Does anyone ever tell a new mother or a young mother that no matter how old your children get you never really stop parenting, mentoring, coaching, or supporting them?
No one told me – at least if they did, I sure didn’t hear it.
The ways we interact with our adult children matured and developed beyond the ways we once cooed, shhhhed, rocked, nurtured, and loved our little ones. Yet, there are times when I wish I could hug, kiss, and love their hurts and troubles away like I once did.
Didn’t a hug, kiss, and a prayer work in miracles when our children were young?
I still hug my kids.
I still kiss my kids.
And believe me, I still pray like crazy for my kids – maybe even more today now than when they were younger.
Our family returned to the United States after living on the African continent for 15 years. Over that fifteen-year time span, we visited the United States in short durations. We enjoyed these precious times with family and friends and were filled with their love and care before returning to Africa for another three-year term. Life went on like that for our family for many years. We loved it.
When we couldn’t return to Africa in March 2020 and then determined that God was leading us in a new direction in the United States, our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds were awakened to things we actually didn’t want to see, to hear, or to feel.
My children are hurting by what they are seeing and hearing.
When we turn on the television, angry and abusive election advertisements attack our spirits.
When we drive through neighborhoods, chained-up, forsaken dogs slash our hearts.
When we view the news, an onslaught of brokenness, pain, and transgression overwhelm our senses.
When we hear divisive, unrepentant rhetoric over and over and over again, dismay and discouragement weigh us down, down, down….
And this is everywhere… anger, abuse, neglect, brokenness, pain, transgression, lack of repentance, discouragement, and dismay are engulfing us and honestly, what can we even do to stop it all?
Why aren’t we all shocked by it?
When I drive around our little community in New Mexico, there are signs up that encourage us to
Of course, it is nice to see these sentiments about town. But why are they posted here?
Is it because people are not kind?
Is it because people are not respectful?
Is it because people have stopped caring?
Is it because people are not friendly?
Have we become so accustomed to the awful, vengeful, divisive, selfish, hurtful side of human nature that we have become numb and unresponsive and have capitulated our hearts?
Now you may say that our family is experiencing reverse-culture-shock as we adjust to living in the United States again.
Yes, we are.
And we will continue to do so.
However, one thing we learned from our life in Africa is that when people come there or return there after being away for a while, they have fresh eyes to see, open ears to hear, and responsive hearts to feel. New and returning residents consistently offered fresh and different insights about the place in which they lived to us. And I think we are doing that now in some ways as we stay here in the US.
It’s just a question.
However, why do we give our attention to the shockingly awful????
Can’t we turn away?
Can’t we ignore it?
Can’t we stop giving our time, our resources, and our attention to people and things that are harming us?
And if we are followers of Jesus, doesn’t He ask us to be something more inviting, more loving and good in this world than the deceit and disgust (sorry, I’m calling it for what it is with our election ads, news, and more) we see and experience all around us?
For my children, I can’t just hug, kiss, and pray away what they are seeing and hearing in this world. I wish I could.
So, what can we do?
Over the years I have encouraged my family and friends to read Romans 12 once a day for thirty days. I am convinced that if people put the words of Romans 12 into serious practice, this world would be a different place after those thirty days. Real heart transformation would happen.
The first two verses are enough to motivate us to change even today:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
New International Version, Romans 12:1-2
Or said another way in the First Nations Version:
So, then, my sacred family members, because Creator has shown us such mercy and kindness, I now call on you to offer your whole beings, heart, mind, and strength, to the Great Spirit as a living sacrifice. Do this in a sacred and spiritual manner that will make his heart glad.
Do not permit the ways of this world to mold and shape you. Instead, let Creator change you for the inside out, in the way a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. He will do this by giving you a new way of thinking, seeing, and walking. Then you will know for sure what the Great Spirit wants for you, things that are good, that make the heart glad, and that help you to walk the path of becoming a mature and true human being.
First Nations Version, Romans 12: 1-2
I love the idea that we are sacred family members. And if this is the case, shouldn’t we be walking, talking, acting, and behaving in ways that honor and appreciate each other as sacred and precious?
Our family is reading Romans 12 this month. If you like, you are welcome to join us as we seek to make the heart of our Lord glad. We seek to become more mature and true human beings in a world that seeks to discourage and destroy our spirits.
Let’s do something heart-affirming, and soul-satisfying in response.
What do you say?