought, don’t give it. Pass on the urge to control and the judging and the shaming. Pass on the waste of energy and the fleeting sense of fulfillment that “defeating” another woman gives you. Pass on being unloving.

Just pass.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)