My Daughters, My Treasures

 

This past week, we visited our son and his wife AND our youngest grandson, Caleb—our Christmas baby! While there, I began working on a little booklet which is a compilation of Matthew Henry’s notes on Proverbs 31.

As I was reading and copying and pasting and organizing the information into a booklet, my daughter-in-law was busy sewing.  She has her own business (EverythingSewn91) and has been very successful. But that success did not just happen! She spent HOURS researching, preparing, and working diligently to put together a top notch website AND producing high-quality custom baby bedding, and the Lord has blessed her efforts. Did I say that she works hard? Her hands are never still! She cares for our grandson and her home and our son, and seems to do it effortlessly! She is a Proverbs 31 woman!

Way out in South Dakota, on the lonely prairie plains (not really, but it sounded so poetical!) lives our son and my other daughter-in-law AND three more grandchildren. There is a blog post in me somewhere on the challenges that I’ve worked through I’m working through, dealing with family so far from home. She is caring for our three grandchildren, homeschooling their oldest, and working hard had just staying afloat with three very active sweethearts! Plus, she’s expecting our seventh grandchild!  Oh, yes, and our son is working crazy hours, which means she spends LONG days in a two bedroom apartment! I’m praying hard for them as they head into winter. A home is in the near future, but right now, they’re working hard to make that happen. She is a Proverbs 31 woman!

Then there’s our daughter, which the Lord has graciously kept nearby all her seven years of married life! She is raising two precious towheads, active little boys, in my childhood home.  I love that place and marvel that God put them there, but that house is over a hundred years old and NOT the easiest place to keep clean! There’s a big yard, plenty of room, but plenty of care. She is my right-hand “man” at church, doing TOO much, but lovingly serving the Lord. She also has a photography business! She is a Proverbs 31 woman.

I don’t know how any of them do what they do! They all have their challenges, but each of them is leaning heavily on the Lord, determined to have godly children, and make a difference in this world! I love them SO much and praise my heavenly Father for His goodness.

Proverbs 31—some may hate that chapter of the Bible.  It’s SO convicting, and Matthew Henry cuts us no slack in his words!  Plus, couch them in a fifteenth-century culture—no woman’s rights, no modernism—and they are quite convicting. HOWEVER, no matter the age or the challenges, we all have the same goal: Christlikeness, success in God’s eyes with our lives and the lives of our families. It takes work and dedication, but may I say once again:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:4

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Talent or Tenacity?

I’ID-100197640ve been teaching piano lessons now for over forty years, and I’ve had a lot of different students!  Some have gone on to college, majoring in music, while others didn’t make it past the first year!  I’ve noticed something over the years, and my conclusion may surprise you:

I’d rather have a student who is disciplined than one who is talented.

Talent is a gift from God.  There is nothing we can do as a parent to give our children talent. It is such a shame to see talent wasted, especially when the talent is wasted because a child has not been trained to be disciplined.  We often quote Proverbs 6:22

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Once again, I turn to my dear friend, Matthew Henry—a seventeenth-century commentator whose writing seems timeless! I admit, he can be a bit verbose, but the treasured insights are worth the digging:

A great duty charged, particularly to those that are the parents and instructors of children, in order to the propagating of wisdom, that it may not die with them:  Train up children in that age of vanity, to keep them from the sins and snares of it, in that learning age, to prepare them for what they are designed for. Catechise them; initiate them; keep them under discipline. Train them as soldiers, who are taught to handle their arms, keep rank, and observe the word of command. Train them up, not in the way they would go (the bias of their corrupt hearts would draw them aside), but in the way they should go, the way in which, if you love them, you would have them go. Train up a child according as he is capable (as some take it), with a gentle hand, as nurses feed children, little and often, Also see, Deuteronomy 6:7.

 A good reason for it, taken from the great advantage of this care and pains with children: When they grow up, when they grow old, it is to be hoped, they will not depart from it.  Good impressions made upon them then will abide upon them all their days. Ordinarily the vessel retains the savor with which it was first seasoned. Many indeed have departed from the good way in which they were trained up; Solomon himself did so. But early training may be a means of their recovering themselves, as it is supposed Solomon did.  At least the parents will have the comfort of having done their duty and used the means.

Having a talented child and not training them to be diligent is like having the sharpest knife you can afford but using the wrong side to try to cut something!  Frustration and discouragement is the result of such foolishness: for the student, the teacher, and the parent.

This is not an article on “how to train your child,” but a challenge to do it.  I’m convinced that most of us know WHAT to do; we just aren’t consistent ourselves in DOING it, perhaps because we are not disciplined ourselves.  Our own desires get in the way of training our children.  OUCH!  That may seem harsh, but I’m afraid it is often the truth. It is HARD to train children.  It is tiring, frustrating, at times, confusing, but oh, iit is worth all the effort!

As a mother of three grown children, it is with great joy that I’m able to visit their homes and see successful living.  What do I mean by that?  They are making right choices, sticking by the stuff, and raising godly children.  Our family get-togethers are sweet because children listen and adults think of others. There is joy, joy, joy in this old heart.  Are their lives bump-free? No, but they are proving God to be true to His Word!

So, take the challenge. You can do this! Start small and be successful in one tiny area.  Maybe it’s the mandate to make the bed every morning.  Perhaps it’s the underwear drawer: match the socks and fold the undies! 🙂 You will NEVER regret instilling the tenacity to do right into your children!  That’s a promise from God:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Strong Children – No Greater Joy!

No Greater Joy Ministries's photo.

PARENTS – if you are looking for great articles for parenting, check out No Greater Joy.  You may be tempted to discount them at first glance, but there is MUCH truth in what they say.  Just apply one of my pastor’s favorite quotes: Eat the fish and spit out the bones, although, when it comes to biblical truths, there aren’t many bones in this one!

It is not a tough exterior that God desires or that people admire; it is a tough spirit, an overcoming spirit, a spirit of service, caring not for the sparse thanks, nor flinching at misunderstanding.

The world is a giant, confidence-eating cud chewer. It seeks our defeat. Whatever path we choose in life will be littered with signs that say, “Closed to you; you can’t do it; this is for people more talented or advantaged; you can’t make a difference.” And when you believe the signs and stop to ponder, you will hear voices that say, “You are not important; no one cares; it is not worth it; quit now.” The weak go no further. They settle down and accept the lot that is handed to them and spend the rest of their lives unhappy and unfulfilled. The tough don’t believe the signs and never slow down to listen to the voices. They are the doers, the precedent setters, the pioneers. Their accomplishments may never win Nobel prizes or be recognized with applause at a banquet; but they will know in their hearts that they have run the course and overcome the hardships to conquer, even in the little areas that may only matter to a quiet few. But they were not quitters, slackers, or buck passers. At the end of life, they will have tasted of the sweetness, heard the music, and worn the crown of victory, even if it is simply a paper crown given by a thankful grandchild or an appreciative spouse. The tough will earn the admiration and appreciation of the few or the many. But, in the end, they will be able to say, “I have lived, and it was good…very, very good.”
Read the rest of the article here: http://nogreaterjoy.org/articles/sissy-sensitive-son/

Your Living Legacy

defaul17Our lives are ordered by the Lord, and He does this through people and circumstances which He sends our way. This week has been a flurry of activity in a kaleidoscope of directions, which is probably true for most of us; however, dealing with death does not drop into the schedule every week.

A dear friend from our church died yesterday. Her life was a constant challenge to me. She was diagnosed with MS shortly after her marriage, and her husband left her. She has been in a wheel chair for years in a little apartment filled to the brim with penguins—she loved penguins! Whenever we would visit her, we came away with a smile. Dannah had a mission to make everyone smile.

While sorting through her things last Saturday, my heart was heavy. Life would soon be over for Dannah. In many ways, that was a relief. For the past six months, she’s been in and out of hospitals and on death’s door often, constantly in pain.

Is it by accident that I’m reading through Ecclesiastes right now? I think not! Chapter one says, One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. (4) Chapter two has these words of wisdom: For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool! (16 NKJV) These verses capture the sense of Solomon’s struggle. Is there anything new under the sun? What is the meaning of life? By chapter three, he’s changed his direction of thinking: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: And by the end of the book, he’s gained the right perspective: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (12:13)

But as I sit here today, looking back over my activities of the week, I have to wonder, or ponder, or think through that big question: What is the meaning of life? Does it lose meaning when it seems to be all drudgery, monotonous, or mundane?
I have found that it helps to think about my grandparents. They were farmers and gardeners, carpenters and housewives. They never traveled much or were “movers and shakers” in their communities. They lived, worked, raised kids and corn and cows, and died. That doesn’t sound very complimentary, but believe me, I’m glad they did live and raise kids, or I wouldn’t be here!

Life is good, even in the worst of circumstances. God is good and ALWAYS does what is right. I just finished reading Job, and certainly don’t want to be a “miserable comforter,” but sometimes we just need to “stop it!” (You need to watch this little clip of Bob Newhart, and you’ll understand!

God sends us through the valleys and then gives us the strength to reach the mountain tops! Then we rejoice and enjoy the view…and slide back down! (Or Satan pushes us!) But that’s okay because we are alive! We are living, and life is for the living! Enjoy it, make the most of it! Spend time with people, especially those under your roof! And know that quality time may look like a waste of time to you, like sitting and chatting with your two-year-old while he eats his lunch!

Make your living legacy count, so that when you’re at death’s door, you can look back down over the trail you’ve forged, and you can rest in the arms of Jesus with no regrets! Wow! That’s a tall order! How do you do that? …one step at a time!

This poem was written by Dannah in 1995.  She still had twenty more years of living to do!  Please, take the time to read it.  It’s long, but it’s a great perspective builder!

At The Road’s End

At the road’s end, there lies a peaceful rest:

A rest that is eternal and better than Earth’s best,

A place that’s sheltered and protected from unrest of any kind,

A place where pain and suffering you will never find,

A place that is cradled in the hollow of His hand,

A place where you can always hear the celestial angelic band.

A place where a medicine chest, upon the shelf so full,

Will never again cause havoc and treat the body so cruel.

Twisted, withered, and missing body parts will be restored,

And never again will I need my shiny transfer board.

The wheelchair that supports me and speeds me along the way,

Will no longer be part of me when I reach that happy day.

That place is surrounded by beauty and quietness,

where naked eyes and open ears will experience the bliss.

No crutches, nor braces, nor aids of any kind.

No surgery, no chemo, or such as the likes you’ll find.

There will be no death or loss of life,

There will be no stress or strife.

A place where true peace will reign among all men,

A place where prejudice and hate will n’er be round again,

A placed where the landscape is covered by pure white,

I can hardly wait to see it, t’will be an awesome sight.

A place that will be illuminated completely from within,

A place that will not be corrupted by death and sin,

A place that is both an ending and a beginning,

A place so perfect in all respects, it sets my mine to spinning.

A place where every race, gender, and nation

Will be reunited with each and every predeceased relation—

Oh, what a joyous celebration will be spread

Without a single worry, fear, or dread.

No need to look backwards over your shoulder,

No need to fret the morrow, for you shall never wax older.

Finally set free, no more irons, no more fetters,

No more hassles with bills, no more vile and hurtful letters.

Never another lonely tear from the corner of my eye shall fall,

As I open wide my eyes to see those dear ones, one and all.

As they approach me, surround me, and welcome me with glee,

I gaze into those loving eyes of the One who died for me,

And suddenly, and awesomely, I finally understand

Just why my grief and suffering was just a part of the Master’s plan:

For every teardrop, hurt, and sorry was tailored for that eternal gain.

And so as I travel those final few feet,

I draw my last breath as my Savior I meet.

Don’t be distraught, you’ll miss me I know.

Don’t be discouraged, instead let your faith show.

Be happy for me, I’m whole once more,

No wheelchair, no tethers, not one little sore,

Please excuse me, I much to explore!!!

Just wait till you get here, you’ll adore it I’m sure.

If you are wondering just where your prayers and thoughts to send,

I have forever established my residence in that place—AT THE ROAD’S END.

1/95 Dannah L Kegler

Thanks, Dad! I Love You!

Father’s Day.  I’m so thankful that we have this holiday worked into our calendar.  As I watched my son-in-law fold his six feet two inch frame into a kiddie car with his two year old son, I was so proud of him and felt so blessed!  That action spoke volumes to his son!

Some of you may be like me: My dad passed away six years ago.  That doesn’t seem possible!  It seems like yesterday that he was lifting me up on the pony and giving me a ride.  As a family of four and having two daughters, my dad was sorely outnumbered!  He wasn’t a perfect dad, but I’ve noticed something:  When you lose a loved one, you have the choice of either remembering the good or the bad!  I’ve chosen to remember the good, and I can’t tell you what a blessing that is!

Whenever we would play cards as a family, Dad and I were always partners.  I remember making a fuss about it, but down deep I was always glad because we’d usually win!  Dad was a great card player—he wasn’t afraid to take chances.  I remember telling a joke once and making him laugh until he cried.  In his later years, there were long spells of silence; however, every once in a while, he would begin to share memories from his younger days which I had never heard .  Those times were so special.  One particular day in the last year of his life, I took him out to eat. It was the only time I ever did it. He was sitting at the kitchen table and was having a hard time getting up, and he looked at me and said, “I’m getting old,” and it made me sad to realize that he was right. He always called me Freddy.  He’s the only one that called me that, but when I was a teen, I wouldn’t answer him until he used my right name.  I’d give anything to hear him call me Freddy just one more time.

I always felt safe with my dad.  For those of you who have abusive fathers, I really can’t help you.  I can’t even imagine such a travesty!  I’m so sorry! I really can’t think of anything that would do more damage to a child’s character, except perhaps an abusive mother.  There’s only one hope for such a situation, and His name is Jesus!

I’m not sure what the point is for this post, but I needed to write it.  I’m so sad that he’s gone.  I wish I would have taken more time to know him better, to listen better, to be a better daughter. Daughters, find the best in your dads. Walk in their shoes just a little.  Pray for them. Dads, you really don’t have to do much, but do something!  It’s amazing to me how resilient children are!  You don’t have to be superman—just be dad! Just a little smile, just a little hug, just a little word of encouragement, just a horsie ride once and awhile. Tuck away some memories. Give them an open heart while they’re young, and when they’re teens, you may have a chance to make a difference!

My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Proverb 23:26

Wow!  What a challenging verse!!!

Thank You, Lord

ID-100193008I came across this “poem”–it’s more of a prayer–the other day and thought I’d share it for Mother’s Day.  Our oldest turned thirty this year!  How did that happen?  As I read the poem, it seemed like yesterday that I was the one in the hospital giving birth.  Tommy arrived at 2:47 am after twenty-two hours of labor and a C-section.  I remember years later, talking to a woman who had had a similar situation, and she said she would never have any more children.  I’m so thankful the Lord gave me the grace to have two more C-sections.  And, as much as I would have loved to live in the colonial days, I probably would have died during childbirth!

Now, after seeing our three children happily married  and enjoying the role of grand-parenting five times over, I dedicate this poem to my daughter, who is ready to deliver our fourth grandson any day, and to our daughter-in-law, who recently gave us our first granddaughter.  What a joy to know that the souls of our grandchildren are in the hands of godly parents, who are determined to do their best to pass the baton of godliness.

 Thank you , Lord

Dear Lord, Heavenly Father

Thank you for Thomas James…

He’s beautiful, healthy and sweet, but Lord thank you too…

  • For the long labor – it taught me long-suffering
  • For the high fever – it taught me to trust You
  • For the sleepless times – it taught me Your ever presence.
  • For Tommy’s struggle to nurse – it taught me patience.
  • For the sins of the world all around me – it taught me to work on my testimony and gave me a passion for souls.
  • For the weakness, and soreness, and pain – it taught me to lean on Your arms.
  • For nine months of pregnancy – it taught me that this body is Yours, not mine.

Thank you, Lord; please keep me yielded to learn more.

January 18, 1985

 Happy Mother’s Day

May you allow the Lord to turn each trial into a classroom, and every difficult circumstance into an opportunity to learn more about your God.

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What’s Missing?

I always loved these drawings that have subtle differences, and your task is to find them!  It reminds me of these two verses in Joshua, except the differences aren’t too subtle!

But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you,

  • to love the LORD your God,
  • and to walk in all his ways,
  • and to keep his commandments,
  • and to cleave unto him,
  • and to serve him

with all your heart and with all your soul.:

Joshua 22:5

And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God

  • will we serve,
  • and his voice will we obey.

Joshua 24: 24

Do you see what is missing and what is added?  In Joshua 23 and 24, Joshua is giving the Israelites his farewell speech. He’s old and he knows his time has ended.  We often quote Joshua 24:15 and hang on our walls:

…choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

The question is not ARE we choosing to serve God, but HOW are we serving Him.  We want to be successful in our walk with the Lord.  We want to please Him, but so often, it just isn’t the case.  The world comes crashing in around us demanding our attention.  Good activities and programs seem impossible to ignore, even though we cringe and hate the fact that perfect attendance is required and their meetings push into Sunday and Wednesday night.

How can we do it?  How can we know that we are doing the right thing?  Well, I’m sharing this because it’s been so heavy on my heart, and the Lord has really been pounding me on it!

IT’S THE HEART! IT’S THE HEART! IT’S THE HEART!

Joshua is at the end of an incredible journey.  He knew slavery. He remembered the sting of the taskmaster’s whip! He SAW the Red Sea part and drank the sweetened waters of Marah.  He ate the manna and begged, cried, and wept when the other ten spies gave their evil report.  His heart ached for his leader as he watched him ascend Mt. Pisgah and gaze longingly into the Promised Land—a land he would never enter!

And now Joshua’s done.  Over and over, he urges the Israelites to do right, make right choices, have the right kind of heart.  And their response is this: We will serve. We will obey.  YIKES!  Something was missing!  Something very important: loving, walking, cleaving, and keeping!

Dear Christian, dear born-again believer, check your heart.  Without a whole-hearted love for God, service becomes drudgery and you may find yourself walking away from it.  Your walk becomes an uphill battle, and you don’t even understand cleaving.  Keeping the “law” becomes just that!  It turns into a bunch of “dos and don’ts” instead of a holy garment of praise.

Cleave – to cling closely, steadfastly, or faithfully to somebody or something.  If you have ever been a nursery worker, you understand cleaving, as you try to pry that child out of his mother’s arms!  He has a death grip on her clothing, and he’s not letting go—at least, not without a lot of kicking and crying!

How is my cleaving?  Am I holding on to God for dear life? It started with faith (Forsaking All I Trust Him). I may not have seen the yawning abyss at the edge of my cliff of pride or self-righteousness—the edge which dropped off into an eternal hell, but if I had, I would have clung or cleaved? or clove? or clave? to my precious Savior!

And am I still cleaving?  Is He so precious that I want Him more than anything else in this world?

Today, I offer you A Moment in Time for free.  What does that have to do with cleaving?  Well, I often shake my head in wonder and ask my daughter this question: Why did you and your brothers turn out?  Why do you love the Lord when so many pastors are losing their kids to the world?  She always says the same thing.  “Mom, you and Dad were genuine in your love for God and your service to Him.  It wasn’t just a show, but what Dad preached, you both lived at home.” Please know, it is not any credit to us, but all to the Lord!

The side-by-side drawings look so much alike, just like so many Christians.  They sit together in church, perhaps in the same class at the Christian school, but there’s something drastically different!  You may not be able to see the heart, but God does.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, check out A Moment in Time is all about “What’s Missing.” In it, you’ll find an all too realistic side-by-side-drawing:  One pastor’s daughter, Carrie Spangler, who looked the part, and another, Esther Fleming, who lived it.