Laudable Linkage

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I used to share good reads found online only a couple of times a month. But I’ve found enough lately to post them every week. Here are the latest:

Easter Week in Real Time, HT to True Woman. A synthesis of the gospel accounts of what happened the week of the crucifixion and resurrection.

Locked Down Alone. Words of advice from those in other countries who went into lockdown due to the virus, especially for those who live alone.

Confined to Quarters. Written two years ago, but timely now. “Most of us in our lives will experience a season of confinement. But God has His way. Confinement may liberate us for service that we otherwise would not do. Or God may place us strategically where a Christian testimony is most needed. Confinement may also simply be God’s way of sanctifying us and weaning us from this world to look with greater longing for our heavenly home.”

Weapons for Fearful Times. “God didn’t leave us without options, weapons if you will. Instead of a fearful spirit, what did he give us?”

Loose Lips Sink Families. “For both men and women, our words have tremendous power. They can motivate others to live more like Christ or be exactly the push they need to make choices that are less than God-honoring.”

Sorting Through Our COVID Anxieties, HT to Challies. “Replace ‘what if’ with ‘even if’ and identify the relevant attributes of God that would be relevant. For example, instead of thinking, ‘What if I lose my job’ replace that with, ‘Even if I lose my job God will still be faithful and has given me a church family to walk through those times.'”

Helping Children with Scary News, HT to Story Warren.

Remember the Grandladies. I loved this!

I Love You from Over Here, HT to Challies. “Maybe instead of just saying ‘we miss you’ we can say to our friends ‘I love you from over here.'” Good suggestions of ways to show love from afar.

I know some of you are fond of castles. Since it would be too expensive to reconstruct the damaged ones, someone has Digitally Reconstructed Medieval Castles to show what they’d look like. HT to Challies.

Perhaps, like me, you are old enough to remember Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s beauitful ice dancing routine to Ravel’s Bolero, for which they won a gold medal and broke records in the 1984 Olympics. Or perhaps you’ve seen the video since then. Someone organized a mass reenactment with people from many occupations, ethnicities, shapes, and ages. It’s pretty cool to watch.  HT to The Story Warren.

Sing the Psalms. Like This. This paraphrase of Psalm 46 from Joe Tyrpak and Church Works Media is beautiful, timely, and encouraging. They’re offering it as a free download here.

“Just Wait: It Gets Harder”

A young mom friend shared that she gets the above response whenever she mentions that life can be hard with several little children at once.

Why do we women do that to each other?

I’m so thankful that when I was a young mom, a special older lady told me that each stage of our children’s lives has it’s high and low points, and we shouldn’t dread any stage. I think at the time my oldest was about to turn two, thus I was cringing at the thought of the “terrible twos.” Her words helped me not to view that season of life negatively, and the “twos” were not all that terrible.

Though baby- and toddlerhood hold some cute, sweet, fun, and incredibly precious  moments, small people depending on you for every little thing can be exhausting. I loved my babies and little ones, but this stage of life was hardest for me. When they can feed themselves, go to the bathroom by themselves, dress themselves, etc., life gets a lot easier.

Perhaps for some moms, what I call the “taxi years” are the most taxing, when you’re chauffeuring kids to sports practice, music lessons, church activities, birthday parties, school activities, etc., etc. That season does have its challenges. We tried hard to strike the right balance by offering our kids a number of opportunities without the whole household revolving around children’s schedules. It’s not easy. But one perk was that one of our children opened up much more in the car than if I tried to draw him out across the table.

Probably most who warn about harder years of parenting are referring to the teen years. Once, when my children were still young, an older mom and I were working on a bulletin board together at church. As she shared something about her teenage daughter, she said something like, “Don’t dread the teen years. If you keep the relationship good, keep communication open, and train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, the teen years don’t have to be a trial for either of you.” And she was right, just like my mom friend who told me not to dread the “terrible twos.” The world has bought into this idea that rebellion is a teenage rite of passage, but it doesn’t have to be. They do ask hard questions, but we should welcome them and help them seek answers. They should be coming to a point where their beliefs are becoming their own rather than just rotely following what they’ve always been told. There might be a few bumps in the road towards independence, but it doesn’t have to be an all-out war.

And then we come to parenting adults. In some ways, it’s a relief that all their decisions are their own responsibility now. Yet we have to let them make their own mistakes. We only offer advice when asked, and then carefully. We have to let go, but we can pray.

Each stage of development is a necessary part of growing up. Each has its hardships and its blessings. We need to encourage each other all along the way.

Imagine you’re hiking up a mountain trail. The way is rough, you’re hot, and you’ve still got a long way to go. Way up ahead you see another hiker. You call out to her and ask how the trail is between you. She says, “You think it’s bad now; you think you’re tired now; just wait. It only gets harder the further you go.”

How encouraged would you be? Not at all.

How much better if those ahead on the path called back, “Yes, it’s tough. But God gives grace. You can do it. Keep up the good work!” Or, even better, we can share how we found verses like 2 Corinthians 9:8 true in relation to motherhood: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

Motherhood has been one of the hardest aspects of my life. Not much else (besides caregiving) showed me how selfish I was and how much I needed God’s grace. But watching and learning from other moms was a great encouragement.

Much has been said in recent years about mentoring, but we don’t need to set up formal mentoring relationships in order to encourage others. So often, I’ve received the most encouragement from off-the-cuff, seemingly random conversations in passing. But looking back, I know they weren’t random. I know God placed those people in my path for  my encouragement.

I’ve shared before this poem from an unknown author that was quoted in Rosalind Goforth‘s autobiography, Climbing (one of my favorites). I had always thought of it in relation to life in general, Christian life in particular. I had mostly thought of it in relation to missionary and other Christian biographies. Even though it’s not specifically about motherhood, much of it can apply. We don’t need to demean or “one-up” others. Older moms, let’s call back encouragement to younger moms. Older women, let’s support younger women whether they are mothers or not, married or not.

Call Back!

If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back-
It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perchance, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when forest’s roots were torn;
That when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill.
He bore you up and held where the very air was still.

O friend, call back, and tell me, for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.

But if you’ll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky-
If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back-
It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

Has someone “called back” in a way that encouraged you? I’ve love to hear about it in the comments.

(I’ve read several posts about encouragement this week. This must be a
message God wants emphasized at this particular time.
I love how Kelly expanded this truth to all scenarios here.)

(Sharing with Inspire Me Monday, Global Blogging, Literary Musing Monday,
Hearth and Home, Purposeful Faith, Tea and Word, Tell His Story,
Happy Now, InstaEncouragement, Anchored Abode,
Let’s Have Coffee, Recharge Wednesday, Share a Link Wednesday,
Wise Woman, Worth Beyond Rubies, HeartEncouragement,
Grace and Truth, Faith ‘n Friends)