As a writer, I consistently trumpet God’s plan for marriage. I have five books under contract with Oak Tara, and my publisher recently said I should expect “a flurry” of books coming out soon. All champion married love.
About two decades ago when our youngest son was in high school, a conversation at the lunch table revolved around the importance of having two parents in the home. He was horrified–no one agreed with him that fathers and mothers added different dimensions to parenting, and each was essential. He’s a father, and recently we revisited this theory. He affirmed his position, rejoicing that God had given him a helpmate to mother his son and affirming her value in the family.
Tragically, many young people today don’t experience God’s plan for a family. This Sunday, our pastor taught on the Song of Solomon–I’ve never heard a sermon on that beautiful, neglected book. He said, the source of most marriage struggles, and the beginning of most heartbreak, can be traced to the church’s neglect to teach God’s plan for marriage.
For my male readers, I commend C. J. Mahoney’s book Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God. Another good one: Sex Begins in the Kitchen, by Kevin Lehman. And I repeat my constant theme: Sacred Passion. It’s God’s Idea.
I’m currently working on the Hope House Girls Series, which will tell the stories of each of the girls in the maternity home where my heroine began her journey.
My husband and I our day with God, reading Scripture and praying, before we go to work—he to his medical practice and I to “the Salt Mines,” as I refer to my writing room in the basement. But I also read a daily devotional TGIF (Today God is First) by Os Hillman. I recently read one titled “Finding a Cause Bigger than Yourself, and I realized I have such a cause that motivates and permeates my writing, and it is the Sanctity of Marriage.
While I recognize God is a Redeemer, and He gives second chances, and certainly two of my characters in my upcoming book, When I Am in Your Arms, experience His love in the arms of a wife who is not their first shot at marriage, I believe God’s will is most perfectly experienced in a long and happy marriage.
On our Fiftieth wedding anniversary, our son sent a card and added in his own hand: “Thank you for being role models. I am grateful to your example of what marriage looks like. You two were not only dedicated to each other, but to the institution of marriage. When many parents of friends were divorcing, I never doubted you would stay together.” We made our mistakes in rearing our children, as all parents do, but stability goes a long way in maintaining a home.
Christians are called to remain faithful to one another, and my blog theme is “Sacred Passion, it’s God’s idea.” God requires sexual purity, not to limit our joy, but to increase it, to provide a safe place for intimacy of the one flesh relationship of marriage. As a mentor mom for the Mothers of Preschoolers Group in our church, I consistently underscore the importance of I Corinthians 7—our bodies belong to our marriage partners. Intimacy brings joy, and it heals hurts and restores unity after misunderstandings.
In a recent authors’ blog post, I said as writers, our best work is when we write what we know. Readers often think my novels are true stories. They aren’t, but often the conversations are ones I have had with girls in crisis pregnancies, or young moms struggling with their children or their husbands.
After fifty-one years of marriage, I’ve learned a few things about maintaining an enduring and loving relationship, and one of the most important secrets: Renew. One of my favorite Bible readings is Ecclesiastes 3, a time for everything. To be born and to die, to kill and to heal, to tear down and build, to weep and to laugh, to mourn and to dance . . . .
Joe and I recently spend a few days away to celebrate our anniversary. No kids. No grandkids. Just us, and no agenda. A time to renew, to remember why we’ve chosen over and over again to share our lives.
When we were young, we couldn’t afford to go to a fancy hotel, but we could turn off the phone, sit on the couch after the kids were down and watch a movie. We could take them for a walk–I remember getting large appliance boxes from the back of a store and taking our three little ones to the levy in New Orleans so they could slide, roll, and tumble–and giggle. Didn’t cost a thing. Renewal. Try it with the one you love–even if the love seems frayed and worn.
One of our daughters-in-law has started calling Joe Father Abraham. Only recently we were counting our blessings–six grandsons! Truly, he is a a Patriarch–and, although I’m not having our first son in my 90′s as Sarah did, I feel having these new grandsons in our 70′s is remarkable. (I have laughingly called it God’s joke.)
Sitting beside one of our older grandsons in church yesterday during the children’s Christmas program, my heart ached as I realized perhaps when their babies come along I wouldn’t be here to see their program. I wanted to assure them I would be among that great cloud of witnesses, and if they paid close attention, they would feel my love even though I couldn’t be physically present.
Another son and his wife traveled four hours to come see his new nephew last weekend. Maybe their sixteen-month old doesn’t know the significance of that, but his grandmother sure does. When we have left this earthly place, our family will go on. By God’s grace the brothers and sisters will have one another, and the heritage we leave them.
Have you ever taken a shower and turned your face up to gulp the water–sometimes it’s a bit warm, but it still quenches the thirst.
Have you ever said thanks when you flush the toilet?
How about looking around the produce aisle at the grocery and feeling overwhelmed at the varieties of fresh, safe food?
Or run to the doctor with a broken bone and leaving with a cast?
These simple, ordinary things we take for granted, but Joe and I just returned from a medical mission with Scalpel at the Cross in Pulcapa, Peru, and those “ordinary things,” are occasions for gratitude.
We saw old fractures–some months old, or even longer, healed up wrong, leaving limbs crooked, sometimes painful or even useless and precious , uncomplaining people waiting patiently to be seen, sitting under a tent covering for hours.
I almost cried in the store yesterday, grabbing romaine, broccoli, carrots, and cabbage, and I thanked God drawing a glass of water from the tap and flushing my tissue. In Peru, even the finest hotels and restaurants have a trash can beside the commode to place your tissue.
As I gather with my loved ones, even though our country may be fraught with problems at the moment, this year I will thank God for the ordinary blessings of being an citizen of the U.S,A.
I have spent many hours this week with another Joseph, only we call him Alan, his middle name. Joseph for for his paternal grandfather; Alan for his maternal grandfather and uncle. Although mama is still officially on maternity leave, she had to go into the office this week for an on-site review. Grammy most joyously took up the slack, and the newest grandson and I got tight. I deny it’s gas smiles when he spits out the bottle and grins when he hears my voice. I may smell a bit like spit- up, but it’s worth it. I’m kinda sorry the week is over.
Last weekend aunt and uncle from Virginia came in to help put the nursery together, and we had grandson #5–also precocious. A little over one, he is saying all kinds of words, learning “ba-bee” over the weekend. Choosing the best father/grandfather for the genetic inheritance has worked out well for me. All our sons and grandsons are the handsomest, most intelligent . . . . Oh, do I sound prejudiced? Sorry. Not.
But I’ll stick with Pop, my number one-and-only. Thanks for the memories, Love.
I have been warned about blog postings being unrealistically filled with blessings. I can’t help it–our sixth grandson was born two weeks ago, another boy (our sixth grandson, no girls yet.) One of the cousins commented to the new mother: “We are a boy family!” We welcome our newest addition, a nine pound twelve ounce whopped of a kid who looks like he might walk any day. (Just kidding. He is soft and cuddly and his Grammy’s pride and joy, as are all of them.)
My husband astutely notes that I am enjoying having a grandchild this close to us–I can get to him in a matter of minutes instead of hours, and I’m trying not to make a pest of myself, but I do pop in for “Grammy fixes”, even though they don’t need help. The advantage of later-in-life babies is that the fathers are more mature and responsible. I have been so proud of the way my sons have stepped up to the plate, and this new father, like his brothers, is incredibly good with the baby and the new mom.
Maybe you think it bold of me to proclaim myself as “righteous,” as in the title: The Seed of the Righteous, but that is Biblical. The reference is in Psalms, “the seed of the righteous are mighty on the earth–the world needs our offspring. And Righteousness is heaven’s gift to the believer. We have exchanged our unrighteousness for the Righteousness of Christ. It is his gift to us. Nothing we earn. We cannot buy it nor ever deserve it. We can only receive it. God blesses us and His Word shall not depart from the mouth of our children’s children. Being a grandparent is a cool thing!