By Rhonda Ihrig
Thanksgiving is almost here and all around are signs of fall…where the leaves turn bright red, then brown, and finally fall to the earth. As I look forward to having my family over for a big turkey dinner, stuffing, veggies, and of course dessert, I begin to think of all the things that I am thankful for. Yet in the midst of gratefulness, my thoughts are interrupted by the tragedy of losing my grandson last year. I must admit that since his accident, it has been hard to focus on what I am thankful for. The distraction of our loss encroaches on every thought. But as I prayed and mourned, the word “cherish” came to mind. My first thought was, ”Cherish what?” But yes, there is so much about him to cherish:
- His laughter
- His giving heart
- The times he would say, “I love you Nana”
- Caring for him as a baby
- When we talked about the Lord
- The times I cut his hair (he had great hair)
There are so many things I loved about him and I was reminded to always cherish the time I was given with Kaleb. I can honestly say that looking back over the short 14 years I had with him, I have no regrets.
I really love my family. But more than that, I have learned to “cherish” every moment that I spend with them, even when they get on my nerves. I feel blessed that I have been given many, many wonderful times with my children and grandchildren.
So my encouragement for you is to make the most of every situation with your children, all of the time, because you never know what the next day or moment will bring.
Don’t just be thankful for them, “cherish” them.
I’ve struggled with depression for most of my adult life. As a child I was always happy. Then at age 19 it seemed like a switch flipped in my head. From then on it felt like I was crawling uphill, trying very hard to enjoy life and live in freedom. I wanted to have joy so desperately that I began to study the brain in an attempt to figure out what happened to me. Alongside that, I kept hiding God’s Word in my heart, trying to find that joyful connection with Him. The results of my studies, especially those from the Life Model have taught me some unexpected things.
‘Self-care’ is a topic that gets a lot of attention within circles of moms these days, and for good reason. While taking care of ourselves is fairly easy when we only have ourselves to take care of, it proves to be a lot more challenging once we throw children into the picture and begin sacrificing all of our time and energy into raising them.
I used to LOVE storms as a child. The kind that knocked out the power and my family would cuddle in the living room next to the good-for-nothing fireplace that barely put out any heat. I loved when we would break out the candles and pull out the flashlights. The atmosphere of our home would literally change. I loved the sound of the thunder and the way it made the windows shake. It felt so majestic and so much bigger than me. And then my dad would come home and turn on the generator and all would be back to normal. We were known for asking our dad to just give us one night without power so we could “rough it” like the rest of our neighborhood.
I was sitting in the parking lot of Target with tears streaming down my face. And these weren’t happy tears because I knew I would go in for one ordinary item and come home with a bag (or two) of glorious finds that would fill my home with beauty and unnecessary trinkets. These were tears of grief. Of loss. Of friendship.
“Here’s what I know about Heaven’s daughter: She is lovely, intelligent, and capable. Her life is connected rather than isolated. She is loved by God and hated by Satan. She is oppressed worldwide by both subtle and obvious means. The question remains: What might she be collectively if she was supported and strategic?” -Lisa Bevere
To every new mother who has or is going to have a daughter, this is for you.
Do you ever wonder if what you are doing as a mother is truly significant? While I know the responsibility of raising children is significant, there’s something about the daily tasks of changing dirty diapers, preparing multiple meals, and picking up toys constantly scattered around the house that leave me struggling to find significance in the mundane responsibilities of being a mom.
“I wish I had faith like you and Dad. I wish I could experience God like you guys experience Him.” My oldest daughter confides in me, with tears welling up in her eyes.
With each child in my home comes a completely different personality … and a completely different way of experiencing God. I love seeing Jesus through their eyes and watching their eyes light up when they read a certain scripture for the first time. However, one thing I wasn’t expecting was insecurity regarding their relationship with God. From all my kids, I’ve heard statements like …
“It's been over ten years since my wife and I have had sex” confided the humble, albeit distraught man to my husband, hoping for some Godly answers to his marriage predicament. What once had been a marriage of mutual passion had dwindled to a cohabiting couple, sharing daily chores, bills, church services, but sadly void of any warmth behind closed doors.
“She’s driving me crazy!”
“Did I tell you what he did the other day?”
“Well it’s not as bad as that time she…”
Sometimes the one-upping I hear from mothers isn’t about how great their little miss did in their dance competition, but rather how much their child is driving them crazy. And I will be the first to admit I have jumped on that bandwagon more than once.
Looking back at what feels like a lifetime ago, I stood around a kitchen island with a bunch of friends, newly married, complaining about our husbands. It. Was. Awesome!
It was like this deep itch I wanted to scratch and releasing these words did just that. It felt so good to share about all of the dumb things my husband did and hear other women contribute theirs. It was like I was suddenly part of this exclusive club and these women “got” me.