A Prayer for All Women on Mother’s Day …

I want you to know I’m praying for you if you are like Tamar, struggling with infertility, or a miscarriage.

I want you to know that I’m praying for you if you are like Rachel, counting the women among your family and friends who year by year and month by month get pregnant, while you wait.

I want you to know I’m praying for you if you are like Naomi, and have known the bitter sting of a child’s death.

I want you to know I am praying for you if you are like Joseph and Benjamin, and your Mom has died.

I want you to know that I am praying for you if your relationship with your Mom was marked by trauma, abuse, or abandonment, or she just couldn’t parent you the way you needed.

Continue reading “A Prayer for All Women on Mother’s Day …”

Desert Day 43: On Coming Home …

In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), there are two sons: the younger son, who runs away from home to an alien country, and the older son, who stays home to do his duty.  The younger son dissipates himself with alcohol and sex; the older son alienates himself by working hard and dutifully fulfilling all his obligations.  Both are lost.  Their father grieves over both, because with neither of them does he experience the intimacy he desires.

Both lust and cold obedience can prevent us from being true children of God.  Whether we are like the younger son or the older son, we have to come home to the place where we can rest in the embrace of God’s unconditional love. Continue reading “Desert Day 43: On Coming Home …”

Desert Day 42: Children Of God …

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
— Matthew 19:14

Vulnerability

Vulnerability is something we instinctively reject because we are taught from kindergarten on that we must protect ourselves, control our behavior and our lives. But in becoming man for us, Christ made himself totally vulnerable for us in Jesus of Nazareth, and it is not possible to be Christian while refusing to be vulnerable. Continue reading “Desert Day 42: Children Of God …”

Do Not Ask Your Children To Strive For Extraordinary Lives …

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder Continue reading “Do Not Ask Your Children To Strive For Extraordinary Lives …”

The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto …

I wrote the following parenting manifesto because I need it. Steve and I need it. Putting down the measuring stick in a culture that uses acquisitions and accomplishments to assess worth is not easy. I use the manifesto as a touchstone, a prayer, and a meditation when I’m wrestling with vulnerability or when I’ve got that “never enough” fear. It reminds me of a finding that changed and probably saved my life: Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.
—  Brené Brown (via Huffington Post) Continue reading “The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto …”

To Everything A Season …

On the spiritual path, it is not optional to know ourselves. It’s not optional to be willing to make mistakes. Such qualities are essential. They lead to the gradual growth of a person “to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). The reason we sin and suffer is not because we are weak or wrong but simply because we are human. In this school of humanity sin abounds, but grace abounds even more (Romans 5:21). God uses human imperfection to achieve divine perfection; God uses weakness to create strength (2 Corinthians 12:10); God uses humans to create sons and daughters of God. Continue reading “To Everything A Season …”

How Surely Gravity’s Law …

How surely gravity’s law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing —
each stone, blossom, child —
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;
they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

Blessing Prayer (For Children) …

We pray for children who sneak popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers, who never “counted potatoes,” who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead, who never go to the circus, who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

And we pray for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, who can’t find any bread to steal, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real.

We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse out the tub, who get visits from the tooth fairy, who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool, who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone, whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who aren’t spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must, for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance.

For those we smother . . . and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

— Ina J. Hughs, an excerpt from A Grateful Heart: Daily Blessings for the Evening Meals from Buddha to the Beatles