Steady As She Goes
Well, November is upon us and that means my very favorite time of the year is just around the corner – Thanksgiving and Christmas! Unfailingly, as the holidays return each year, just thoughts of this season of love and beauty fill my heart with joy!
Of course, with visions of family joys ahead, the pressure of pretty gifts under the tree creeps in. Hmmmm… what to give everyone this year?
Although I love the frantic fun of tearing into Christmas presents as much as anyone else – I’m smiling just thinking of it – I sometimes shake my head at all the fuss we make over presents. The truth is, they so rarely get much attention after just a few short months! The real question is “What gifts will last?”
The old sentiment is true. The only ones that seem to have any lasting power have one thing in common: they are the gifts that include a measure of the person who gave it. Emerson said it well, “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself.”
This Christmas, I want to give my family something that lasts, don’t you? I want to give them a TRUE gift.
But what does that look like as a mom? I’ve been pondering this…and have found a pretty wonderful gift. This gift, if your child could articulate it, would be at the TOP of their list. Kids would be clamoring for it if they knew how to express it. Unfortunately, it isn’t really something they can really request. This gift has to come from you, Mom, resulting from a most unselfish, mature and loving desire. It will cost you something. What is this wonderful and sought-after gift?
It is simply the decision to be the steadying emotional center of your family – and living that out every day.
Maybe that’s not what you expected. It’s not exactly something that has fireworks after it. But what a true and lasting gift. I have observed this gift lived out in families I admire – families that are healthy, intact and characterized by joy. While there are other factors, one thing they all have in common is this – they have one great lady at the center, steadying the ship.
Now by saying she is at the center, I am not saying she is in charge or that her husband is not the head of the home. A great lady honors her husband and embraces her role as heart of the home. But, she knows well, that within that sphere, she has great influence….and she will use it for GOOD!
A great lady is wise and settled. She is determined to be a worthy and happy “heart of the home”. This means she does what it takes to give her family a mom who is healthy, emotionally balanced and mature. A glimpse into the life of a woman who is “steady as she goes”…
– She is emotionally available to her children and her husband. She is a great listener and responder.
– She embraces the responsibilities of her home and devotes herself to her family’s needs with excellence.
– She disciplines her children faithfully and encourages them to blossom into the person God is making them.
– She is a “Happy Camper,” positive and joyful as she loves and serves her family.
– Most of all – she is EVEN, steady and lovingly strong, in the midst of the ever-changing dynamics of her family – different temperaments, struggles, joys and heartaches. She is STEADY.
But where does this steadiness come from? It comes from a quiet TRUST IN GOD. It is believing that He holds your family together (not you) and that He loves your family even more than you do. It comes from a woman who does not let her unreliable emotions rule the day, but let’s God’s Holy Spirit help her in those crunch moments – to yield. She must yield her desires and emotions, entrusting herself and her family to God, over and over again.
Does this mean she is never cranky? No way! Does this mean she is super-human? Absolutely not. In fact, if you saw her in her private moments, you might wonder how steady she is after all. She may have many moments of fear and struggle and tears. But she has resolved to not bring that into every moment of her family’s life.
Let’s face it. We women are emotional – some more than others. I would say I am on the “more” side of the spectrum. But what do we do with that when our emotions are not helpful? We ask God to help us. He wants to be Lord over all of our lives – including our emotions. If we choose to let the feelings of the moment dictate our every choice, spewing every time we are frustrated, we will wreak havoc in our families. We will leave a trail of destruction that may not destroy your family, but will most definitely have unpleasant echoes in the future.
Some things only show themselves after our children are on their own. What will your emotional legacy be? 90% sweet, 10% scary? Retreated and unavailable?
Or will it be the gift of consistency and steadying love? Wouldn’t we all love to hear our children say of us one day, “My mom was such a steadying, loving force in our family. She really was one great lady.”
Since your child can’t request this one, I will. As you enter the holiday season, resolve to give your children one precious gift that will last: A home with a mom who is “steady as she goes”.
– Julie McGrath
Proverbs 3 :5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 14:29 “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”
1. After our number one priority of teaching our children about God and the
truths of His Word, why do you think that being a steadying force in your
family is such a priority? What is your history of emotional stability in the home you were raised in? Think about the legacy you want to leave.
2. Purpose this week to bless your family by demonstrating self-control in
a heated situation. Teach your children to rely on God’s holy spirit for
patience when they feel the squeeze of life’s pressures. Remember your
life’s example speaks louder than your words!