Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 11--Love Cherishes

Today's Dare

What need do your children have that you could meet today? Can you run an errand? Give a back rub or foot massage? Is there housework you could help with? Choose a gesture that says, "I cherish you" and do it with a smile.

Ephesians 5.28-29 says, "Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it."

As I read these verse, I thought about how to apply this to my children. So, I looked up the word "cherish" in the dictionary, and this is what I found:

1 a: to hold dear : feel or show affection for <cherished her friends> b: to keep or cultivate with care and affection : nurture <cherishes his marriage>2: to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely cherishes that memory>
synonyms see appreciate

I went a little further and looked up nurture and appreciate:


1 : training , upbringing 2 : something that nourishes : food 3 : the sum of the environmental factors influencing the behavior and traits expressed by an organism


1 a: to grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance of <appreciate the difference between right and wrong> b: to value or admire highly <appreciates our work> c: to judge with heightened perception or understanding : be fully aware of appreciate it> d: to recognize with gratitude appreciates your kindness>2: to increase the value of

Now, I have to say that I certainly have nurtured my children physically as well as I could. I cared for them, fed them the proper foods, and did all the "proper" things a mother is supposed to do for her children--when they were very young.

As for training and upbringing--at a certain point in our lives, their father's drug addiction took over everything else. There was no proper training or upbringing. I was extremely depressed, hospitalized twice for this, and my children were more or less left to their own training and upbringing--which was not the best, of course.

I have spent hours--days--weeks--months--going over this time in my mind, and this time lasted for many, many years. I have felt extremely guilty over this--my children were not neglected, by any means, but I truly wasn't there for them as I should have been. My whole life was taken over by fear. And even more than fear, I felt shame--the shame of what our lives had become.

Was there anyone to share this with? No, no one personal knew. Doctors knew, counselors knew--and I was given the same advice over and over again--"Leave, leave now before things get worse." Did I follow that advice? No, not for many years--until I got to the point that the fear was so overpowering to me that I knew I could do nothing else to help my husband at this time. He needed to want to change these behaviors himself, and he just did not want to.

And, so we all, my children and I lived in fear and near poverty levels.

As for appreciation--I thought I did appreciate my children. But, do I grasp their full significance, their full worth, do I admire them highly, understand them with insightful perception?

Sadly, the answer to these question is "no, I do not." I do not fully appreciate them and I did not fully nurture them--especially through those very important teen years. They were left to their own upraising and training.

I do, however, cherish them. I see them as an extension of myself, part of my own body that gave life to them. I care deeply for them; when they hurt, I hurt; when they are happy over a success in their life, I am also; and they are certainly on my mind quite often, and I cherish my memories of them and look forward to new experiences with them that I can cherish in the future.

As for the dare today, the opportunity to show how I cherish daughter #2 just dropped into my lap. I called her today and asked her if she wanted to go shopping with me this evening if she wasn't working.

She told me that she could because she was no longer employed. She has lost her job of 4 years, which is the longest she has ever held a job. She knew this yesterday, but she didn't share it with me because she thought I would be upset. She has a history of leaving jobs quite unexpectedly, and I have more or less pounded it into her head, "Don't quit a job before you have another one on the horizon."

So, here was my opportunity to cherish her. I told her that this may be the best thing that happened to her in this situation. She was stuck in a dead-end job, no room for advancement, working 60-70 hours a week for unreasonable pay, and many responsibilities fell to her that weren't hers at all.

I supported her instead of telling her that she should have just swallowed all her employer was telling her, in a rather nasty and abusive way, I might add.

We did go shopping, and we talked. She already has had two job interviews, a very good prospect for one of these. The pay is much less, so she has decided to work part-time a few evenings a week to supplement her income.

I congratulated her about this. I truly was hurting for her, but seeing that she took positive steps towards moving on was very uplifting to me. And I told her that these new jobs did not have to be a permanent lifetime change--just jobs to carry her through until she found the "right" job.

We had a better time with each other than we have had in I couldn't even tell you when. We talked, we laughed, we cried, and most of all, we both showed our love and appreciation for each other.

As for daughter #3, I mailed her hot pads to her today with a note inside. I know that she will be glad to receive these, especially since she thinks I completely forgot about them.

And my son--He told me today that he feels that he has moved backwards in some ways, that he is regressing, that he is showing anger in inappropriate ways. I told him that just realizing that his inappropriate behavior was truly inappropriate is not a backwards step, but a forward step. The realization of this is half the battle.

So, now we will move on to Day 12:

Love Lets The Other Win

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2.4

And the dare for Day 12:


Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your children. Tell them you are putting their preference first.

Remember, Chelle' has posted parts of each chapter of the book on her blog. Be sure and stop by and visit her, read what she has written and the comments of all of us who are doing this dare.



Peggy said...

Blessings Beth...You do cherish your children help and you moved into this Love Dare with the most difficult one at the moment. Though it looks like your son in admitting his inappropriate anger may be reaching for help so be there! Ask him how you can help him deal with this or seek through prayer. You did give him positive affirmation, now go that extra step. It's so good that you had a good time with daughter #2 like a friend! We'll continue to hold her in prayer for the right door and wisdom. That will be nice for your other daughter to be pleasantly surprised! Let that guilt & shame go! You're a good, caring mom!

Denise said...

You are a precious blessing to your children.