That Little Boy

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That little boy

Digging in the dirt

Splashing in the puddles

Rocks, bottle caps, gold plastic coins

In his pockets.

 

That little boy

Candy hoarder

Style of his own

Shorts and T-shirt

Red boots on his feet.

 

That little boy

Wrestler, tussler

An impish look

With a sweet “yes Mama”

To melt a heart.

 

That little boy

Shy and unsure of Santa

Morphs into—

Curious explorer

Fearless adventurer.

 

Church camp alone?

No problem.

Friend magnet

No problem.

 

Lover of critters

Large and small.

 

That young man

Compassionate heart

Hands that don’t shun hard work.

 

Head that grasps the obscure

Creativity overflows.

Wings fully formed for flight.

 

My little boy

Married to his love

A mother’s prayer answered.

 

The lovely girl—

God’s gift to us all.

A mother’s bittersweet place accepted

Less is needed now.

 

But prayers continue always

As he soars in God’s universe

Under his watchful eye.

 

A mother’s proud final launch

Of that little boy

Grown to be a man.

 

He got married last weekend. It’s hard to fathom the passage of time, fast-forwarding with blinding speed to this special date.

The long, lazy days of childhood, melt away with a drip that turns into a trickle. Then it rushes from the steady stream of boyhood, to a roaring river of adolescence, sweeping time away in it’s devouring path to manhood.

Cherished memories remain in a mother’s heart always. In my heart forever as I realize I’m done with the raising, but not with the wise counsel if asked.

I will always be his biggest fan, his mentor, and spiritual advisor.  I will wait in the wings for the times he still needs me which will be fewer and farther between.

His new wife will become his closest ally and confidant. As was God’s plan from the beginning.

But I will always be there as long as God allows.

A mother’s love never fades.

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Gen 2:23-24 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

-Whether you are a mother, or a mentor, or just a friend to a young person, God can use you to help guide them toward Him even if it is only through prayer.

-Say a prayer of protection and spiritual guidance for that young man or woman now.

 

 

 

 

A Mother’s Tears of Joy

IMG_5106My mantra for the wedding weekend:

Just hold it together.

Don’t cry.

At least don’t do the red-nosed, blotchy-cheek, sob-thing.

Have fun! It’s a joyful party.

If you sob like a baby, everyone will look a you and feel sorry for you, and that’s the last thing you want.

You want the focus on the lovely, sweet bride and her handsome groom.

You want everyone to see how ecstatically thrilled you are to have this beautiful, kind and loving young woman in your family now.

The woman you’ve asked God to send for the last twenty-four years.

You are so proud of your son who waited patiently for such a wonderful match, baptized her in the ocean and is a faithful leader in his church.

So show it! You’ve spent blessed years raising, teaching, and nurturing him for this moment.

Focus on the joy!

Push aside the ache of memories of the little blonde boy now grown too fast.

So what did I do after I preached to myself several times? I prayed. And I prayed, and did I say I prayed? I wish I could say that I prayed first before I tried to do all the positive self-talk. I soon realized I would never make it through the day on my own.

I prayed over and over,

“Lord, help me to keep it together.”

The wedding day started with worship, which he led. So, right away I was the emotional proud mama. As I listened to the honeyed words of praise flow through the mike and swirl into the air to our Lord, my voice hitched and I felt tears well up in my eyes.

But, I breathed deeply, and prayed silently and repeatedly. The love of my son and the love of my Lord entwined together, in that moment were almost too much for me.

After lunch he asked me to come see his new house, me only. Thrilled to have a little alone time with him, I wanted to sob on his strong broad shoulder and tell him passages were hard, but I was also beyond happy!

But, I refrained from burdening his tender heart, and confusing him with my mixed emotions of mother angst. So I just hugged him fiercely and told him I loved him, willing my voice not to crack.

The ceremony began like a whirlwind, matching the intensity of the winds and crushing waves. I prayed fervently for strength not to give in to my emotions.

Before I could catch my breath, I was seated and gazing at the wondrous sight before me. My sons, standing together as one supporting the other, the older, witness to the eternal vows of love and faithfulness from the younger.

A tear of joy, or two or three slid down my cheek. But there was no drama, no sobs, no unchecked stream flowing.

Wrapped in the purity and simplicity of the vows, the sights and sounds of God’s creation cocooned around them, I forgot my struggle. I allowed myself to relax and be enveloped in the peace, love and pure joy wafting through the air.

God’s gift to me and the answer to my prayers was not the absence of tears, but the ability to relax into him and enjoy the precious moments. He removed my fears by giving me his hand and whispering, “I am enough and I will always be enough, trust me and I will carry you through.

Then, He released the dolphins which danced in the background for the duration of the ceremony.

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Psalms 34:4 I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

-Think of a time you let your fears overwhelm you.

-Ask him now to help you work through your fears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Mother’s Prayer

 

Malibu Pier--Site of the Johns/Donohue rehearsal dinner

Malibu Pier–Site of the Johns/Donohue rehearsal dinner

At five AM I’m wide awake. I know my sleep is over, but I despise the thought of rising in the dark, so I lay there.

 

I toss, I turn,

 

until finally the crack in the curtain lightens. (California’s two hour time difference is a hard adjustment on a southern gal.)

We walk down to the coffee shop at six forty-five.

 

The preacher has to have his morning Java or three. Me? I’m a chi girl, a recent convert from hot chocolate.
The low din of casual conversations made a pleasant white noise in my ears. Make note, I rarely if ever actually hear a song playing in a restaurant, too busy socializing, mostly. But, slowly the background music seeped into my awareness:
“Lets go down to the river and pray, Oh brother let’s go down, come on down; come on brother lets go down— down in the river to pray. As I went down in the river to pray, studying about that good old way, and who shall wear that robe and crown, good Lord show me the way.”
Images flooded my head, of the white robed masses, walking, and singing as they approached the waters for a huge baptismal scene. (From the movie, O Brother Where Art Thou).
The song, a not so subtile reminder, a gentle nudge—-
I should have started my morning with a prayer instead of just now remembering. This is such a milestone weekend. How could I forget, with a beautiful and joyful wedding approaching, in lightning speed?

 

But as always, I’m reminded I’m very human and fallible, but the Lord is patient with me.

 

 Oh Lord, Bless my children

Bless their new marriages
Help them to know that their young love is worth fighting for
Even when the world says it’s not.
When times are great— receive their prayers of thanks.
When times are tough—stretch your hand over their prayers giving them strength and perseverance.
When times are stressful—grant their prayers for peace.
Help them to learn to fight fairly, play frequently, love deeply.
Help them to realize early on, that there is no room for:
selfishness
stubbornness
or grudges.
Help them to trust that you are always there to help them, through the darkest of times,
which will come.
But help them to know it makes the sun shine even brighter,
when they emerge hand in hand on the other side.

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I Peter 3:7 (NLT) In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are (physically), but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

-Make a point to pray for marriages daily, whether it is your own,  that of others, or newlyweds you know.

Mother’s Day–Perfection Not Required

Ethyl Kennedy Rose Garden. Tralee Ireland Photo by Taylor Johns

Ethyl Kennedy Rose Garden. Tralee Ireland Photo by Taylor Johns

He created me,

She carried me to life:

Powdered and pink

Dressed to delight

Nurtured, sheltered and adored.

She showed me what life is:

Peanut butter on celery

Something from nothing.

Eggs on toast

Ducks In a wading pool

Sour made sweet.

She modeled for me— the life I was born for:

Kindness and compassion

Selflessness and serving

Encourager of others.

God focused.

She moulded my life,

He made it eternal.

Mom of girls, she never tired of creative pursuits and girly gatherings.

She was the ultimate homeroom mom, the creator of individual marshmallow santas on popcorn ball sleighs, complete with candy cane runners. Cooking, baking, crafting.

 

Sewing matching dresses for us, she somehow made them look better than the department store models. Dresses we couldn’t afford.

 

She was the realistic embodiment of the Proverbs 31 woman. That woman was superhuman. But the human example my mother set for me is invaluable, though I despair to keep up.

 

My mother was not perfect. She would cringe for me to paint her so. Though, I never doubted for one moment that I was fiercely loved, always and forever desired.

 

As a mom of boys I had to learn to participate in other activities than those of my pink ruffled past. Frog catching, bug gathering, and slimy fishing worm skewering. I still shudder at the fish gutting, but I never let them see my green disgust. 

 

Hours of soccer playing, and baseball throwing. (Though I was later banned from the throwing when, to my baseball playing husband’s horror, he realized four-year old Luke was throwing like a girl!) Hmmfff!

 

To say there were no raised voices, no doors slammed, no angry tirades, no counterblasts would be untrue.

 

To be a mother is great joy mixed with toil, sorrows, despair, anger, and tears.

 

But despite my imperfection, I think my boys would say they never doubted that they were fiercely loved, always and forever desired.

 

God’s great love for them, covers my mountains of mistakes on their rock-strewn path to Godly manhood.

 

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Read all of Prov 31- Below is an excerpt:

v 10 Who can find a wife of noble character? For her value is far more than rubies… She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the ways of her household… Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also praises her: “Many daughters have done valiantly, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Give her credit for what she has accomplished, and let her works praise her in the city gates.

-Who do you know that embodies this woman?

-Pick one thing to work on this week in your journey to be like her?