From Diapers to Adulthood -Why Every Struggle Counts-

God has brought me close to three beautiful mommas of young children, three wonderful friends with whom I enjoy sharing prayers, laughs, meals, coffee, deserts that involve chocolate and berries, and messes that only 3-10 yo children can make.  Yesterday we had a conversation about the difference between the battles and struggles mommas of young children have to deal, with those that mommas of adult children face.

And you know what, momma of little ones? That conversation made think of you. Don’t feel bad when older women come to you, give you that particular look, a pat on the back, and say somehow sarcastically, “Oh, don’t fret over potty training, or school choices, those are nothing compared to what you will be dealing with in a few years.” or “Seriously? That tantrum will be nothing in a few years from now. Just wait, one day you will be wishing it all were about little things like this one…

The seemingly small battles are not small battles at all. The problem is that sometimes we are not used to see the big picture, the whole story; we are so tangled up in our daily duties and to-do lists, that we forget what we are actually doing with those little ones we have at our table every morning spilling milk on the floor. Keep this in mind, every decision we face, everyno,” everyyes,” every step we take (or not take) is important because day after day, over and over, we are building character in our children’s lives. The over-looked tantrums of a two year old boy, will eventually turn into the slamming of a door of a teenager, and then into a husband who yells at his wife. With every decision, with every moment of discipline, with every hug, with every book we read aloud, and with every prayer we are building an adult’s character.

And if you are the mom of adult children, please, don’t despise the struggles of younger mommas. Encourage them instead to persevere, to keep pressing on. Remember that you were once changing diapers and asked in every single online forum help on how to choose the best how-to-read curriculum; remember that you didn’t know how to teach your little one how to be polite and look in the eye of the elderly woman at church; remember that every time you asked your child to turn off his game-boy when having company (iPods were not in the market yet) was a big thing.

Each struggle, each decision that my husband and I have made in the last 20 years has brought us to where we are now with our young adult children. There were no short-cuts; it has been a day after day race.

So be encouraged; what you do today is important, is your vocation, is what God has appointed for you to do in this season. You are not just doing ordinary things. You are building lives. Read that again: You are building lives. Your words and example, your time and prayers, your hugs and the correction you firmly give in love, all are needed in the process. Don’t be weary of doing what is good. God has promised that in due season you will reap, if you don’t give up.

Becky

Well Worn Paths

Habits, says J.R. Miller, are well worn paths.

It doesn’t matter if at the beginning of this new year you decided or not to set new goals, or to try new habits. You will, by the end of 2014, have made well worn paths. We make habits and they make us. We better be intentional about them.

One day you open your email on your iPhone first thing in the morning, and three months later you keep doing it. You skimmed through “only one chapter” of an assigned book for school,  and when the semester is over you realize you didn’t actually read one whole book. One day you eat more than you should have (hey, it’s only “once a month”), and at the end of the year you are eating in the dark, when no one else is watching. You answer with a harsh word to your husband after dinner, and four months later, you don’t know other way to answer. You are too busy to look on your children’s face when you are at the computer, and a year later they don’t remember your eyes. Habits. And not one of them was planned. Well worn paths that lead to sin, to isolation.

May I encourage you -as I preach this to myself as well-to choose carefully which path you will walk day after day this year?

Print these articles and study them. Read them over and over until you have mastered them, until they become yours:

The Habit of Prayer.

“We should form the habit of praying at every step, as we go along through the day. That was part of Paul’s meaning when he said, “Whatever you do, in word or in deed—do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” He would have us include every word we speak—as well as every deed we do. Think what it would mean to have every word that passes our lips winged and blessed with prayer—always to breathe a little prayer before we speak, and as we speak. This would put heavenly sweetness into all our speech! It would make all our words kindly, loving, inspiring words—words that would edify and minister grace to those who hear. We can scarcely think of one using bitter words, backbiting words, unholy words—if his heart is always full of prayer; if he has trained himself to always pray before he speaks.”

The Habit of Thanksgiving.

“The only way to get thanksgiving into its true place in our lives—is to have it grow into a habit. A habit is a well worn path. There was a first step over the course, breaking the way. Then a second person, finding the prints of feet, walked in them. A third followed, then a fourth, until at length there was a beaten path, and now thousands go upon it.”

The Habit of Happiness.

“The secret of Christian joy—is the peace of Christ in the heart. Then one is not dependent on circumstances or conditions. Paul said he had learned in whatever state he was, therein to be content. That is, he had formed the habit of happiness and had mastered the lesson so well, that in no state or condition, whatever its discomforts were, was he discontented.”

John Angell Adams delivered on January 4th, 1856, an address to young men in England about the force an importance of a habit.This is an excellent read for the family table (especially when there are young adult children).

“Man is a bundle of habits.”

“It is of importance to remember, that though we are made up of habits, they grow out of single actions. And consequently, while we should be careful and solicitous about the habits we form, we must be no less so about the single acts out of which they grow.”

The Habit of Diligence.

James Alexander wrote a series of letters for his younger brother, and in one of them he tells him about the importance of the habit of diligence.

“Even small things are important, when they become habitual. Plato, the Grecian philosopher, once rebuked a young man very severely for playing with dice. “Why do you rebuke me so severely,” said the youth, “for so small a matter?” Plato replied, “It is no small matter to form a habit!”

While you have your books before you—try to think of nothing else. If you find yourself beginning to be weary, rouse your mind by thinking of the value of time, the use of learning, and especially your duty to your God.”

 

“Habit will make those things easy—which at first seem very hard. By constant practice, men become able to do astonishing works”

On the Formation of Habits, from another letter of James Alexander to his younger brother.

“Every habit you form is one stone laid in your character.”

“You are young, and cannot choose for yourself what is best. But your teachers select those studies which will tend to give your mind proper habits. Pay all possible attention to these studies. Be perfect in them. Every hour now is worth more to you than a day is to me. Every day is confirming you in some habit, either good or bad. And if you are not careful to aim at those which are good, you will most assuredly fall into such as are bad. You cannot be too much in earnest then; attend to everything which your teacher advises.”

Praying that I will be faithful in making good habits this coming year.

Becky

A Summer Project (and Yes, I am Still Here)

¡Hola!
 
A very short version of my June status: Sometimes you don’t mean to take a Facebook or blogging  break, rather it just shows up and you don’t fret about it but happily embrace it, and all is good.

Now Summer is here and lots of things will be going on here, and even though I am not planning on disappearing, I don’t know how often I will be blogging here.

But…

My Daily Journey: Through My Lens

I have decided to take my camera once more and start a new photography project: A Summer Around the Table. Hopefully, and with the help of my Beloved and my daughter, I will learn more about how to take beautiful pictures of food and moments around the table (which if you have followed my blog for a while know by now how much I LOVE to share about the Family Table).

Blessings, sweet friends!

 

Under His sun and by His grace,

Becky

The Family Table (Against a "Fast-Food" Kind of Theology of our Meals)

“Every time you place a meal on the table with quiet satisfaction, you are sharing the joy of the Creator at the creation of the world when he declared everything good.” Tim Chester

 

We all want to teach our children–and their friends–what the Christian life is and how we live it, but we may find ourselves asking, “How can we do this effectively?”

I say without a doubt: Let’s show them at the Family Table. Theology and Worldview are best taught around the Family Table when presented along with warm blueberry bread and bacon on the side. Yes. I am serious. It works.

Today is my turn to share about the importance of the Family Table over at Desiring Virtue. Please, come and read.

Becky

The Two Objects Needed to Make a Home

 

Peasant Family at the Dinner Table by Jozef Israëls

What a great a read is Bed and Board: Plain talk About Marriage by Robert Farrar Capon. I am absolutely loving this book. I posted some quotes from the first four chapters here, and today I want to share with you a few more quotes from chapters 5 and 6.

“I usually say that you need only two things, two pieces of matter, to make a home: a bed and a table. It’s an oversimplification, but it’s a good one…For Bed and Board are the fundamental geographical divisions of the family; they are the chief places, and it is in them and around them that we dance the parts we are given.”

“He who perished by a tree is saved by a tree. He who died by an apple is restored by eating the flesh of his Saviour. Our lust is to be healed by being brought down to one bed, our savagery tamed by the exchanges around a lifelong table. Bed, Board, rooftree and doorway become the choice places of our healing, the delimitations of our freedom. By setting us boundaries, they hold us in; but they trammel the void as well. By confining, they keep track of us -they leave us free to be found, and to find ourselves. The vow of lifelong fidelity to one bed, one woman, becomes the wall at the edge of the cliff that leaves the children free to play a little, rather than be lost at large. Marriage gives us somewhere to be.”

“The bed is the heart of the home, the arena of love, the seedbed of life, and the one constant point of meeting. It is the place where, night by night, forgiveness and fair speech return that the sun go not down upon our wrath; where the perfunctory kiss and the entire ceremonial pat on the backside become unction and grace. It is the oldest, friendliest thing, in anybody’s marriage, the first used and the last left, and no one can praise it enough.”

“We were meant to meet, to sustain and to ease each other, and in the marriage bed we lie down to do just that. It is an island in a sea of troubles, where there is nothing else to do but rest and refresh. Yet how resourceful we are, with our turned backs and stubborns silences, or with our interminable pouts and dreadful debates about What’s Wrong With Us.”

“People admit is hard to pray. Yet they think it’s easy to make love. What nonsense. Neither is worth much when it is only the outcropping of intermittent enthusiasm. Both need to be done without ceasing…”

“The table can make us or break us. It has its own laws and will not change. Food and litter will lie upon it; fair speech and venom will pour across it; it will be the scene of manners and meanness, the place of charity or the wall of division, depending. Depending on what is done with it, at it and about it. But whatever is done, however it enters, it will allow only the possible, not the ideal. No one has ever created the Board by fiat. God himself spread his table, but Judas sat down at it. There is no use in thinking that we all have to do is wish for a certain style of family life, and wait for it to happen. The Board is a union of thing and persons; what it becomes depends on how the thing is dealt with by the persons.”

“The Board will always give birth to liturgy.”

“[I]t is precisely the absence of visible liturgy that nowadays makes the common life less obvious to common men.”

“Few of us have very many great things to care about, but we all have plenty of small ones; and that’s enough for the dance. It is precisely through the things we put on the table, and the liturgies we form around it, that the city is built; caring is more than half the work.”

Under His sun and by His grace,

Becky

Love Hopes All Things

100 Days of Books at My Daily Journey

Every morning after having breakfast we are reading a very important book, Loving the Way Jesus Loves by Phil Ryken. And this is an important book, because as I have mentioned before, the doctrine of the love of God (His love for us, and the love among brethren) has been abused in so many cases that sometimes it feels like it is not essential to understand and study it in the Christian life, we just take it for granted or “use” it against “the unloving brothers and sisters” when we feel offended.

In the chapter, Love Hopes, I learned many wonderful things about the love that hopes. In this chapter Ryken bring together two passages to help us understand in depth the “love that hopes”: Love hopes all things ( I Cor. 13:7), and John 17, the High Priestly Prayer.

When Jesus is praying before the Father the night before his crucifixion, he prays a prayer full of love, full of that love that hopes all things. And he prays hoping for several things:

He hoped that he would be glorified (v.1-5).

He hoped that his people would persevere (v.10-15).

He hoped that his people would be holy (v.16- 19).

He hoped that we would be one. He prayed for our unity (v.20.23).

He hoped that one day we would enter his glory (v.24-26).

Each one of these points are extremely important and beautiful when we look at them closely (and Ryken does a great job in helping us do that), but today I want to focus in one: Jesus prayed with all hope that we, His people, would become one.

Ryken says,

“We are too weak to to keep ourselves safe from Satan’s temptations, too sinful to sanctify ourselves, and too dead to raise ourselves up to everlasting life. Nevertheless, Jesus dared to hope that we would become one holy and loving church, kept safe by the end of time, when we would live in the love of God for all eternity.”

Because Jesus prayed this, I also dare to pray saying, “Lord, make us one, make us one. Make us one, help us love one another in spite of the differences, help us love one another genuinely. Make us one, Jesus. “

And this wonderful love that hopes all things has been poured into our hearts (Rom. 5:5), which means that we can love with the kind of love that Jesus loves us. We can love with the love that hopes all things. And “this hope will not disappoint us because it flows from the God of love.”

“Hope is not simply wishful thinking. It does not depend on things working out the way we planned, or having our problems solved when we expect them to be solved. On the contrary, our true hope is Jesus himself, and the promises of his love.”

This love that hopes all things brings us to our knees, just like it brought Jesus to his knees. “When we have the love of Jesus in us, as Jesus prayed we would, then we will do for others what he did for us. We will not simply hope for the best, but because we have of the hope we have in Jesus, we will pray for the best.” 

“Love hopes all things. Understand that whenever we give up hope, this is really a failure to love, because love hopes. Love hopes that someone lost in sin will believe the gospel. It hopes that a broken relationship will be reconciled. It hopes that by the grace of God, sin will be forgiven, and forgiven again. It hopes that even after a long struggle, there will still be spiritual progress. It hopes that someone who has fallen away can be restored to useful service in the Kingdom of God. It even hopes that when a body gets sick and dies, it will be raised again at the last day.”


Praying that I will learn to love with the love that hopes all things, 

Becky

Maybe you will also enjoy reading: The Doctrine of Love: Our Identity as Christians.

 

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