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Family Life

Posts Tagged ‘Family Life’

In the Master’s Hand

Clay in the Master's HandSeven years ago I sat in the surgery ward of the county hospital with a three-month-old baby in my arms. This week an older child lay in the bed beside me. The feeling doesn’t change.

When the nurse takes your child away, the child you have borne, nursed, tended, and loved, there is an emptiness and you turn to the only place worth turning.


When the doctor tells you that all is indeed not right, that your fears were not the imaginings of a hypochondriac mother, but in fact correct, there is an emptiness, and you turn to the only place worth turning.


When you turn to God, the perspective changes.  What is pain becomes joy. What is loss becomes opportunity. What is lifeless clay, dead wood, or hard stone becomes beauty with purpose.

Wood in the Master's HandI see now that the child I was gently trying to shape with education, family time, Bible readings, and chats, is in the only place worth being, in the hands of the Master. My careful designing, delicate sanding, gentle rubbing are all acts of a mother without the Master’s vision. A wimp. A dreamer. A woman afraid.

The Master takes the clay and breaks it down and builds it back up until the day it is ready for His delicate design.

The Master takes the wood and hews large chunks, chiseling away the dead wood until it is ready for fine sanding.

The Master takes the stone and attacks it with a vengeance, bringing forth form from stubborn stone, until it is ready to be polished by the rubbing of the Master’s hand.

Stone in the Master's HandSuch transformation hurts.

Such transformation can only succeed in His hands, in the hands of the Master.

The Master knows when to force and when to touch gently, when to chisel and when to sand, when to cut and when to rub smooth.

As a mother, I let my children fall, so that they may pull themselves up and walk. I let my children fail so they may learn the hard work of success. I let my children know disappointment so they may enter life with realistic empathy, not an entitlement mentality bred by misguided parenting.

As the Master, God does the same. He lets us fall. He cuts and hews. He polishes and adorns.

Making us what He wants us to be.

Making us His.

Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand,
so are ye in mine hand.
~Jeremiah 18:6

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Super Strong Muscle Boy

Mother and Son

I recently attended my youngest brother’s wedding. I’m not generally the tearing up type, at least when not pregnant. (If you’ve been pregnant, you know there’s no getting through the touching coffee commercials at Christmas without turning into a blubbering pile of sap. Please tell me it’s not just me. It’s okay to lie…just a little…just this once.)

When I saw my mother dancing the mother-son dance with my brother, the groom, I had a simultaneous flashback/flash-forward experience. (It’s similar to having a split personality juxtaposed on some inverted space-time continuum. Don’t try to figure it out. Nod and smile. Nod and smile.)

I remember when my little brother was, well, little, my darling little tag-along. Now he’s 6’4″ and married and living in NYC doing things like operating a power drill and buying his own groceries. He probably even has a job, although being a musician, I’m never entirely sure. When did he learn to tie his shoes?

And now I have another precious little tag-along, my own little man. He’s still shorter than I am. His power drill runs on batteries and only tickles when he drills his little sister’s forehead. He helps push the cart at the grocery store, which is still as exciting as getting a driver’s license, and his job is making his bed and cleaning the music room for a dollar a month. His musical opus is belting out “Do, a deer, a female deer,” and most of his shoes have velcro. He seems so…young, and the future seems so…distant. But I know better.

At the wedding, while my mother swayed across the floor in the arms of her youngest son, I saw myself in 20-some years dancing that dance as the mother of the groom and then the music ends and I hand those big brown eyes and intoxicating smile and spontaneous affections (not to mention the results of endless hours of training) over to his new bride. I would have hugged my little man a bit too tightly and not let him go had he been there, but he wasn’t, and I had to wait all too long to get back to him. When I did, he got an extra long squeeze and a handful of half-melted M&Ms I had saved especially for him. (They really do melt in your hands. Who knew?)

Too soon the little man in the toddler bed in my bedroom will be a husband, a father, a man, and I will be proud and pleased, but I will always miss the little person he is right now, my very own promise of how great a man can really be.

And I savor the moments and the memories and the words.

Words like these:

“My nickname is Super Fast Muscle Boy, but you can just call me Boy.”

I’ve been bragging about those muscles for four years now. Wow, can that boy carry groceries for his Mama. Won’t the future Mrs. Super Fast Muscle Boy love that?

And won’t she love His heavenly focus?

“God never has to knock on doors, Mommy, because God is everywhere!”

So true, my Boy. And yet, so many closed doors. Perhaps God will use him to open a few.

“I love God, and I love both my grown-ups. Do you love God, too? And do you love me, too?”

Do we ever! And forever!

I leave you with this little family adventure from a couple night’s past, brought to you by Super Fast Muscle Boy:

“Mommy, can you please help me get this popcorn kernel out of my nose?”

Sure, Super Fast But Slightly Short on Common Sense Muscle Boy. Anything for you!

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The Real Name

Becca Boo at the Piano

Becca Boo at the Piano

It occured to me recently that I rarely call my children by their carefully selected birth names. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and the pudding in this case is my son:

Me: Boy, do you know what the baby’s real name is?

Boy: Becca Boo’s real name?

Me: Yes.

Boy: I know Becca Boo’s bear name. Becca Boo’s bear name is Boo Boo Bear.

Me: Yes, but what’s her real name.

Boy: Oh, Becca Boo’s real name is Sweetie Pie.

This same boy, when asked to spell his own name, recites “B-O-Y Boy.” He’ll even sign it. I think perhaps I will write his real name on the inside of his jacket in case he gets lost. Better yet, I’ll keep them all safe at home.

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Small Ears, Big Fears

The small boy

The small boy

I was listening intently to my eight-year-old narrate the history of Corrie Ten Boom. Unbeknownst to me, a pair of three-year-old ears was also quite caught up in the story. The narrator explained in detail what I shall merely summarize: Corrie Ten Boom was arrested for hiding Jews in her house.

The gasp beside me attracted my attention. I turned and looked into a pair of big brown eyes, wide open. At the conclusion of the narration, the small listener dared not move. He merely whispered with barely audible trepidation, “Mommy…don’t we have juice in our house?”

Someday, when he is nearer to a man, I will tell him about the horrors of mankind and the agony one man can inflict on others. For now, however, I will maintain that childish sweetness just a little bit longer and offer up a prayer of gratitude that, for the moment at least, America is a free country, and we need not worry about harboring Jews–or juice–in our homes.

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Always Prepared

Marissa and Rebecca

Marissa and Rebecca

Ma, you should keep dental floss in your purse. That way, if you’re falling off a cliff, you can tie it to a tree and pull yourself back up.

Me: Hmm. Good point. It might also be useful if something gets caught in my teeth.

Marissa: That, too.

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Little Boy Kneels

Little Boy kneels at the foot of his bed,
Droops on his little hands little gold head.
Hush, hush, whisper who dares?
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

~A.A. Milne

An heritage from Him

An heritage from Him

It was one of those horrible cases of hiccups that, to be brutally honest, sounded a lot like I imagine a hippo in labor would sound…and I was only mildly less uncomfortable than said hippo. It was difficult getting through evening prayers between hics.

When my turn rolled around, I kept it short and sweet, ending with a simple request for God hic to cure hic my hiccups.

Gone. Instantly.

All eyes were on Mama.


One little boy’s wheels were turning, and out came another little prayer:

“And please give Mommy a boy baby and a girl baby. Amen.”

Pause. Look around.

“Mommy, when is God going to give us the boy baby and the girl baby?”

When indeed…?

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Mr(s). Grill

I am not a feminist. I am what some may term “old-fashioned” as I cheerfully don my apron, nurture my children, and tend to my husband’s needs. It’s not that I can’t do man’s work. It’s just that my man handles man’s work immensely better than I do. I am a woman, and as such I joyfully assume the roles more commonly associated with “the weaker sex.” I prefer to sew on buttons, bake pies, and change diapers, and leave the tough stuff to someone with muscles!

This can't be that hard!

This can't be that hard!

Why, then, did Memorial Day find me hovering over a huge grill when I usually declare grilling “man’s work,” and retreat to the safety of my kitchen to whip up side dishes and desserts?

A song was in the works. My musician husband was deep in that lyrical realm that ensnares him for days and from which he eventually emerges with a musical masterpiece. Not wanting to interrupt the creative flow of my Music Man, I opted to leave my hubby to his chord progressions and harmonic genius and attempt the grilling myself. So I bolstered my courage, picked up a grilling spatula and some raw meat, and headed out to the grill.

I was spied en route by my eldest daughter. The years had not dulled her memory of the time I exploded a grill and singed all the hair off my arm, miraculously leaving the rest of me and my family unscathed. Read the rest of this entry »

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