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This past Sunday, our wonderful pastor, poised the question to us;  Who are you?  What is it in our personal lives that defines who we are?  Our church has started a 4 week study on Missional Stewardship.  We will be learning His perspective on the responsibility we have from God to use all He has given us to witness to the world.  How we use our skills, money, and time to be missionaries for Christ.  Lesson one is greed.

This sermon really has made me think for the past few days.  Our pastor made the statement “Righteousness is a priority…generosity a project”.  For me this really hit home.  I like to think of myself as a righteous, generous person, but am I really?  What defines me?    Am I generous in my worldly goods that God has given me?  Our pastor has made a call to us to “Sell it or Skip it” for the next four weeks.  Sell or skip something that defines who we are.  Do you buy lots of shoes?  Sell some or skip that next fabulous pair you see at the shoe store.  Do you love music?  Don’t download the newest songs or buy that just released CD.  The money you save will be put into a special offering on Mother’s Day that will be given to different organizations in our town.   As soon as the words left his mouth, I started thinking…so what is it that I can skip or sell? I have been praying that will God show me what it is I need to skip.  At the end of the four weeks I’ll let you know what it was that God laid upon my heart. 

“It is difficult for people to get rid of junk.  They get attached to things and let them define who they are.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business, it’s that you are what you can’t let go of.”  – quote by Brian Scudamore, Founder of 1-800-Got-Junk

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:21

So I ask you what should you sell or skip?

I received this today from a friend…I am so glad that I had a mean mom.  I am turning out to be just like her.

To all my dear friends . . . and fellow Mean Moms,
Someday when my children are old enough to
understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will
tell them, as my Mean Mom told me:

I loved you
enough . . . to ask where you were going, with whom,
and what time you would be home.
I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.  I loved you enough to let you see anger,
disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children must
learn that their parents aren’t perfect.
I loved you enough to let you assume the
responsibility for your actions even when the
penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.
But most of all, I loved you enough . . . to say
NO when I knew you would hate me for it.
Those were the most difficult battles of all. I’m
glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.
And someday when your children are old enough to
understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.

Was your Mom mean? I know mine was. We had the
meanest mother in the whole world!  While other kids
ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.

When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat
sandwiches.

And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was
different from what other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all
times. You’d think we were convicts in a prison. She
had to know who our friends were, and what we were
doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an
hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve
to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work.  We
had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to
cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash
and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie
awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time
we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had
eyes in the back of her head. Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn’t let our friends just honk the horn
when they drove up. They had to come up to the door
so she could meet them. While everyone else could
date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids
experienced. None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing
other’s property or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated,
honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean
parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what’s wrong with the world today.
It just doesn’t have enough mean moms!

Easter Visit with Grandparents 

On Easter, my sister and I decided to take our families to the skilled nursing facility that our grandma has been living at for the past few months.  You see, Grandma has been very, very sick since the first of the year.  In fact, in the beginning of February, she was not breathing on her own and in a deep sleep.  We had no hope that she would recover and the doctors had prepared us for the worse.  But, Grandma did slowly recover and she started breathing on her own.  My boys had been praying daily for God to take care of Grandma and finally they were getting a chance to see her again.

 For those of you that don’t know me or my family that well, you can’t begin to understand how huge this visit was going to be.  My sister, like me, has four children as well, four girls.  When the four boys and four girls, all under 13, get together it is a meeting of screams, laughs, and very boisterous sounds.  They can’t contain themselves.  And we were taking them to a nursing facility…to see Grandma.

We met Grandpa at the doors and he had found a room that we could all go to and wait for Grandma to be wheeled in.  My brother-in-law gave the kids their instructions before entering…behave, be quiet, please…  I went with Grandpa to Grandma’s room to help move her to her wheelchair.  She had spent extra time and put on make-up and dressed up for her visitors.  We put her in the wheelchair and wheeled her to the waiting room…

 Half way down the hall I spotted the room with ceiling to floor windows and luckily sound proof walls.  I saw all them interacting with each-other waiting for Grandma and then that’s when I saw my third son.  He was standing…peering out the glass windows….waiting for his first glimpse of Grandma….written all over his face was deep concern and love.

 Why is this moment such a momentous occasion, especially one that I would write about.  You see, my third son, is quite a handful.  He is the family clown.  He can mimic all the funny voices he learns from movies and he is always into something that he shouldn’t be doing.  He has already in his second year of school visited the principals’s office twice for goofing off at school.  He NEVER takes anything seriously…people, especially his teacher, tell me he will be famous…I always respond with, “famous for what?  I shudder to think…” He has a tendency to grate on both myself and his Dad’s nerves with all of the wisecracking, jumping around activity.

 …and yet there he stood.  All around him was his brothers and cousins laughing (they were being quiet…as quiet as a group of kids could be hyped out on Easter candy) and yet he stood waiting.  And then he saw her.  I could see how much she had changed since last Christmas through his seven year old eyes.  Grandma had aged greatly she looked much older than her 80 years.  Grandma could not talk or hear as well as she could before.  Her perfect hairdo was not the same.  He stood by her chair afraid to even touch her.  The others had all greeted her and then quickly went back to whatever they had been doing.  But, not him, he stood right by her chair.  I could tell some of the kids were afraid of what had happened to Grandma and were not sure of how to approach her.  But, still my third son stood there thinking…

He came over to me and asked can if he could pat her back.  And I told him that would be fine.  He walked over and patted her back with great concern written all over his face.  Several of the adults noticed him and his care in Grandma.  Grandma too noticed how much he seemed to care.  She reached over and gave him a hug with such happiness written all over her face.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I witnessed my wild child concentrated on his great-grandma.  How could someone like him be so gentle, quiet…

I realized in our short time with Grandma that my son, is a truly deep caring individual.  God had given him a special gift.  He could focus on just Grandma and have no desire to goof around with his brothers and cousins.  He could feel great concern for her well being.  He could be gentle and loving.  Qualities that I had no idea he possessed.

This Easter I will always remember that moment when I saw how my wild, impulsive, seven year old son could be so transformed.  I have realized that I tend to harp on his shortcomings…the struggles with reading and writing, his wisecracking comments and jokes, his tendency to do whatever he wants whenever he wants.  I have been a short-tempered mother with him in every aspect of his life.  I have been so busy with the negative that I have missed his wonderful loving qualities.

Lord,  Easter is the renewing of life.  Our lives in You.  With Easter comes spring and new beginnings.  I pray that I don’t easily forget that little seven year old and his love for grandma, to encourage him positively just as he did with grandma.  Here’s to a new beginning…please Lord, help me to remember the good qualities of my child. Help me to use this new-found trait to encourage him and help me with all of the areas he has been struggling in…remind me Lord, of the love written all over his face.  Amen.