Advice I’d Like to Give to My Young Mother Self – Matthew 4:18-20

To my dear self at twenty-three, from an older you,

This is what you asked for.

All your life you have wanted to know your purpose. You desired the freedom that comes from living simply and trusting God. You prayed to become a wife and a mother. Now live it.

He added a husband to your life, and children. No one has ever been the wife and mother that you are to these people. Your family is unique. No one else is you.

No one will do it like you. God made and equipped you to be you.

Yes, your rebellious heart did damage to his creation, but in Jesus you are completely forgiven, thoroughly redeemed. He has given you a new heart. Your job now is to follow Jesus and “he will make you . . .” Trust him, learn from him, seek him, cling to him.

Just like God designed your body with a place for a child to grow and a way to provide a newborn’s first food, he will continue to equip you to tend, teach and train until your job is through. He does nothing for the purpose of frustrating you. With him, you can do what he gives you to do.

He is with you always, and following after him, you will arrive at the destination he has planned for you.

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.  And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Matthew 4:18-20 ESV

Trusting doesn’t mean you do nothing. Following is a relationship. Trusting and obeying him is your contribution to the relationship, and your desire to be close to him, and your reliance on him, pleases his heart.

Just follow him. He has made and equipped you, and he will continue to.

And to my older future self, all of the above still applies.

Kathy Davis

The Day our Hero Cried – Romans 12:15

Dad’s mood was somber that morning in 1966 when he sat on the couch and opened his arms for a bear hug. The four of us piled on his lap, hugging and chattering, squirming and pushing. Dad didn’t seem to mind the ruckus. Lowering his head, he squeezed us extra hard.

We knew Dad loved us more than anything. We didn’t know his heart was breaking.

The night before, the phone rang after we’d started getting ready for bed, which was unusual. Mom and Dad talked quietly about the call, and as Dad prepared to battle the Kendall Ford fire*, he pulled the curtain back to peer into the evening sky.

firefighters. skeeze. free pixabay

He drew us all to the window to show us the glow over downtown Eugene. It was all so exciting, like waiting for fourth of July fireworks or a lunar eclipse. We bounced into bed for hours of peaceful sleep, unaware our dad would spend the night at war.

As he held us on the couch, he described how big the fire was, how hard he’d worked, and that two firefighters had died. One was a friend whom he’d supported as he fell, the other a young man several yards away, a young husband and father.

That’s when I saw the tears in his eyes.

I’d never faced the possibility my dad could be hurt before. It rocked my world to see him cry. I thought he was indestructible, unshakable, but he proved otherwise. His heart hurt for the wives and children who were suffering at that very hour while he held his family close, and I shared his pain, thanking God my daddy had come home.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15 ESV).

My dad’s example drew me closer to him, because now I understood he had weaknesses just like me. Because he allowed his family to see him grieve, he helped us see that everyone needs God to be their Father.

It was such a powerful moment in my life, it made the transition from trusting Dad to trusting God a natural one. Thank you so much, Dad!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

*The Kendall Ford fire occurred on October 11, 1966.

 

Keeping the Joy

My son and his wife and daughter from Florida are here this week, and we’re filling our days with all the touches of love that we can – from siblings, aunties and uncles, great-grandparents, and more.

We’ve played Frisbee on the beach at Florence, popped in to see old friends from church, visited family in Portland, and sat in the Oregon sunshine to eat BBQ. Three homes have felt the gyrations from all kinds of raucous noise.

Where my Joy Comes From

KD joyfulmom 10-1980
With my first two sons, Joshua and Aaron 1980.

When I asked God for children, I felt I understood the heartaches that would likely come with parenting. That’s why I chose to recognize him as the source of my joy. I am a “joyful mother of children” (Psalm 113:9 NIV), even when disappointing things happen, because of who he is and what he’s promised.

These Things are True

God made me a woman, and my desire for marriage and the capacity to have children was his idea. Therefore, I can find reasons to be thankful even in the middle of misunderstanding and schisms – when my world seems to be completely falling apart.

Here’s what Jesus said:

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:10-12 ESV).

He wants us to follow him, do stuff his way, and abide in his love. His purpose is to give us the fulfilling joy that comes from abiding in his love.

Note that he only asks us to do what he does. He wasn’t known for following the whims of folks around him, but rather, he kept his Father’s commands, staying close to his heart. He loved people, even to the point of severest agony, for those who misunderstood him (“for the joy set before him,” Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV).

Abiding in his love, I can do this, too.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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