October has become a bittersweet month for me. My parent’s anniversary is the 9th, they would have been married 63 years this year. October 22nd (yesterday) was the fourth anniversary of my mom’s passing, her funeral was on my husband’s birthday the 26th. October 10th was my mom-in-law’s birthday. She had her first stroke in 2012 in late September. Many visits to Dove West for a year. Bob and I took her out (via Abbey Van) last October, 2013, for her one and only social outing….a birthday party with her friends Kay, LaRea, Lorraine, and others. About a week and a half later, the second stroke on October 29, 2013, was her last and she passed to heaven on my birthday, November 4th. Even though this month is a month filled with memories of loss, it is also a month of remembering family and celebrating their lives.
Families and stepfamilies are critical components of our life’s journey. No matter how messy, how difficult, how enmeshed, how……anything, we are connected and intricately woven into each other’s lives. One thing we cannot stop and have absolutely no control over is time. As I’ve grown older and better, I embrace my relationships. I forgive much more easily and completely. I have lessened my expectations and take things less personally. I leave judgments to God.
I’ve discovered that I have control over me and that’s about it. 🙂 I pray daily, I seek God’s Word as often as I can, and certainly that’s not enough! I urge you to reach out to others in love if you can, and if you cannot, pray for them. We have no idea when we will be called home….or when a loved one will be called. And….don’t be afraid to tell those you love that you love them. One thing that is really hard to live with or die with….is regret.
And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. (NIV)
At our church, we have finished up a series regarding generosity. I know you are probably thinking, “Oh, more money talk.” Yes, tithing is one of Scripture’s lessons, and money is important for the successful survival of a church; however money is not all that generosity is about. Generosity is also about our attitudes, and especially about our heart.
When I speak to stepcouples or stepmoms, I really try to hone in on what is going on in their hearts. If we serve our spouses and our families with a generous heart, the propensity for feeling “used or taken for granted” doesn’t grow at the speed it can if we give of ourselves while looking to get it back. Being generous is a learned behavior, it doesn’t come easy! It is not natural in our sinful flesh to wantonly give of ourselves to others, especially to a cranky spouse, a difficult marriage, or disrespectful stepchildren. I have to be among other God-loving and God-fearing Christians and married couples to be reminded that marriage is work.
But more importantly in the context of generosity, Jesus was the perfect example…He selflessly suffered and died for me and for you, on a rugged cross. Today, do something out of pure unconditional generosity for your spouse or child or stepchild, especially for the one having the most difficult day. It doesn’t matter their reaction, it matters that you gave of yourself with love and a pure heart.
Here is my daily mantra and reason for serving Him through serving others with love and generosity:
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good andfaithfulservant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
…may break my bones, but words will nev…. Oh Yes, they will! I saw this post on Facebook this morning and thought what a great way to start my day. The book of James speaks of the uncontrollable evil a tongue is capable of: “But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.[b] “
Previously I used a visual of thinking any hurtful words I would say would fly out and strike the first person in their path, causing great pain. But the above visual of words on flesh gives me a more powerful image…MY SKIN would be the billboard for the words I say…all of them. Would I be Christ’s example or feel safe to walk among any of you with my language visible? Hmmmm.
Stepliving is very complex and often challenging to the point of words falling from our lips that are regularly held in regret. Take a breath, practice silence, pray, avoid taking things personally. I want to close with this beautiful finish from James Chapter 3. God bless you, husband and wife as stepcouple united as one…may your words be sweet and uplifting to each other and to all the children in your family. ❤
“17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.[d] “