Parenting

“Childhood”

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Happy Five-Year Anniversary, dear readers! What a joy and help you all have been to us over the years in sharing the many blessings and burdens which accompany this life together in Christ.

We very much enjoyed reading everyone’s recent submissions on the prompt, “The most important thing I learned from my mother is…” Thank you to everyone who participated. As promised, we will be publishing our top picks this week. We ended up having a tie for the third-place slot, so we will be sharing four posts total instead of the originally promised three.

Today, however, is reserved for honoring our contest winner.

Congratulations to Alison Andreasen, daughter and poet, on winning a copy of He Remembers the Barren and for beautifully depicting through rhyme the precious gift your mother has given to you – a childhood marked by the loving and faithful proclamation of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the “Sustainer of our life and hers.”

“Childhood”
By Alison Andreasen

Childhood- the stage, the age-
Noted time of joy and play.
Messy hair, skinned up knees;
Signs of life and being free.

She had bruises, scabs and scars,
Not all from climbing trees-
Abuse, desertion, wounds, and tears
Marked this tender bloom.

Time gone by, stage antiquate,
Bloom now grown, somewhat assuaged.
Memories linger, scars remain.
Babes of her own now in her care.

Lesser pain, lesser fear,
Fewer bruises, fewer tears.
Who to credit with this difference?
The mystery unrevealed to us.

Until….

Despair, depression ran its course,
Dependent she became on Him-
The Father never known before,
Sustainer of our life and hers.

He protected, nurtured, loved
The wounded woman-child.
On His promises she clung
And rested in unfailing love.

Always there, all-knowing, kind,
Forgiving, patient. Sacrificing
Son to save His precious child;
Showing love to generations.

Never had she felt so free:
Joy complete; life replete.
Control -the thing outside her grasp,
And for it now she felt no need.

One word she taught me- “childhood.”
Relationship- her disposition.
No need to cling to false control-
Live trusting, clinging to His Word.

Child-hood; the state of being,
Trusting, resting, then receiving
Gifts of life and sustenance,
Flowing from His providence.

Given care as His creation,
Redeemed by Brother to us all,
Made Holy everyday by Spirit,
By Grace, no work of our own doing.

In thankfulness we live and breathe.
Mercy showered gently,
Undeserving grace bestowed,
How free it makes us- free indeed!

May we all live fully knowing
Who is owed all thanks and praise.
May we all be open, waiting,
When the final call is raised.

Then home He’ll bring us, His dear children;
Home from every tribe and nation.
We’ll rest and feast and sing rejoicing
For our Father’s gift- salvation!  

Being LadyLike

As a writer, one thing I very much enjoy at the end of a long, 1,000-word day is reading the work of someone who writes better than me. The experience always refreshes my vocabulary, stimulates my neuron network, and ups my wordy game to the expert level.

I think that’s why I like Rebekah Curtis’s and Rosie Adle’s LadyLike so much. It’s good writing, and it’s a hoot to boot. These sister-authors are wise where I’m foolish, articulate where I’m tongue-tied, and funny where I’m dull. Their witty, familiar banter put me immediately at ease, so I didn’t mind so much when they pointed out the embarrassing leaks in my woman-britches. Maybe it was because they were so quick to patch up my holes themselves with their needle of truth and thread of understanding.

I especially appreciated their tender attentions given to the barren woman in the essay, “To My Friend Who Has No Babies Today.”

I felt safe in their company, valued even. I think you will, too. Order your copy today.

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Let the Children Come to Me

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In light of the recent, somber anniversary of Roe v. Wade, here is a poignant teaching from the sainted pastor and writer Bo Giertz on the gift of children:

Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them.” Mark 10:14

This was a severe reprimand to the disciples. They thought children should wait until they were able to understand what the sermon was all about. That would be soon enough. But the parents wanted the right thing for their children.

Being a parent is one of the greatest gifts God can give. It’s also one of the greatest tasks you could ever undertake. Having a child together allows parents to share in God’s creative work. We couldn’t live here on earth or be God’s children eternally if the parents of countless generations before us had not labored with their own children and even given their lives for their children. Now it may be our turn to bring life into the world. We cannot take this task lightly. God put us here in an immense generational context. Of course, not everyone is called to be a parents. Not everyone gets married and is gifted with children. But if you get the chance, you can’t deny children their right to live. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? You can’t exchange the life of one child as payment for the luxuries you want to provide another. Jesus says, “Let the children come to Me.” It’s awe-inspiring. The first condition for being able to be a child of God and share all the joy that is the meaning of life, now and in eternity, is that there are people on earth who are willing to take upon themselves the task of parenting.

“Let the children come to Me.” Jesus doesn’t share the view of those who say: Let the child grow up first so he can decide for himself. No, Jesus says. It is just these people who need the kingdom of God. It’s for them. Who can bear to grow up in this evil world without clinging to God? People were never meant to struggle through life without God. We can see how hard it is all around us. We really do need Jesus to lay His hands upon us and bless us the way He does in Baptism. And then never let go of His hand.

Dear Lord, You must help us here because it’s hard to see what Your will is. The world seems to be overpopulated. People say it’s not right to bring children into this world. But Your country was also overpopulated, wasn’t it? Still Your Father let You grow up in a large family. Wasn’t there a reason for that? Can it possibly be wrong to give life to a child whom You love and want to be brought before You if that child is laid in Your arms and taught to live with You now, every day and into eternity? Lord, I must thank You because I have received life and wasn’t denied it. Of course, I would never have leaned to know You if I had not seen the light of day on earth. Lord, help us all to see clearly and do what is right in Your eyes.

(From CPH’s To Live with Christ by Bo Giertz, pages 121-22)

Not All Mothers

I recently received this note from a sister in Christ. It brought me great comfort in my barrenness:

In our household we have come to love the story of Ruth. [My husband] teaches it on a cycle to the youth of our church. One of his main points is that it is as much Naomi’s story as Ruth’s and Boaz’, for it is the story of the Promise of the Seed and Naomi’s Redeemer. 

In the last chapter, when Boaz’ and Ruth’s son is born, the village women remark that Ruth was as good as ten sons to Naomi. This is true, isn’t it? Through this child comes the continuation of what will be the Davidic line resulting in David’s King. How wondrous! And yet Ruth is not Naomi’s daughter and blood relation. Instead, upon having seen and tasted her mother-in-law’s faith in her home country, Ruth is a daughter by confession. “Your people will be my people; your God, my God.”

Not all mothers give birth to their daughters.

Naomi, Ruth and Obed 1876-7 by Thomas Matthews Rooke 1842-1942

Gift Language in Action

IMG_4866 copyYesterday’s Sunday school lesson was about Abraham’s visitors from heaven, and this conversation went down in my 4th-5th grade class:

Me: God gave Abraham and Sarah the gift of a child, even in their old age. You may have noticed that Pastor and I have not been given the gift of children. Is God going to give us a child?

Tall Girl: Yes!

Reflective Boy: Well…

Me: Think of it this way, why did God give Abraham and Sarah the gift of a child?

Insightful Boy: Because He promised them a child.

Me: Exactly! God gave Abraham and Sarah the gift of Isaac, because God was fulfilling a promise that He made. Has God promised Pastor and me in His Word that He will give us the gift of a child?

(silence; Petite Girl’s mouth hangs open in careful thought)

Tall Girl: Yes, because even if you don’t have a child, you will adopt a baby and get a child that way. That’s how it works.

Me: Adopted children are gifts from God, too. Pastor and I want to adopt children, but God has not given us children that way, either. Neither has He promised us in His Word that He will do so. We are different from Abraham and Sarah that way. But do you want to hear the good news? Whether or not God gives Pastor, me, or you the gift of children someday, we are already blessed. Do you know why? Because when God kept His promise to Abraham and Sarah, He was also keeping His promise to us. Think about it. Isaac was born and then another child in the next generation and then another child in the next generation and on and on until Who was born?

Insightful Boy: Jesus.

Me: Exactly. In keeping His promise to give Abraham and Sarah a child, God was keeping His promise to give all of us the Child Jesus to save us from our sins. That’s why Pastor and I and you can rejoice even if we are never given the gift of another child.

Eleven Blessings

Looking for an opportunity to mother some children? Offer to babysit somebody’s children for a few hours. It will be a blessing to you, to the children, and to their parents.

For one afternoon, this summer, I got to be MOM to these eleven kiddos. And what a joy that was! We didn’t stay home. Oh, no, we braved the local water park for several hours. The kids checked in with Jerome and me from time to time. Sunscreen and water, you know. The three little ones stayed in the little squirts’ play area and then spent time in their strollers, napping. It took two vehicles to cart our baker’s dozen home, but we did it. Was it tiring? No, it was short-term parenting. The kids all played so nicely together. Could I do it on a regular basis? With God’s help, I could, and I would. The amount of food they ate amazed me. They didn’t all sit around my table either; they took advantage of the nice weather outdoors. It was a treat to have them in my charge for several hours. They were all well-behaved children and enjoyed each other’s company; it was fun to watch them interact with one another. I am so blessed to be a parent, a good friend, and a godmother to these blessings from God.

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