Pray, Eat, Love: Three Things Needed in Motherhood

©Annie Pliego Photgraphy

Today, May 10th, is Mother’s Day in Mexico and I am looking forward to spending the day with my Beloved, my children (all but my oldest who is in his finals week in another country), and my mom and dad. I will try a new steak recipe for our meal with roasted spiced carrots, and bake an apple cake.

I love having special days to celebrate different things, events, or people through the year, and I love that because you are somehow forced to think about them. You stop and can take time to reflect on the role you play in life, or the role those people you celebrate have played in your own life.

I have not read the book Eat, Pray, Love, but I love the title (one day, I guess, I will have to read the book***). But today as I reflect on my role in life as a mom I was thinking how these three words are seriously needed in our everyday life as moms. The order, however, must be slightly different: Pray, Eat, Love.

On Praying:

Prayer comes first. Prayer should be the breathing of a mother. That is the way we start in the labor room, breathing. I was told not to lose the rhythm in my breathing or I would be in great pain. My husband was there. Breathing with me. Prayer in the life of a mother should be like that, it should be the rhythm of our days. Through the pain, through the hard moments, through the uncertainty, through joyous times, through tears: in and out, a rhythm of prayers.

If we stop praying, our labor will not be easy or enjoyable. I remember that clearly. If I would lose the rhythm of my breathing in that labor room, I would, all of a sudden, feel extremely nervous and fearful until I was able to catch it again. Our labor has not ceased, and if we lose the rhythm of our prayer life we will soon live in discontent, anxiety, fear, pain.

Pray all day, at all times. Intercede for your children. Let your breathing be a life of prayer.

On Eating:

I am sure you remember how hungry you get during the time you nurse your children. Everyone tells you how important it is to be well nourished during this time, so you gladly heed their advice. It is clear, if you are not well fed you will feel very tired and weak, and your baby won’t be taking all the nutrients he needs from your milk.

So it is today. My children are not babies anymore, and yet I need to be well fed to be able to give and give and give to them.  I must eat daily from the Scriptures. God’s Word must be my daily food, day and night. My mid-day snack, my craving, my joy. If I don’t feed my Spirit with God’s Word I will soon feel very tired and weak. If I stop eating from God’s Word on a daily basis, I will soon start  murmuring and complaining. I will soon hear myself asking silly questions and demanding attention as if I were a queen. There is no way around. How can I possible give and give and give if I am not well nourished? If my soul is not well fed? If I never come to feast at the Word of God? How can I possible be a mom, a full time mom if I have not made God’s Word my refuge, my strength, my life?

On Loving:

Aren’t moms supposed to love and love *perfectly*? Isn’t a mother’s love always used as a picture of resignation and unselfishness? Well, I have to admit that my love is not like that. It is not perfect. Love always seems to be an easy thing until it demands something hard from us. But we know we just can’t hide our sins behind our weaknesses. That would be just too easy to do and will make our lives and the life of those around us miserable. If we are to love the children God has entrusted in our hands, we must start working hard in loving them the way God wants us to love. Yes, I said it was not easy. Love, true love, is much more about dying to self than enjoying oneself.

Love is a verb, we have heard that, so how does this verb looks in your life around your children? How do we walk in love at breakfast and when all is a mess and we are late? How do we walk in love when lies come? How do we walk in love when we see in our children what we never thought we would? How do we walk in love when they don’t think the same way we do? How do we live loving?

Happy Mother’s Day to all my friends! Sharing this calling with you is a privilege. Thank you for all you have taught me in the kitchen, or over coffee, on Skype through the distance, on an email or on your blog. You know who you are. I love you!

Becky

P.S. Today my daughter Annie published a photo-shoot in which I feel loved and honored. You can see it here.

 

©Annie Pliego Photography
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*** DISCLAIMER: Whoa! Really? I never thought I would have to clarify this… but here I go. I do not agree with any kind of Hinduism, neither am I promoting it. I just used these three words as a “prompt” to my blog entry today. Please, please, see things the way they are. If I ever read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book is not because I am planning on including Hindu practices in my life. not.at.all. If I ever read it, is because many dear friends of mine who doesn’t know the Truth have read it and I would love to know what is that they found so fascinating about it.I want to know what is going through their hearts and minds.
Now I hope you won’t accuse me of not reading only Christian literature, because if that is the case, then I am guilty.

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Grateful for My Sister

A sister knows you well,
so she prays for you,
prays with you,
cries with you,
and laughs with you.

A sister drinks tea,
while you drink coffee,
she loves boots,
and so do you.

Your sister and you enjoy chocolate.
Dark.
Both have different ways of doing some things,
but look alike in some many other ways.

Your sister gives you words of encouragement
and speaks hard words.
and loving words.

A real sister encourages you to be bold,
to dare to do things you never thought you would.
like this:

I am so grateful for my sister and for the beautiful time we have spent together these past weeks. I will sure miss her until I see her again, God willing, next summer!

And I am grateful for my sisters in Christ, who have been close to me in so many ways this past year. I love each one of you; you are a gift to me.

Becky

Saying Grace

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” –G. K. Chesterton

#1442- 1464

I say grace when…

We are welcomed at the airport by wonderful friends.

When I hug my son and see his eyes.

When I see my children hugging each other, and friends smiling and joy is overflowing.

When I see the wonderful family of God that loves us and welcomes us with a warm heart; what a gift!

When an honorable young man gives me my lost cell-phone (I dropped it on the snow-covered street, and did not notice until few hours later!)

When two little girls play for hours, and hours and hours.

When we feel at home at our friends’ home.

When we have apple-puffed pancake for breakfast.

When it snows, and I am feeling my son’s embrace.

When brothers meet and laughter is present.

Our oldest is standing on a hill, they are about the same height (a note to those who know them personally)

I give thanks when snow seems to be falling only for us.

 

I give thanks when snow falls and the girls play and forget to eat (and remember how hungry they are when they start making “ice-cream” with the snow)

When I hear the bagpipes…

Ad visit our friends in their farm: Oh, how much they teach us!

When yummy bread is out of the oven, ready to serve as potato soup bowl.

I give thanks for a dear friend that is an inspiration.

I give grace for great food, great company, great friends.

Isn’t this beautiful? Helping hands, little chefs, willing to help, ready to serve. I give thanks for them.

I give thanks when we are granted moments that turn into beautiful memories.

When we find a place on the table to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family in Spokane, WA.

I give thanks when I hear laughter in the kitchen over “mid-night snacks”

I give thanks for all of my friends who are praying through The Valley of Vision with me.

I give thanks when I miss my Beloved Husband and I count the days to be in his arms again (less than three days!)

I give thanks when is late at night and I go to bed and think to myself: God is good indeed!

May we abound in thanksgiving and singing; may we learn to give thanks in all.

 

Thanks to my daughter for letting me use some of her pictures for this post.

Interrupting this Temporal Silence

Dear friends,

Many of you know that our family has been traveling for the last two weeks and will still be away for the next two; we have been visiting old friends, making new ones, hugging long and crying even more. We  also left our oldest son in College; and now my girls and I are visiting my sister and her family. A gift from above indeed!

My pictures are still in my camera, but I promise to share some with you soon. I am sure you will love them.

I am not sure when I will be back to posting regularly (maybe not so soon!), but meanwhile I hope you are enjoying the last weeks of your summer and that no matter where you are now, you may see His wonderful Hand at work in your life.

I thought you might be blessed by this wonderful hymn sung at the NSA Convocation 2011

Coram Deo

Becky

A Birthday Meditation

 

“How great has been the mercy of my God to me… I trace his goodness from my birth to the present moment.

I was born in a land where the gospel can be preached—when I might have been born in heathen darkness.

I was instructed to read God’s holy word—when I might have been left like others, in nature’s ignorance.

I was preserved in Christ Jesus during the years of my unregeneracy, when many who were born about the time I was, have been cut down and consigned to the grave.

I was called by the sovereign grace of a covenant God, when running post-haste to eternal destruction!

I was taught by the Holy Spirit my sinful state, the value of my soul, the need of a Savior, the way of escape, and the freeness of salvation.

I was given a saving interest in Christ, and feel love to his dear name, and obtained a knowledge of his saving work.

I was kept by his mighty power in the midst of temptations, persecutions and snares, to publish the glad tidings of salvation.

I was sent to proclaim to poor sinners round the danger they are in, the glorious salvation of the cross, and Jehovah’s boundless love. Blessed with many seals to my ministry in different parts of the land, and with repeated testimonies of the power of the word in the hearts of the people of God.

I was preserved from my depraved heart, the various errors that lead multitudes astray, and the opposition of all my foes.

I was supplied with every temporal mercy, gospel privilege, and promised blessing.

I was brought through innumerable trials, difficulties and distresses, to the glory of Jehovah’s grace.

I was spared, notwithstanding my hardness, rebellion and backslidings, until I am forty years of age.

I appear before God this morning—willing, heartily willing, to be, to do, to suffer whatever he sees proper, so that I may but be kept from sin, and dishonoring his dear name and gospel.

When I reflect upon WHAT I WAS, how circumstanced, and situated, and view the way the Lord has led me, what he has done for me, and what he has done by me—I am astonished! O, that I did but feel humbled, grateful and thankful—as I desire to be filled with love to God, zeal for God, and concern to glorify God. I want to be entirely devoted to him, body, soul, and spirit, that my all may be for him and not for another. When I consider my coldness, carelessness, and ingratitude, I cannot but wonder that the Lord has not long ago disowned me! But blessed be his holy name,

“Whom once he loves—he never leaves.
But loves him to the end!”

He changes not—therefore I am not consumed.

O my soul, lay low before the Lord under a sense of your manifold infirmities and follies, and seek grace from Jesus to live holy, righteously, and usefully in this present evil world.

Gracious Lord, grant unto your servant light to see your will, power to do your pleasure, love to follow you wherever you go, and an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of my Lord and Savior. O give me an increasing love to souls, success in your work, and growth in grace, that my own personal concerns be not neglected! O make me like my Savior in spirit, temper and conduct!

See, gracious God, I do afresh on this my birthday, surrender myself entirely to you to be your servant, to be used as you please, and to be led where you will! O grant that I may serve you with a son’s heart, a bride’s affection, and a servant’s submission! Lord, take me, and enable me to remember evermore that I am yours! May I leave myself and all my concerns in your hands, and go about your business. O save me from every snare, from every foe, and from my wretched self! Get glory in me, by me, and through me—for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

 

*edited from the words of James Smith (1849)

Becky

>An Open Letter to my Friend Diana -and to all who are considering homeschooling-

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My Dearest Diana,

I wish we could have time to sit and talk for hours over a cup of tea, about our homeschooling experiences. But, since a vast ocean separates us, you’ll have to drink a cup of tea at 5:00 o’clock whilst I drink a cup of strong coffee in the morning.

You mentioned to me in a comment yesterday, when I wrote about how we homeschool not because we are stronger, that you would love to hear more about our experiences of home-schooling;  so I thought I would share some of our journey here, in the form of an open letter, because maybe, just maybe, there is someone else out there, who would like to hear about it too.

Yesterday I said that,  “I have learned some grace, and today I don’t dare to speak against those who send their children to schools (either Christians or not), because as I see my children walking in the ways of the Lord I can not say that it is because “we have done all things right” that they are godly. No, we know that it is because it has pleased God to give our children a heart for Him. It is grace, all grace.” So, why in the world did we choose to homeschool our children? Why I love to encourage my friends to do it? 

The answer is this: The reward of doing it is too great to let it go.

I will never trade all the wonderful moments that my children and I have lived together, all the moments reading on the couch, all the projects, and paintings; all the discoveries, the authors we have met together. The laughter, their “I did it!” look. A hug and a kiss when the multiplication tables are not easy to memorize, the words of forgiveness spoken, the tears and kisses. All growing side by side.

Our oldest son is leaving for college this summer, you know that, and as you can imagine my heart is heavy with the thought of it; however I just look behind and smile at all the memories we have built together; I am so happy and grateful that I have been there for him, with him, close to him all these past years. I have not wasted the minutes with him. What we have now is a strong relationship, and I give thanks to my God for it.

My dear Diana, we have chosen this journey, because we want to be there, not only to create beautiful memories, but because we want to teach them what a public school can’t, and that it is that God, His Word, reigns supremely over all subjects. I remember the time when Isabel and I were reading the Iliad, and read the moment when Helen leaves her husband; she was so surprised; and even though she is tender in age, we talked about how dreadful sin can be. I perfectly remembered whispering thanks to God. In a public school, she might have read the same story, even from a better story teller that me, but to the many questions she had,  I had the Word of God ready to bring her to God’s worldview.

Private Christian Schools (real Christian schools and not only nominal) are a great option too for many families who can’t homeschool. We have decided, as you may recall, to enroll our oldest children  in an Online School, which has proved to be a huge blessing to us. We don’t have in our country the option of co-ops, so for us this has been the perfect option.  The teachers are godly and the academics are rigorous, two things that we value. And of course, we also value the wonderful friendships that the Lord has brought to our lives through it; from our little one to my husband, we all love our friends in that wonderful community.

Now, homeschooling is not a “piece of cake” it involves hard work and lots of prayer. When people ask me what is the hardest thing about homeschooling; I always say: “Dealing with my flesh everyday” And it is true! If I lose my temper, it is not because they are not giving me the correct answer, it is simply because I am not exercising patience. So, yes, this journey has helped me grow in the Word, and has helped me see many areas of my life that need to be changed, many sins that need to be mortified. But at the same time, it has helped me see, as I wrote yesterday, that when I am weak He is always strong.

So, Diana, this is why I love homeschooling, and the reason why I would do it over and over again. I like this saying that I have, “Deciding to start homeschooling is tough, but thinking about quitting is impossible.” And maybe, after all this,  you are asking, “Becky, what does your children say?” Well, they say they want to do it with their own children as well. That, my friend, is a great reward, don’t you think?

My dear friend, it is my prayer that you and your husband will be led to the best option for your family; one that will bring Him glory.

Love you dearly,

Becky