Archive | May 2013

The Other Women

baby handWhen Matthew, our oldest son, was a mere 24 hours old, my husband, Craig, found me sobbing in the hospital rocking chair.  I was holding my new born baby boy and crying my heart out.  Just literal gut heaves … it wasn’t a pretty sight.

Craig came into the room and rushed to my side, “Honey!  What’s wrong?!  Is something wrong with the baby?”

“No,” I replied through gulping sobs, “Someday … I’m going to have to give him to another girl!”

And so it began … the dread that someday Matthew … and then Christopher … and finally Jordan would no longer belong to me.  I was their first love and ached to stay in that place of prominence.  Someday, I mournfully realized, another woman would take first place in their hearts.  I would be relegated to the back seat.  Good ole’ what’s her name.

The years of learning how to tie shoelaces, shooting baskets in the driveway and family game nights quickly passed by and we sent our boys off to college.  I knew that as they began this new season in life, a new season in my life had begun as well.  It was only a matter of time and I was a goner.  Finished.  Washed-up.

Matthew called during the first semester of his Junior year in college and told us that he wanted to invite a girl to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s with us.  Her name was Emily.  As this blonde girl from Minnesota walked into our front door, she also walked into my heart.  I immediately knew that I could love her like she was my own.  She played games with the younger kids, fixed the little girls’ hair and helped like a champ in the kitchen.  Yep … she was a keeper.

Matt and Emily

Christopher brought home “just a friend” during one of his Christmas breaks as well.  Liz joined 2 or 3 other college friends at our home and even though Chris didn’t see it yet … I loved this girl!  She had sparkle and compassion.  She was obviously head over heels in love with our son and we thoroughly approved.  The night that Chris proposed to Liz at Rockefeller Center beside the Christmas tree by singing her an original song was a night of joy and dreams coming true for the entire family.

chris and liz

And then … my youngest son left me!  He, too, went to college thousands of miles away from home and fell in love with the girl of my dreams for him.  Allie’s zest for life and commitment to be a prayer warrior wiggled its way into my heart and I couldn’t love her more if I tried.  Jordan needs Allie like the flowers need the rain and the earth must revolve around the sun.  She is his perfect match.  Head to toe.  Heart to heart.

jordan and allie

What was I so worried about?  Why did I think that gaining a daughter-in-law meant losing a son?  What it really meant was enlarging our family – and I love big families!  What it really meant was the opportunity of seeing my sons so gloriously in love and so completely fulfilled.

Each one is a gift and yet so different … Emily, Liz and Allie.  The girls that I prayed for from the days that my boys made their grand entrance onto planet earth are the girls that God chose for each beloved son.

“Emily … my prayer for you is that you will find daily joy in the smiles of your children and the strength of your husband.  I pray that God would reveal Himself to you in miracles big and small.  I pray that you would know that God is enough in each season of life and that He would give you the capacity to love like He loves.  Thank you for loving Matt.  I love you dearly.”

“Liz … my prayer for you is that you would allow God to use you to the maximum!  I pray that you would feel the compassion of His heart and be a vessel for His love on planet earth at this time in history.  I pray that Jesus would fill you with wisdom, with discernment and with the joy of His presence.  I pray that His Word would come alive to you. Thank you for loving Chris.  I love you dearly.”

“Allie … my prayer for you is that time spent on your knees would be the most productive moments of your life.  I pray that God would enlarge your capacity to hear His voice and to obey His leading.  I pray that your desire to go to the mission field would be fulfilled in His time.  I pray that you would be a missionary at home, at school, at work and in the neighborhood. Thank you for loving Jordan.  I love you dearly.”

If I could tell that young mom in the hospital rocking chair anything that I have learned in  giving my boys to “the other woman”, I would tell her that life is sweeter and richer because of the girls that God brought their way.  I would tell her that when you embrace the girl that your son chooses that it brings no pain but the fulfillment of a dream and the answer to a prayer.

I would tell that young mom in the hospital rocking chair to get a grip … God is extraordinarily good in all seasons of life.  We don’t raise our sons to keep them locked up – we raise them to give them as a gift to the world and as a gift to the girl of God’s making and choosing.

Well done, God.  Well done.

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Sheltered in His Arms -by Lisa Buffaloe

winter  ashberry  snowThe call came late at night. ‘One of the boys is missing … It’s Jack.’ Hastily, my dad put on his coat and drove to the Boy’s Home where he worked as Executive Director. Rain and ice pelted the car and the windshield wipers brushed away furrows of frost. The tires struggled for traction on a glazing coat of ice covering the bridge.

The Christian home offered refuge and safety for children and Jack was one of their best kids. Dad arrived at the home. Shielding his head, he dashed for the covered porch. Nothing had changed, the boy was still missing. Grabbing a slicker to put over his coat, he stepped back into the rain.

That week, Jack had been given a new calf by the ranch manager and told if he cared for the calf properly, the animal would be his.

Flashlight in hand, my father ran and slipped his way to the fenced area at the barn where the calves were kept. Icy rain slid down his neck as he searched for Jack’s calf. Dad climbed the fence to look farther and stumbled over a broken bale of hay.  After spotting a crumpled coat on the ground, he reached to pick it up. His throat tightened as salty tears mixed with rain.

Inside the coat, Jack lay asleep. His back to the rain, ice crystals forming on his jacket, he sheltered the only thing he had ever owned of value—a small red calf.

Years later, my dad continues to share this true story. Other than groggy and cold, Jack was fine.   And the calf received the royal treatment with a bed made from bales of hay. Like Jack did his young calf, God wraps us tightly in His love, protecting us through the storms and cold of this world.

You are cherished by the God of the universe.   No difficulty or problem will ever keep Him from your side.

Heavenly Father thank You that we are safely sheltered forever in Your loving arms.

 

Devotion taken from Living Joyfully Free by Lisa Buffaloe, page 33

Lisa Buffaloe October 2012 headshotLisa Buffaloe is a writer, blogger, speaker, happily-married mom, founder and host for Living Joyfully Free Radio. She is passionate to tell others about God’s wonderful love, healing, and restoration. Her past experiences—molestation by a baby-sitter, assault, rape by a doctor, divorce, being stalked, cancer, death of loved ones, seven surgeries, and over eleven years of chronic illness from Lyme Disease—bless her with a backdrop to share about God’s unending love and that through Him we find healing, restoration, and renewal. She is the author of Living Joyfully Free, Nadia’s Hope, a  2010 Women of Faith Writing Contest Finalist,  Prodigal Nights a 2011 Women of Faith Writing Contest Finalist, and Grace for the Char-Baked. 

1000 Lives to Give

Inscribed on a missionary’s gravestone are these words, “If I had a thousand lives, Korea would have them all.”

This one woman had more dreams and vision for Korea than one lifetime could accomplish.  I don’t know her name, but her words move me deeply.  Her passion for Korea brings my heart to its knees.  Korea would have her first life … and her thousandth life.

Her life was lavishly poured out for the people of Korea and I believe emphatically that this woman died with no regrets.  She only wished that she could give her life for Korea again … and again … and again.  One thousand times over!

I feel the same way about motherhood.  Perhaps my tombstone will boldly proclaim, “If I had a thousand lives to give … motherhood would have them all.”

Cooking MomsI was raised in the baby boom years of America;  my role models were my mom and her friends who cooked dinner every night while wearing high heels.  These women made enough spaghetti sauce in one week-end to feed the entire state of Rhode Island!  The coffee pot was always warm, the clothes were perfectly folded and the kitchen floor was wet-mopped every morning by 8 a.m.  “Success” to my mother and her friends was being president of the PTA and chairing the annual church turkey dinner.

I was sandwiched between that sweet, stable tradition and the voices of Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinham.  While Jane and Gloria were burning their bras and protesting the war in Viet Nam, I was being taught the proper etiquette of how to write thank you notes while wearing proper white gloves.

When I started college in the fall of 1973, I had grand anticipation in my heart!  What was God’s destiny for me?  Would I marry a pastor or be the next Barbara Walters?  Would I teach third grade?  Or be a Pulitzer Prize winning author?

I asked God to challenge me to stand on my tip-toes every day of my life.  I promised the God of Creation that I would never settle for mediocrity but that I was His girl at this time in history to make a profound and lasting difference.

What I didn’t realize was that His idea of making a difference … and my idea of making a difference … were 2 completely different things.

babyOn January 29, 1981, at the University of Alabama Medical Center, I discovered the reason for which I was created:  as Matthew Craig McLeod was placed into my arms, I knew that nothing would ever be the same again.  I was a mom!  I was a mom!!

As I looked at his miraculous little face and counted his ten tiny fingers and toes, I realized that I was responsible for his soul.  God, the Creator of the entire universe, had put me in charge of his gifts and talents; I was responsible for discipling this little man who was filled with heavenly potential.  In my arms was God’s answer for the next generation.

After giving birth to my first taste of heaven on earth, I became pregnant 9 more times.  5 of those babies died in my womb; 4 of them completed our clan of boisterous, creative and energetic McLeod’s.  The ones who went to heaven taught me to appreciate the ones who were left under my care.  The ones who danced in eternity taught me how to be a defiantly joyful mother … while the ones on earth have made me happier than one woman deserves to be.

Moms … next time someone asks you, “And what do you do for a living?”

Don’t ever say, “I am JUST a mom.”

The words “mom” and “just” are mutually exclusive … they contradict one another at the very core of meaning.

If you are a mom, you are a teacher, mentor and coach.

You are a nurse, a chauffeur, and an administrator.

You are a counselor, a best friend and a psychologist.

You are a pediatrician, a pastor and a maid.

You are the a CEO … a CFO and the FBI!

You are on the maintenance staff, the executive staff and the creative staff of your corporation known as “Family”!

You are responsible for Homeland Security.

You are raising up the next generation who have the capacity to change the world.

love-2_lIn every generation, mothers must answer the call to be what no one else can be for their children and to do what no one else can do for their children.  The future of the church, our nation and the world depends upon what we do with the children under our care.  What could be more significant than that?!

What will be written on your gravestone?

“This was one busy lady!”

“This woman knew how to make money … and spend it!”

Or, perhaps, like me, you will be gratified with these simple words,

“If I had a thousand lives to give … motherhood would have them all.”

family pic

 

Photo credit: x-ray delta one / Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: Etolane / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: (davide) / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND