Month: February 2014

Learning to Be a Grandma

Every Friday I have a most welcome visitor – my 21-month-old granddaughter.  Before she arrives I hurry to get my morning tasks done because once she walks in the door, the only chore that will be done the rest of the day is the laundry.  Laundry?  Yes, because I have a front-loading washing machine and my little darling likes to help me load sheets and towels and clothes into it.  I love it!  I had no idea that doing laundry together would be a wonderful part of being a grandma.

But now that I think about it, I should have known because of my experiences with my own grandmother.  I had the best grandmother and I have purposely thought back to what made her so wonderful when I consider my own role as a grandmother.  What I had forgotten was that laundry was a part of the magic of Grandma’s house.

First, the washing machine was in the basement – a place I didn’t get to see at any other time than when Grandma was doing laundry.  The stairs were steep and dark and the room smelled earthy and dank.  It was nothing like the finished basement at my house.  There were dark corners with interesting shapes and another set of stairs that led to the back yard.  I loved going down into that mysterious basement.

Then there was hanging the wash on the clothesline out back.  I remember the bag of clothespins that hung from the clothesline so that Grandma could easily grab them.  I was too short, of course, to help but being outside with her, watching her pin up the clothes, watching them flap in the wind was part of the Grandma magic too.

And, last, the ironing.  Ironing was done in Grandma’s bedroom.  I would lay on her bed and watch.  I remember so clearly that when she needed to put more water in the iron she would reach for her pretty little Shirley Temple pitcher to fill it up.   Even now the hiss of steam from an iron and the smell of freshly ironed clothes takes me back to Grandma’s bedroom.

There were so many things I did with Grandma – learning to crochet, playing endless games of Go Fish and War, pinching snapdragons to see their mouths open, making blades of grass screech, learning to love reading – all things I plan to do someday with my little Aria as I learn to be a grandma.  But for tomorrow, Friday, it will be stuffing the washer and letting her pretend to push the buttons.  We have so much to look forward to!

Seasons of Life

Twenty-five years ago when my husband was the pastor of a very small church and I was a stay-at-home mom with three little kids, it was extremely difficult to make ends meet.  I remember talking to God and asking Him why life had to be so hard.  After all, we were in the ministry – we were doing His work which could be really tough.  Why did we have to worry about money so much?

About that time, one of the older ladies in the church said, “Oh, it won’t always be so hard.  Things will change and you will be doing just fine.”  I didn’t say anything – not out loud – but I was angry!  How could she say that?  My husband was in ministry.  It would never be better!  I never forgot that moment in time even though it was so long ago.  I knew she was wrong.

There are so many seasons in a woman’s life and so often we think that the season we are in will never end.  A single woman wonders how long it will be before she is married.  The newly married woman can’t wait until they have saved enough money to buy the first house.  The woman yearning for children wonders if this will be the month that brings the news she so wants to hear.  The mother of a 2-year-old wonders if she (and her child) will live through this stage of life.  On and on it goes.

If we believe that God is sovereign, we can trust God with each of those seasons – the good ones and the difficult ones. Certainly I wish I had trusted Him more as a young wife and mother, but how could I trust Him before He had shown me that He is trustworthy?  How could I learn that He will always provide until He brought me through times when it looked like the paycheck wasn’t going to stretch through the whole week? How could I know that He will always love and forgive me until I failed again?

I can look back at my younger self and can extend some grace to that harried pastor’s wife who was finding it very hard not to worry about the bank account that was pennies from an overdraft notice.  God knew what He was doing.  He was using the seasons of my life to mold me, to teach me who He is, to give me the confidence that He will always provide for our daily needs.

Twenty-five years later I see my daughter on a journey very much like the one her mom and dad traveled and I know that her little family will be just fine.  They will go through many seasons – some harsh and wintry and some balmy and green – and God will be guiding them, and molding them, and stretching them, and teaching them that He holds them in the palm of his hand through it all.  Slowly, through the many seasons of life, they will learn to believe Him when He says that He will never leave them or forsake them.


Perfect Marriage?

A generation ago it was not surprising to find couples who had been married twenty years or thirty years or even forty years.  Now a long-lived marriage seems to be a rarity.  In the past couple of years I have been dismayed by the number of struggling and failing marriages in our church and I can’t help but wonder how many are caused by expectations that can never be met.

When Jim and I married almost 33 years ago, we went into it with the understanding that there would never be talk of divorce.  We were prepared to vow before God that we would stay together and be faithful to each other for life.  Looking back now I cannot remember whether I expected our marriage to be perfect.  I was a fairly idealistic 20-year-old, but we had already had a few disagreements and a few adjustments of attitudes and expectations before the wedding day came.  We had found out that Jim was strong-willed and that I was stubborn, but that did not change our commitment to each other.

I do remember somewhere in the midst of raising four children and homeschooling and serving at church and running a small home business that I began to wonder whether we had lost something along the way.  Some spark…some magic.  Life is not easy and marriage is not either, but what we always had was that promise we made to each other when we became engaged and the vow we made to God when we met at the altar at Memorial Baptist Church.

In January Jim took me on a week-long cruise for my Christmas-birthday-anniversary present.  It was wonderful – the weather, the scenery, the food, the entertainment, everything!  But the best part was the realization that our marriage has turned another corner.  We have come through lots of bumps and bruises and good memories and rough roads and happy days and stormy weather and now there is peace and comfort with each other and trust built over time and a looking forward to what is to come.

Could I encourage you not to expect your marriage to be perfect?  Could I encourage you instead to cling to the God who brought you together and to expect Him to perfectly carry you through your rocky times?  Can you believe that He is the author of your marriage?  Can you expect your God to be perfect when you and your husband cannot be?  He is faithful and He will do it!

Why “Worth Doing Poorly”?

Perhaps I should explain the title of my blog – Worth Doing Poorly.  Sounds kind of crazy, I suppose.

I have always loved to create things – I enjoy sewing, crafting, drawing, making jewelry, writing, thinking about new creative techniques to try, but somewhere along my journey, I stopped doing these things.  Instead I thought about how I would probably create mistakes and ugliness instead of the beauty I imagined in my mind.  I’m not sure how that happened or why.

By nature our God is a Creator – THE Creator.  He has made us like Him in many ways and, I believe, creativity is one of those ways.  If I stifle or ignore the creative tendencies He has put in me, what am I really doing?  I’m afraid I am not honoring Him, but just thinking about myself.  Instead of enjoying the gifts God has given me, I am worrying about falling short of perfection.  Instead of trusting God to do what He wants to do through me, I am thinking about being rejected by people who don’t understand.  I am pushing myself into a box where creativity is squashed.

Not long ago, I heard Jill Briscoe speak at a women’s ministry professionals meeting.  (If you haven’t heard Jill Briscoe, you need to go to and listen!)  Jill told us that as a young woman she was involved in youth ministry, but when she became a pastor’s wife, she was expected to lead the women’s ministry of her church.  After complaining to her husband, Stuart, that she was not gifted for women’s ministry; that she couldn’t do it; that she didn’t like women, Stuart asked her if women’s ministry was worth doing.  After receiving the obvious answer, he said that if it was worth doing, it was worth doing poorly.  Instead of expecting to be the best women’s ministry leader ever and expecting to deliver the most perfect messages, she was to do the best she could even if her best was rather poor.

For me, instead of expecting to write a best-seller, I am going to do my best at this blog, and enjoy the loveliness of writing, and let God do what He will with it.  Even if that is just giving me pleasure and honoring the Creator in whose image I am made!

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