The Mother Heart of God

pexels-photo-269583.jpegThat sounds strange, I know.

We think of God the Father, and Jesus was a man so the picture in our mind is a male figure when we think of God. And rightly so. But we seem to forget that God created man in his image “male and female” he created them. Gen. 1:27

Now stay with me here.

This isn’t a post about sexuality or alternative life choices. It’s about sometimes missing the fact that both men and women possess the characteristics of God in their individual roles. Not to stereotype, but the majority of men exhibit certain character traits and most often, women demonstrate others.

For example, men are typically designed as providers who fight for and lead their families. Does that mean a woman can’t provide for or protect her children? Of course not. Many couples share the role of provider,  and moms are pretty protective when it comes to their young!

Women tend to be the multitaskers who can handle a number of jobs at one time (anyone with kids knows the necessity of that). They are the nurturers and the ones who feed the physical (food & clothes) and emotional needs of their families. Just ask a man what’s for dinner. See?

So can a man be nurturing multitaskers? Absolutely! My sons who are fathers, as well as numerous other men I know, do a great job of caring for their kids in a compassionate, nurturing way. (Most of the time.)

So what’s my point?

God is a loving parent with characteristics of both a mother and a father:

You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.                                                                                            Deut. 32:18

Here are some of the verses that speak to his fatherhood role:

  • “There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son…” Deut. 1:31
  • “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
  • “Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us?” Malachi 2:10
  • “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”” James 1:17
  • “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

And a few that speak to the aspect of the mother’s role:

  • “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! Isaiah 49:15
  • “…hide me in the shadow of your wings…” Psalm 17:8 (like a mother bird)
  • “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.” Psalm 34:15

As a father, He:

Trains me, arms me, shields me, rescues me, sustains me, delivers me, revives me, vindicates me, redeems me, blesses me, fights for me and destroys my enemies.

Displaying the role of a mother, He:

Comforts me, binds my wounds, anoints me with healing oil, clothes me with garments of joy, praise and righteousness, and gathers me to him like a hen gathers her chicks.

And as both a mother and father he guides me, teaches me, instructs me, rebukes me, disciplines me, confides in me, receives me, and helps me.

How does that relate to us moms?

Sometimes as moms we can feel as though our role isn’t important. We know all the tasks we have to accomplish and perform them without necessarily evaluating them. But in the mundane, every day of mothering we can lose sight of our value.

Let’s be confident and assured that the role God gives us is part of his character and so very important!

God says we are “worth more than rubies,” “a gift to our husbands,” “respected, blessed and praised,” and that we should be given the reward we’ve earned. (Prov.31)

May blessings be upon you today, mothers.

You exhibit the mother heart of God.

Is Your Foundation Crumbling?

laura-half-moon-bay-026For those of us raised in church we remember the song about the man who built his house on the sand. When the rains came down, as preschoolers we delighted in smashing the house.

But the truth of that song can’t be denied.

Anyone who builds a house knows how important a strong foundation is. Living previously in Southern California, I’ve watched enough beach houses clinging to the side of a sandy cliff, crumble into the sea!

Not good.

And the same principle applies to many areas of life, right?

Marriage. Parenting. Friendship. Business.

All require a solid foundation. Thank God, he has an answer for that. (Are you surprised?)

We’re in the book of Luke (6:12 & 19, 46-49). Jesus has gone off and spent the night talking to God, his Father. When he comes back he has power to heal people, deliver them from demons and teach them. He had to spend time with God, in his presence, before he was equipped to carry out his daily life.

Jesus tells us to start with a firm foundation.

He says that there are 3 things that will lay that solid and deep foundation:

  1. Come to Jesus – Hang with him. Spend time in his presence.
  2. Hear his words – Don’t let them pass over, or read them without taking them in.
  3. Put his words into practice – Do what he says, and you will be on solid ground.

Jesus is a rock. Our rock.

He’s happy to have us stand on him, cling to him, even lie down and soak up some rays. No matter what storm or flood comes, we can stand firm when we’ve claimed a spot on the rock. Otherwise, life’s storms will destroy us.IMG_1131.JPG

Our power and strength come from being with God.

If you don’t know Jesus or call him your Lord, what a great way to start the New Year! He’s waiting for you to recognize your need for him, confess your sinfulness and receive his great love and forgiveness to take you forward into a solid way of life.

If that is you, getting solid is as easy as this:

Jesus, I acknowledge you are the Son of God. I need you. I’ve done things my own way, but I’ve been wrong. I want to turn around to you and your ways. Thank you for forgiving me by your death and making a way for me to be with you by your resurrection. Amen.

If you’ve decided to make Jesus the foundation of your life, please let me know at I’d love to celebrate with you!

Delightful Read – Great Gift!

blog post motherhood Want a unique gift for the mothers in your life?

This little gem has it all! I laughed, cried and found myself nodding along with this delightful     collection of anecdotes, advice, and famous quotes from and about mothers. Throw in  a dozen easy recipes and a colorful, creative background and you have the makings of a wonderful, re-readable keepsake. “You Might Be a Mommy If…” had me rolling with understanding laughter.


I highly recommend this lovely gift book:

  • For new mommy’s to start them on their journey
  • For in the middle mom’s who need a new perspective and a boost to keep going
  • For mothers and grandmothers who have weathered the parental storms and will enjoy the reminiscing

A collaborative work of five experienced authors who have lived out the joys and challenges of motherhood, this book would make a wonderful shower gift, birthday gift or Mother’s Day gift. Or even give it as an encouragement for a family member or friend who’s having a difficult time in the parental realm. I also appreciated the inclusion of adoptive parenting difficulties and victories.

Available here on Amazon.

20 Tips for Parents

As the parent of 7 wonderful children (4 of my own and 3 delightfully inherited), I’ve made some observations over my past 32 years of summer vacation '12 068parenting.

Thus far, I’ve concluded four things:

  • Raising children well doesn’t mean we have to be perfect or have it all figured out ahead of time.
  • Parenting is as much for our benefit as for our children’s.
  • God’s the perfect parent so we should examine how he does it.
  • Each person has free choice. No matter how well we train a child, he or she will choose how to live. Remember that perfect parent God? Even Adam and Eve made a devastating choice.

Dr. James Dobson wrote a book called Parenting Isn’t for Cowards, but most of us find ourselves cowering in our hearts at one point or another along the way.

Here are some tips to boost your bravery:            028

  1. Respect them. They are people too.
  2. Right or wrong, be honest. They smell hypocrisy.
  3. Tell them you love them every day.
  4. Ask for forgiveness when you blow it.
  5. Allow God’s grace to cover your mistakes and failures.
  6. Don’t exasperate them with inconsistency, lack of boundaries or unrealistic expectations.
  7. Ask the right questions. Ones that open discussion not shut it off.
  8. Tell them you are proud of who they are not only what they do.
  9. The Bible is the standard, you are simply the messenger. Let God direct them. Be accountable to God for the message you give.
  10. Show them Jesus by your actions and your love for them and others.
  11. Listen, listen, listen to THEM, and they will listen to you. (HEAR what they are saying.)
  12. Don’t declare war on them—you are on the same side so fight their battles with them.
  13. Put yourself in their shoes. We are parents because we’ve been there. If we forget what it was like, how can we relate to them in order to help them navigate through it?
  14. Take your role as parent seriously. You are accountable to God. He entrusted you with the children you have.
  15. Train them to make good decisions and be trustworthy and responsible for their actions. Self-governed not rule governed. They need to learn good choices for life not just to keep from being “in trouble.”
  16. Teach them to obey because it will bring them good not because you hover over or threaten punishment. Focus on the positive rather than simply avoiding trouble.
  17. Be self-disciplined. We can’t expect our kids to follow through when we don’t.
  18. Allow them to be who God has made them to be. Help them see who they are, not who you want them to be.
  19. Don’t take their behavior or words personally. Avoid reacting. Even though they may be a reflection of you, don’t make that your goal.
  20. Love them enough to say no. Be willing to say yes.  Even when it’s inconvenient.

Hopefully these tips I’ve collected will encourage you in your parenting journey. DSC_0011

How about you? What things have you learned along the way? Or what would you share from a young person’s perspective?

The Rest of the Story

I feel a sequel coming on.

I came to the point this week where I am out of excerpts from The Miracle of Us: Confessions of Two Online Daters. I can’t give away all the excitement of the ending even if you know that we made it to the altar. Suspense isn’t really the point, but after all, something needs to be left for the book. I’m encouraged by how many want to read the finished product. Pray a publisher feels the same!

The good news is that as I’ve come to the end of writing, I’ve felt that the story isn’t finished. Naturally, our story has really only begun with a mere three years of marriage completed. We were considered newlyweds by many until only a few weeks ago!

But we’ve been learning so much during those three years. Therefore, Beyond the Miracle: What We’ve Learned About Through Marriage will begin it’s writing process soon. At this point, the book’s skeleton is taking shape in my mind.

More to the story.

While away on our anniversary weekend a few weeks back, I came across a card that had this quote by Irving Stone on the front:

The best romance is inside the marriage; the finest love stories come after the wedding, not before.

Wow! We thought the best part was our story leading up to the wedding. The challenges, romance and miracles that occurred before the wedding astounded us, but so much more has happened afterwards. Nitty, gritty tough stuff. Not that the struggle to step out in faith, believing we could each start over in romantic life by dating online through Skype with someone across the world wasn’t tough enough. I mean, it’s not like praying for our seven children to feel good about the whole situation, and braving immigration paper mountains was a Sunday drive. Those eleven months held some of the hardest obstacles and greatest moments either of us has every experienced.

The truth about romance and marriage.

Just as our story of online dating, long distance romance and eventual wedding bells (actually there were no bells ringing at our wedding) has portrayed faith, redemption and overcoming the impossible; our marriage continues with building a new life out of a broken past. Restarting careers in middle age, parenting at three age levels: school age, teenage, and grown children as well as being step-parents and grandparents at the same time encompass their own sets of challenges. And immigration paperwork and appointments don’t end when you enter the country. Add to that the fact that marriage itself is the vehicle that transforms our lives and there’s more of the story to tell.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us as we continue the journey. Hopefully, our story will offer hope for yours.

Isn’t it exciting and a little stressful the way life unfolds? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced through life, marriage or family?


I realize it’s romantic and all meeting someone online, falling head over heels in love and whisking away to the other side of the world for weeks in paradise. Our situation has had romance written all over it and whenever we face struggles, it’s been a great reminder that God did not orchestrate this whole elaborate affair without a positive plan in mind.

Still, when I look back at all the things we waded through during our courtship from afar–and here I confess to a picture in my mind of Humphrey Bogart dragging the African Queen through the sludgy, leech-infested, vine-draped water–I’m stunned. It almost feels as if I’m looking back at someone else’s life because I have no idea how we managed to get through it. The obvious answer, at least to us, is that God made it all work in incredible ways by a preconceived plan that we knew nothing about until it actually played out. Thank God we didn’t know ahead of time!

Based on that premise, I find it helpful, encouraging and faith building to replay the events every so often. So this is where I backtrack from the illustrious Christmas proposal and list some of the complications we faced in long distance dating and marriage preparation.

Let’s talk about jobs. Brendan had been a commercial insurance broker for about 25 years when I met him, and he was pretty much over it by then. We both felt like God had something new for him, and we began discussing his interests and dreams: he loves airplanes and flying; he’s always wanted to go back to school to study aeronautical engineering; he has an unending list of ideas for inventions in his head and in scattered notes on paper; his business idea list is almost as long; fitness is important to him…the tricky part was what could he begin building in Australia to then continue in the states? It’s not like with unemployment the way it has been, our country is aching to bring more people here who need work. Not easy.

Then there was my work. The year I met Brendan, my business partner, Carol and I had been writing a business plan to develop transitional housing for destitute women.  My traveling interrupted our work, and we suddenly found that all our tremendous business plans began to falter a bit as we traveled and planned two weddings. We maintained some of our work, but most slowly ground to a halt, and we had to rethink what we would do as we each got married.

Children. As I’ve pointed out, I had four grown children and Brendan had three still at home. We longed to become one big blended family, but that meant each of them embracing the other as a sibling. If you have any children or even know of any, I’m sure you’ve witnessed first hand that incomprehensible situation called sibling rivalry! Not only that, but my youngest was just twenty-one and headed back to school for another degree; we would be uprooting Brendan’s oldest at the beginning of adolescence; and Brendan would be made an instant grandfather! Can I also add that parenting and step-parenting are NOT the same thing?

Housing. He owned a home in Australia, and I was part owner of a condo here. The condo wasn’t really suitable for our family, and I owned it with housemates so it wasn’t like I could kick them out and say “I’m getting married and we need the house.” That meant we needed to find a house–while he was in Australia, and decide what to do with two house payments. Should we sell? Not an option for me. Buy? Rent? Not impossibilities normally except that we were on two different continents!

Relationships. I met his friends and family in Australia and hated that he would have to leave them all. I hated that I had to say goodbye to them! They graciously accepted me, and I expected mine in the states would do the same with Brendan. Nonetheless, a challenge did exist as Brendan entered into my world of friends. That meant that my friends would become his, but his friends would all be across the world. I also had ex-husbands for Brendan to deal with and even though contact was limited, any time we celebrated a wedding or birthday of one of the grown kids, Brendan would be thrown into that situation. And of course, there’s navigating in-laws. Enough said.

Visas and Immigration. Oh, don’t even get me started…we’ll have to talk about that in another post!

Actually, all of this reflection brings a sense of satisfaction. It reminds me that we have overcome some truly horrendous obstacles that have shaped our relationship’s foundation of strength. It also serves as proof that life is a process, and while at times it can be overwhelming and seem hopelessly impossible to navigate, one step at a time will take us somewhere. For us, with God leading, that somewhere has been good.



The Value of Parenting

Parenting is like a job. I mean, it IS a full-time job, but it also parallels the aspects of a job one would hold, like being a CEO of a company. Think about it.

I had a dream the other night in which I found myself with a house full of children–my own and a friend’s, not that I don’t have enough of my own children. My husband and I proudly claim seven children ranging in age between thirty and nine, as well as five grandchildren ages one to nine, so you can understand how kids often invade my sleep both literally and figuratively.

So in the dream, after settling the baby with a diaper change and making sure the older four were playing kindly, the three year old brings me a broken toy and says in an adorable voice, “We have a problem.”

I think to myself, as I have hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of times over the past thirty parenting years, “I’m never going to get anything done today at this rate.” And immediately it strikes me, ( you know like the V-8 commercials!) This IS what you’re getting done!

Managing problems, putting out fires, running “bored” meetings, handling disputes, brainstorming how to organize, providing luncheons, arranging schedules, financing projects, explaining policy, enforcing policy, training future executives; and creating a pleasant, instructional, fun, productive environment in which all that takes place defines parenting on a daily basis. Oh, I forgot to mention performing emergency medical procedures or transportation as well.

Take it a step further and think about this:

Would any of us take on a new job without some form of job training? As we step into any employment, we naturally attempt to learn all we can about how to do the job effectively, efficiently or at least adequately. We may take classes, learn from another employee or attend a job training seminar. And during the course of our employment we probably continue our education at least every year. Even when we go home, we might read books, magazines and binders full of company policy to further our knowledge and ensure we do our job well.

But, when it comes to parenting, a job that has far more significance and complications than any employment we will ever hold, we often neglect this instruction and figure we’ll just have to wing it. Don’t we flounder along wondering if we’re doing it right, or getting it done at all? It’s so helpful when we ask questions of older parents, read books about training kids and have discussions with others about what works for them.

In addition to that, we think, as I have, that we aren’t actually accomplishing anything worthwhile during our day. How grossly in error we are! Every hug, answered question, moment of training and discipline, every shirt washed or meal prepared is a task of greater value than anything we may tackle in a day at the office even if it has no monetary gain because the investment is in a life…or multiple lives.

Along the way, the dividends in smiles, hugs, cute phrases, hilarious questions and “I love you Mommy. I love you Daddy.” are so worth every ounce of energy we invest in learning how to do this job well and giving that to our kids. What did I invest in today? What did you?


For parenting resources I’ve found helpful try