Going to church on Sunday is a start, but what are you doing to get spiritual meat in your daily diet? Find accountability & work on growth.
Prayer prompt for Saturday, Dec. 27
So many volunteers keep our church functioning smoothly behind the scenes. Seek out one of them tomorrow morning and tell them thank you!
[Single] Parents Night
Our church youth leaders hosted a Parents Night event tonight, which was partly a meeting to discuss upcoming activities and partly getting-to-know-each-other time. We split into two smaller groups for Q&A, and I was the only single parent in attendance, which made me the odd man out. It wasn’t as terribly awkward as it could have been, but I still felt a little self-conscious. I knew one of the couples in my group already, which helped me loosen up. Some of the questions were silly, and others were more serious and/or spiritual. It was nice to get to know some other parents and youth leaders better, which was the point of the activity.
I’m really glad I went, but the whole day has brought my single-parent status to the front of my mind, as if it’s tattooed across my forehead.
A dear friend was going through a really tough situation earlier today, and as we talked about it over the phone, she made the comment that I’m stronger than her because I’m independent. (Those weren’t her exact words, but I think it captures the gist of what she said.) I appreciate where she’s coming from, and I realize she meant it as a compliment, but sometimes I think it must be more difficult to be dependent on someone. I don’t really know what that’s like, beyond my growing-up years at home.
I read in the Bible and hear pastors teach about biblical roles in a marriage, and I don’t disagree with the concept, but I have seldom witnessed it firsthand. (That’s not to say that I have no godly marriage examples in my life, but I’m talking about a situation similar to my own, where the wife works outside the home and there are more than a couple of kids in the house.) Truly, I would like to not have to make all of the decisions and pay all of the bills, in addition to other daily chores like cooking, cleaning, sorting mail, grocery shopping, driving kids hither & yon, and household repairs. It’s just that I’ve had to do those things for so long (yes, for the most part, even during my marriage) that I’m not sure what it would be like to have someone to share the load. On the other hand, I want my ideas, opinions, and intellect to be valued in the decision-making process, as well. Being submissive doesn’t mean (or shouldn’t mean, that is) being bossed around.
For example, I heard a preacher on the radio this week who, I suppose, thought he was being funny as he talked about husbands and wives, and he made the comment, “Thank you, ladies, for cleaning up after us.” I thought to myself, “Are you kidding me? Clean up after yourself!” It is not ok for my kids to leave plates & cups sitting on the dining room table. The older three have rotating chores that include loading & unloading the dishwasher. The younger two take turns wiping the table and sweeping the dining room & kitchen floor. Are they still messy? Of course — they’re kids — and I bark at them 24/7, it seems, to pick up after themselves. My house is far from pristine, and I have bad habits that I need to adjust, as well. But to pick up dirty dishes left by a grown man too lazy to take them to the sink?!? I don’t think so.
I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible where it says that a woman should clean up after a man. Some people may think that perhaps I’m too independent for my own good, but if that’s their interpretation of biblical submission, then I may as well stay single forever.
Prayer prompt for Sunday, Oct. 12
Nehemiah didn’t rebuild the city walls solo. Turns out, I couldn’t fix my shower by myself, either. The church is a body; we help one other.
Prayer prompt for Saturday, Oct. 11
Tomorrow is the best day of the week! Who are you inviting to join you at church?
Prayer prompt for Monday, Sept. 22
What is something practical that you can do this week to minister within the ministry of our church?
To think or to sleep
I had a lovely time at a work-dinner tonight. It was the Homecoming Alumni Banquet, where the university recognized three alums for their achievements. The food was good, the company was nice, and since I’m fresh out of hot dates at the moment (that was sarcasm, in case you missed it), I got to bring my 15yo as my guest. We had fun, and he behaved like a gentleman — see, I knew he was capable of breathing between mouthfuls of food! 😉 He cut his meat into bite-sized chunks, ate slowly, and carried on conversations with others at our table. I was very proud of him and enjoyed our time together.
Then, we got back home.
I learned that No. 4 had ridden his bike through the neighbor’s neatly raked gravel driveway ditch, which a) he knew full well not to do, and b) he’d already been scolded for doing it once before. So tomorrow, he and I are walking back over there (his big brother who was babysitting already made him apologize today) to offer his manual labor services for whatever they might need done. In addition, he’s grounded from anything with wheels for the rest of the month. I will probably tack on some additional chores, especially if the neighbor doesn’t accept his offer to work.
I just don’t understand what goes through their heads sometimes! It’s infuriating, not to mention embarrassing because the neighbors must think I’m a totally out-of-touch parent. I probably shouldn’t care what they think, but I do. We are the minorities in this neighborhood/community/city/state, and it makes me feel sad and awkward when their behavior reflects poorly on our family. Maybe that sounds like I’m putting too much pressure on my kids to behave, but are the Mormon kids riding their bikes around the neighborhood like stark-raving maniacs? Absolutely not — in fact, I hardly ever see them. It’s like there are these huge houses filled with gobs of kids, and you Never. Hear. Them. EVER. It’s uncanny to me, because my boys are LOUD even when they are behaving!!
As if that weren’t enough, No. 3 blew a gasket with me when I scolded and grounded him because he was disrespectful to his brother-in-charge while I was away. There’s more to the story, but I’m tired and don’t feel like rehashing it. He accused me of not caring about him and wanted to call Nana to tattle on me for being so mean to him. Sometimes, I have to take deep breaths before I can even speak.
Then, I found out that one of the best hug-givers at my old church died unexpectedly today after what seems to have been a very brief and violent illness. No one knows anything substantive, so we have to wait for the autopsy results to learn more. Her husband died of a heart attack a year or so ago, and part of me feels glad that they are together in glory, but part of me still feels the loss. We weren’t even super-close friends, but she was always eager to greet me with a hug, and she looked forward to reading the devotionals that I write. She was one of those people who you don’t realize are watching you, until they say something that blows you away — like how I meant a lot to her, and she looked up to me. What? Really? Wow. Humbled.
Plus, tomorrow is 9/11, which means social media is filled with quotes and blurbs and photos and rants. I think I’ll just take a day off from Twitter and Facebook, because the deluge of that type of imagery makes me feel gloomy.
I really should be in bed by now, but I need to clear my mind. I read my Bible for a little while earlier, and maybe I’ll read a novel for a bit. It’s hard to go to sleep — and sleep well — when my brain is filled with sadness and coulda-shoulda-woulda scenarios that make me feel like a terrible parent.
Prayer prompt for Saturday, Sept. 6
I challenge you to get to church 10 minutes earlier than usual tomorrow. Find someone you don’t know well (or at all). Take initiative.
Prayer prompt for Friday, Sept. 5
Getting ready for Sunday mornings requires all hands on deck. If you aren’t already involved in a ministry, find one and get plugged in!
Prayer prompt for Thursday, Sept. 4
Think about the faces of those who sat near you at church last Sunday. Even if you don’t recall their names, pray for them today.