Reflections of Motherhood On a Special October Day #Sweet Memories

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The waves lapped the shore as we sat side by side on the sand. Sitting with my first born, we were soaking up the beauty of the ocean. All defenses were down as he relaxed in the sun and became the brilliant, talkative boy I remember. He and his brother were excited to have tickets to a medieval dinner show later that evening.

We found ourselves in a sweet conversation that I’ll treasure forever. It started with the subject of knights and their noble causes.

As he talked … I realized boys big and small, want to live out nobility.

To have a cause gives purpose.

He continued to tell me about Roman history, naming his favorite emperors and historic battles. And then he mentioned Constantine and the significance of the cross that was put on the soldier’s shields … taking me all the way back to the crusades.

His eyes danced as he relayed historic and symbolic meanings of Christianity.

Then I asked: “Would you have been a knight, son?”

“Well yea mother” he said. “I would fight for my faith, absolutely.”

Joy swelled in my heart. When sons and daughters grow up, taking their own paths, it’s a sweet blessing when they confess what we taught.

I struggled through the years with letting go and trusting God with my boy’s future: But in all my mistakes as a well-meaning mom, I see a hairy, man boy who isn’t perfect, but he gets what it’s all about and deeply believes his faith is worth defending.

I smile and remember the time he got a perm because he wanted hair like the knight, “Arthur” in the 2004 movie.

“Girls like curls” he said with a mischievous grin.

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The qualities of a noble knight are loyalty, generosity and chivalry … and my boy gets all these right. He is loyal to a fault, generous till it hurts, and he defends the weak fearlessly. He works in the medical field and is so compassionate that his patients fight over him. For all his human frailties … my boy has some mighty noble qualities.

I will forever cherish those two hours with my son that day. I saw him as a man … and not my little boy.

Too often we take this parenting thing too personal. We think our kids are a reflection of us … when they do good … and when they mess up.

But that’s just pride, because any good thing in our children is because of the Creator.

And even when they make a bad choice, it doesn’t mean we didn’t do our job as a parent.

A sweet friend recently said; “Kids do stupid things because their brains aren’t fully developed.”

How very true. So lighten up moms, our sons and daughters have to live and learn.

Our job is to keep pointing them to JESUS.

My boy immensely enjoyed the medieval dinner show that evening. He even decided to be knighted. When asked what proclamation should be put on his knight certification … he replied … “Because being a knight is awesome.”

And so as he knelt for the ceremony, the Lord of the Manor “dubbed” Sir James Matthew Porter, a knight, and proclaimed to the masses that he was granted all the rights and privileges of a noble man … “Because being a knight is awesome.”  He giggles like a little girl when we talk about it.

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So moms, embrace everything about your kids, big and small, quirky, normal, good and bad.

Feed their dreams, guide them through their messes and celebrate their victories.

Take every opportunity to view into their souls … because I promise, you will cherish it forever.

Wrap them in your prayers but leave their future to their creator.

And most important … give them unconditional love … just as our Heavenly Father gives us.

So on this October day 2016, I celebrate my noble son’s 30th birthday.

Happy birthday Sir Matthew. You are precious in my sight … as well as your Heavenly Father’s.

Gosh how I love you son!


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Aaron- my middle son, Matt- my first born, and the Falconer

Yes, Aaron humored his big brother.

What is God Doing in the Stillness?

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Stillness. A place my soul is learning to rest in. It’s a place where I am all alone with my thoughts and the Lord.

It’s been a gradual journey to get here. Little by little He sets activities aside, narrowing the focus to Him.

Some days my introverted side loves the quiet, other days the extroverted me wants community with hearts most like mine.

At the core of this stillness is surrender. So I press in, soaking up the truths that He makes me aware of … and for the most part I get them immediately. Then there are times when He has to thump me on the head like a ripe melon.

Today the stillness finds me at my middle son’s hospital bedside. Sickness has a way of bringing life to a halt.

So I surrender my thoughts and plans for this time … to wait, to focus, to listen, and to rest in His unwavering faithfulness.

I eagerly anticipated this day … to celebrate my risen Savior. There’s a sadness that we couldn’t be in the Lord’s house as a family today. No festivities, fellowship, or good food.

Of course Aaron’s sickness didn’t catch the Lord by surprise. So with every detail or event that the Lord allows to touch my days … I linger … waiting to hear His voice. Today in the quiet He reminded me of a few simple constants that my heavy heart needed to recall.

1 – When life takes a curve rendering you helpless and powerless … He is fighting for you and stands guard over every overwhelming detail.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  Exodus 14:14

 Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them.  The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes. Deuteronomy 1:29:30

2- When you are tempted to worry … pray instead.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

3- Let your faith kick in.

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:22-24

Yes sometimes those directives are easier said than done, especially if fear creeps in. But though we go through these life bumps … He hasn’t deserted us.

In fact, it’s for the sicknesses we have … that He hung on a cross and died.

It’s for the many regrets that nag our memories … He willingly laid down His life.

For all the brokenness, the mistakes, the hurts, the barren places … for every inadequacy we are or feel … He became the sacrifice.

And finally the stillness reminded me that … one day when I see His face … all the longings in this patched up heart will become obsolete. He will fill in all the cracks of my soul with a love that completely fulfills.

I’ll be whole. What a comfort. What a faithful Savior.

So if  and when you find yourself at a place where you are forced to be alone with your thoughts … there is a good chance the Lord wants to remind you of a few things.

It’s good to hear from the Lord.

I challenge you friend … Don’t resist the stillness.

Happy Easter to you. Ain’t God good?!

love mel

 

“A big blow up over Smurfette’s passing” Its a true story….I can’t make this stuff up!

I mean no disrespect by my post today.  If you are a parent of boys you will appreciate and understand our method of mourning the late Smurfette. I had sent out the text of Smurfette’s passing in a group text to my sons, nephews and the rest of the family.  We were about to have some fun as we do so often in group texts. “Sad day….Lucille Bliss has passed away” my text read.  “She touched all of our childhoods in a very special way.”

The first reply was from my level headed, middle child, Aaron,….yea…the middle child….usually the child most easy going…yet he wanted to squelch the fun.  “Lucille Bliss the voice actor?” he asked.  “Yes son, Lucille was the beloved Smurfette,” I said.  “Smurf in peace,” my nephew Andy texted immediately. “She died last week mom,” Aaron replied.  I texted back….”You’re a wise guy Aaron, and thank you Andy for your smurf respect.  “Its a smurfing shame,” Andy shot back with speedy text agility. “You obviously understand the dept of loss we have here son unlike Aaron,” I replied to Andy.

“My phone is beeping like the roadrunner, did one of the smurfs die?” asked my husband.  My sister being the funeral home professional she is replied, “Wonder what funeral home she will be at?”  I’m pulling my truck over to have a moment of silence,” Andy replied.  Another said, “She was also in Cinderella and the Flintstones….among other things…and I do care, this makes me totally blue!”

The message was followed by Andy’s question, “Did she go peacefully or did Gargomell’s cat finally catch her?” One pledged to wear blue for the next two weeks in her honor. Andy texted he would be dropping off Kentucky Fried Chicken at Papa Smurf’s on his way home from work.

I could go on and on at the replies and gestures my group text had inspired but frankly it would take a while.  This group discussion of mourning Smurfette continued for hours throughout the day.  It was great fun needless to say.

With each new quip of humor or sarcasm we all got a good chuckle….until my phone rang and I answered it thinking it was my brother-in-law.  It was not.  On the other end of the phone was an old man not the least bit moved by Smurfette’s passing…. nor was he amused at our display of grief over his phone texts.  I accidentally keyed in one wrong digit resulting in adding the old man to the conversation instead of my brother-in-law.

Ooops… he was not a happy camper and wanted to know how old I was.  He was appalled adults could text such stupidity…and amazed so many were involved.  He thought we were a bunch of kids but when he found out we weren’t, his attitude soured even more.  “Do you work lady?” he asked me.  “Yes sir, I have been working all day,” I answered him.  “Well how did you get anything done with all that nonsense going on?” he asked.

Now at this point I was starting to get offended.  It was none of his business how or if I worked, how old I was or my work ethics….and if he was so annoyed why did he entertain it for over 8 hours?  Why didn’t he pick up the phone and call me the first hour or the second?

While we all thought the stream of texts were hilarious he was offended we had wasted his time and bothered him all day.   Not only was he clearly annoyed, hateful and rude but he was also void of any sense of humor.  I mean who couldn’t get a laugh out of  “smurf in peace” or “I’m totally blue.”

I started feeling a little annoyed.  Life is hard, sometimes boring and when you can get some cheap thrills from the Smurfs….well I don’t see why you can’t indulge a little for heaven’s sake!

I wanted to call the old man a party pooper or goober head….. and hang up…..but I refrained.  I heard that voice in my head ….”What if you were in his shoes Mel?”  Well if I was in his shoes I probably would have joined in….but no….he was having no part of it.  He let me have it and I was tempted to let him have it back…….until the HOLY SPIRIT reminded me of a shameful situation from long ago ….so I held my tongue.

I apologized for aggravating him and assured him it would never happen again….of which he then informed me it had happened several times.  He relayed to me stupid pictures, stories and comments I have passed back and forth to my crew over a period of about a year.

I was a little embarrassed by this revelation…..Oh dear….he was also privy to certain intimate conversations about things only my family knew about….even prayer requests I had shared.

Suddenly I felt a little violated….like he had been stalking me for months.  It was kind of a creepy feeling. Oy vey.

I managed to regain my composure after I picked my jaw up off the desk….and again I apologized to him for bothering him with months of my foolishness. To say I was embarrassed is an understatement.

How about you?  Have you ever been made aware of something you did or said that offended or annoyed someone? If so….how did you respond?

Thankfully I responded in humility to the old man. I was embarrassed to the point of being humiliated.  I kept saying….. I’m sorry sir……it won’t happen again sir…..we were just having some clean, innocent fun sir…..but I can’t say I have responded CHRISTLIKE in other situations.

In the heat of attack its so easy to respond defensively.  I’m ashamed to say I remember a specific time I catapulted the blame back, trying to pin fought on the other as well.  I engaged in the blame game resulting in verbal warfare….all because I did not respond in the right manner. I literally felt like a failure in the days to follow.

I grieved every word I hurled at the other party.

I am supposed to be a long suffering Christian full of love….how did I bark back like that?

Every action results in a reaction….with each blow the situation can get uglier and uglier….and destroy our testimony.

There is no going back when a spray of ugly words collide with the human heart.  The mind doesn’t easily forget while the heart deals with the damage.

Words matter.

Its a horrible feeling when hurtful words are set in stone.

If only we could go back….we would have handled it different right?

Words matter…..reactions matter…..being CHRISTLIKE in all conflict matters.

The Bible has much to say about the tongue, the temper and the wrong way to handle conflict.

“Do not let your speech cause you to sin.”   Ecclesiastes 5:6

“A fool always looses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.”    Proverbs 29:11

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.”  Proverbs 21:23

But its the scripture in Matthew 12 that makes my heart hurt…..

“And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgement.  For by your words, you shall be justified, and by your words, you shall be condemned.”  Matthew 12:36-37

How many of my words justify me?

How many condemn me?

Oh goodness….what a heavy thought to bear.

If GOD’S GRACE didn’t cover me….I’d come undone.

Did the old man over react? Probably.  Did I deserve his berating, verbal rampage? Obviously he thought so. Did I respond in a way that was pleasing to the LORD?  I think I did this time….but only because I remembered condemning words from my past.

I was so relieved to delete the old man’s phone number …..but even more relieved there were no condemning words I couldn’t delete from my memory.

Oh GOD….make me quick to hear…..slow to speak….and slow to anger….so that I may be right with you.      James 1:19-20

RIP SMURFETTE

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“Hard Lessons of Motherhood”

Hey moms……did the precious child you carried for 9 hard months post his or her undying love and adoration on social media for you this mother’s day? Yes? No?  My daughter in law posted a precious message….. girls tend to think of these things first and I am grateful to finally have a thoughtful female in my brood; however, it was my middle son that made me burst out laughing with his twitter message of mommy gratitude.

“Happy Mother’s day to @MelMel27.  Only woman in the world capable of what she puts up with.”

While raising 3 boys has subjected me to many happy, mommy moments, lets just be honest….I have put up with quite a bit through the years…and it seems some days it is still ongoing.  Aaron’s post got me to thinking of not so happy times when I’ve been sure my boy’s were going to be the death of me.

To sit here and pretend we have the perfect family life with the perfect kids who have made the the perfect choices in their lives would be fake.  I’m getting too old and impatient to carry on a ruse as such, besides….I can’t fool GOD can I? None of us can….he knows what we hide and how we tend to share only the perfect parts of our life.  I’m too exhausted to sprinkle my social media pages with rainbows and choice tidbits of perfection.

Raising 3 boys has made me keenly aware of failure, sin and humility.  When they fail….I take it personal….but the fact is….my kid’s are sinners just like their mom and dad.  If being a parent don’t make you humble….I don’t know what will.

There are many victories on the long road of motherhood….but the truth is…..there are sad times, hard times, confusing times and times you just want to smack their little faces.

As I watch my boys in hairy, men bodies become adults, I am learning to resist intervening in their decisions, choices and mistakes.  My husband and I will give GODLY guidance if they ask or not, but  if we run interference….we may be hampering GOD’S will for their lives.  Our job is not to go behind them and fix it anymore….sometimes we can’t….therefore we have to let them walk through the fire.

Undoubtedly our kids are going to hurt, suffer and wrestle through the carnage of the effects…..the pain will be real….the lessons hard.  Our hearts may break while standing on the sidelines watching….but don’t just stand and watch…..fall to your knees and intercede on their behalf to GOD.

C.S. Lewis has a great quote about pain….

“GOD whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but SHOUTS in our pain; it is HIS megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Pain has a way of teaching lessons even an loving parent can’t articulate…..and lets be honest…they probably won’t listen.  GOD will use the pain in our kids lives to grow them…..guide them…..draw them to HIM…..and a funny thing happens in the process….HE draws mom and dad too.

Everything GOD allows us to go through in life is designed to make us more holy….more like JESUS.

To interfere when we shouldn’t can stunt our kids spiritual growth. While we want to spare them of pain….the truth is…..pain is what molds their character. This is an important lesson no matter how old your kids are.  There is going to be only one winner at the spelling bee…..only a chosen talented few will make the cheer squad or basketball team….he or she is not always going to get the job they want or even their dream girl or guy.

Life is not fair and there are going to be cheaters, bullies, prejudices, brown nosers and some people who will use them. There will be failures, irresponsible decisions, immaturity and sin with consequences along the way.

If this mother’s day has left you with less than warm and fuzzy feelings due to a child’s bad choice….or if you have a heavy heart because you child is in the midst of pain….. or possible danger……take courage!  Think of your big or little kid as an acorn….growing into an oak of righteousness.

So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that HE may be glorified.”                 Isaiah 61:3

Pray moms….pray….this is the most important thing we will ever do for our children since giving them life. Pray for their spiritual growth…and understanding in the midst of pain.

Resist the urge to fix things in their lives…..instead…pray….and seek GOD to be the ultimate fixer….and restorer.

Oh GOD….grow our kids….big and little….to be GODLY men and women.

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"Do I Trust You God?" #livelikeWill

The sadness hovering over our community this week has been debilitating to me personally.  The death of Will McKamey has dominated my mind and prayers. This beautiful young man was the type of kid the world needs more of.  Just doesn’t seem fair does it?  It’s just not the natural order of life to loose a young man with so much promise and goodness.

I have wrestled with so many questions this week.  Why things happen…tragedy, heartache, sickness and trials? 

The devil always throws a few more jabs when we’re discouraged……my husband had testing this week  revealing troublesome health issues.  Waiting with my husband in recovery as he slept……. I was miserable in spirit and I just found myself asking GOD….do I really trust you?

These are hard days Lord…..do I really trust you?

This life stinks Lord….do I really trust you?

It’s so hard to pray when discouragement bares down hard and you wrestle with life and death issues.

Getting down in the pit and rolling around in the discouragement is exactly what the enemy wants us to do because it throws us off our game…..focus….. and mission.  I’m sad to say I fell straight into the enemies snare.

I am amazed at the faith of the McKamey family……rejoicing in grief…..because they know where Will is.  I honestly don’t know what I would do in their situation?   I think back to the time my own son collapsed on the track after winning a regional meet.  It was his senior year and he had just won the KIL county championship the previous week.  He was preparing for his fourth visit to state, predicted to win it all in his division.

Doctor’s told us he had swelling on the brain from a bleed.  The swelling caused seizures and unconsciousness.  We were stricken with fear….I was numb.  He was a week away from graduating, we didn’t know if he would be able to walk across stage.  Diagnosed with a weak, leaking vascular angioma in the left frontal lobe of his brain, we were told surgery was too dangerous…..the risk for stroke too great…..and just like that…the scholarships were gone…..the athletic career ended …..it was over for our seventeen year old ambitious son. 

When I heard Will collapsed last Saturday morning, I immediately told my husband.  We stopped and prayed for him right then…..we knew what this family was going through.  My heart just ached for them.  I am still aching although I cannot understand the grief they are now in.  My son couldn’t compete anymore….their son is now in heaven……I can’t really relate to their loss.

How does a family go on in the face of tragedy?

How do we cope in times of hardship and discouragement?

Everywhere I have turned this week I have been reminded of the scripture in Isaiah 40. This precious chapter holds several of my favorite reminders that give me hope and remind me who GOD really is.

In verse 11 it says…….

          Like a shepherd HE will tend HIS flock, in HIS arm HE will gather the lambs…..And
         carry them in HIS bosom;  HE will gently lead the nursing ewes.

HE is our shepherd in all the seasons of life…..and death.   The shepherd keeps us from straying….in our deeds and thoughts.  Sheep are prone to stray, they are easily confused and frightened……. they are totally dependent on the shepherd for protection and guidance.  They listen to their shepherds voice and follow him…..they don’t lead……they follow.

If we know JESUS as our SAVIOR…..HE is our good shepherd…..and we can totally be dependent on HIM.  HIS voice won’t lead us astray.

In verse 18 it says………

             To whom then will you liken GOD?  Or what likeness will you compare with HIM?
             
Who in your life has been everything for you?  Man will let you down….even family…spouses….but GOD will never let you down.  Who in your life can compare with GOD?  There is nobody in my life that can restore me….heal me…..replenish me…..comfort me….. only GOD has done these things for me……nobody compares with my GOD.

Verse 26 reminds us that HE is our creator…….

 “Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, HE calls them all by name;  Because of the greatness of HIS might and the strength of HIS power, not one of them is missing.”

HE hung the stars, HE calls them all by name, HE knows exactly where each one should be, they don’t go missing.  HE knows and calls us by our name…..HE knit us in our mother’s womb…..we are not invisible to HIM….therefore; HE tends to our needs….our broken hearts….our souls…..HE sees us. 

The scripture goes on to say………

 “HE gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might HE increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly……Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”

So here we are LORD…..we are weary.  Weary to the point that we lack might……so we wait for you LORD.  We wait for new strength…..we wait until you take our weariness away.  We need our good shepherd to keep us from going astray in our grief and discouragement…..we need you to call us by name and tend to our hurting hearts.

Who else can we trust?

Who else has been faithful the way our LORD has?

Only HE can be ALL and EVERYTHING to us.

Only HE can give peace to the McKamey family….only HE can give them a portion of healing to sustain them in the days to come…..

Only GOD can be their ALL and EVERYTHING.

No man or earthy thing can comfort them like our GOD can.

I honestly don’t know how people make it without JESUS?  How do they cope?  Who gives them peace and joy in tribulation?

I can’t function without my JESUS…..

We will experience hardship, loss, and pain in this life but the only one who can sustain us is JESUS.

JESUS is the only one we can trust.

Will McKamey’s life is powerful evidence of his trust in JESUS as well…….he knew him……he relied on him……he had felt his healing power before…….and now he is basking in his SAVIOR’S presence.

Tell me friends…….who do you trust?

 #livelikeWill

                               http://www.wate.com/story/19991699/will-mckamey-folo

          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prayers-for-Navy-Will-Family-The-McKameys/289915881162967