Thursday, March 26, 2009

Daughters—More than pink bundles


When we were expecting our 1st child over 34 years ago, I couldn’t get the idea of a daughter out of my head.  I yearned for the baby to be a girl.  My husband wanted the same thing and when on June 2nd we welcomed our beautiful baby Amy into our lives we were blissfully happy.  I remember bringing her home from the hospital and sitting in our bedroom, where we had temporarily placed the crib, rocking her in the chair Jim had bought me not long after we were married, and gazing star struck at this incredibly perfect baby I held in my arms.  I thought of whom I wanted her to be and actually pictured what she’d look like when she was grown.  It was a moment that for me telescoped into the future and gave me hope for the years she would be growing up.  I was never disappointed!  She has grown into one of the most lovely and caring young women I’ve ever known. 

When we found we were expecting our 2nd child, we both thought a boy would be nice and the Dr led us to believe that the baby was a boy.  We picked out girl names but didn’t think we’d use them.  So we were surprised when Stacey joined us.  Surprised but not disappointed.  She was just as beautiful as her sister and brought us so much joy.  I didn’t have that long look into her future that I had experienced with her sister because I was just too busy trying to take care of two babies under two.  We shared lots of long nights together though and I was sure that this determined little baby was going to do well in the future.  She has and I am amazed by her life.

So the years passed and I loved my little girls and a little brother joined him, just as much a joy, but that’s another story.  I sewed frilly dresses, did the bows, the pink, the purple, and all the little girly things that come with girls and it was fun!  I loved it.  I never tired of doing their hair or making sure they were as girly as possible.  The years sped by and they drifted from being little girls to preteens and teenagers, and some of the years weren’t so easy, but they certainly weren’t hard.

Then before it seemed possible,I was watching them marry and have children of their own.  It was bittersweet seeing the child disappear and the woman emerge.  However, life is a circle and with every new place in the arc there are blessings.

I am so glad I have daughters.  We share so much and always seem to enjoy each other company.  Recently after despairing for my oldest daughter’s health and seeing her miraculously healed, we went away for the weekend.  We spent three days learning about each other and sharing dreams and spending money and pampering each other and it was wonderful.  Little girls are fun for a little while but grown daughters are friends for always and it’s wonderful when your daughters begin to see you as more than their mom but also a person and treat you that way too. 

I am so thankful for my daughters and if either of you read this, you are my favorite women.  Thanks for belonging to me! 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Wanna be Like Michelle Duggar

I Wanna be like Michelle Duggar

Job 22:24-26 (New International Version)

24 and assign your nuggets to the dust,
       your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines,

25 then the Almighty will be your gold,
       the choicest silver for you.

26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty
       and will lift up your face to God.

Last night I watched 18 and still growing, a TLC show about a conservation family in Arkansas who decided to let God decide how many children they would have, and though I wouldn’t want to give birth to 18 children or mother them on a daily basis, I do admire that they live by principles of godliness that are quite foreign to most people who watch the show and the Duggars make no apologies for their choices. They share their lives with no pretense. Last night the show chronicled Michelle and Jim Bob’s trip to appear on The View in NYC. If you are even slightly aware of media, you know that The View is hosted by mostly liberal hosts except for Elizabeth Hasselbeck, the lone Republican and conservative.  She often ends up getting chewed up and spat out though she is a very able opponent. 

I never watch Michelle Duggar without marveling what a calm and sincere woman she is. She is not caught in the trap of commercialism or feminism that many, even Christian women are swirling about in. She speaks to her husband with a calm and loving voice even when he is whining or out of sorts ,which is not often, and she truly exhibits the Proverb: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 This in itself is a enigma to me, for when my husband is being whiny or nagging I almost always respond harshly reminding him that my metaphoric dog is only chained to the doghouse but can still bite and make a big racket if he gets too close, which is enough to keep him from venturing too close for awhile and results in his ego being bruised.  I know how to deliver those harsh words without any problem.

She dresses modestly, as does the rest of the family, without regard to the latest trends, never adorning herself in a lot of jewelry or extras. This couple believes is being frugal using the motto “Buy used and save the rest.” They pay cash for everything and are in debt to no one. They don’t believe in dating or in letting their children watch TV or spend much time on the internet. They are very different from even most Christian families.

When I heard that they were going on The View, I wondered what this show could possibly want from them. Several of the women on the show regularly, harshly criticize and make fun of Christians and conservatives. I thought that the Duggars were in for a rough interview.

What I heard was something else. Michelle showed up in the same dress I’d seen her wear at various other dressier occasions. She came as she is and there was no worry that was good enough, no rush buy the perfect outfit,  and her analysis of the show? It was fun! She said even the jokes and jabs at their lifestyle and religion were “fun.” That made me think and when I sat down to read my Bible that night before I went to sleep I marveled that the scripture so appropriately fit my thoughts about Michelle Duggar.  I don’t know why I was surprised—God was speaking to me! It wasn’t happenstance; it was God.

Job tells us when we live for God, all the riches of the world are nothing but throw away entanglements saying, “and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines,” Our wealth in this world has long been measured in terms of gold and how much we have. But Job tells us that this world’s wealth is not important or valuable when God is our center and our focus. He tells us that when we throw away the attachment to this world’s riches we become clothed with the riches of God.  Who would know and understand this more than Job, and Michele is a exemplary example of this. She wears her relationship with God like silver and gold and shines far brighter than anyone wearing Cartier or Tiffany’s, and when anyone tries to disparage her life or choices, she only sees the good. She isn’t dependent on her self esteem coming from some worldly people espousing a worldly agenda. So how does Michelle Duggar come out of the interview on the view? Shining! The woman left a good impression of whom and what she is because there is nothing but God to dull her witness. She wasn’t busy polishing her silver or guarding her gold trying to look good.  She just tossed it all away and let Jesus shine through. Her public persona is as beautiful as her private and we all know it is hardest to Christ-like with our families.

Whether she’s disciplining an overly rambunctious child or talking to her husband, she remains calm and loving. She’s even loving when her husband declared to her that he was bored out of his mind while they were shopping for the newest baby’s layette and is not at all like another TLC  proclaimed Christian woman who talks roughly and rudely to her husband. I know I would have told my husband to suck it up and enjoy this time with me while we shopped for God’s little miracle. Get the overt and implied dig there? I am very good at this! Shame on me. No wonder I can’t shine with the glory of God’s silver and gold.

I’ll probably never be exactly like Michelle Duggar because I have a sneaking suspicion that God made her originally to be a gentle person and that’s not my original nature, but I can clad myself in the silver and gold of my relationship with God and let Him live through me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What’s Important

Life is a puzzle isn’t it!  You’re tripping along making all sorts of plans when suddenly you are slapped silly with one of life’s emergencies.  Today was one of those days and after quite a few anxious moments and lots of prayers I am reminded about what’s important. 

It isn’t that weekend you’ve planned or going out to coffee with a friend after work.  It’s not that project you’ve got sitting on your work table at home or even the laundry that mysteriously piled up in and beside the hamper.  Its not what you are going to fix for supper or when you’ll manage to get to the library to return that overdue book.  No it’s something much more fragile and totally out of our control.  It’s life!  Yours and all those of your loved ones. It’s like a breath of air; here one moment and instantly gone the next.  More importantly, I remembered that I am not in charge!  Amazing!  How could I forget!

So once I got my priorities in the right place, I had to stop and ask God to help me remember what was important and who was in charge! I stopped and thanked Him for the blessings of my family and for His always present care.  Then I sat down and cried uncontrollably for at least 15 minutes from relief and to release all the tension I’d been holding in all morning.  What a day! What a relief.  What a blessing!