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

When our Heroes Showed Up

My husband rented a log splitting machine last Saturday hoping we could split our year’s supply of firewood in a day, but we were in over our heads.

When I arrived Jerry was pushing against a segment of the tree that didn’t want to budge. It looked like a slice of sausage still attached by the skin, and he had to roll it back and forth to break it free. My man worked with everything he had.

The ticking clock

JD crew firewood 4-2015

I took my position at the lever to raise and lower the wedge, freeing him to feed the slow-moving guillotine. He leaned his weight against the wood until the loud crack announced our success at breaking it into woodstove-sized pieces.

To save costs we hoped to finish the job in one day, and though my arrival quickened the pace exponentially, we admitted we wouldn’t be able to get it done in time. The pressure was intense as we discussed what to do.

The cavalry rode in

I texted for help and our daughter arrived with two strong friends, pulling on their work gloves. Within minutes they’d taken Jerry’s place rolling, pushing, and tossing the wood onto the growing pile, hustling like madmen. Amy took my spot at the lever, and Jerry and I, encouraged, just watched and grinned. We ended up with a nice pile of wood and happy hearts.

JD.KD.AmyFrank Anthonyfirewood 4-2015 crop

They were amazing

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23 NIV).

Part of my anxiety that day grew from concern about the future. I know one day we may not be able to physically handle harvesting firewood, and our family and friends will not always be nearby to help us.

I can’t worry, though. Every human since Adam wondered how they’d survive as their bodies weakened. For now it’s profitable to work hard, trust God, and thank him for the people he’s brought to our lives, like Richard, who arrived to take Anthony’s spot when he left.

Here’s a note

Some things I don’t mind using till they’re worn out, like my car, my Bible cover that’s ratty and won’t zip any more, and my body–especially my body. May I use these things well for their prescribed purposes.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Sometime in the next few weeks I’ll start a series of Bible study/devotionals on my blog. I’m interested in exploring the book of Proverbs again, but I’m not sure where we’ll go yet. I love reading the words of the wise!

Parenting Tip #2 – You Were Made for This

When the doubts come that you have what it takes to parent your child, you need more than a mentor to help you along the way. There are some things you need to firmly believe for yourself.

You Were Made for Parenting

from vancity197 at stockxchng

from vancity197 at stockxchng

God made you who you are. If he gave you the ability to bear children, it follows he has given you tools to perform the job. A woman who successfully breastfeeds understands this. Her body was made to provide nourishment for her child.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15 NIV).

If you’re unable to bear children, it’s still true God has put it in you to have compassion for the young ones and the desire to enrich another’s life. However a child comes to you, you can do this with his help.

Beware of Pride

It’s good to have the confidence that you were designed to parent, but be aware of the temptation to leave God’s direction out of your parenting. No one appreciates a dictator, or conversely, a neglectful parent.

As I suggested in tip #1, spend time turning your attention “in the moment” to God every day. Ask him to humbly lead you as you lead others.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).

One vow I made as a new parent was that I’d copy my father’s example when he took us aside and apologized, asking us to forgive him. It showed me he understood he had human failings like me, and he too needed to be careful to follow Jesus.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis