Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Thing About Super Moms

Moms are special no matter who they are and what they do. They could be the best or the worst and still we love them. Of course we overlook those awkward teen years where many children butt heads with their parents. With a bit of time, patience, and a whole bunch of unconditional love we make it past those years to the stage of adult children who realize all the sacrifices that their mom went through on their behalf. Even if there were mistakes made, an adult child's perspective helps them realize just how privileged we are to have our moms.

So many moms try to be the super mom; the mom that every kid on the street wishes was their mom; the cool mom; the one that has it all together. They often look around and see a mom like that and feel discouraged, failing to notice that most moms aren’t like that. Some people have the gift of organization and others don’t, but organization is not what makes a mom a super mom. What makes them super is the same thing that makes any person super, which is, love that compels us to do what is right.

It’s easy to give a child everything they want to win their affection. It’s easy to play on the emotions to receive a response that makes us feel good. It is easy to spoil a child with a mistaken notion of love. Yet, real love is what we find in God and that is emulated in those who have a close walk with him; it compels us to address the needs not the wants. It realizes that what a child needs is not what they crave or desire but what is best for them. A super mom will sacrifice her emotional gratification for the need of her child. A super mom will “fight” with the urge to “give in” and teach her child self-control and she understands the difference between need and want. A super mom will “take it on the chin”; will take on the battle to do what is right because she loves her children.

This is what we find in our God who is not in this to raise spoiled children. Oh, come on now, we certainly do act spoiled and bratty but our Father desires to prepare us for the eternity that is to come. He knows what we need and will take us through as many learning experiences as we need to get us to the place of maturity. He will never lose sight of the goal and the bigger picture even if we might from time to time. Sometimes he has to give out some pretty strong medicine in the form of correction and lessons but love is always his motivation. He knows what we need better than what we do and if we are mature we will thank him for it instead of fighting him on it.

Super moms are just like him in this thing, that they always keep their eye on the goal. The goal is not to survive these training years but to step into the responsibility, always understanding that the goal is to produce mature adults who are prepared to flourish in this ever changing world. Super moms realize that it is not about them but about their children and the task of equipping them for what is to come. They don’t protect them from the harsh lessons they must learn but stand with them in it, guiding them, helping them, bandaging the cuts and kissing the booboos. They are there to keep the boundaries in place until they are mature enough to understand why. They make the tough decisions until the child can make them for themselves. They are willing to be hated and misunderstood, just like God, taking it on the chin because love, real love, compels them.

No, the super mom is not the one who produces spoiled children for the sake of their own emotional gratification but the moms who make the tough decisions and who stay the course, never giving up and always doing what is right. Super moms are those who understand God’s great love for us and share that with their children, in words and by example. We dads could do with a greater understanding of this example. Our sacrifices are different from the moms but we still have the same responsibility, to produce mature adults. Today, we worship our God who has set this example for us, who continues to pour out this love into us every day of our life, and we celebrate every mom for who they are and what they represent. We especially celebrate those super moms who emulate the love of God in our lives.

Thank you mom!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Life Can Be Messy

I am the type of person who likes everything neat and tidy. It's not because I am some sort of neat freak but more due to time. I hate wasting time looking for something when it's not in its proper place. I am not saying that I have achieved this wonderful place of organized paradise but it is a goal I work towards. Knowing this about me, perhaps you can understand how adding 8 puppies to my life has been an overwhelming challenge.

Puppies are neither organized nor neat. Puppies are wonderful small bundles of energized furry bombs of chaos. They chew everything, run everywhere, eat everything and never stop with the pooing and peeing. In a word they are messy. Messy, messy, messy and I am the great mess cleaner upper in our house, even though I am the one who said no to pets. That's the negative, but there is the positive as well.

Puppies love and admire without condition. It doesn't matter who you are they are going to overwhelm you with their affection. It doesn't matter if you just corrected them two minutes ago, they will be right there with their tails wagging, wanting your love. There are times I feel like I have my own fan club as they follow me around the house and outside. If I show affection to one, all the rest are there to demand equal attention, if not more. So it is often a love hate relationship and I will miss them when they are gone.

It's funny how everytime I find myself cleaning up the great quantities of poo left behind by my personal van club, I am reminded by the Spirit how often God has had to clean me up from my messes. As neat as I want life to be, it isn't. Life is filled with all kinds of poo due to our mess ups, mistakes and, sometimes, blatant sins. Life is messy and we have a Father who loves us more than enough to clean us up from these messes. That's great to know and we love him for it, but it goes beyond what is done for us.  

"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 16:14-15)

Life is messy. Relationships are messy but we are part of the clean up crew. We are to do as it has been done for us. As we have received, we are suppose to give. Jesus said that he who has been forgiven much loves much, but he who has been forgiven little loves little. This does not mean that some people have very little that needs forgiven but instead that there are some people who refuse to recognize they have a lot that needs to be forgiven. These people do not know how to forgive because they do not seek forgiveness.

I know there are probably some messy relationships in your life right now that you would rather walk away from but would you want God to walk away from you because of your messes? If we are willing to receive forgiveness we also need to be prepared to dish it out. It doesn't mean the relationship will improve, although it might. It will mean that you are in the right place doing the right thing, the thing that pleases our Father.

Let's face it, we are still mess ups but our Father has made a commitment to us to see us to the end. He's on our side and he will do everything he can to see us succeed in this race. Now he wants us to be just like that with the people he has brought into our life. It's a messy commitment that we have to see through to the end of it. It may mean a lot of poo that has to be cleaned up but Jesus' love will see us through that part of the relationship. Just don't give up. Don't expect anything back but instead see it as an investment in the Kingdom of God. Your unconditional love may help them come to a mature understanding of the love of Jesus, and that is what it is all about.