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Posts Tagged ‘Family relationships’

My husband and I celebrated my birthday this past Saturday with a trip to Cleburne, the theatre, and dinner with friends. Relaxed and content, Dick and I climbed into the car, ready to enjoy our long ride home.

About fifteen miles out of Cleburne I reached to adjust my glasses. My hand brushed the side of my ear and panic swept through me like a down-draft. “It’s gone.” I shouted and rubbed my ear lobe.

“What’s gone?” Dick jammed on brakes, swerved, and pulled to the side of the road.

“My new earring.” I wailed. “I’ve lost my earring.”IMG_5903

“How? Where?” Dick glared at me like I’d lost my mind.

“If I knew where it wouldn’t be lost.” My mind raced back to Cleburne and I mentally retraced my steps. I had the earrings on DSCF5959at dinner. One friend had voiced how lovely they were. How would I ever be able to tell Lisa and Michael.

Our daughter-in-law is the best gift-picker-outer ever. She and my son had sent two pair of unique, creative silver earrings fromDSCF4389 the Kennedy Center in Washington for my birthday, just last week. This was the first time I had worn my beautiful gift.

“Dear God,” I breathed. “Please help me find my earring.”

“Why don’t you call the restaurant and see if anyone found them,” Dick said.

A short phone call brought discouraging news—no earring found.

“Honey, would you mind going back?” I knew my request meant we would be late arriving home. Too late to watch Dick’s Nascar race. And, it might be a useless trip. Still, I had to return to search for my treasured gift of love.

We parked in the same spot we left forty-five minutes earlier and retraced our steps between the car and the restaurant. I walked through the parking lot, my eyes scanning every inch of black asphalt. Remembering I had hugged a friend goodbye before we walked to our car, I stepped onto the sidewalk right where we had left the couple. I looked down.

The earring lay on the cement, right where it must have fallen.

Relief and joy replaced the weight of despair as I snatched and held up the recovered treasure for my sweet husband to see.

His eyes widened and a smile spread across his face. “DiAne, you have got to be one of the most…”

I interrupted, “…blessed.” I said.
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He hugged me. “Yes, dear, blessed.”

As we drove home, an enormous moon topped the horizon and I thought of the scripture where Jesus tells of the Shepherd who loved His sheep so much He left the ninety-nine obedient sheep to go search for one lost lamb.

The earrings were gorgeous and a wonderful gift, but the givers of my gift are the objects of my love. She loved me enough to DSCF4399pick out jewelry she knew I would enjoy and my love for my son and daughter-in-law caused me to search for my lost present.

In just that way, the Greatest Gift-Giver of the Universe offers each one of us His mercy, His grace, and His forgiveness. Forever. A priceless gift of love purchased with the blood of His only Son. And we risk losing that priceless treasure when we run from His amazing love. Why?

I rehearsed the scripture again. And remembered a time when I strayed because I was rebellious and lost. Lost in the false DSCF3352thrill of doing my own thing. But Jesus sought and found me. Forgave me. Restored me to a relationship with Him, because He loved me enough to take my punishment—death. And give me life—new life in Him.

How about you? How long have you been running? Lost and alone, running from the Father who loves you? The Shepherd is searching.

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You are His treasure and He takes pleasure hearing the sound of your voice. Why not cry out for His help today and come home? His arms are open wide. Waiting just for you.

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:11-15 NAS).

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I was raised in a very disciplined household. “Children were to be seen and not heard,” my mother always said. And that statement was hammered into my head. Not just from my parents, but from other adults of that generation. My opinions didn’t count nor could they be expressed.

A sense of worthlessness grew inside me along with its good buddies, resentment and anger.

My attitude became one of sitting down and being quiet on the outside, but standing up and screaming inside. One of Mama’s favorite quips was, “If I tell you black is white, you’d better get a paint brush and paint it.” Her word was law—end of discussion.

The response my husband had to the seen and not heard instruction was timidity and stuttering.

When I became a parent, I determined never to utter those words to my children. They could express their feelings, even disagree, as long as they spoke in a calm, respectful manner, with the knowledge Dad was the officer-in-charge and I was the first mate, but we needed and counted on the input of our children.

Many of you were probably raised under the seen and not heard mantra. What effect did those words have on you? Did you raise your children by that premise?

A friend and I were talking the other day, and she had an even stronger reaction to that old saying being repeated to her again and again. She struggled with a sense of worthlessness and depression from early childhood, which led to teen and early adult addictions. Today we both lead support groups and see how actions, attitudes, and emotions from unresolved conflict in the past explode and affect the present griefs and addictions.

The home and family is the place where children should fledge—sprout wings. Without encouragement to participate in family discussions and decisions, to respect and be respected, to understand and be a part of loving relationships, the maturing process is stunted, possibly forever.

So just as we threw away last week’s quote, time heals all wounds, we should throw away this week’s children should be seen and not heard.

In giving our children a voice, we must be careful not to lean too far the other way. All we have to do is turn on the evening news and watch elementary hoodlums sassing and raging at teachers. No respect. And their actions are contagious to less aggressive children. What do you suppose these kids do at home? Or how about when they are older, bigger, stronger?

Another friend taught in the public school system in Dallas where special needs children are main-streamed into all classes. A young elementary student was given to rages—throwing things, turning over desks, screaming, kicking, biting. The district instructed the teachers to remove the class from the room and let the child’s tantrum run its course. And we wonder why we have school shootings, fights, attacks? Where is the logic of this policy?

So, what are we to do? Where are we to go? We do the one thing we always do when a problem is illusive. We go to the Word of God.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12 NAS).

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart” (Colossians 3:21 NAS).

“Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20 NAS).

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”
(Ephesians 6:1-4 NAS).

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5 NAS).

“But Jesus called for them, saying, ‘Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all” (Luke 18:16-17 NAS).

These scriptures, and many others, show us it’s all about relationships. Parent and child, just like God the Father with each one of us. Does He strike you with a bolt of lightning when you ask why? Or when you question Him in grief, heartache, or despair? No, He encourages you to come to Him and pour out your heart. Even when you’re angry and don’t understand.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NAS).

Let’s noodle this out together. Do you think Jesus would issue a limitless invitation to come to Him, then when we get there tell us, “Don’t try to get My attention? Sit up straight. Be still. Just sit there, shut-up, and look pretty ‘til I have time to listen.”

“That’s absurd,” you say. “He’s God. I’m not.”

Right, He is sovereign over the whole Universe. But He has given us authority over our little plot of the world. And we’ve allowed the pendulum to swing too far to the left of right.

So what can we do now?

Parents must go back to school. In this age of technology where children operate computers, IPhones, Kindles, etc. before they learn to tie their shoestrings, it is imperative for parents to understand it’s not a question of if trouble will happen, but when will it happen. Every parent must learn about electronic protections and safeguards, time restraints and locations for using these cyberspace playgrounds.

Regimented family life is imperative. In our home suppertime was 6 PM. Until I married and left home, we all gathered for the evening meal. Together.

Difficult discussions must take place with each child—straight to the point and often. Always making sure the child knows they can never do anything that will make you stop loving them. The family will work to solve every problem, together.

Young people and children in America are starving. Starving from a deprivation of understanding and believing the relevancy of the Word of God. Let’s talk about this urgent issue while freedom to speak is still the law of the land.

The most important thing parents must do is read the Word of God and pray with their children. Teaching them from an early age, God loves them, and each one of you are accountable to God for the stewardship of your life.

Jesus tells us in Matthew and in Luke, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself falls” (Matthew 12:25, Luke 11:17 NAS).

Children are our future and our heritage. We must live out the principles of God’s Word—that it’s all about relationships not religion. Relationships with God. Relationships with one another. Or America will cease to be.

What do you think? Were words spoken during your childhood that blessed or harmed you? How did your upbringing affect the way you raised your children?

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It’s that time of year when the aromas of heart and home come from the kitchen. This afternoon I pulled yummy banana breads from the oven and plopped them on hand crafted trivets my Daddy made to cool.

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Suddenly memories mesmerized me—times I had used these trivets. Unthinking, take-for-granted times. Times I had treated them like trash. But today I am thankful. Thankful for my Daddy’s thoughtfulness and love to construct these necessary tools for me. A part of him that endures and I felt his love even though he’sDSCF3940 been gone fourteen years.

I look around my home and remember the treasures we enjoy from my family and my husband’s family. And I am thankful. For them, for their love, and for the precious possessions they left behind.

Mama’s recipes have fed my family and friends. Her investments in my life become more evident with each passing day. Years ago my teenagers laughed at me one evening and confirmed, “you’ve turned into your mother.”DSCF3939

My home is blessed with her favorite things: porcelain figurines, dishes, furniture, silverware—things she loved and used everyday. Things that evoke sweet memories. Things I pray my children and grandchildren will hold dear.
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Dick’s mother lived with us in her final days and brought many of her cherished antiques to Texas from North Carolina. I’ll never forget the day we held that first garage sale in Carolina before the move. By all measurements I’m short, but Grandma Gates was even shorter. And that little woman toted stuff back inside faster than I could move them out for the sale.DSCF3949

I finally stopped, sat her down, and attempted to explain, yes, everything was bigger in Texas, except our house. We couldn’t take it all.

Today I’m so grateful I have a portion of her things to remind me of Grandma’s tenacity and fierce love of her family. I’ve rocked my grandchildren in Grandma’s rocking chair and fed them from their Papa’s baby spoons. Treasured memories.DSCF3952

Were they all pleasant recollections? Oh my, no. We’re not perfect people, just people with memories—the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I marvel what God has given, taken, and molded out of the multiplicity of cracked-pot lives that fill our family albums. I’m thankful.

What about you? As you approach Thanksgiving Day 2013, which is longer? Your thankful list or your regrets list?

The only thing going into eternity will be folks. Your folks. My folks. Family. And friends. Not stuff. While I enjoy Mama’s and Grandma’s stuff, all their things just loop me back to our relationships and times spent in their presence. Living, laughing, lamenting. And I’m thankful.

Regret steals thankfulness when we waste our lives chasing objects that will one day be destroyed, only to wake up—often when it’s too late—and realize we’ve ignored the important things. Relationships with family, friends and acquaintances. Because we were too busy, too foolish, or too self-absorbed to understand the difference between trash and treasure.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NAS).

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