Motherhood’s Grace

Happy Mother’s Day to all the precious mothers!

Rose with bug
Photo by Dana Bicks LLC

 

I’m old enough now to visit back in time to four different generations of mothers. Seasons change, but the way of life is different. My great-grandmother was a genuine, simple lady who lived up to her name in Milford Mill. With her silver hair spritzed, a dress down to her ankles, and black two-inch chunky heels, her apron went on at sunrise. She handmade everything – bread, biscuits, cinnamon rolls – you name it. I can remember making orange juice with her for breakfast, and not the kind in a bottle.

Her daughter (my grandmother), on the other hand, never came out of her bedroom until she was letter perfect. Sometimes she moseyed around in a housecoat like she was going out somewhere. She often prepared a lovely, super Sunday meal fit for a family of twenty, even if it was only four of us at home. Grams, I called her, loved to cook. She’d open the pantry closet, grab a box of something, add water or milk, and she stirred away. My old Grams was quite the debonair lady! You could smell her cooking the minute you entered Baltimore city limits. She was a lady of stature, and she enjoyed boyfriends until she was ninety years old.

My mom, on the other hand, was quite a different story. She became a socialite and never looked back. Fast food was a regular meal for us throughout the sixties and seventies. She made a good cooked meal just occasionally as both my parents were committed to different lifestyles.

Yes, Mother’s Day is much different as viewed through the eyes of this old child. The pace of life has a lot to do with it, I’m sure. Years slip by, and people pass, but a mother’s ways are hardly forgettable by their family heritage.

This Sunday’s weather has rain on the horizon once again, but I’ll still celebrate the liturgy of all mothers, past, and present, who transformed our spirit. In all my tiny world of generations, though, God only now shows me the meaning of the pure love of motherhood. Our families are spread hither and yon, but my passion for this particular mother is absolutely like none other. She gives herself to the utmost degree – no matter what day or time. I simply hold this precious love for the one I call my wife, deep within my soul.

Now I am old, and I only wish the mothers of my past knew the love I’ve found today. Blessed by God, hopefully, they’re watching from above. Just maybe they were the angels that brought her to me. No matter, I celebrate motherhood’s grace 365 days a year.

Rose with bug
Photo by Dana Bicks LLC

Ad for WordPress

My Beloved Brother

My Beloved Brother pic 1


It was the end of World War II, and a marriage was performed quietly at Pensacola Naval Base Chapel. Future in-laws congregated in the vestibule while the bride, dressed in white with a three quarter length skirt, prepared for the ceremonial “I do’s.” A young man in his mid-twenties, dressed in formal blues, stood quietly waiting for his bride. But amid this festive day, a disgruntled undertone lent to the day. Sadly, both sets of parents weren’t impressed with each other.

The wedding went off without a hitch for Jean and Jane, despite the family problems. They were issued a weekend pass for a honeymoon and then back to Naval Officer duties on Monday. With influential in-laws, you could only expect eventually, one or the other would be drawn into a situation of ‘blood is thicker than water.’ Marriage wasn’t enough to tame family discord, so maybe a baby would calm the hearts. Grandparents, though, who try to control tempers can sway thought processes.

On May 9th, a Mother’s Day gift from God was born – a baby boy. He laid hopelessly anticipating his destiny in life. This bright little child was occasionally tossed between feuding grandparents while his father was on patrol guarding our country. The little boy grew up in the exploratory era of the sixties. World events such as walking on the moon, Woodstock, and Vietnam persuaded his life’s decisions. After a tour in the Navy himself, his life became a mystery.

Now, in the spring of his beginnings, he had a child to raise, and he matured into manhood overnight. His fragmented father figure died young by his demise, so the young man turned to peers for directional guidance. Some decisions were right, and some were wrong, but somehow, he made it – my big brother.

In His glory days, God saved him. His life now welcomes children who look up to him. It is a characteristic he was deprived of because our father died at an early age. Today, he watches the seasons change as God grants him another birthday. Feeling the aches of age (which hasn’t been his friend), my beloved brother sits alone and relives the days of vigor and vitality.

Seventy-two years strong, he has survived many years of difficulties and created lots of memories. He will lovingly remain impressionable to me – even though we came from the same loaf of bread, we still spread the butter a little differently. Where would I be if it hadn’t been for that little boy born in the turmoil of his loving family? Thank you, my beloved brother, for the best gift I ever had was YOU! Happy Birthday!

My Beloved Brother verse


Ad for WordPress

Winners or Losers?

It is a melting pot of catastrophic dilemmas…

Winners or Losers cover


The sun is setting, and an anxious parent awaits the return home of their little child from a weekend rendezvous. With folded arms, standing at the stern, the landscape lighting does little to enlighten the sequence of changes. In your cynical mind, you can’t help but wonder what the ex-has said to your child this time. It’s best to prepare for damage control between now and bedtime as tomorrow is school. A weekend of entertainment, where life is full of dandelions, isn’t exactly the reality going through your mind. Headlights approach around the corner. Artificial hugs are exchanged, and words of encouragement mean little as the door opens. Your very first words are, “You’re late! Get a shower. School is tomorrow.”

A disgruntled child grabs their things from the back seat and stumbles out the door brushing by your seething heart. The front door slams closed and now it’s your turn. You glare back at your ex and utter, “And you wonder why we divorced!” Now your thoughts and temper are short as you’re trapped between feelings – happiness the child is home, and frustration (because you just know words were exchanged).

Retiring for the night in your harvested sanctuary, feelings resolve to self-pity. Do you think you’re the only one affected by the collateral damage of being a single parent? Where are your thoughts at this time? They appear to be in just your center, in your life, and your immediate circle! It is a melting pot of catastrophic dilemmas.

Meanwhile, an innocent child who never had a choice pays the ultimate price. Too often children suffer at the hand of their parent’s indiscretions, and they become the losers. There’s not much room for error when a melting pot is about to explode in the home. Close your eyes and pray for forgiveness!

I ask God how we can bridge the heartaches of one generation to the next. How can we stop the sin of shame? Our courts are full, and only attorneys are the winners. The answer is simple – God! Spend a little time each day to focus on God. Set a good example for your children by walking in His truth. He is the only provider of all our needs.

Winners or Losers verse


Ad for WordPress

The Hidden Signs

Christians and verbal abuse –

The Hidden Signs 3


Written by Anne L. Bicks, Editor for Dana Bicks LLC

 

I have a close friend who is a beautiful Christian woman—a regular participant in church activities and worship. She devoutly lives her life and is raising her children (from an earlier marriage) by the Ten Commandments. She married a Christian man  twenty-two years ago. With a beautiful future ahead of her, she has relished in the joy of holy matrimony.

One day, upon visiting her home, I witnessed her husband’s verbal abuse to both her and the children. Later, I approached his anger issues with her, and she made excuses for his behavior – “he’s stressed out from work,” “he’s tired,” “I’m not perfect either,” and even, “but he’s a good man!” Finally, in a weak moment, she admitted that leaving her marriage was not what God would intend for her to do. So, she would stay with him and pray for his salvation. As you can see, abuse is often more difficult to understand because, in public, the abuser is the perfect Christian. In private, however, they are a different person.

Most of us know someone who is verbally abused or perhaps you, personally, are involved in an abusive marriage. You understand that it is NOT God’s will for this to happen as angry and critical words destroy confidence and self-esteem. Verbal abuse is about having power and control over another human being – an un-Christlike drive to meet and keep dominance. Its harmful and destructive to everyone, including any children who may be part of the picture.

So, what are the hidden signs of an abuser? Here are some true indicators:

Do they withhold information?

Do they constantly counter and correct everything you say and do?

Do they take verbal jabs in the form of humor?

Do they accuse you of doing things that could harm the relationship?

Do they judge you and become critical of expressing your point of view?

Do they take something that is said or done and make it insignificant?

Do they undermine you by withholding emotional support?

Do they threaten you? This may include threatening to leave or threatening to get a divorce.

Do they call you names?

Do they consistently forget about the promises they have made which are most important you?

Do they give orders instead of asking, treating you like a slave or subordinate?

Do they use the Bible as a weapon against you – usually taking things out of context?

Do they isolate you from family and friends and insist on knowing your every move?

Do they deny you access to financial information or accounts or prevent you from attending school or getting a job?

Do they mock you or put you down?

Do they accuse you of being controlling, disrespectful, unsubmissive, and self-important?

Are they in denial they are verbally abusive?

 

If two or more of these questions may be answered with a “YES,” the chances are very likely that an abusive personality is in your midst. A verbal abuser doesn’t characterize the truth that comes from God. They are being used by Satan to accomplish his evil plans. If marriage partners are truly seeking to honor Christ, they will not want to hurt each other, but instead, encourage each other. The Bible clearly warns us about the dangers of being in the presence of an angry person:

 

Proverbs 22:24
“Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man.”

and….

Proverbs 29:22
“An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.”

 

As is so often asked, is there hope that some abusers can change? The answer is yes, but with certain stipulations. It begins by recognizing verbal abuse for what it is and taking deliberate and immediate steps to stop it and bring healing. The abuser needs to repent!

Sadly, most Christian women are less likely to seek help, because many believe the Bible says they must submit to their husband regardless of his behavior (as in the case of my friend). Being submissive in a marriage does not mean allowing yourself to be verbally beaten by your partner! The best chance a marriage has of surviving verbal abuse is to seek professional help. God does call for us to be good stewards of our physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, sexual and financial health.

Some important things to note:

#1: Know that God loves you!

The Hidden Signs

#2: Understand that verbal abuse is NOT YOUR FAULT! You may be feeling that the problems in your marriage are caused by you or that you’re a bad person. Deal with the feelings of guilt and shame through a parish or a professional Christian counselor. Build a support system!

The Hidden Signs 2

As Christians, and on behalf of the unity of the church, let us pray –
Dear God,

You are the God of all comfort. We pray for those who have been abused within our churches and across our nation. Have compassion upon all who suffer the injustice, humiliation and pain of abuse. During their stressful circumstances, give them courage to speak. May your perfect love drive out fear and anxiety. We humbly ask you to create opportunities for these men, women and children to share their pain, reveal their struggles and expose the hurtful actions of others. Strengthen them with Your precious love. We humbly plead these things in the name of our Lord.

Amen.

 


EDITOR’S NOTE:
I found a wonderful article written by a Christian woman who lived through an abusive marriage. I would like to share it with you –

https://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2009/january/myabusivechristianmarriage