Friday, May 19, 2017

All Together Lovely

We welcomed home our son from his second seven-month deployment this week. I will not even try to describe the emotions with words for words are not needed – our first hug, captured by a photographer, says it all.

At the first sighting of his ship the tears began pouring out. Then there was a somewhat long pause in the tears as we waited for his ship to actually dock and for them to debark.  It’s a slow process, friends.

Once we spotted him walking toward us, the tears poured out again.

They were tears of relief.
They were tears of pure happiness.
They were tears of praise.

Another deployment is behind us – four deployments are now behind us. Praise God neither my husband nor our son has another deployment looming before them.

For the first time since June 2016, our family would spend two full days together.

Of course, throughout our son’s deployment we prayed for his (their) safe return. As the months became weeks and the weeks became days, I found myself praying more earnestly for God to fill me with courage to speak His truth to our boys once we were finally together.

Truthfully, I prayed not only for that but for a “perfect” two days together.

I prayed for us to be a light – to point our boys and the women in their lives to Him. I prayed for our words to be praiseworthy and uplifting. I prayed for our conversations to be filled with love and joy.
I prayed for our conversations to reflect patience, kindness, and gentleness. I prayed for those conversations to be open and to simply overflow with goodness. I prayed for everything to be perfect!

I am sure it will not surprise you to hear our time together fell short of perfection. Go figure, right?

That is not to say we were not a light, or our words were not praiseworthy and uplifting. And certainly there were many moments where the fruits of the Spirit were displayed. At least I hope so.

But when I climbed into bed those two nights, I wrestled with questions like: What could I have done better? What could I have said differently? What should I have said that I didn’t say? What should I have done that I didn’t do? In what way(s) did I contribute to our time together being less than perfect?

After almost twenty-seven years of parenting our boys, I am still a work in progress on parenting and loving them well. I know we will never arrive at a state of perfection this side of heaven. Regardless of this knowledge, there’s a continual plea to God to help me parent and love them better.

Please, don’t let me (or us) be the one(s) to cause them to stumble.

Oh how I pray for God to help me to love them so well they would see and experience His love.

I know I can often be too hard on myself. I am frequently guilty of believing the “you messed up again” lies from the enemy. I know our children are aware of how much they are loved by us, whether or not we parent and love well all the time. But the deepest desire of my heart is for them to know how much they are loved by God.

Therefore, I will never stop praying for the things I pray. I think I shall stop praying for perfection though.

Instead, I will trust our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness, everlasting, ever-present and never-failing God (Isaiah 9:6-7) to carry out His work in me to completion.

And I will praise Him for the grace upon grace He pours out on me every single day when I don’t do this parenting and loving thing well because there surely are plenty of days when I do not.

Most of all, I will keep looking to Jesus and I will love Him most so I will love our children best.


By the way, the two days our family spent together were in so many ways all together lovely.

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  1. Yay! I am so glad you are all together. That picture brought tears to my eyes. So much emotion caught up there. And on the parenting thing, I hear you. We will never be perfect parents, but we have a perfect Father in heaven who will continue to show us the way. Love you!

  2. Oh Beth ... this immediately brought back memories of that long ago post when your husband returned home. What joy, tears, relief, gratitude! I'm joining in celebrating yet another family milestone.

    And trusting and believing that your family will continue to see Jesus shine through your life. Yes, yes.

  3. Praising the LORD, and so grateful that you are with one another in what looks to be my favorite city...San Diego, (where I was born to a Navy doctor and his wife)!
    ~ linda

  4. So thankful your family had those two days to share together. Parenting is the hardest most rewarding job on earth--and just because the children are grown doesn't seem to lessen our feelings of responsibility to them. Once a mother, always a mother.

  5. This brings me all kinds of JOY, my friend! Not only to see all of you together, but to read about how you are trusting Him. Blessings!

  6. There's so much goodness in here Beth! I saw the post when your son came home but we were between graduation, a state soccer run and a family holiday (that was pretty close to perfect - even in the imperfection - but I wasn't expecting it to be that great). I was celebrating your son's return with you. That photo is just priceless - a mother prized possession! Your words, though, hit on the. very.thing. - how hard it is to mother our grown up children. How to give them the right words we so desperately want to give them - and how we so want to lift them up and not cause them to stumble - yet, so many times, I found myself tripping all around them, nothing comes out right - and, oh my! that feeling of utter failure - and maybe we do fail - and that's part of us learning how to back off and let them . . . . be grown up. Sometimes, I'm all thumbs with my boys! All love, but all thumbs! So I guess I'm trying to say, Beth, is that I think you are doing awesome - probably just how you need to be doing!

  7. I know good things are going in your life - remodel and all - but I also wanted you to know how much I miss you in the blogahood!

  8. this so blessed my heart because I know what it feels like to be separated from our children and our parents. We are not in the military, well not our earthly one but we are in the Lord's Army. Years of living in two third world country has taught me great appreciation for the times God gives us to all be together. It won't happen this Christmas but we are already saving toward helping our daughter and family get to us next year. Love the big smiles on the family picture.


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Much love to you.