Family, Friendship, Parenting

The Relationship Test

How do you know you care about certain people? You want to be in their presence.

Drop by my house. Come any time.

How do you know they care about you? They want to be in your presence.

We’ll make space for you. Everyone scoot over.

My most memorable example came from a two-year-old when I was hiking the Tijuca Forest with a cousin and his four young children. Caves were our first destination.

Before we entered, my cousin mentioned that his youngest was afraid of the dark.

Cave Entrance

“I’ll hold Daniel while you explore with the others,” I offered.

Since his birth, I’d spent weeks being the child’s caretaker while his father worked, and his mother received medical care.

“He won’t leave me.”

He was right. The two-year-old refused relief from his fear and clung to my cousin’s neck. He would rather be with his father in the dark he hated than without his father in the light he loved.

View from inside

Throughout the day, it was obvious Daniel loved his father so much that nothing was worth leaving his presence.

To whom do you cling?

…in your presence there is fullness of joy…

Psalm 16:11
Family, Friendship, Parenting

As Much As You Are Loved

“You are not behaving like someone who is loved as much as you are loved.”

After my boys were in college, I heard this response to a child’s behavior. I forgot the source, but not the sentence.

Along the way, I decided that while the sentence is a powerful response to behavior, it is not helpful for change, unless followed by a second question. “Why?”

Why do people, especially our children, not behave like someone who is loved as much as they are loved? I have pondered that even more as grown children express their frustrations. I have two answers

We are either not showing love or they are not feeling the love we are showing. I suspect the latter most often.

Are you feeling loved?

Family, Parenting

Daily Faithfulness

Her children rise up and call her blessed: … Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.

Proverbs 31:28-29
Mollie 1983

My step-grandmother—the Mollie who inspired my pseudonym—was born this day 120 years ago. This photograph shows her essence.

Mollie only went through fifth grade because she was needed at home to cook, clean, and watch siblings. She became a stepmother to three rowdy boys before she had her own daughter. One uncle repeatedly said she saved his life with her counsel and love.

My father and his brothers with Mollie (top left) c. 1936

My father took his last Navy paycheck to buy his mother an electric stove to replace her wood-burning one. She wept.

My father with Mollie

Mollie did not play with grandchildren, and she was too poor to buy presents. However, she gave us much more with her godly example and love and stories and laughter.

When my grandmother passed, there were so many orders for flowers that one local florist called a distant city for help. My favorite tribute?

Mollie never did anything big according to worldly standards. However, she did the small things daily, and daily faithfulness is harder.”