Gifts from my mom and dad

I do sorta love Judge Judy, but I am seeing something on it that makes me sad.  Almost all the cases begin thus:

This is so and so and she is suing her ex-boyfriend or ex-husband or ex-best friend or sister or roommate or cousin or son for {usually not paying back a loan} or wrecking the car or whatever.

And then at the end of the show, they have both parties answering questions you don’t hear, but the most obviously implied question is “What have you learned from this experience?”  And the answers are always horrible inner vows like “To never trust a friend” or “Never help a family member out,” things like that.  It is really sad because those are such enemy-of-our-soul-induced ideas.  Makes me sad to see people lose vulnerability because without it, you can never get into the deep messy love and beautiful entanglements that make life rich.

Every kid has probably had those moments growing up when they declared inwardly, if not out loud, “I will never be like my parents.  I will do this better.”  I know I had those thoughts and just knew I had life all figured out.  And so in some things, I ventured a different direction, but ohmygoodness, the Word of God is so true on the issue of it all and I am sure Jesus was in heaven shaking His head and hoping I would read-the-red in Matthew 7 to understand how my own judgements would act as boomerangs.  How exposed I am now  when I realize that the things I judge most harshly are so exposing me of my own it-takes-one-to-know-one bleh (Romans 2).  Yes, let’s just call it “bleh” and leave it at that.

So while at one time I figured I could do it all better, like the old adage goes, the older I get the smarter my parents get applies.  And I adore them both with such a zeal that if they were not my parents I would be trying to figure out how to get close to them anyway.  And I was thinking how, as I grow up more (still not as mature as I thought I would be by this age), these are the traits and behaviors they possess that I still hope to master, so people will say, “She is just like her mom and dad.”

12 Things I want to learn from my parents for the 12 days of Christmas

From my mom – here are ways I want to learn to be like her.

1//  I want to keep short accounts. Her accounts are soooooo short.  She would laugh and say it is because her memory is bad, but that isn’t true at all.  When she is wronged, she lets it go.  This has been a blessing to my dad for sure.  She honestly, really and truly believes the best of everyone, even if and when they give her good reasons not to.

2// The joy of a clear conscience. My mom has just never had a sin consciousness.  She didn’t see the devil or evil around any corner which probably explains why, when I was four, she made the most adorable home-sewn witch costume and took me trick-or-treating.  She was excited to make it a day of evangelizing and I had to sing “Jesus Loves Me” before I could accept the treat.  And she felt no condemnation.  And later, when she was told Halloween was evil, she relented and got churchy about it, too, but her conscience and heart were free from the finger-pointing assault of the enemy.

3//  She loves animals. She can actually talk to the animals and understand their hearts.  She has dominion like Adam had, I think, an intuitive understanding of even why they were created.  And so God trusts her with them.  And when she was 55, my parents moved to Ohio and she became an award-winning horse photographer.  They horses responded to her because they knew her gift was from God.  All creation worships Him, you know.  All creatures of our God and King….

4//  She carries the distinctly feminine trait of brooding over her family. That is God-given and when you need some one to agonize over you for deep things, open-wounds or battle scars, you need a spiritual momma who will carry it and keep the issue alive before the throne until the issue is settled on earth as it is in heaven.  You aren’t looking for some one who will just say “Oh yes, I will pray” and then may or may not.  When my momma says she will pray, she will.  She is.  I want the people I love to know they have that from me, too.

5//  Health and vigor. My mom has always run circles around me in energy levels.  She has never dwelled on her health, per se, but made every laundry day an opportunity to stay in shape by running up and down the stairs as fast as she could with laundry baskets in hand right up to 3 or 4 years ago when  a major surgery came with doctor’s instructions to quit that.  When my kids were in the skanking dance phase during their high school years, she would join right in with them.  She still loves horseshoes and loved having Wrex teach her more about roping cattle just a couple years back.   If there is a game to be played – handball, tennis, or baseball or whatever, my mom is still up for it!  God has blessed her with good health and I would love to be more like her in this.

6//  My mom is my biggest cheerleader, a wonderful encourager. My mom is as sweet and kind and youthful in her thoughts as my little granddaughters.  Everything before her is hopeful.  And fun.  And good.  And she loves to laugh and laughs easy.  And draw pictures and serve others and give hugs and cheer you on and encourage you.  I cry every-time I hear the country song with the line, “And when the day is through my momma’s still my biggest fan…”  because she is and I want to be that kind of encourager.

From my dad.  Here are ways I want to be like him.

7//  Thorough and courageous. A man who values the highest of standards, my dad does not doing anything half-heartedly or carelessly.  If you’re going to do it, you may as well do it very well.   And though the pain of perfectionism has assailed him (and me) sometimes throughout life, I love knowing that anything he puts his hand to will be done with forethought and done well.  Everything doesn’t always turn out to his high standards, but he is never afraid to take the dive into the deep end.

8//  Healthy and committed to it. My dad, much like the Christians of the day back then, lived, at least sub-consciously, on the scriptural phrase “bodily exercise profiteth little.”  I think we can all now agree that Paul wasn’t saying not to attend to the temple, but while I was growing up, while he pastored his heart out and attended to all things spiritual, health concerns were just not even considered.  Later in life, maybe around my current age, he started realizing the importance of taking care of himself.  He started walking and running and lifting weights and eating with much greater care, which has really been more of a job for my mom (he-he).  But once he set his mind to it, he has stayed absolutely focused, which was why 2 heart attacks out of nowhere last year shocked us all.  His numbers were right, his weight was right and his activity level was good.  I think he faced some momentary discouragement about it, but he stays active now.  He does not let a day go by without getting out and doing something healthy.  And I neeeeeeeed to take a cue here.  And hopefully Dave will be my version of my mom and do all the great healthy cooking for me.  Haha!

9//  Snazzy dresser. Oh, he was beautiful as a young man.  Even as a little girl, I thought he was the handsome-est.  I loved how he’d carefully choose his suits for a conference.  My mom starched the ever-loving-life out of those collars.  He remains meticulously attentive to neatness and good grooming.  And nice clothes.

10//  Man of prayer. For all of my life, my dad got up early and spends a couple of hours in  prayer and worship.  When I go to visit them, I hear him in the wee hours, still.  He has never neglected his time alone with the Lord.  I want God to know how I value that time, too.

11//  “I am blessed to have work.” My dad finally just retired last month, except not, because he will never retire.  He believes in work and the quotation I placed there, from the movie “Return to Me” truly is a life’s goal for him.  He is “retired” but looking for work while he is there, providing a simpler life for my mom.  He will mentor and preach and make hospital calls and keep on pastoring to the end.  And while I, like him, have struggled with work addiction, I think we both are learning to be wholehearted in what we do, blessed to have something to put our hands to, but not making it an idol that completely destroys us.   I love that he is about to turn 73 and he is still letting the Lord train him in these things.

12//  Changed. I love in the movie “Field of Dreams” when Kevin Costner realizes that there had been this younger, fresher version of his dad that he never knew.  He begins to see that he had only experienced the more “broken-down” version of a man who’d had dreams dashed and life’s burdens and how at one time, his dad had been just like him.  In 1995, my dad and I started talking for the first time ever, really.  And we have been growing together since, understanding developing, love intensifying.  In 2009, I think, in January, he just came and said, “I want to be sure I have given you everything you need.  Are there questions I should answer?  Are there hurts to be mended? ”  And he just opened himself up, gave me his shoulders to roll my burdens onto, just in case he had caused them.  He didn’t want to leave them in my heart unattended.  I couldn’t even come up with anything, because the gift was so great, it covered anything and everything.  Like love does.  And I want to be able to do that, too.  For all the times I loved, but couldn’t show it, and for all the times I failed my kids and hated myself for it.  How it must have seemed to them, I think I understand, and yet, the enemy of their souls will use everything he can to taunt them and torment them their whole lives through if some one doesn’t stand in that gap.  And I want to be changed into the image of Jesus so much, a reflection of Him alone, that I will have the same courage He did fueled by great love to die on the cross to my own self-protection and take back any of the hurts I have inflicted, to carry on my shoulders mis-communications and mis-understandings so their hearts will be covered and protected all the way to end, even after I am gone.  Like love does.

Still unwrapping the gifts that are my mamala and papala.

2 thoughts on “Gifts from my mom and dad

  1. Oh my gosh~~~Jeanie Babe!
    I hardly recoginized the one you spoke of in this quite awesome…liturgy? ! Thank you my Sweet….I’ll try a little harder
    this year~~~to reach all the loving heights that you seem to have seen in me. You’re just not around often enough to catch
    the other side of me…. which I wish “wasn’t there” at all. To know that you hold me in such high regard….melts my heart.
    I love you Darlin’ with a love that could never change at all…. except to grow deeper still!!

  2. I missed this in the busy of Christmas, I suppose. But I’m glad I just found it. As I dabb my tears away, you remind me of all the reasons I love my parents. It’s so great to know I have my own personal writer to say all the wonderful things I want to say about them! :) Truly – well spoken. We are just sooo blessed aren’t we? What an honor to have God-loving & God-fearing parents who are a reflection of HIM! Wow.

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