Our Sons and Daughters

mother

Do you ever have those days when you start dissecting your life and your future?  You know, those kinds of days when you feel as if you have your own personal thundercloud hanging over your head?

Well, that was me.

I was contemplating my value to this world and started to become melancholy at the results.  And after the pinch of melancholyness (yup, that’s not actually a word), came a twinge of envy.  I was just a little bit jealous of friends my age who have cuddly babies and mischievous toddlers.  And yes, the mother dealing with postpartum depression, wailing infants, and crayon marks on walls is thinking, “You’re completely insane.  Come take my place for a day and you’ll learn what it’s really like!”  No, I was not envious of the messy diapers and sleepless nights, but I was thinking about those tiny feet, little giggles, and sticky kisses.  I was feeling a bit worthless and like I hadn’t achieved to some greater maturity and specialness because I’m single and am not raising, teaching, and loving a child with the same last name as me.  I was comparing myself to that ever-perfect Proverbs woman whose children arise and call her blessed.  Here I am, just plain me, who at this point will have no one to call my own or pass my legacy on to when I am eighty years old.  I feel embarrassed saying this because we, singles, don’t like to admit our feelings on this subject.  I feel really embarrassed admitting this because I am not very old, a lot of things can change in my future, I truly love every minute of my singleness (I’ve been able to do amazing things that I couldn’t have done otherwise), and being vulnerable with my feelings is plain down embarrassing because not everyone will understand.  But I share this to encourage others who may be facing the same thoughts in this stage of their lives.  Motherhood is a usual desire amongst most single females (despite the pain, selflessness, commitment, and frustrations that we realize go along with having and raising children) because it’s a maternal longing that God gave us.

Then God stopped me right there in the middle of my negativity.  God had to do this for Elijah and he still has to do it for us humans today.  Anyways, He brought to my attention the verse, Isaiah 56:3-5 (KJV) “Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.   For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.”

The eunuchs could not have children and were one of the lowest on the social scale.  Because they had no offspring, they could not leave a name or heritage behind, but God hadn’t neglected them.  First, notice the conditions in the verse- keep the Sabbath, choose the things that please God, and take hold of the Lord’s Covenant.  Then notice the promises- being given a place and name better than of sons and daughters within God’s house and walls and being given a name which will not be cut off.  Isn’t that beautiful!  Perhaps I shouldn’t pull out this solitary set of verses and try to apply it to singles, but I think it fits well and can hold a lot of meaning for us.

But that Still Small Voice wasn’t finished talking yet and began to awake me to the fact that I do have children and I will leave a heritage behind when earth’s departure flight comes for me.

Let me explain- My children are the hundreds of little lives which have entwined themselves around my heart through camps, choirs, classes, etc…  To them I have given tears, love, lessons, and prayers.   Every time we hold a Sunday-School Class, become a counselor at camps, teach a classroom of students, hang out with the nieces and nephews, help with VBS’s, support and sponsor orphans, and take the time to impact the life of a child, God has given us sons and daughters.

I was recently at the Meadows of Hope Banquet, and this thought kept coming to my mind as I watched the single young ladies with the girls they are mentoring and helping.  Those girls may not have the same last name or physical resemblances as the women who care for them, but that won’t make any difference when they are walking streets of gold.  Those women may not have physically birthed them, but they have birthed hope, courage, faith, and trust in the girls’ lives.  Because those young ladies are single and childless, they won’t be celebrated on Mother’s Day; but nevertheless, they do have “children” who arise and call them blessed.  Their heritage left behind will tell of countless lives who loved them and viewed them as a second mother.

We, singles, have many opportunities to help “raise” the children around us.  Don’t view your babysitting job or weekly kids’ clubs as unimportant, but use the “parenthood” God has given you to dry tears, apply band-aids, feed hungry tummies, break-up quarrels, teach valuable lessons, and impact little lives for eternity– which really is no different than any actual mother or father would do for their children.  And one day when we look across Heaven and see the faces of our “sons and daughters”- the children we taught and loved, we will realize that we truly do have an everlasting name and heritage!

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Interactive Blog Series 2

“If Only Teachers Knew”

“If Only Students Knew”

Just as I promised, here comes another interactive blog series!  All of us at one time or another have been a student and/or a teacher.  For some of us, we forget or do not realize how it feels to be on the other side of the classroom.  So go ahead, share and listen…that is the purpose.

  • Perhaps there is something you wish you could tell teachers….
  • Perhaps there is something you wish you could tell students….
  • Perhaps there is something you wish you could tell teachers and students…

Here’s your chance.

The newness and excitement of school has worn off; so now is a perfect time to refresh ourselves.  And this does not just apply to those in the classroom; the term “teacher” applies to music instructors, counselors, professors, Sunday-School leaders, home-school mothers, or anyone else who is instructing another person (whether young or old) A student is anyone who has ever learned in a classroom, studied at home, attended college, took music lessons, sat in a Sunday-School class, been a camper at summer camp….  I think you get the point!

I would love your input and wisdom.  You can contact me through my “About” page at https://marjanitalarosa.wordpress.com/about/ or email me at marj@larosabooks.com.  Leave your name— or leave it anonymous, that is completely up to you.  Do make sure you clarify if you are addressing a teacher or a student however!  Deadline for your “teacher/student” nuggets of wisdom is October 28, 2014.

EXAMPLE-

To A Student:  We care about you- you have no idea of the sacrifices, costs, and time we put into making sure you learn.  We are not as mean as you think we are;)

To A Teacher:  Put some life and energy into what you are trying to teach us.  If you don’t act excited about it, neither will we!

I can’t wait to see what you’all have to say.  I’ll plan on sharing it with everyone else then on October 29 and November 3; so keep tuned!

Cobweb:The Unloved Kitten

Cobweb: The Unloved Kitten

 
It all started when the family decided that we would rather have cats roaming our property than mice. 

The traps and mouse bait just didn’t seem to be doing the trick of eliminating those scurrying creatures; so my brother and I embarked on a kitten finding expedition. 

It didn’t take us long to drive to a home that had  big sign out front reading “Free Kittens”.  We parked the truck and got out to see what little fuzzy-wuzzy kittens we would be taking home with us. 

We soon found out that these kittens were wild with limited human contact. 

Oh well, we figured.  We were there now; so we might as well find the best ones and see what we could do with them. 

The lady that owned the kittens proceeded to try to catch the three that we picked out.  That was a crazy adventure in itself.  The kittens would run and hiss and scratch- it wasn’t a pretty picture. 

When it was finally all done and said and the renegades had been captured, we had a black and white kitten, a long-haired grey kitten, and a grey-striped kitten all riding home with us in a box. 

On the way back to our place, we came across another “Free Kittens” sign; and decided to check out these kittens.  At this farm, there were some young children outside playing; and they easily picked up two of the cutest little kittens that they had named Butterscotch and Princess. 

Well, we just couldn’t resist a lil’ blondie and a multi-colored rascal; so we added another two kittens to our collection. 

We finally arrived home without anymore stops and proceeded to make a home for the kittens in the back, unused room of our office.  We figured that we would keep them there until they got older and more used to us.  We opened the box, and the strangest collection of kittens came hurrying out.  Immediately the wild ones all fled to corners to take refuge from these strange humans.

We easily assigned names to our new pets.  Panther was the black and white kitten, Napoleon was the grey-striped, Butterscotch was the Blondie, and Princess was the multi-colored.  Lastly, we decided to call the very wildest kitten Cobweb, since he was busy sleeking through the corners and catching uncleaned spiderwebs in his long hair. 

Butterscotch and Princess had no trouble at all adjusting to human contact.  They were busy winding around our legs wanting attention.  After a little, Napoleon started to cautiously approach us.  Eventually we could pet him; and after that he became a little bit of a pest!  It seems he must want to make up for his childhood of no affection; because he insists on being pampered.  If you stop petting him, he starts to meow a pitiful cry until someone takes pity on him and gives him more love.

So we had three for us and two against us.  Panther and Cobweb still clung to the shadows of solitude.  We kept showing attention to the others, supplying them with fresh food and milk, and showing up day after day to spend time with the group. 

I started to notice that Panther would get closer and closer each time.  She would just sit and watch while the other three would be getting petted.  Their contented purring seemed to strike up a longing inside of her.

Finally, the day arrived when she made the step forward.  She cautiously approached my hand.  I slowly moved my hand towards her, afraid that any sudden movement would send her scampering away.  A smile spread across my face when I finally got to pet her.  She moved closer and actually started to purr!  A thrill of success and achievement crowned my heart with victory. 

Cobweb still was untrusting.  She could see that all the rest were safe and happy, but she just couldn’t give in to trust.  Eventually she started to sit closer and closer to me; she even sniffed my brother’s hand one time when it was his turn to care for them.

But she still hasn’t totally lost all her fear and mistrust.  Only time will tell if love and patience will triumph.  I am hoping that it will.  One day, I trust that Cobweb will be just like the other kittens.      

Cobweb’s reactions really started me thinking the last couple of days.  She reminds me like the thousands and millions of children that have been abused or neglected or forced to survive in the foster care system.  She has seen so much that is the opposite of love, that she can’t actually recognize love. 

She hangs in the shadows hoping that no one will pay attention to her; while at the same time, wishing someone would.  She hisses and scratches the ones who approach her; because she doesn’t want to be hurt again.  Her trust has been broken so many times, and is not easily repaired.  She envies the ones that are receiving kindness, but yet she can’t seem to break down the wall that separates her from them. 

Children’s faces line my mind’s eye when I think of Cobweb.  The tears well up in my eyes when I think about all the little souls that are living in the shadows of solitude like Cobweb does. 

Those children are condemned or ridiculed when they lash out; people give up on them; they are the ones called by the world as hopeless and not standing a chance. 

Perhaps all they need is someone who is willing to take the time—-lots and lots of time—- to just be there for them, to just be a caring presence in their life.  Not someone who forces acceptance or love; but someone who is willing to wait and wait and wait until the child slowly approaches and breaks down their wall of fear and mistrust. 

It’s hard to be that person; because it hurts when the child hisses or scratches you- even though you are devoting all your time and love and attention to help them.  It frustrates you to see the child sitting in the corner and shutting the world out.

However, God is there.  If He sees the little sparrow fall, He cares so much more for those little hurting lives that fill the world today.  He wraps His arms around every child that is living in the shadows, that is trying to run from the pain.  He can see and feel their pain, and will bless the ones that are trying to help the hurting lives around them.  He will give grace to the giver, and love to the server, and fortitude to the ones that persevere.  Parents, teachers, caregivers, sunday school teachers- – – He will give you the patience and endurance to be there for “Cobweb: The Unloved Kitten” until she starts to trust and love again!