Peace for the Day

Devotions for our daily angst.


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Love Lessons Learned from Mom

I’ve invited my dear friend Gayle to share today. God has a way of using our mothers – and our children! – to teach us. I was so frustrated with my parents when they wouldn’t allow me to help them. In my rant to the Lord, I heard, like Gayle, “Ah-ha, maybe you’re not so different from them. I stand ready to help you if you’ll let me.”  Enjoy my dear readers and send your own lessons learned to us.

Mothers!   It’s so much easier to see another’s faults, isn’t it? So much easier to remove the splinter from someone else’s eye rather than yank that beam out of my own. My relationship with my own mother recently brought this home to me in a big way.

My elderly mother and I have never had a warm and fuzzy relationship, and we have lived very different lives. As she has aged, I’ve had a difficult time adjusting to caring for her needs while at the same time living my own busy life. Folks my age have been described as the “sandwich generation” for just this reason.

As I drove to pick her up for yet another doctor’s appointment, I discussed my frustrations with the Lord. She’s stubborn. She ignores the things my brother and I tell her she should do or not do to avoid troubling physical conditions. By disregarding our advice, the inevitable happens, and the very people who tried to help her avoid the mess in the first place are the ones she calls to clean it up. This is a pattern with my mother, and I was resentful and frustrated.

Suddenly, God opened my heart. I do the exact same thing! How many times had He instructed me to do or not do a particular thing, I ignored his warning, and I ended up reaping the consequences He tried to help me avoid? Then what would I do? Run crying to God asking Him to clean up my mess—a mess He did everything He could to help me avoid in the first place.

But how did my heavenly Father handle it? Did He talk down to me, sternly reminding me of His words with an “I told you so!”? No. He just loved me unconditionally and pulled me out of the muck and mire. He didn’t even remind me of just how many times I’d wallowed in the same mud pit!

I humbly admitted what He already knew: that I wasn’t offering the same forgiveness and patience, the same unconditional love and understanding to those dear to me. And the truth is I am fully capable of loving the way He does, because the Holy Spirit, the Helper, equips me with the ability to do so, if – and it’s a big if — I let him.

Driving down the road that day while praying for a smooth trip to the neurologist with mom, I recognized that she was the iron God was using to sharpen me. It was a reminder to me—as both His daughter and hers—that I am still a work in progress and my mother, no matter what her age, still has things to teach me.

Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose]. (Proverbs 27:17)

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Honor

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier GuardsThese people draw near Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me. Matthew 15:8

Instead of a donkey (Numbers 22), God used a television show to start me thinking about honor. (Such an old fashioned notion.) The use of cursing God’s name as a basis for the majority of the dialog caused me discomfort and led to intense internal discussions. I cringed every time I heard the characters swear but, in truth, I didn’t want to stop watching. It took me a few weeks and a lot of wheedling with myself and God to finally conclude I could no longer watch the show. By doing so, I was not honoring Him.

About the same time, I stumbled across Mark 6:4-6 NIV. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

The wonderful thing about reading the Word is that no matter how many times I’ve read one verse, in a moment of clarity, I understood it in a totally new way. I noticed a link between honor and faith and miracles. The people in his hometown did not honor Jesus; therefore, He could not do any miracles there.

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines honor this way – “to give weight or to grant a person a position of respect and even authority in one’s life”.[i] We hear about very few miracles across the church in America. Could it be, I wondered, connected to our lack of honoring Him? We don’t grant him the position of respect and authority that we once did. Bringing it closer to home, I examined my life. Do I honor God?

Honor is not an idea to be worn like a badge. It’s a core value that requires action. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery, the Honor Guard protects the tomb 24-7 365 days a year. The maid of honor helps the bride prepare for the wedding. Medal of Honor recipients acted valiantly beyond the call of duty. Students elected to the National Honor Society maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average and participate in extracurricular activities.

I want to honor God, in practice. I yearn for the Holy Spirit to nudge me when I’m not. Like Chris Tomlin sings in the song Amazing Love “It’s my joy to honor You. In all I do, I honor You.” That’s my prayer.

[i]  http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/honor.html