Gratitude for a Storm

Dear Readers:

I have previously shared some of my sorrows and in doing so have allowed you to know, I have many frailties.  BUT TO GOD I give all the glory. For without Him, I could not make it.

You know of my long strife to sell my home in Oklahoma and finally move to Texas.  I have shared of moving in and out of hotels while trying to locate a home in this extraordinarily inflated and competitive real estate market. I have bid on countless homes, each time offering the recommendation of my realtor, but losing the bid. Thus, I wait; living out of a small suitcase-praying that God will grant me peace during this extensive and challenging storm of my life.

The clouds rolled in nine years ago when I found myself alone and bewildered. Then when I learned the rationale for the abandonment, the thunder roared and the rain fell. The storm would grow more and more intense. Yet God reminded me He was right there with me.

As I opened one of my devotions recently, it “spoke to me” and was too valuable to not impart to you, my readers. These words caused me to pause, knowing that some day when I have resumed some aspect of normalcy to my life, I will recall this storm was also a time of renewal; a time to be wrapped in the blanket of God’s love.

As Chuck Swindoll shared, “Father, we all have hopes and aspirations. We all have dreams. And though there is nothing wrong with these, how easy it is to be driven by them. How easy it is to feel that if our dreams don’t come true, we’ve somehow not been loved by You…We acknowledge before You that this life is not about us or our expectations.

Thank You that You never miss a person. When it’s time for promotion, You won’t be late. When it’s time for rewards, You won’t forget… we bow before Your mighty throne. We acknowledge that You’ve been good to us… You’ve cared for us when we’ve been careless. You’ve loved us when we’ve been terribly unloving, and You’ve met our needs when we didn’t even stop to think about what we ought to be giving to You and Your work…We ask this so that we might become for You messengers whose message makes sense because our lives are like Your Son’s life—the One who is gentle and humble of heart.” (Chuck Swindoll)

When the storms of our life pass and the “son” shines, we can truly see “more clearly.” We can see the areas of our lives that needed the nourishment from the rain-those weakened spots in our lives that needed to be covered with clouds for a while, so we would not be burned by the strong rays of Satan. We will understand the storm was the greatest gift we could have been given. Psalm 121:7 NIV, “the Lord will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life.”

Who’s In Charge ?

Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, whose mother had organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health, originated Mother’s Day. On May 12, 1907, she held a memorial service at her late mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia. Within five years virtually every state was observing the day and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson recognized Mother’s Day as a national day of honoring mothers-and so we honored our mothers yesterday.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in countless ways. For some mothers these are days of joy and festivity with their family. For others, they are melancholy and remorseful; reminders of the children they desired but were unable to conceive or children they conceived but are no longer a part of their lives through death or estrangement. Some mothers reared children alone without the fathers of those children. The stories of each mother and her child/children are as diverse as the individuals.

How poignant when our pastor’s sermon on Mother’s Day, was not directed to mothers, but to parents. We know God’s plan is there should not be a child without both a mother and a father. Today was not a tribute to mothers or fathers, but to families. I was grateful and appreciative our pastor recognized that sometimes addressing such a day while focusing on mothers and their children can be emotionally painful.

The Pastor reminded all parents of the responsibility each has in rearing the children and of making a Christ centered home joyful and peaceful. No, not a perfect home-there can not be such when each person in the household has an earthly and sinful nature.  A Godly home is one in which the father chooses to lead the family as Christ leads the church, while the members of the family love and care for one another

Pastor T. also borrowed Dr. Dobson’s additional requirements for a successful marriage and home; the fathers treat the mothers with tenderness and kindness, while the mothers grant the fathers respect and esteem. It is far more important for children to see love from one parent to the other than for parents to provide children with a luxurious and affluent life. Will a child honor a parent who provided them wealth, but never love or will they cherish the parent that didn’t have a lot of prosperity, but gave them boundless devotion and support?

I was reared in an abusive and poor home. Yet, the poverty would have never been a concern had there been love and encouragement from my parents. The deprivation of needs was exacerbated with the chronic, physical abuse. Children are resilient, but love is an essential component for that child’s success throughout life.

As I’ve observed my adult children with their families, I’ve been proud of the traits from their upbringing they brought to their children, but sorrowful for the situations they deemed unworthy of passing on to their own family. Some say it takes a village to rear a child. No, it takes the desire of parents allowing God to lead to rear the children. Who is in charge of your family? Proverbs 22:6 KJV, “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”