Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It’s a great day to listen to Irish tunes and day-dream about strolling glen to Irish green glen hoping to hear the pipes “a-piping”.

But who is St. Patrick and why do we celebrate this day?

I checked it out on Got Questions.*

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St. Patrick (Maewyn Succat) was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland to a wealthy family in the late 300s. He was kidnapped at age sixteen by Irish raiders. While he was enslaved in Ireland he learned the culture, rituals and Druid language. He eventually escaped Ireland and later returned to share Christ with the people there.*

Not only did Saint Patrick forgive, he went back to those who enslaved him. He went back; not to demand retribution or justice, but at the risk of re-enslavement he returned to care for the people who had served him injustice.

Saint Patrick was obedient to the call of Christ. Additionally, Patrick exercised profound wisdom and grace. He used wisdom recognizing that his time as a slave provided him with valuable insight. Patrick took the knowledge he gained of the culture and used it to engage the Irish within the culture they knew while pointing to Christ with truth and love.

The Irish people were receptive to Patrick’s teachings in large part because he used their own Celtic symbols to teach them Christ’s ways. The most well-known of Patrick’s illustrations is the shamrock, a certain type of clover sacred to the Druids, which he used as a symbol of the Trinity.*

Who knew?! And what a great reminder to ask ourselves, “Are we so in love with Christ that we are compelled to live intentional; sharing news of our Redeemer with everyone –even those who deal wrongly with us?”

Like St. Patrick, we always have experience to share and something –even a three leaf clover with which to tell of our three in one; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Whether you wear green today or not, do think about the example of St. Patrick and consider who you can reach to in love and acceptance. Meet them within their unique “culture” and share the truth of Christ and His Kingdom.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28: 19-20 NIV

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Dads & Daughters

Dad & ShellyThe other day I called my Dad to wish him a Happy Birthday.  It was the perfect opportunity to tell him what had been burning in my chest for a while.

I shared with my Dad about the time long ago when he and mom had were working out the details of their divorce.  I was 8, the oldest of the 3 kids.  Mom would take custody of my little brother and sister, but I was given the option of picking which parent I would live with.

I had been torn about the decision.  I loved both parents, but wanted to live with my dad.   I knew mom would need my help caring for my brother and sister.  It was hard enough that our parents were splitting.  It would have been too much to break up the siblings on top of that.  In addition, how could I “pick” one parent over another without hurting one?

I decided to go with mom, choosing unity over personal desire.  It seemed unfair that I had to make the kind of decision my parents were unwilling to make themselves.

Though I really wanted to be with my dad, there was no point in voicing it.  I knew it would only hurt my mom, and further break my dad’s already bruised heart.

The longing to stay with my dad didn’t change over the years.

Decades later, as an adult with kids of my own, I see things clearer.  Enough time and healing have passed that I could safely talk about it with Dad.

Sharing this with my Dad turned out to be more for me.  He told me he had sought legal advice to get custody of us.  Having met with one lawyer after another, he found what we all know; that unless the mother is found to be incapable, the court would always defer custody to the mother.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mom.  Still, I wanted to be with Dad.

Dad had not wanted to put us thru more drama.  He said it really wouldn’t have worked for me to go with him anyways.  Ultimately, us children needed to be together, to preserve as much “family” as possible.

For decades, I had perceived that my Dad gave up too easily on me.  Then, in one conversation, I realized he did what he believed we needed most at that time

There’s two things I took from this.

1.  A reminder that divorce is far more costly than most will count the price of.

Parents, before entertaining thoughts of divorce, consider the long lasting affects it would have on your children. 

2.  Share what is in your heart as soon as it’s a proper time.  You never know how much life you’ll bring to the person you share it with!

 

On Moms

Mother’s day I reflected back to an especially dark season of my life over 20 years ago.  Mother’s day came and went several times without sending so much as a card or making a call to my mom.

Having grown up like many others, with messed up families, I wanted nothing to do with my past or the people I perceived responsible for much of the darkness.  I severed ties with my mom, cutting off all communication with her.
Breaking ties doesn’t necessarily fix problems.  My husband and I exhausted one attempt after another in trying to fix ourselves.  Whatever we tried, we always came up short.
We got to a point of desperation and decided to give God a try as a last resort.
Bit by bit our lives began to change.  Our perspective became God and others focused.   We went from hating and accusing to caring and forgiving.
Anger and disappoint gave way to hope.
Life change didn’t happen overnight.  Often it was humbling and difficult.  Over the course of several years, my relationship with my mom was restored and took on a new identity of health and goodness.
Not only did we get beyond the pain of the past, but today, we enjoy the present together with my mom.  She is single and she lives with us; not because she has too, but because we’ve welcomed her into our family.
You may not want to have your mom live in the same house with you, but check your heart and ask yourself; is there a welcome place for your mother in your life?
What’s your relationship like?  She won’t always be there.
People never regret saying things that are kind and full of grace, but we all regret if there comes a day and it’s too late.
You know the best way to reach out to your mom.  Take the time to think about it.  It doesn’t have to be costly or complicated.   When it’s from your heart, she’ll know it.
“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise —  
“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 
                                                                                                   Ephesians 6:2-3 (NIV)