spoudazo

a blog about daughters in crisis and the moms who love them

Archive for the tag “family”

Mère et enfant sur fond vert

I love Mary Cassatt’s work. This one hangs in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, which is probably my favorite art museum in the world (#2 would be the Uffizi in Florence). I’m looking at it with new eyes today as my daughter is preparing to leave for an out-of-state college, migrating from our family’s little nest. I’m going to miss her. In a certain part of my heart, our portrait will always look like this pair. The rest of my heart will go ahead and adapt to the fact that she’s 18 and transitioning into womanhood. I think that’s just how it goes with moms…

Advertisements

Dil·i·gence

Living Routes - Study Abroad in EcovillagesI’m doubtful that Generation X will earn a label as wonderful as the “greatest generation.” I could write for days about why I think this, but my reasons and the layers of what they imply are too dense and numerous to address in one post.

I have a single focus today:  Our kids deserve better than to have us give up too quickly and easily on the parenting front in the face of confusion or adversity.

The generation we are raising is growing up in a world far more complex and difficult to navigate than the one we grew up in. I’m far from the first to say it. The sheer volume of information (good and bad) and imagery (again, good and bad) that the average pre-teen or teen has access to every day would surely cause an ancient Athenian to sit down and ponder for magnitude. The education most of them get fails to equip them with the analytical and moral skills needed to sort through this morass of information and arrive at healthy, functional, wise conclusions.  Many of them end up making bad decisions which can quickly escalate to gravely consequential ones.

Every day, I see parents who not only lack awareness of the types of information their kids possess but also the will to look at it and do something about it.

Think of any slice of the spectrum of things a kid encounters every day — peers, worldviews, politics, commerce, sex, drugs, music, books, movies, games, the Internet, diet, sports — each of those things can influence them in any number of ways. As parents and in-house leaders, there is much we can do to help them find their way. Sometimes this involves much time and effort.

This thought brings me to the word this blog owes its title to — diligence (spoudazo in Greek). Diligence requires balance and it requires commitment. Then there’s selflessness. Oh, and a strong work ethic.

A farmer who lives in an area of the world where there is only one growing season followed by harvest time and then a harsh winter understands that he has to work very hard and consistently to ensure that he produces enough food to sustain his family for the entire year.

A surfer dude who lives in a part of the world where it’s warm all the time and where fruit grows on the trees he passes every day on his way to the beach has no such concerns.

A child’s growing season is 18 years long. The years between 18 and 25 are the time to harvest what has been sown. The full responsibility of adulthood can turn into a brutal winter filled with blizzards and ice storms that don’t always pass by quickly.  Diligent families will enjoy offspring with full storehouses of internalized values and resources to sustain them.

We can’t be surfer dudes as parents and expect that great fruit will somehow just drop from our children’s lives. We can’t stay so wrapped up in work or our own interests and pursuits that we neglect cultivating open lines of communication, trust, respect, responsibility, and genuine love in our homes. That stuff sounds hard. It is hard. We can’t afford laziness.

A Forbes article I just read quoted writer Elizabeth Kolbert, who is “convinced our slacker parenting skills are a reflection of a chronic laziness in our society, a sort of generalized sense of no-can-do. We’ve let everything from banking regulations to public school funding slide, why should it be different on the home front? ‘A lack of discipline is apparent these days in just about every area of American society,’ she writes, a point with which it is really, really hard to quibble.”

I have some lazy tendencies. I’m learning to overcome them, and the payoff has been greater than I could have expected.

Dear Sleeping Sister

When I heard that you were in crisis I instantly felt a burden to pray. This burden remains. There have been quite a few early mornings when I’ve been awakened with an understanding that God is watching over you and that He knows exactly what you need and that He longs to give it to you. I talk to Him about those things. I understand what it feels like to struggle to the point of nearly losing all hope. God pulled me back from the brink of collapse. His love would not let me go. His love for you is no different.

I am absolutely sure that God’s love is brooding over you just as His love brooded over the face of the Earth when He was about to shape it into something incredibly beautiful. He couldn’t leave the Earth without form and void. He is so creative and powerful and He wants to make and sculpt and transform every part of the universe into exactly what He knows would be its very best outcome. Our souls are no exception. Sister, God has a “best outcome” for your soul and for mine. Can we believe upon Him to the point that we will cast our entire being upon Him in the trust that He is willing and able to transform us according to the renewing of our minds? Can we risk it all to let Him conform us to the image of His dear Son?

One phenomena I have observed in my own life is that reconciliation is a process with many layers. People getting divorced often claim their reason for filing as “irreconcilable differences” between the spouses. It happens in human relationships. It happens between us and God sometimes. Sometimes a relationship breaks so badly that only a miracle can repair it. Not only a miracle is needed but also a willingness in the heart to allow repair to happen. Honestly, I have never seen a situation in which two willing parties could not find a way to reconcile with one another.

We know that God is willing to be reconciled to each and every human. He sent His Son to die a horrible death on the cross in order to make a way for us to be justified and atoned for and covered with the very righteousness of Christ. If we are willing to return to oneness with God, it can and will happen! I’ve seen this in my own life! Another thing I’ve noticed is that when I consent to dwell in the very center of God’s will for me, I find that I suddenly feel drawn to other people who consent to dwell there too! Interesting! Really, our relationships in the body of Christ can be diagnosed very simply by taking inventory of our relationship with God. The way we feel about Him is honestly the way we feel about anyone who has His Spirit living inside of them. The Book of 1 John, as you know, talks about this in much detail. That Epistle is like a mirror we can look into and see what is really happening inside of us! I thank God for this!

I’ve come to this conclusion many times in my life – if God is my #1 priority and my first love above all else and I have a clear conscience and a desire to obey His Word, then anything that comes my way is doable! I can see my place and my function in His body and I can live in peace with my brothers and sisters who are on the same road I am on. When other things begin to usurp God’s #1 place in my heart, then problems with His people suddenly spring up everywhere! Slowly but surely, I’m learning to measure everything in my life by where God ranks in my list of priorities!

Grace and peace to you,

Anna

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: