Friday, December 28, 2018

Weekend Wit 23

If you want to know the answer to life, it is love.

Your happiness is found in your ability to be content.
Your contentment is found in being grateful for the things that you already have.

Everyone has problems.  Some problems are pretty obvious.  The community around us offers sympathy and empathy but many issues are matters of the soul and often there is no one who knows.  Those issues are left to fester in the dark where it makes the sufferer often angry, depressed or bitter.  It is in the light that those issues can be healed.  I am not suggesting that we bare are all to the world but finding someone to tell our deepest and darkest hurts is a necessary step to wholeness.

The world is going to beat you down, home should be the place where we are built back up and pampered. 

The things in our world that seem so very negative in the end are sometimes the very things that turn our lives around and put us on the right path.

Whatever your problems, they are common to man.  Someone else has already fought the same battle that you are fighting.  That means it is not an impossible task.  

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Christmas Poke

I have plenty to do before Christmas arrives at my door.  My house needs to be cleaned and I am still mulling over the food that I plan on serving.  I bought a bag of oranges today because in my world, Christmas is not possible without having a bag of oranges.  After my bowl of soup at supper I peeled one of my Christmas oranges.  That first taste brought back all kinds of Christmas memories.

Every year at church we would have a Christmas program featuring the little kids and then some kind of Christmas drama that highlighted the true meaning of Christmas.  The church would be completely packed for this event with everyone decked out in their red and green Christmas finery.  The little kids usually flubbed their lines but were adorably cute.  The Christmas drama was a small town attempt at theater with a bunch of men dressed in their bathrobes playing shepherds.  It didn't matter, it was always something that I  anticipated except for the year I was actually in the Christmas play, then it was terrifying.

After the play was over everyone from the young to the elderly went to the doors of the fellowship hall where the deacons and other volunteers passed out Christmas pokes. The Christmas poke was a brown paper sack with one large apple, an orange, a pack of Juicy Fruit gum, a Mounds Bar, an Almond Joy, a box of raisins, and an assortment of nuts still in the shell. I stood there a shivering disheveled, tired little girl in the cold eager to get my bag of goodies. It was honestly one highlight of the Christmases of my childhood.  We then would all pile back into our car clutching our bags eager to open up our pokes to examine the contents.

I don't know the reason why the Christmas poke tradition was started.  Maybe it was an attempt to make sure that everyone got a little something at Christmas.  I know that I loved mine.  It seems ridiculous now in our world where sweets and treats flow freely that a bag with a couple of candy bars and some fruit would be that enticing to a child.  In those days treats were pretty rare for most children.  We seldom had oranges and store bought apples except at Christmas time.

Fifty years later it still fills my heart with pleasure to think about the "Christmas Poke".   I am sure that many of those who packed the bags and distributed them worked pretty hard and they gave up valuable time in order to serve. Even small acts of kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness that are done in the name of Jesus are powerful. They have lasting impact on the hearts and souls of those who have been ministered to.  I feel pretty sure that those who handed the bags out to me as a child are probably pretty old, but more than likely they have already departed this world.  I hope they received a special reward for those "Christmas pokes".

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

In a world that is eager to hate and ridicule, we can't give up my dear brothers and sisters.  It is not that we are powerless as a church, but that we often think that the tasks we have been given to do couldn't possibly have any impact.  Nothing is further from the truth.  The Spirit still wants to lead His people sometimes through an act of generosity or a kind word.  We are to be a living sacrifice, laying our lives down daily in small and large ways for those in our influence and in our charge.   I hope that this Christmas and the days after that you will work to change the world one metaphorical "Christmas poke" at a time. There are still tired, cold disheveled little girls shivering in the dark hoping for some kindness.  That little girl may be disguised as your neighbor who was yelling obscenities from her yard or that coworker with the mean streak or that dude who wants to ride on your rear end every single morning on your ride to work.

Friday, December 14, 2018

I Found Christmas

Christmas is almost upon us.   At school the Christmas program is past and the kids are anxiously awaiting Christmas. The other day a couple of the four year old boys were racing around their room singing Santa Claus is coming to town at the top of their little happy lungs. The halls are a blur of red and green decorated with every version of the sacred and secular view of Christmas.  At home the tree is held together with strands of gold beads and winking at me with its little multicolored lights. The Christmas cookies are iced with pink, red, white and green frosting.  UPS is running night and day to keep up with package deliveries.  Christmas parties are in full swing and Christmas music is everywhere.  Hallmark Christmas movies are clogging up the airways.

I understand why kids are excited about Christmas.  They will have two weeks off from school, stockings full of goodies, and presents under the tree.  Parents, teachers, the community and the church work hard every year to create a Christmas experience.  The kids are always on the receiving end of that kind of production.

 By now some of the adults are just longing for the peace and quiet of January. At this time of the year those who have plenty of resources might feel a little angst at just how much Christmas will cost them this year.  Others are feeling a real panic as they try to buy things that meet societal expectations.  I remember years ago on a bitterly cold day,  Mama dressed in her old black long coat and hat standing in an old department store downtown near Christmas time as the cashier rang up her meager purchases. She carefully counted out the remainder of her money in her lean wallet down to the last pennies.  It was painful to watch.  There are many around us who are feeling that very same pressure that my mom felt so many years ago.

I buy gifts, I decorate and I participate in events but for me those things never really do have a lot of significance.  I am not trying to be a killjoy but Santa and Elf on the Shelf are just fun things for the kids the same way that a Hallmark Christmas romance is a fantasy for a billion women on the planet or that person trying to create the perfect family holiday complete with food, presents, and decorations.
Because I have tasted of the reality of the true Christmas I struggle with finding my joy in the shadow of it.

For years I listened to Christmas carols and just enjoyed the familiarity and the sentimentality of the songs.  At some point in my life my eyes were opened and I laid hold of what Christmas is for the Christian.  In those very carols lay the true meaning of Christmas.  The fear of death, the pain of suffering,  the reality of violence and hatred all mar our experience as humans, but God sent us His very own Son right in the middle of the mess to rescue us.  The God Man, Jesus, showed up at just the right time in history to save a humanity bound for thousands of years  under the curse, horror and weight of sin.  I am sorry but sentimentality can never compete with this kind of reality. I have included below some of the carols that speak so eloquently of the arrival of our Savior.  Merry Christmas friends.  I hope that you will never be able to hear the carols again without the words piercing your heart and sparking a joy that is not possible to extinguish.

Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Risen with healing in his wings,
Light and life to all he brings,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace
Hail the Son of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lay His glory by
Born that man no more may die

Come Desire of Nations come,
Fix in us thy humble home.
Rise, the woman's conquering Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent's head.
Adam's likeness now efface
Stamp thine image in its place

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessing flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Harvest of Righteousness

We have had lots of rain the last few days and the temperature has dropped considerably. It was quite brisk feeling when I left work.  I kept the heater humming in the car as I drove home past trees alight with fall color. This time of the year our chickens are often already in the coop by the time I pull in. I left my work paraphernalia in the car and walked out back to find  the chickens looking kind of bleary eyed on their perch with their feathers fluffed out against the cold.   I shut the big door leaving them to roost. I stopped by the vegetable garden to see what I could add to our supper fare. The frost has already done a lot of damage but I dug up several big sweet potatoes that I could see peeking from the ground and found the last two eggplant hanging onto the  wilted plants.  I picked a fat hand full of mustard greens and hurried into the house shutting out the dreary damp of the last remnants of the day.

My husband started a blazing fire in the fireplace and I put on a pot of coffee.  In a few minutes my garden treasures were washed.  The greens I cut up  putting them to boil on the back of the stove.   I cut one of the sweet potatoes in half and put the pieces in a baking dish.  I sliced the eggplant and dredged it in egg and flour and fried them.  It wasn't long before we had a country feast of fresh vegetables in the middle of November.  

I think nothing is more magical than a garden.  Most of what we ate tonight took a really small investment of money and time.  I don't use pesticides and the only fertilizer is the grass clippings that I pile up around my plants to control the weeds and to keep the soil moisture more even.  For the most part, it is free organic food from a small plot of ground next to our house.  It is a quite beneficial and profitable enterprise.

A garden in magical in other ways.  A garden can teach a lot of life lessons, like you reap what you sow.  Hmmm!!! I think I have heard that somewhere else.  I planted sweet potatoes, mustard greens and eggplant.  Today that was exactly what I got from the garden.  I didn't go out there and find corn and asparagus.  I didn't plant corn and asparagus.  We are funny that we think sowing and reaping only has to do with gardens, but it has to do with everything in life.  

I'd love to say that I had truly grasp this life lesson but I know it isn't true.  I am still prone to foolishness and stupidity.  I still somehow think that my words and actions are immune to morphing into something greater that I can control or handle.

The whole reaping and sowing thing has some very positive connotations as well.  If we sow generosity, kindness, forgiveness, fortitude that is what we will reap.  These are the kinds of things in which our world is in desperate need.

Seeds are pretty small and insignificant looking dried up little things.  Even small unkindness can grow into something ugly, convoluted and thorny, just as our daily pitifully small offering of right living has the potential to change the lives of those that we rub shoulders with.  We don't need to despair of small beginnings.   A harvest of righteousness will come if we persevere.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Tired Garden

Soggy grass before the morning has her moorings

Lingering sticky strands of gossamer stretched taunt

Purple iridescent morning glories

Barely dripping leaves

Composted dirt frosted with a thousand tomato green seedlings

Okra lurched tenaciously grasping her goliath pods.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Weekend Wit 22

Abject misery brings about more positive change than being rescued.  A rescue depends on the fortitude and perseverance of the rescuer.  Misery, on the other hand, as a constant companion is a great catalyst to get us over the hump. Often we find that we possess the resources that we needed all along.

About 99.99% of the things we ponder in the night never come to pass.

Jesus wants to guide His children.  I didn't redeem myself and I certainly don't have the ability to lead myself.  The reason that we don't know what to do is that we haven't bothered to ask Him.

I believe marriage is one means by which God sanctifies His children.  Spouses were not meant to sit in judgment of each other but to come along side to help heal each other.

I am just as broken as the guy with the moped leaned against the road sign smoking a cigarette holding a sign that says he will work for food.

Life is full of troubles therefore we can say that it is also fraught with much opportunity to call out to the One who made us and who is all powerful, good and kind.

Many of our troubles stem from something that we have done, something we are presently doing or something that we are not handling properly by trusting God.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Songs of the Redeemed

I grew up in a rural area with plain simple honest country people.  We went to a mid sized church a couple of towns over from us.  The church was vibrant and full of the same kind of hardworking people as my parents.

On Sunday morning the church was packed out. Every possible parking space was filled by eleven on Sunday morning. If you happened to be late, then one of the ushers would have to add some seating at the back of the church or you might happen to squeeze into a spot in the balcony. The preaching in our country church was fiery, the congregation was loudly interactive and the choir rocked.

That choir was filled with fifty men and women who worked in the cotton mill during the week but on Sunday they knew how to belt it out.  Little women with polyester suits, cotton dresses, pump heels and tightly permed curls put on a performance that many outside of that realm would not have thought possible.  Anyone could sing in the choir.  What they lacked in skill, they made up for it in gusto.

The whole church was electric when those men and women sang. The choir always had a few men who sang bass and a few that could hit the high notes. There were lots of very vocal altos in the women's section.  The congregation often sang right along with them.  Whatever the troubles or sorrows of the week, for those few moments heaven truly came down and we weren't feeling any pain.

Sunday mornings were limited to about an hour for the worship service probably because most people had a roast in the oven.  Sunday night church was different.  We were independent Baptist and you weren't very spiritual if you didn't have a night service.  Only about half of our congregation must have been spiritually minded.  It was a lot more relaxed and there was always extra room in the auditorium but the choir was still packed out.

On Sunday nights, it was all about the music. Elmer, our choir director was a tall older man with broad shoulders and a crew cut.  I doubt seriously he had any musical training but his heart was certainly in it.  He worked hard trying to introduce some of the newer songs of the day into the music of the church while still keeping the older songs that were loved.   Billie sat to the right of the stage with her tight curls and beaded ear bobs pounding out songs on a Baby Grand while her husband Arnold conquered the drums.  He was pretty versatile as he also played the electric guitar. Arnold was a dapper grey haired man probably in his early 50's with a bit of style. He often wore an Arnold Palmer green men's blazer with winged tipped loafers. We also had a trumpet player and a bass guitar player on Sunday nights.  It was quite the little loud rocking band.

I don't know how many songs were typical on a Sunday night but I think we were all sung out by the time the preacher stepped up to the pulpit to preach.  Singing released something in our spirits.  Maybe it was the angst of our fallen selves or maybe the stress of trying to live in a broken world.  Maybe we were created to sing praises to our King and for a few minutes in our week, all was right with the world.  I can tell you that as a child I loved to sing along.  I doubt seriously I understood every song or that every song was theologically sound.

I have long left the independent Baptists and have been in numerous congregations with different styles of worship, but I can tell you that most of God's people find great pleasure and comfort in the singing of worship filled songs.  For those few moments when those Called Out ones gather and our voices are raised, something happens.  It is not just emotion.  Something happens where we are collectively somehow connected to heaven.  In my present church the people on stage don't resemble Elmer, Arnold or Billie and the music is quite diverse from the music of my childhood.  True worship of our great King transcends time, place and style.  It is an amazing thing when God's people lift their hearts and voices in worship. It is a glimpse of what is to come.  I am longing for the day when an innumerable choir lifts its' voice in praise to the only One who is worthy.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Home and a Deeper Longing

Black-eyed Suzy, Rose of Sharon, Hydrangea and  Sweet William grew with rampant abandon in a yard with old
plantings of forgotten unnamed shrubs that was scattered with hard barren patches of thin wispy grass.  The foundation of brick had cracks from 50 years of nestling into the soil on which the old house had been planted so many years before.   The hard wood floors were worn slick and smooth.  The slightest wind caused the windows panes to rattle and draw in the outside air.  The glazing had long dried brittle and much of it had pulled away from the windows in big chunks. An ancient ornate screen door that had long rusted still clung to the front entry. White baseboards and glass doorknobs gave to the little house a bit of charm and dignity.

It was home.  It was that place of complete security that at times could feel so safe that it stifled. Families didn't move from places like that.  Our roots went so deep into the soil that even when we grew up we drug the roots unseen behind us. 

Mama died in 1985 and Daddy lived the next 30 years a widower. After Mama died, it seemed almost impossible to reclaim that idea that "home" still existed.  Daddy did the best he could but we all knew that it would never be the same.  For years I was undone by how home had deserted us when Mama died.  Inadvertently I have been on a covert mission to recreate home. I have lived long enough to know that this desire and longing will never be fully satisfied in the here and now.  Home making is a worthy goal but at best it is always just semi permanent camping and squatting on real estate that we can never really own.

Not a single thing has the ability to last in this present world.  We live in a world that decay and destruction begins to reek havoc from the moment of conception.  We want to embrace the "Circle of Life" idea and be the lion standing on the hill majestic and beautiful as the sun fades into the west but it leaves us cold and hollow.

 The Gospel is in diverse opposition to the "Circle of Life".  The Gospel proclaims that we do not have to embrace death and destruction but we can embrace life and hope, our life does not have to end.   I have longings of places, things and ideas that I have never experienced. God has placed that eternity in our hearts.   This body of destruction groans and longs to be set free from the bondage of decay.  One day I will have a home where righteousness dwells and it will never be snatched away by death or loss of any kind.   

Friday, June 22, 2018

Timestamps and Lightening Bugs

My grandma lived with us as I was growing up.  She had thin gray hair that she plaited and pulled back in a little bun.  She never wore slacks or shorts.  Mostly she wore simple cotton dresses with a floral print pattern.  Grandma was mild by the time I knew her.  In her younger days she was a fiery soul with the characteristic red hair to go with it.

Grandma had five children and eleven grandchildren and several great grandchildren at this point in time.  She was what tied our family together.  As long as she lived the family still got together for special occasions. She was a hard working woman who was quietly loved and respected by everyone in the family and possibly a little bit feared.   One of the ways we honored her was to celebrate her birthday each June 18th.

I don't remember Grandma opening presents although Grandma is holding a gift in the picture.  I don't ever remember having a birthday cake and or us warbling out "Happy Birthday".  We celebrated like all common folks around the world, we had a cookout. The Pontiacs, Dodges, and Chevrolets would begin edging up in the yard laden down with food, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Seldom did a family member not show up to one of these events. The women would be attired in light weight cotton dresses and sensible shoes and the men in short sleeved button shirts and slicked down hair.  Everyone was always so tidy and neat in those days.

To me it was the very best family gathering. The simple charcoal grills would be filled with burgers and hot dogs.  My aunts brought the potato salad, slaw, watermelon, chili, chips, jello salads and  cakes.  It was absolutely delicious food.  There is no restaurant that can rival homemade food made with love by a bunch of Southern experienced cooks.  Those women accidentally made good food.  If they walked into the kitchen to wipe the counter down, they might end up frying a pan of chicken or baking a pie.  They knew 72 ways to turn jello into a heavenly concoction.  The desserts were all homemade specialties and they didn't skimp on the ingredients.  It was a matter of pride to bring a good dessert and take home an empty dish.  Most of us have diabetes now because we grew up with those kind of good cooks.

Aluminum lawn chairs with nylon webbing were pulled from the trunks and arranged in a circle.  It was hot outside but that didn't matter.  We weren't  as wimpy then as we are today.  Few of us had air conditioned houses. The women fanned and gossiped in what shade could be found while the men tended the grills.  The boy cousins played baseball or went down in the woods and declared their manliness by bending sapling trees to the ground.  The girl cousins stood around and awkwardly gawked or played kick ball in the front yard.

The evening would slowly slip away as the lightening bugs came out. We sat around with sticky watermelon juice on our faces and hands  and slapped mosquitoes.  No one wanted the day to end. The adults  sat and talked as though they hadn't seen each other in years. The rhythm and sounds of the night began to fill the air and  finally it was too dark to see anymore.  The cars would be loaded back with the folding chairs and coolers.  Chevrolets, Dodges and Pontiacs would ease back on down the road puffing exhaust.  Soon only the flicker of the taillights were visible.

Our bellies were full and our minds were buzzing with all of the events of the day.  Another birthday for Grandma came and went.  In my child's mind, I didn't know that there was a time stamp on this event.  One day Grandma was too frail and the family too fractured and scattered to carry on the June 18th cookout. The adults had been right to linger in the night air because they knew somehow how precious it was to just be together.   The images of  the glowing  charcoal embers dying and the faint flicker of  the fireflies and the soft voices of my long gone relatives still brings a comfort to my heart and mind.

Everything is timestamped.  What we have right now is not better or worse than the past or the future.  It is just what we have now.  We need to linger over the good that God has given us today.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Dear Son

Dear Son,

It is still surreal seeing you hold your little girl, but  it fills my heart with joy.   It is your very first time to celebrate Father's Day as a new dad.  My heart still thinks of you as my child even though my mind is fully aware that you are a married man with a family of your own.  I remember once when you were a teen and we were in the car.  We did a lot of talking in the car those days.  You often would tell me things that were important to you.  Once you said that you wanted to get a good education so they you would be able to support a wife and a family. I was so amazed that you had thought in those terms.  You planned even then the kind of life that you wanted.  Having your own family was part of your dream.

You have that now son.  You have a beautiful wife and a sweet little girl.  I know that the job of mom is terribly important but so is the role of dad. We have downplayed  "dad" for so long in our culture that many have forgotten what it actually means. A home without dad is like a home without a bedrock.  Dad you are the mainline of defense.  You are the one standing on the wall. 

You come from a long line of men who took their role as dad seriously.  They were all fallible men but they still stayed true to their calling to be a dad.  You have watched your own dad stay true to his call. 

Being a dad in the world we live in can often seem to be very under appreciated but I believe the absentee father is the number one factor in so much of the dysfunction in our world.

 I love how you have taken an active role in taking care of your daughter from day one.  It will give so much stability to Baby Girl. 

You will fight giants every single day as a dad.  Just going to work to pay the bills and put a roof over everyone's head can be a daunting task.  There may not be a lot of time to embrace the things that you once had time to enjoy. It is a new day and what you are giving your time and energy to is worth more than any hobby or pursuit.

Happy Father's Day Son!!!  I am so proud of you.   

Friday, April 27, 2018

Dear Sweet Daughter

Dear Sweet Daughter,

You married my son several years ago and you two are such a good combination together.  Now you have become a mom as well.  I know it has been tough the last few weeks with all of the unexpected things that have transpired, as well as the lack of sleep, and the betrayal of your own body as you recover from the arduous process of childbirth.

I wanted to tell you welcome to motherhood. It is the secret club that once one has been initiated causes a complete paradigm shift.  There are certainly biological changes but I think the real change is when a mom looks at that helpless little one and considers her own life as inferior to the care  and nurture of the one in her charge.  I believe it is called laying down your life or perhaps becoming a living sacrifice.   I read once that to be a mother is to forever wear your heart on the outside of  your body.

 Many will tell you that your career will fulfill you.  A career is only means to take care of yourself and your family.  Hopefully, it will also serve others in society, but being a mom is a high and holy calling.  The saying that "the one who rocks the cradle, rules the world" is true.  Mom, you have quite the opportunity and dare I say privilege to do just that.  She will probably spend more waking hours with you than anyone else in the universe for the first 15 + years of her life.  Your words, your touch, your protection and your insight will be her guiding star.  She will want you and her daddy more than any others.

I wanted to share some of the things that ministered to me as a young woman.  The first one is from Titus.  I wrote this out and carried it around in the back pocket of my blue jeans for a really long time until it became frayed and worn.

... urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (NIV)

The idea that we must be taught to love our husbands may not be such a  foreign idea to many women but to have to be taught to love our children seems somehow unnatural.  I can't tell you how many times though that the words about being self controlled or pure or kind or busy or even subject to the oversight of my own husband gave me real guidance in what it meant to actually love my child and my husband.  It provoked me to "keep on" even when I was tired or distraught or even hormonal.  It  prevented me from taking the wrong action many times.  We are all sinful and frail.  Many times those words cut like a knife into me.  The knife didn't harm, it was for the surgery of my soul to bring about health and life.  Many days will be hard, but remember a good night's sleep and little perspective is a gift that God gives us.  His mercies are always new every single morning.

Another verse that I kept on the refrigerator for years was

 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

I read that verse hundreds of times.  It did a work in my heart and mind.  It made me desperate to not be a foolish woman and bring about the destruction of the best gifts I had ever been given.  I wanted to build up my house.  I wanted to bring security, peace, stability and comfort to those in my charge.  By nature I have a sharp tongue and can be irritatingly unkind if provoked.  I still have to battle those enemies so that I do not tear down my own house even after all of these years.  Because of our fallen nature, we all have our own special enemies that we must keep under control lest they break out and destroy our homes.  I made many mistakes and I sinned against my family on many occasions but I can still look back and see the restraining work of God in my life.

Years ago we went to a little store front church.  I picked up a pamphlet on motherhood  written by the famous Elisabeth Eliot. I wonder sometimes if that was the main reason that we attended that little church.  It had a huge impact on me. I found a link to it the other day and I hope that it is ministers to you as well.

Never let anyone degrade your calling to be a mother.  Those days that your pants don't fit or you haven't had the energy to put on makeup will come.  Don't compare yourself to a college girl who has had two hours to groom herself and has never made a baby in her womb. You may not always feel beautiful on the outside but let me tell you God will be doing a work of beauty on the inside and your husband will see it.  His eyes are the only eyes that matter.  Motherhood is a hugely important trust given to you by God and He will not leave you or forsake you in it.  The Holy Spirit will guide you and give you the insight that you need.

 I appreciate you.  I look forward to seeing how God works in your life  as you mother Baby Girl.  I want you to succeed in every way possible.  I am cheering you on sweet lady.

With much love,

Your Mother by Choice