My Failure or I’m a BIG Hypocrite

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“So, what did you think about that?”

I listened for a moment, and then proceeded to criticize my husband’s response.

Busted!

I proceeded to explain to him that he was being CRITICAL.

REALLY?

I also went further (inserting both feet in my mouth) to tell him that his response was HYPOCRITICAL.

Everything I accused him of I was doing myself.

Shame washed over me – but the damage was done.

I couldn’t take back my words or the feelings they invoked. The thought went through my mind that I have been on my journey as a Christian for over 50 years, yet I am still failing to love the person who means the most to me, my husband.

I can blog all day about respectful relationships with my children and grandchildren – yet it is all meaningless if I don’t live it out myself in my primary relationship – with my husband.

The mission statement of this blog is “Reflecting the Image of God in Our Relationships”.

That means ALL relationships. Not just the ones I blog about, or the ones other people see.

Yet that is the beauty of our journey as Christians. God is taking us from wherever we are to the destination of being conformed to the likeness of His son, Jesus. As a journey, there are wrong turns, detours, even wrecks. We still press on. Paul says in Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

We will receive that prize if we stay on the journey.

So – I ask forgiveness, get off the path of criticism and judgment, and press on – “straining toward what is ahead.”

My friend Alice Marie and I were talking about the pictures we post on Facebook. She mentioned that they give a snapshot – but an incomplete view of our lives. We post the “events” – the parties, get togethers, the cute poses – and these are so much fun to see. They are certainly true – but not the whole story. We should celebrate and share the special times – always remembering that they are just part of the picture.

We don’t post the fights, crying fits, or major messes of our lives. Nor should we. These would often be disrespectful of those involved.

Alice Marie made me think about the photos I post and the things I write about.

I want to tell the truth, give the complete picture and at the same time, celebrate the beauty and wonder of our journey as Christians. God loves us so much that He shows us our failures and gives us the grace to admit them, ask forgiveness, and get back on the right path.

So, I will PRESS ON, thankful that Phil walks in forgiveness with me.

I sure need it.

REALLY!

Four Generations

4 genHappy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you mothers!

For some us of motherhood was a choice, for others an unexpected surprise, for others a long awaited event that we thought might never come.

Yet we all share much in common. The anticipation of birth, feeling anxious about taking care of a newborn, selcting a name, and watching in wonder as the little life before us begins to respond to us as “mother”.

God placed us in families for a reason. He wanted us to learn about His character through the lives of others.

We are, after all, created in God’s image.

The qualities that mirror God’s image are qualities for mothers to emulate – such as –

* unconditional love
* protective love
* undying love
* disciplinary love, and
* forgiving love

In II Timothy 1:2-5 Paul is writng to his spiritual son Timothy –

2 To Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Paul acknowledges the important role that Timothy’s grandmother and mother played in his spiritual development. Paul does not mention a father or grandfather but specifically mentions Lois and Eunice by name.

What a legacy these women had in the formation of the early church as they demonstrated God’s character to Timothy – a minister of the gospel, leader in the early church, and assistant to Paul.

As mothers and grandmothers we have a wonderful opportunity to share God’s love with our children and grandchildren. We must demonstrate God’s love in such a way that they desire to follow God because they see His reflection in us.

I have been blessed to have had a mother and two grandmothers who did just that – they:
* loved me unconditionally
* protected me from negative influences
* loved me until they died
* disciplined me in love
* forgave me when I failed them

That is the legacy I want to leave with the next generation!

Free at Last!

Woody Family in 1990

Woody Family in 1990

“Now that I’m older, I’m free from worrying about that any more. It feels so good!” My friend Winnie said this to me yesterday at church. Winnie is a lovely Christian lady who has held fast to her faith through life’s storms. She is now pursuing a college degree in her 50’s and tutoring college students on the side.

“I am free from so many false beliefs that I had as a young wife and mother.” I replied. “Why didn’t we learn these lessons earlier?” I said to Winnie.

This caused me to reflect on just what some of those erroneous ideas were. These were thoughts I held that kept me in bondage and fed feelings of guilt. Here is a list of some of those toxic thoughts:

* I must have a perfectly clean house before I invite anyone to visit.
* If I invite guests for dinner, the food must be homemade.
* If I am feeling overwhelmed, I must never admit it.
* If I haven’t had a quiet time, I don’t have anything of value to share.
* I’m a bad mother if I yell at my kids.
* I’m a bad mother if my children act up at library story time.
* I’m a bad mother if my children run around at Sunday School.
* I must have a “ministry” outside of my home.

These are just a few of the things that weighed me down as a mother of young children. As you can see – there is some truth in each of these beliefs – but there is much that is false. Those lies kept me frustrated and often full of guilt.

I wanted to have people over, so I would wear myself out cleaning up. I was crabby and demanding of my children – once I even locked them out of the house until the kitchen floor dried after I had mopped it. They have NEVER forgotten this and enjoy seeing my discomfort as they tell people I used to lock them out of the house. To set the record straight – I did that ONE time!

I am not a natural cook – it is an effort for me to make tasty meals. Yet I thought I had to make everything from scratch if I was having guests.

I also gauged my “success” as a mother by my children’s performance. This was partly because as a former teacher, I measured my success as a teacher by how well my students learned. I took this same attitude to my efforts in parenting.

Jesus says in John 8:31-32

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

As God began to teach me His truth, I was set free from those falsehoods that held me in bondage.

* People come to visit people, not the house. Four children make messes.
* I can buy pre-cut salad – no one cares.
* I must admit my weakness so my husband (or friends) know I need help.
* My relationship with God is based on His grace, not my quiet time.
* If I yell at my kids, I ask forgiveness.
* If my children act up at story time – I teach them respectful manners.
* If my children run at Sunday School – I teach them proper behavior.
* When I feel “I’m not doing enough for the Lord”,
I remember that my family IS my ministry.

The TRUTH does set us free from the bondage of quilt and frustration.
As Winnie said – “It feels so good to be free!”