Committed to the Commitments

person signing contract paper

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A line in my devotion this morning went like this; “A committed relationship demands you take the risk of the unexpected.” -Daily in His Presence devotional

I wonder how many of us even thought of that when we took marriage vows, or simply committed to a friendship?  Anything can happen in life, even the things we think only happen to other people.  Life can go sideways and make huge demands of us; emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, spiritually.  Life can drain us.

What do we do then?  When we feel like we’ve given all we have to a relationship, do we give up and walk away?  When someone needs more than we think we have to give, do we quit on them?  A true commitment demands otherwise.

In order to continually give, we must continually be filled up.  Filled up with what?  With love, patience, grace, hope, and energy – just to name a few.  You’ve heard stories of caretakers burning out because they were too busy taking care of someone else to care for themselves?  I think that’s true in every kind of relationship.  We are all caretakers of some kind.  We take care of each other in marriage, in friendship, in a family . . . so, we need to take the time to care for ourselves.

The best way I have found to do that is to spend some quiet time in the presence of God.  He is the source of all we need to maintain all of our commitments with integrity.  In His Presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).  Spending time in His Word, listening to worship music, praying, journaling – all practical ways that I keep myself filled with the love of God, so that I can love others with His love.

Do I do this perfectly?  No.  I do, however, do it almost every day.  He is my Rock and my Salvation and He keeps me in perfect peace when I keep my focus on Him.  I don’t think I could do this life without Him.  As I recently heard someone say, “He’s not my crutch, He’s my stretcher!”  I love that because Jesus is my Refuge, my Rescuer, and my Strong Tower to which I run when things get scary.  And this world can be REALLY scary!

God’s commitment to me allows me to keep my commitment to others; to my husband, to my children, to my friends.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to run away in my 25-years of being a Christian wife and mother.  My relationship with Jesus Christ has kept me anchored and sane.  His love flowing in and through me allows me to risk the unexpected and be truly committed to my commitments.

😊💕

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Addendum to “58 Years Ago”

Okay.  I think my last post was a little too negative.  For the record, all of my friends and family with whom I share my life are bright spots in it.  My husband being the brightest of all. I am extremely blessed and I well know it.  I’m afraid the fact that my house is basically an empty nest and my health is not where I would like it to be, just served to magnify the fact that I am 58 today and 60 is getting closer.

Also for the record, I had a wonderful birthday weekend filled with sweet family members, lots of laughter, and being completely spoiled by my husband.  Life is full of hills and valleys.  Sometimes we focus on the hills and sometimes we focus on the valleys.  That’s part of being human.  This morning I was focused on the valley and I apologize if I brought anyone else down with me as a result.  I am changing my focus now.

👍🏻😊

58 Years Ago

On this day 58-years ago my mother, Dixie Lee Miller, was in Santa Ana Community Hospital giving birth to an 8lb. 8oz. baby girl.  She would name her Brenda Lee, after the famous country singer of the time.  I believe the hospital is now part of what’s called the South Coast Global Medical Center.  This is what it looked like when I was born there:

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My parents lived at 8002 Carnation Dr., Buena Park, California.

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This is the street view on Google maps today (modern technology is amazing!).  I’m sure the house looked different in 1960, but I haven’t located a picture of it from that year.

For some reason, this birthday is a difficult one.  30, 40, and even 50 were birthdays I celebrated quite happily.  I celebrated all month the year I turned 50!  A lot of changes have come with this birthday; my youngest son is living and attending college 8-hours away and this was the first summer he didn’t come home for the summer.  My eldest son is about to move to the other side of the world for schooling. I was diagnosed with Cervical Dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes my neck muscles to contract and rotate my head involuntarily and spontaneously.  There are just too many evidences of aging this year and I don’t like it.

There are bright spots, of course.  My youngest daughter recently moved back to Texas with her husband and four kids, and we spend a lot of time together which is a total blessing.  In fact, my daughter is coming to spend the day with me today which I am very much looking forward to.  Otherwise, I would be spending the day alone and probably a little sad . . . or very possibly, a lot sad.  I got to go home to California for a visit a few months ago and that was awesome!  I got to see my oldest daughter and granddaughter and met some new members of the family.  Fortunately, that was right before the Dystonia got worse so we had a wonderful trip!

There are always bright spots in life. It just seems that I have to look harder for them as I get older.  Aging is a cruel thing, I’ll be honest.  I don’t know if there is a good way to prepare for it other than taking as good care of yourself as possible, but even that is no guarantee of an active lifestyle in the golden years.  Am I even IN the golden years yet?  I’m pretty sure I’m past middle age.  I don’t know.  I always hear that “age is simply change” and “It’s just a number.”  I can’t decide if those attitudes are optimism or denial.  Either way, today I am another year older and this time, I feel like it.

👵🏻😕

A Mama’s Perspective

I have a son, 24-years old and other than a year of living in a college dorm has always lived at home.  In a little over a month he is scheduled to move to Central Asia for 2 years of college there.  I am torn.

On one hand, I’m excited for him!  What an adventure!  I’m sure he’s going to learn a lot and grow in leaps and bounds as a man.  I may not even recognize him when he comes back.  On the other hand, I’m freaking out!  Central Asia?!  That’s the other side of the world!  Is he at all prepared for this?  How often will I even hear from him?  Holidays and his birthday without him for the first time in 24-years, how will I cope?  How will this family cope?

I don’t really know the answers to those questions other than, “by the grace of God”.  I have been very blessed to have had this young man so close for so long.  Even when he was living in the dorms at college, he was only 10 minutes away.  I believe he is in God’s will in this latest venture, so I believe God will see us all through it.  That doesn’t mean that this mama’s heart isn’t going to hurt.  Shoot, I’d drop him off at college (he didn’t drive until after his freshmen year), watch him walk away and flash back to his first day of kindergarten and start crying.  I’m kinda pathetic when it comes to my kids, especially my boys.

Don’t misunderstand.  My sons are not mama’s boys by any means, especially this one.  He couldn’t wait to move into his dorm freshman year and only moved home for his sophomore year because it was “financially prudent”.    He gets impatient with me when I display any clinginess of my own.  He’s been chomping at the bit to move out for quite awhile.  He is, however, a pragmatist and usually chooses the more practical way of doing things and leaving home has yet to be practical for him. He decided on this path to Central Asia and it required finances – a lot of them.  Living at home and saving his money seemed the practical thing to do.

We always told him that as long as he was working or going to school, we were okay with him being here.  We also told him that unless he was in school, he would be paying rent, and for a time, he did just that.  His dad and I decided to make an exception though, and help him prepare for his trip by letting him live with us rent free.  Which made the decision to live at home even more practical.

I’m sure everyone has their own opinion about our decision to let our son live at home rent free, or even to charge him rent in the first place.  That’s not what this post is about though.  It’s about separating from our children when it’s time.  The time will inevitably come.  Just like there are differing opinions about rocking your children to sleep, or holding them too much.  I have learned from experience to hold on to every second I have with my children.  I rocked them to sleep when they were little.  I held them every chance I got and it still wasn’t enough.  The day still came when they didn’t want me to hold them anymore, or hug them in public, or be affectionate at all at times.

It doesn’t matter how old they are when they “finally” leave home.  They all leave when they’re ready and that’s the perfect time.  As long as we’re not enabling them to avoid the real world, or doing whatever we can to keep them at home because WE can’t let go.  It’s a difficult balance to maintain sometimes, but not impossible.  My son went to college, he worked, he is active in church and out in the “real world” except for where he resides.  For the most part, we have maintained the balance – not enabling and not clinging – and done a fairly decent job in my mind.

I think it’s interesting that he’s been living at home for so long and now that he’s preparing to leave, it’s going to be an epic “leave” to the other side of the world.  We won’t see him for at least two years.  It’s going to be hard and I’ll have 24-years of memories to help me get through it, as well as the support of my husband. I also have 3 other children and 5 grandchildren to keep me busy.   Most importantly though, I have the amazing grace of my loving God who has blessed me so incredibly!