Footprints… Actions, Attitudes and Appearances


What image are leaving behind?

We have all seen signs at nature preserves and parks that read, “take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints”.   Would it not be wonderful if we took that mentality with us everywhere as Christians?  What ‘footprints’ do you leave each day as you hurry here and there, grumble through work or take your kids on their appointed rounds?  Who do people see as you leave?  Is it Christ?

Examples:

1) The mother that allows children to run wild in stores, destroying displays, products and endangering other shoppers by tripping them  –  Do people assume she is a Christian?

2) The road rage of cutting someone off, not allowing them in, blaring the horn or visible mouthing and hand signals – Do you think the ‘fish’ on the back of the car will send the message you are not?

3) The parent yelling, or worse ignoring their child in the store  – Do those around you see “Christ” in you?

4) The neighbor that has total disregard for others property through theirs or their children’s actions – Are your neighbors seeking Christ because of your family’s example?

5) The patron leaves a ‘tract tip’ in place of a monetary tip or along side a minimal tip – Are you portraying Christ as stingy?

6) The way you dress or dress your children for Church – Do people think you are leaving for the beach or the mall?  Are you dressed showing that you ARE blessed or do you spend more time getting ready for work, shopping, ‘dates’ and other events?  Do you present God with your best?  Not your most expensive, but you and your children are the cleanest, neatest and at your best  for church over all other places (and that includes on the inside).

We leave ‘footprints’ everywhere we go.  Sometimes we are the ONLY “Christ” people see.  Our attitudes, actions and appearance, as well as those of our children, are the footprints we leave behind.  What ‘photo image’ are they taking that will forever be emblazoned in their photo album of Christians?   Will people be glad to see you go?  Or wish you had stayed?

Ephesians 5:2

2 And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us,  a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

Celebrate Life (*IMHO)


Life Is Precious - Treat with Awe

We just celebrated our victorious child’s 24th birthday Friday.  She truly was a victory.  After five very difficult pregnancies she was born.  We first found out we were expecting her because I was being treated for bronchial pneumonia.  Due to the meds I was on that ‘could’ leave her brain-damaged, the other bad pregnancies and health risk to me and the fact Phil had lost his job, the doctor advised abortion.  I was not new to this advice.  I received it with my second pregnancy while in the hospital during a miscarriage.  I actually lost a twin, but still had one baby.  The doctor cautioned and suggested I go ahead and abort her.  After all, she had about  a 10% chance of living, ‘probably’ was brain-damaged and was a high risk to my health in my current condition.  I did die on the operating table with our oldest, but God had other plans.  Both of my girls are gifts from God and He knew when the doctors did not.  God IS the master physician. Neither was brain damaged, in fact just the opposite.  Both are college grads, married and mothers (Victoria is expecting her first within a month).

I named our oldest Rebekah Kristen (rebirth in Christ) as both of us were given a second chance at life.  I named our youngest Victoria Paige (victorious child) as she truly was a victory against all odds.  Naming your children is very important.  That is why God gives so many examples of why people were named what they were in the Bible.  (Gen 35:10; Gen 5:29; etc.) Equally important is raising them knowing WHY they were given their name.  It builds character and purpose.

When Victoria was in high school, she had to write a ‘persuasive essay’ for English.  Since abortion was controversial many students wrote on that subject.  The teacher had already read them so she knew Victoria had taken the narrow path and had her present her’s last.  Not only did she state the facts about how it is used as birth control and that the statistics of its ‘need’ for mothers at risk, rape, and incest (which are extremely rare – less than 1%); she told them about my decisions with her sister and her births.  Most of them did not know the facts and most of them were just parroting the popular voice.  Some argued we would have felt differently if she HAD been born deformed or brain-damaged.   She was able to tell them that we refused the amniocentesis test that would have shown such conditions as our resolve in accepting God’s will no matter the outcome.

So how did the world get to this state about human life?  When did we lose the awe over creation?  In my opinion it has been subtle.  I believe we as Christians are as much to blame as anyone.  We have treated motherhood as common and become flippant in our approach.  Why should the world treat life sacred and with awe when we have joined their ranks in the treatment of motherhood?  I truly believe that if we want the public to treat an unborn baby as a baby then we need to be the first to do so.  I firmly believe that if we as Christians do not change our treatment of motherhood and birth to align with God’s word and then raise our children with the same teachings, then we can see life treated with less and less respect.

Birth is about a living soul, created by God.  God knows us from before we were born.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

He does not label us as a ‘pea’, a ‘kidney bean’, a ‘peanut’ or a ‘bump’.  He would never treat us so trivial.  He would not focus on the mom and her physique and draw attention away from the awe of birth.

1 Peter 3:3 “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

I believe the Bible means we are not to be worldly and take on the worlds displays of dressing and that includes motherhood.  We have become flippant and tolerant of the world’s views on life.  Women are drawing attention to themselves and referring to their ‘bumps’ instead of their child given by God.  I am sadden by some Christian women who would never wear a bikini to the beach yet place photos of exposed stomachs on FaceBook.  Birth is NOT a celebration about a woman’s body, but a celebration of a new life.  How sad that we have misplaced the focus and missed all these opportunities to testify to God’s wonder and miracle of birth to the masses.

So the next time you defend Pro-life and anti-abortion views, make sure your actions are not treating that life flippantly and worldly.  The world watches actions. It’s not a bump, it’s a baby, a miracle created by God.  Handle with care.

*In My Humble Opinion – I know this is not going to be a popular post but, I believe that we as Christians need to check our actions against our words and views and His word.  How do we as Christians expect the world to view life with reverence if we treat it worldly ourselves?

Will They Be Like You?


Focus

We recently learned that our youngest daughter is expecting a boy in December.  We have two wonderful granddaughters by our oldest daughter so this will be the first grandson.  Well of course I had to go walk through the baby department to see what is out there for boys.  As I was browsing I heard this loud voice and I looked and there was this very tall, athletic man on a Blue-tooth talking away.  He had a little 7-8 year old girl tagging behind.   They were in the little girls department next to infants so I could hear and see the whole incident.  Obviously dad had her out to look for things for her.  Maybe mom had the little one’s at home, maybe it was his weekend … it really did not matter, it simply was not ‘her time’.  The conversation went like this, “yeah man, it was like that game when the Bucs (Tampa Bay’s football team) played … you know, the year before they won the Superbowl”.   OK, time reference here … the man is discussing a game circa 2001.  His little girl probably was not born.  I wanted to shake him and say, “look at her face … see your child … what are you doing?”   I wanted to go to the little girl and tell her to pull up Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In The Cradle” and play it for her dad.

Where is your focus?  Children know when they are not getting your best.  God’s word says in Matthew chapter 6, that He loves us and cares for us.  He knows our every need and want and He takes care of us.  As Christians we are to mirror God’s parenting as we parent our children.  I do not see God with a cell phone in His hand, watching His favorite TV show, or reading a book.   He is not out playing some sports game, or going to some event at our expense.  Our children get their value of themselves from us.  We tell them by our actions how valuable they are.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing things for yourself as long it is not at your child’s expense.  No matter if you chose to be a parent at this time or not, you are the parent.   The child comes first.

I remember growing up watching a relative with their kids and comparing them to my parents in my head.   If there was a cake to be divided that parent would always make sure they got a piece,  the biggest piece.  Yet if there was dessert on our table, my mom (who LOVED dessert and would eat it at the beginning of the meal  if she could) always made sure we got some and then if any was left she had some.  One time  my dad gave mom the money to go buy herself a new coat, TWICE.  After she returned from the store twice with things for all her five children, the third time dad drove her to the store and stayed until she bought herself a coat.  She taught us how valuable we were.  It was not just ‘things’ either.  She spent time on her knees for us; she made our favorite foods; she went to the school events; was PTA and band booster presidents.  She invested her life in us.  She was a mom first, and “Gwen” … well, after all others’ needs were met.

My goal was to grow up to be a mom like her and to raise children that felt loved and valued and then they would pass it on to the next generation.   Throughout the Old Testament (like in Leviticus and I Samuel) there are stories told of ‘sins of the fathers’ being passed on to generations.  Basically, this means sin begets sin.  A drunk raises drunks; a thief raises a thief, a liar a liar …  an adulterer raises an adulterer; and an inattentive and unloving parent raises another generation of inattentive and unloving parent.  The cycle stops when someone in the chain makes a conscious decision to repent of the pattern of sin in their family and chooses to move forward in God’s strength leaving the past sins of the father’s behind.  Then and only then, will God heal the family.

Leviticus 26:39-43 (New International Version)
39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers’ sins they will waste away.
40 ” ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees.

Your kids, they’re going to grow up to be just like you!  Scared?

Anchor “Mom”


Anchor Mom

Anchor Mom

Wow, I have not posted in a while.  In my defense my daughters were home.  My oldest from overseas with my two darling granddaughters, and my youngest was here from Montana.  She is expecting her first child December, 18th.   I have been busy being a MOM.   I commented about ‘always being a mom’ to Susan, a pastor’s wife, who gave me the title for this blog … ANCHOR MOM!  I do not know if she coined it, but I am borrowing it for my blog.

An “ANCHOR MOM” may be a mom, grandmother, aunt, favorite cousin … a school teacher, Sunday School teacher or even a neighbor.  They are the women God places in every child’s life to nurture and guide them in Him.  I normally HATE all the adjectives people add to the word Mom these days and have various appropriate answers like:

1) Stay at home mom – Really?  No, I am let out of the house as needed.
2) Do you work out side of your home?  YES, I work at church events, school events, I shop for groceries, do the banking, the official MOM taxi, laundry …
3) Full time mom – Uhm, should there be any other kind?
4) Domestic Engineer – do not EVEN get me started on this one
5) Homemaker – no, Chadwell Builders built my home.

You are getting the idea.   I finally close such discussions with, “is there anything wrong with just saying MOM?  Doesn’t MOM say it all?  Mary was ‘just’ a mom.”  When talking with mom’s I would say, “as well as being a mom what else do you manage?”  This is where you can talk about the additional career job, the care of elderly parents, etc.

MOM – says it all.  However, I am adding “Anchor” today.  These are the women that are always “MOMS”, even if they have no children of their own.  These are the “MOMS” who have been promoted to Grand-moms.  These are the aunts, the teachers, the neighbors, that see a need and heed God’s prompting and intervene in a child’s life.

God thinks a lot about Moms and places great value on mothers and women in His word.

Even in death Jesus looked down from the cross and thought of  His own mother’s needs.  John 19:26 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”

Naomi was a mother-in-law to Ruth that acted as a true MOM when she realized that Ruth still needed her mothering (Ruth 1:18).

You never stop being a mom, you just spread out your wings and gather more into the nest.

Sadly the world has devalued motherhood making moms feel worthless.  Some women fear motherhood and the loss of personal freedom and value.  Being a mom is not for wimps, cowards, or the selfish, it is for those whom God chooses.  If you are lucky enough to be chosen as a ‘mom’,  remember God uses His weakest vessels to accomplish His greatest works and He supplies all you will need.   For Christian women it should be the greatest honor to be a Birth Mom and/or an Anchor Mom.  Do not get caught up in the world’s opinion.

God places great value on you as a woman.  The Bible mentions weddings, names the girl and who her father was, thereby giving her heritage and establishing the lineage of Christ.  These women linked Mary to the house of David.  They were not ‘no-name’ unimportant females.  There was Deborah who was a prophetess and a judge (Jdg. 4:4), Queen Esther whom God used to deliver His people and of course Mary, the mother of Jesus.   God did not HAVE to bring Jesus into the world using a woman.  He could have just had Jesus appear with no mention of how He arrived.  There are many significant women that were important women in the Bible as well as moms.

Where ever God places you at this time is important to Him so do not bemoan your lot in life.  God has a plan and a purpose that changes with age.   I have raised my girls who are now moms themselves.  They still need their mom on occasion.  My husband still needs me :-D.  But, God is also placing me in full time work at a Christian bookstore.  Yet I still feel His leading in writing this blog; seeking publishing of my children’s books, parenting book and church youth musicals.  I have a full plate.  I am just filling it from a different buffet line.

Accept what God has for you to do today.  Do not begrudge, belittle, or let satan* lie to you about your worth.  Seek God’s will and enjoy the journey.

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

I Get No Respect


I actually had a student tell me recently that I had to earn their respect and that it was not automatic.  When I asked if their parents had taught them that, they said no and added that their parents also had to earn their respect.  Of course I asked them if that was what they wanted from me; to have to earn my respect?  The student continued the discussion with comments like, “just because you are an adult doesn’t mean I have to respect you”.  Of course these ideas are coming from everywhere, the media, movies, video games, TV … they all are filled with youth that have no regard for authority, position and have little, if any sense, of decorum.  Much is learned from parents as well, who show little respect to others.  It is the ‘do as I say do, not as I do’ syndrome.

The Bible mentions the word  ‘respect’ and/or ‘honor’, in several forms.  All are signs of character and/or because of good character.  These are  traits we want to teach our children.

RESPECT:

  • Leviticus 19:3  ‘Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths.  I am the LORD your God.’
  • Leviticus 19:32 ‘Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.’
  • Exodus 20:12  ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.’
  • Ephesians 6:1 ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.’

HONOR:

  • Receiving honor: ex. birthright – Exodus 4:22; Psalms 89:27; Jeremiah 31:9; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15
  • Showing honor: ex. diligence in what you do Proverbs 12:24;22:29
  • Place of honor: ex. at the right hand – Psalms 45:9; Psalms 80:17 ; 2 Chronicles 24:16,25; 21:2
  • Position of honor: ex. placed in a position to honor – 2 Kings 25:27-30; Jeremiah 52:31-35
  • Act in honor: ex. actions of honorable men and women – Acts 17:10-21
  • Dishonoring: ex. Not honored among peers – Matthew 13:57; Luke 4:24-27; John 4:44
  • Honor to the elders: ex. honoring the aged – Job 32:6,7

Respect and honor, both are important to the Lord.  You must show Him respect (another blog), then your parents (no age limit here – they are always your parents), and then others.  Many of the Beatitudes relate to respect … they are ‘attitudes to be’.  Do as you say do, your children are watching.