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Putting Away Childish Things

We recently rearranged my daughters’ room. We sawed apart their bunkbeds and separated them to their own sides. Now they can put whatever they want on “their” wall and now they have the responsibility of keeping their own side clean.  The age gap is obvious. On one side is a small school desk with crayons and little scissors, and on the other side is a desk with perfume and makeup.

We took everything out of their room, and I told them we weren’t taking it all back in. They had accumulated too many things that they never used.  I was discussing with my older daughter where we would put her snowglobe collection when she told me that she didn’t really care about them anymore and they didn’t need to be put back in. I wasn’t completely surprised because she hadn’t asked for any snowglobes in at least a year.

I told her we could wrap them up in a tote and put them in storage.  I decided to take care of that while all the kids except my two-year-old were gone to town with my husband. I’m glad no one was here while I did it-because I cried. Maybe I have just been emotional lately for some reason-maybe Christmas and missing loved ones-I don’t know. But as I wrapped each snowglobe and packed it away, I couldn’t help but feel that I was packing away a part of my daughter’s childhood. With each wrap of the cloth, I remembered the excitement in her big brown eyes every time she would get a new one, and I realized anew that my little girl is growing up.

She will be 13 in two short months and is becoming a wonderful young lady. She is smart, creative, Charismatic, loving, and empathetic. I love seeing her grow, but as she does, she becomes more and more independent.  She may be the most independent of all the kids. Which I know is a good thing-the goal actually-to raise independent kids who can stand up for themselves and their beliefs, and make their own way in society and God’s Kingdom.

My brain tells me that, but my heart cracks just a little as I see her natural progression into womanhood and out of my home and protection.  I know as time goes on and my children grow ever closer to leaving my home and making their own, I will be very thankful for God’s Grace.

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Christian and Voting for Trump?

As is typical in an election year, a lot of people are sharing their opinions on the candidates.  I tend to shy away from this except with those closest to me-those who really know my heart. Because the one thing I find that frustrates me, is that there seems to be a lot of judgement placed on people based on who they support. An opinion is formed about your intelligence, your morals and convictions, and your devotion or support of a variety of things.  One thing I am especially seeing this time around is the question of a person’s devotion to Christ if they support Trump. People are in so many words saying, “How can you call yourself a devout Christian and vote for someone like that?”

People are saying they simply cannot put their support behind someone who says and does the things he has in his personal life and even on the public stage.  I understand. I imagine the heart in which that decision comes from. I’ll even buy that argument from someone if they also don’t participate in or show their support (either actively or passively) of anything that glorifies those same behaviors and language that causes them to refuse to vote for a man like Trump.  That includes private conversations, movies, and television shows. Because, if I may be so bold, that is why we have Trump as a nominee. That is why he triumphed over more conservative people.

When we watch shows and movies that conflict with our beliefs, we are sending the message that we like it and we support it, and more will be made and aired.  When we support a business that blatantly and openly rejects our beliefs, it sends a message to society that we are okay with it. We may cause others who respect us to respond in kind because it must not be that bad if we support it. I’m guilty of all of this as well-I have said and done many things in my life that are not becoming of a Christian.  My point is not to judge anyone, just to point out that Trump is not the problem. We can say he is the problem. We can believe that not voting him into office makes us holier, or more devoted to Christ.  We may believe that it would be a dishonor to ourselves, to God, and to His plan if we “compromised our beliefs” to vote for a man like Trump. And if someone believes that, I will not judge them or believe they are wrong for what they believe God is directing them to do.

I just don’t feel that way. I feel there could be worse in the White House than Trump. One major difference between him and other candidates is that they are more polished speakers. They have had time and practice in knowing how, what and when to say things. I don’t believe Trump is the worst candidate we have ever had, and possibly not even the worst I have voted for. I don’t know. The media has just made sure that we know about all of Trump indiscretions.

There is another aspect for me. I have prayed a lot over the last few years for God to help me see people through His eyes, and there is something redeemable I see in Trump. God is not only concerned with humanity, but with the individual. He loves Donald Trump as much as He loves anyone.  We don’t know God’s plan unless He has revealed it to us, and He has not revealed His plan for this election to me.  Perhaps though, He has brought Trump to this place to expose his sins so that he would be embarrassed and it would lead to repentance. From what I have read, Trump has been receiving spiritual counsel and is opening up more and more to the things of Christ. Perhaps it took this. Perhaps I am way off base. I just know that I want to be open to whatever God’s plan might be.  God has used some pretty interesting characters to further His Kingdom and unfold His plan. Are we saying he can’t use Trump? What a story of redemption that would be. I may even buy the memoir.

 

 

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It Didn’t Matter Anymore, Grandpa

I don’t feel like the issue was fully resolved. I don’t feel that you completely understood where I was coming from or just how much you hurt me in those years of disconnect.  I don’t think you fully took responsibility for your part in it, though you apologized in your own way-not really ever using the words “I’m sorry.”

But it got to a point that I didn’t care. I hated not having you in my life and not really knowing my kids. I hated them not knowing you-the man who had had an immeasurable impact on who and what I had become.  The hole didn’t go unnoticed. I spoke of you often and then, like today, I felt you in many of my words and actions. There were many, many days in which I wanted to let it all go, and I would call you and see that you were still bitter. I don’t blame you entirely, perhaps I could have put in more effort.

I know that in that time (the few years in which we only spoke a couple of times a year), all the comments you made about being disappointed in me, or about my “head not being in this world” came from a place of hurt.  I know from experience, that pain often manifests itself as anger and bitterness. I know it was hard for you when I “stopped needing you” as much, as my own family was forming. What you didn’t understand was that I still needed you, just in different ways.

So, perhaps the God-ordained timing was just right, perhaps we were both at a place in which it didn’t matter anymore, but that one summer visit changed it all.  I am thankful that I had an “excuse” to come over to see my Aunt, (I’m not sure I would have come otherwise,) so I could see that the bitterness was gone. I felt we were finally both in a place to let it all go and just be Grandpa and Cyndy again. I told you I was sorry I had stayed away so long, and you told me I had misunderstood the things you had said to me about not finishing college to stay home with my son, and the comments you made about me homeschooling the kids as they got older, and that you didn’t mean it the way I took it. In my mind I disagreed, I still thought you had meant them exactly as I took them, but at that point it didn’t matter anymore. You told me you were never truly disappointed in me, and I took that. It was enough. You were 87, I believe, and I knew we were limited on time.

We found out a year later that cancer was widespread and aggressive. My emotions were so mixed as I was thankful that we had reconnected, and deeply saddened that we didn’t have more time. My older kids would remember you, but my little guy definitely wouldn’t.  I was thankful that you got to see me in my girls and it brought you back to when I was that age. And I will forever be thankful for that visit, right after I found out about the cancer, when it was just you and I, and I was your little girl again. It could have been 25 years prior and it was just us.  We reminisced about the past and you retold your favorite stories about us, and we laughed, and I cried. I told you that I wished we had more time. You said, “I guess our time was always limited, we just didn’t know how limited.” More words of wisdom, Grandpa-good for everyone to remember.

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Why I Love 19 Kids and Counting, What I Admire About Michelle Duggar, and How I Feel About the Recent Development

I’ll start by saying that of course, I don’t know Michelle Duggar personally. I know what I see on T.V. or what I’ve read online.  However, based on those experiences, she has been a source of encouragement and valuable ideas to me and my girls. What I have really liked is that she doesn’t pretend to be perfect.  She is open about her past indiscretions: her eating disorder, her lack of modesty, her physical contact before marriage.

She exhibits a grace that I admire.  She speaks gently and kindly to her children, even when correcting them.  That can be difficult to do, especially when a parent is very disappointed with a child’s behavior.  It tells me that either she is a very good actress when the cameras are rolling, or she has the love of Christ flowing through her. I choose to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe the latter.  It’s more uplifting to me.

Something else I have noticed is that though she has many children, she makes an attempt to have an individual relationship with all of them. I have noticed that I have to make a concerted effort to take the time to listen to, and give my undivided attention to my older children. Squeaky wheels tend to get the grease and babies and toddlers sure do squeak! Yet I have seen Michelle take the time to go to coffee with and engage in one-on-one conversations with her older children.  Then she has spoken in her camera interviews about how important it is to do that.

19 Kids and Counting has been a blessing to us.  The show has been a respite in a way from a lot of the other shows on T.V. that expose my children to things I would rather them not experience yet.  We have been able to sit together and enjoy a program that is actually edifying and uplifting.

Recently I have felt horrible about the comments I have seen online about the family.  I think people must forget that public figures are real people. I actually saw one commenter excuse the abhorrent comments he/she made by writing that by opening themselves up to the public they deserve and should expect any comments that are made about them.  I was looking for information on whether or not TLC was planning on cancelling the show permanently and had to quit searching because the comments and articles I was finding were literally making me nauseated.  My spirit was hurt.

I have girls, and I agree with Josh Duggar’s comment that his behavior as a teen was “inexcusable.”  However, I also agree with Mike Huckabee that it is not “unforgivable.”  I have been so thankful for God’s grace in my life. He extends it to everyone.  I wish it were easier for we imperfect people to do the same.  It’s amazing how a perfect God can show grace for even the most reprehensible of acts, but we humans, who also make numerous mistakes cannot.  I think by showing utter disdain and hatred of those who make mistakes, people believe it will show how righteous they are.  Unfortunately, what they don’t seem to understand is that the opposite is true.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/22/politics/josh-duggar-molestation-2016-conservatives/

https://www.facebook.com/duggarfamilyofficial/posts/653931128073873