Savor The Moments!!

Grandchildren have helped me to savor moments of motherhood that I had forgotten.

  1. Giving baths to sweet children.
  2. Snuggling with a sweet- smelling child fresh out of the bath.
  3. Reading Green Eggs in Ham.  (I received this book as a gift when I was 7, and I read it to my children, and now my Grandchildren.)
  4. Tucking little ones in bed.
  5. Laughing until my sides feel like they are going to split.
  6. Going to a movie and laughing more at the child laughing beside me, than the movie itself.
  7. Rocking a child to sleep.
  8. Making meals for children who eat with unabashed pleasure.
  9. Having a conversation about trucks and tea parties.
  10. Playing with trucks and having tea parties.

All these things and more are the moments of our life.  They are precious, they are countless, and they are gifts.  Enjoy these precious times, you won’t have them again until you are a Grandparent.  You have been blessed with a child.  Enjoy them!!  And Be Encouraged!!

Thank you Grandmom!!

7 years ago, in the month of November, my 93-year-old Grandmother passed away.   My Grandmother’s life is fascinating to me.  Her mother was Irish and sought a new life in the new world by traveling on a ship when she was 18.  She must have been very brave to make the journey by herself, but I believe she was looking for a better life for herself and her future family. My Grandmother was eight years old when her mother died, and she was sent to live with a foster family.  I am so grateful to this family for opening up their doors to foster children, and so grateful to foster families and families that adopt. What a gift they are giving so many caught in tragic situations!!

My Grandmother married young and she and my Grandfather had 4 children, survived the depression and WWII, and they saw their only son fight in the Vietnam War.   They had 17 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren and so far– 26 great-great- grandchildren.

After 60 years of marriage my grandfather died, and my grandmother lived for another 15 years as a widow before she too died.

Not long before she died, I visited her, and we had a remarkable conversation.  We talked about a book I had read, called, “Heaven is for Real.”  I had seen the father and son interviewed by Katie Couric, and my Grandmother and I talked about this book and about Heaven.  My Grandmother said that God was telling her not to be afraid, that He would be with her helping her step from one life to the next.

I think that my Grandmother showed great bravery, just as her mother did when she left her home and crossed an ocean looking for a better life.

Sometimes, the ones who go before us show us what faith looks like, so that when we need to step out in faith, we know how to do so.   If my great-grandmother had not stepped out in faith, and left Ireland, the rest of her family would not be experiencing the great blessings of living in the New World. 

My Grandmother did not know what awaited her on the other side of this life, but she believed that she would see Jesus, that she would be in His presence, and she was clinging onto this belief and sharing this faith with me.

My Grandmother was a woman of strong opinions and a strong will.   However, she trusted in Jesus to save her and to forgive her.   Jesus isn’t expecting us to be perfect before He accepts us, loves us and forgives us.  Jesus accepts us, just as we are.  That’s what my Grandmother has shown me.  So, I celebrate her life—I’m thankful for her life.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

** Photo Courtesy of David Pizzoferrato

Encouragement from Katie M. Reid, author of Made Like Martha

In some of my previous blogs, (The Gift of Laughter, and Grace is Unfair), I made references to the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible.  I am honored to present the thoughts of author, Katie M. Reid, on the story of Mary and Martha.  Katie Reid has written the book, Made Like Martha, and has some encouraging insights into this story.  I think she is really going to help us to understand God’s grace and love towards all of us as women, whether we are—Made like Martha or like Mary.  Katie is also the wife of Adam Reid, Head Pastor at Central Church, and the mother of 5 children!!

1. Why do you think the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 causes so many women to feel guilty? Since Jesus told Martha that she was worried and distracted and that her sister Mary had chosen what was better, we often feel guilty for being wired like Martha. We feel like Mary was the poster child for getting it right and that Martha was discounted because she was worried and distracted. In John 11:5 we see that Jesus loved Martha and her siblings. His correction wasn’t a scolding but an invitation to walk in freedom instead of fret. Many of us have tried to shed the skin of efficiency because we’ve misinterpreted this passage to mean there is something wrong with being made like Martha.

2. We usually assume that Jesus was criticizing Martha for working too hard. Would you say that is true? I don’t think Jesus was criticizing Martha’s work ethic here. In fact, unless He was going to multiply loaves and fish, fast from a meal, or have a late dinner, someone had to prepare the food. Instead, Jesus addressed Martha’s heart in Luke 10. He wasn’t asking her to stop being a doer, but He was reminding her that she was a daughter too. We assume that Jesus was asking Martha to sit down physically like Mary was, but what if He was inviting her soul to rest—even while she continued working? In John 12:2, we see that Martha is serving again, yet Jesus does not correct her this time. Here, Martha serves from a place of strength and peace instead of a place of striving and stress.

 3. What drew you to write a book about the story of Mary and Martha? What is unique about your interpretation of this story? If Martha had a fan club, I would be president of it. I so relate to Martha and her ultraresponsible ways. For years, this passage in Luke 10 bothered me. If nobody works, nobody eats, right? I really wanted Jesus to tell Mary to get up and help her sister out. But upon closer examination, I realized how much Jesus loved Martha and wanted her to know that too. He wasn’t asking her to neglect her responsibilities but to trust Him to care for her. Made Like Martha is written for those who love checking things off their to-do lists and who may feel some angst when they read this account in Luke. It is written from the perspective of a doer for other doers (although Mary-types are enjoying it too…it is helping them understand their Martha-friends better).

4. You write in your book, Made Like Martha, that many of us assume that God is mad at us or disappointed in us. Why do you think that is? When you view the world through the lens of perfectionism, you often feel frustrated with yourself and others (and even God) for things not turning out like you want (or expect) them to. For almost forty years I felt like God was mad or disappointed in me. I was expecting myself to be flawless, which is completely unrealistic. It was a losing battle. BUT, God knew, because of our sin, that we could not attain perfection apart from His supernatural intervention. So God sent His unblemished and only Son to die for our sins (past, present, and future) and rise again. If we choose to believe in Jesus as Savior and confess Him as Lord, we are made clean; perfected, because of what Christ did on our behalf. For me, the healing came when I realized that Jesus satisfied God’s wrath for sin and that His love for me was not based on whether I succeeded or failed. If we are in Christ, our position in His heart is secure. He loves us…even when we are shortfused, whether or not we have a quiet time, even in the midst of tackling our to-do lists.

Thank you so much for your thoughts Katie Reid!!   You have blessed us with your insights!!

We are encouraged!!


In my last blog, Life is Hard and Unfair—not a very encouraging blog by the way—I was very sad about my niece suffering from cancer.  Sometimes when I read the Psalms, the author will start out extremely distressed about the circumstances of life, and then, at the end of the Psalm, the author is praising God, remembering who God is, remembering all the ways God has protected and provided and been a refuge in stormy times.

I kind of did that in “Life is Hard and Unfair“— I reminded us that Jesus has a new home free of pain and suffering for us, apart from this earthly home—but I did not encourage us in this earthly life. I think that kind of encouragement is so needed. In Psalms 27:13 it says, “I would have despaired, unless I had believed, that I would see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living.” In other words–if I did not have hope in this life on earth, that I would see God’s goodness, I would despair.

So—I’d like to tell a story—a story that I hope will help encourage.

In the year of our Lord, in 2000, I lost my dear, dear friend to breast cancer.  She found out she had cancer when she was pregnant with her 5th child.  She died 5 months after her 5th child was born. 

I was devastated, as were many other people.  My friend was funny and full of faith, and she was greatly missed.  She still is greatly missed, and she died over 19 years ago.  She knew God and when she died, she left this home for her heavenly home.  I know I will see her again in the next life, and that comforts me. But what about the family she left behind?

Her husband was and is full of faith.  He decided that he would stay home with their five children, one of whom was an infant.  God graciously provided for him to stay home with them, and then God also gave him another wife, four years after his first wife—my friend– died.   Then God gave him another job, to help provide for his family.

His second wife was and is an absolute treasure, kind, compassionate, giving, a hard worker, a friend to all who meet her.  She is a great wife and a fabulous mother and she has blessed her family and their church and community over and over again.

Here is one example of the Hand of God working: God brought together the daughter of my deceased friend and the daughter’s husband, (who grew up and lived in Alaska), through this connection with the daughter’s the daughter’s husband is her stepmother’s first cousin.   (I know–I’m trying not to use names, and hope I’m not confusing you too much with my pronouns and descriptions. 🙂 ) Would the two have ever met without this connection? – We will never know.  We know they did meet, and they now have 3 beautiful children.

This wonderful second wife was also the gifted, amazingly talented violin teacher to my daughter Julia—(read “Julia’s Gift” to find out more about this story)—who helped my daughter learn to play the violin and helped Julia’s heart to heal as well.  She also teaches many others on the violin and has been the conductor for a youth orchestra that she started.

When I look at this story, I am reminded that God has a plan, and God’s plan is so, so, so good.  God’s plan unfolds like a great tapestry.  From the topside, the tapestry is beautiful and majestic.  From the bottom side, it is a bit messy, threads may be hanging—it is not at all as beautiful as the topside.

Sometimes, we people are looking at life from the bottom side and it looks messy, we can’t see the pattern, and things look like they are happening without a reason.

However, sometimes, God gives us a glimpse of the topside, and it is an amazing sight.

I want to encourage you, that if you are in one of those times where things seem happenstance, and messy, and you are discouraged, to remember this story.  It is just one.  If you ask an older person of faith—they can give you so many more stories where God’s plan is so evident.   I promise you will find yourself looking up and praising God and remembering just Who He really is.   This story reminds me of the truth of God’s word—Romans 8:28:  For God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.  And also:   Psalm 27:13-14:  I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait on the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage, wait on the Lord!!”

He knows what He is doing.  He has a plan.  We have the privilege of seeing it unfold!!

So Be Encouraged!!

P.S. Just tonight, my niece told us that the tests came back, and she is cancer free!! We are so, so happy!! Thank you God!! (See–just like a Psalm–I’m ending this writing in Praise!!)

Life is Hard and Unfair

Life is hard, and life is unfair.

Have you ever compared your life to someone else’s, and their life seems picture perfect—great marriage, great kids, great house, great jobs, great—everything.  Then a few years down the road, things have changed, life has hit, perhaps cancer, perhaps death, perhaps divorce, perhaps job loss, or house loss, or loss of any kind.

Life is no longer kind –and in fact life is hard and downright unfair.

I can tend to think when things go well in my life, that God really loves me, and when things are going badly, that God doesn’t love me.

Both thoughts are not true.  The Bible tells us that sometimes, evil people have a great life, and that sometimes, righteous people suffer.

And I want to know:  why? 

When our son died, I wanted to know, why?  Did we somehow do something terrible—did we somehow deserve this?  Did we not have enough faith?   Is there something we could have done to prevent or control Sean’s death from happening?

Right now, my niece is battling cancer.  She has six children, the youngest is still a baby.  We cry out to God to heal her, to make her whole, to keep her here on this earth to raise her children.   Why, we ask? Why her?

We probably each have our own “why’s” for ourselves or our loved ones.

If you are wondering if I am going to answer these questions, the “why’s”, I am not.

I don’t have all the answers or even some of them.  I do know that I have stopped asking “Why me?”  and started asking, “Why not me?”   Why do I think that somehow, I should be exempt from the suffering and hardships of life?  Why do I think that I am entitled to a pain free life?

Jesus went to the cross to save us from ourselves—from the consequences that we have each earned for our sin.  That means we now know the Eternal One—– eternally.  This life is not all there is.  There is another life after this one.  One where sin and sin natures are not allowed to enter—where evil is not allowed to enter—so pain, suffering, heartbreak, trauma and tragedy are not allowed to enter. 

However, all those things are in this life—sin, sin natures, evil, pain, sickness, heartbreak, and death.  So, there will be suffering—not for just some, but for all.  Anyone who tells you differently, is selling you something.  The Bible never says that.  Instead—Jesus tells us, “In this world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome this world.”  He has overcome this world—He has overcome the pain, the suffering, the unfairness, the hardness, the evil of this world.

What does that mean?  It means He is with us, He is for us, He is dwelling among us.  He loves us.  Nothing will separate us from the love He has for us—not death, not this difficult life, not evil, nothing, nothing, nothing will separate us from Him!!   (Romans 8:28-30)

So Be Encouraged!!