Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fun in the Snow After Being Sick

Here are some picutres from about 1-2 months ago. Aaron took the girls outside because they had been in the house for so many days from sickness.
Here comes Auti!
Jayna geers up to throw a snowball at Mom who has the camera.
Autumn is having fun in Jayna's sled. We have a very small slope in our front yard.
Jayna thinks she can take her dad down in the snow, while Autumn watches from the bottom of the slope.
Obviously, Dad won this one. (Autumn still watching patiently.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter...New Life

My sister-in-law sent me a wonderful email. I liked the message very much and thought you might too. Have a beautiful Easter!

Motherhood often seems just like spring. It's a season of extremes. During a spring day, it can be freezing, raining, blowing and sunny--all in an hour. Mothers can be yelling, crying, pleading, and cuddling--all in a matter of minutes.

Extreme mothering begins with the "extreme" wait. We wait, filled with impatience, for that once-in-a-lifetime call from the adoption agency or we count the days until our due date. We wait to witness our baby's first step. We wait to see if the preschooler will ever stay dry.

We long to hear our elementary child read aloud with fluency as they master their first reader. We hold our breath as we listen to our children recount their first day of junior high. We pray constantly throughout high school as our children begin to drive and date.
Then, we wait to hear how they're really doing in college or in their first apartment.

As moms, we also plan in extremes. One minute we've got all our ducks in a row. The next, our children moved every duck until nothing is going according to our perfect plan--today, this week, this month or this year. We live every day of mothering activating Plans B, C, D and E.

We may even plan for an extreme, fun-filled Easter ending up with everyone too sick for one bite of Easter candy. Extreme mothering also shows up in our emotions. We whisper under our breath that we won't live through one more day of a particular childhood stage. A few months later, tears well up remembering that our children will never be that little again.

Some days we're angry with their willful behavior. By the next day, we're so proud of them that we send out a press release to family and friends.

But the ultimate extreme found in mothering involves compassionate, zealous, sacrificial love for our children. There's a she-bear inside us ready to lay down our lives to protect our cubs. We adore and protect our children to the extreme--beyond distraction, distance or empirical data.

This compassionate, no-holds-barred kind of parental love is celebrated on Easter. The perfect heavenly parent sent a perfect son into a totally imperfect world to save totally imperfect people--by sacrificing the life of his son.

Today people still give up the lives of their beloved children to save the lives of others. A few years ago, I read a story in a national news magazine about two sets of parents--one whose son needed a heart transplant and the other whose son died and donated his heart.

The mother of the son who donated his heart held the son who lived and breathed. In the chest of this healthy baby boy beat her dead son's heart--still alive, still thumping--although he died.

I can't imagine the poignant pain, yet agonizing joy, of holding someone else's son whose healthy, pounding heart belonged to the son I lost.

Asking Jesus into our hearts is like what happened between these two mothers. At the time of death, one mother willingly gave up her son's heart so it could beat in another. It's as though our father in heaven did exactly the same thing. God looked down knowing that this totally imperfect mom was worth the suffering and death of his one and only son. He placed the heart of his son into me so that I might live. Simply put, God replaced my dying heart with the living heart of Christ. His son died so that I will live eternally.

The Bible says: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ gave up his life for us." 1 John 3:16.

That's a supreme extreme of a parent's love to give up the life of a beloved child to save the life of another. Why not ask God today for the living heart of his son to replace your own dying heart so you, too, will live eternally? And have a happy extreme Easter--no matter what the weather or too much candy might bring!

-Mary Steinke: Mary speaks at retreats and moms groups, teaches Bible studies, writes many Hearts at Home newspaper articles, and serves on the Publishing Team for Hearts at Home. Before children, she worked in full-time ministry as chaplain in such diverse settings as nursing homes and prisons. Mary resides in Normal , Illinois , with her husband, Harry, and three sons.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sorry...Hang in There

I am sorry I haven't posted in awhile. We have battled a couple more illness and the fight is still on. Nothing too serious, just annoying stuff like the rest of the world. God's promise of a new season is very encouraging! Here is a little encouragement for you while you await the spring season too...continue to cast all your cares upon the Lord. He hears them, cares for them and will help you. Stay tuned for some pictures of fun in the snow after being cooped up together in the house. I will try to get them on soon.