Friday, December 30, 2011

1988 May/June issue Part 6


May He support us all the day long until
the shadows lengthen,
evening comes,
the busy world is hushed,
the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then, in His mercy, may He give us
A safe lodging,
A holy rest,
And peace at last.
(Cardinal Newman)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

1988 May/June issue Part 5

Disruptions, delays, inconveniences
Emily, wife of America’s first foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson, wrote home from Moulmein, Bruma, in January 1947:
“This is taking care of teething babies, and teaching natives to darn stockings and talking English back end foremost... in order to get an eatable dinner, is really a very odd sort of business for Fanny Forester (her penname- she was a well-known New England writer before marrying Judson)....But I begin to get reconciled to my minute cares.” She was ambitious for “higher and better things,” but was enabled to learn that “the person who would do great things well must practice daily on little ones; and she who would have the assistance of the Almighty in important acts , must be daily and hourly accustomed to consult His will in the minor affairs of life.”
  About eighty years ago, when James O. Fraser was working as a solitary missionary in Tengyueh, southwest China, his situation was, “in every sense, ‘against the grain.’” He did not enjoy housekeeping and looking after premises. He found the houseboy irritable and touchy, constantly quarreling with the cook. Endless small items of business cluttered up the time he wanted for language study, and he was having to learn to be “perpetually inconvenienced” for the sake of the gospel. He wrote after some weeks alone:

Monday, December 26, 2011

1988 May/June issue Part 4

The Dangers of Sharing
There is a notion abroad today that we must all be "open" and "transparent," put all our cards on the table, hold nothing back. This, it is claimed, is real fellowship, what John meant by "walking in the light." Is it? Only God can search out the secret places of the heart. Therefore it is only as we draw near to Him that we can draw near to each other without harm. I think we've got it backwards when we suppose that by barging into one another's souls we somehow get closer to God. If we are given the pooprtunity to know anothers heart, we must be careful not to "foster the self that in a brother's bosom gnaws," as George MacDonald puts it (Diary of an Old Soul, November 9), but always hold that one to the very highest. This is love. This is the kind of sharing which will strengthen and cheer.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

1988 May/June issue Part 3

Kathy Lewis sent me this advertisement that appeared in her local paper in California.

She writes: “The most distressing part of this ‘service’ is the implication that Mom can so easily be replaced, particularly when she ‘just doesn’t want to do it.’ What a shame that so many are missing the true joy of mothering which is daily, unconditional, and self-giving.
  I am so thankful that during the years when my three daughters were small I could not afford frequent childcare. There were no day care centres. I was home every day and in our daily routine there was such security and comfort. Of course there were days when I was exhausted, bored, sick, irritated, or discouraged. But there was no alternative; I did whatever was next on the list of sheer survival instinct. Most days were a happy blur of story books, peanut butter sandwiches cut into triangles and soup (with jelly spread on crackers is they had been extra good), tricycles, and long peaceful naps. (No matter how hectic your day may seem now, the time will come- we promise!- when they’ll appear “a happy blur.” EE)
  The long days of mothering small children now seem to me to have been short and fleeting. As God has promised, faithfulness to this calling has brought rewards beyond my deepest longings. The future is bright for my dear ones as they near the time of becoming mothers too, but there are days when I would give a lot to see those precious little faces and bury my face deep in the neck of a sleepy girl again.”

One of the slick catalogues which pour into my mailbox contained recently a “survival manual” entitled Where’s Mom Now That I Need Her? I lament the need of such a book for the hundreds of thousands of children who must come home from school to an empty house and need help in surviving on their own- with recipes, remedies, first aid, laundry, bike care, and “helpful hints.”
  For you mothers who are there for your children, stick with it, for God’s sake, no matter what pressures are brought to bear upon you. And for you who want to be there and so far have not found a way to do it, ask God to show you if He has one. Trust Him and do whatever He says.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

1988 May/June issue Part 2

A Child’s Obedience

Question from a young mother: How can I train my twenty-month-old to come to me? How many times do I say “come here” before I go and grab him?
  The very first time you tell a child to do or not to do something (come here, don’t touch, sit still) (1) make sure you have the child’s attention; (2) look him straight in the eye;  (3)speak in an even, normal tone, address him by name, give the command; (4) give him a few seconds to let the message sink in; (5) speak his name again and ask, “What did I say?” Since training should begin long before talking, he will not be able to verbalize the answer, but he should obey. Children are always way ahead of their parents’ idea of what they can understand. (6) Tell him once more “Mama said Come, Andrew.” If he does not obey, spank him. After the first time or two of practice, spank after you spoke once.
  To make a habit of repeating commands is to train the child you never mean what you say the first time. If the first lesson in obedience is carried out as above, the child learns quickly that you mean exactly what you say. I know it works- my parents taught us this way, and I watched them train my younger sister and brothers. I found that it worked with Valerie.
  If you run after the child and physically force him to do what you say (e.g. grab him when he doesn’t come, take something away when he touches it), you are training him not to pay attention to your words. He knows he can get away with anything until forcibly strained.
  Now about spanking. The book of proverbs speaks of the “rod of discipline,” (Proverbs 22:15) and says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Prov 29:15). “He who spares the rod hate his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” (Prov 13:24). My mother used a very thin little switch from a bush in the backyard. We knew there was one in every room, readily available to administer a couple of stings to our legs if we disobeyed. Valerie keeps a thin wooden paint stirrer handy in the house, and also in her purse. One or two firm “paddles” on a small outstretched hand are language that an under-two child understands very clearly.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

1988 May/June issue Part 1

The Escalation of evil
We sometimes smile at those who sentimentally imagine that the past was not nearly so bad as the present. Were they really “the good old days”? A study conducted by the Fullerton, California, police department and the California department  of education cannot be dismissed as sentimentality.  Compare the leading school discipline problems (Time, February 1, 1988).
1940's                                                                                   1980's
Talking                                                                                 Drug use
Chewing gum                                                                    Alcohol abuse
Making noise                                                                    Pregnancy
Running in hallways                                                       Suicide
Getting out of place in line                                         Rape
Wearing improper clothing                                        Robbery
Not putting paper in wastebasket                           Assault

Saturday, December 17, 2011

1988 March/April issue Part 4

The Little Red Notebook
several readers wanted more from the little red notebook i found among my mother's things when she died last year. Someone wanted prayers for grandchildren. Here is one from mother's notebook;

Holy Father, in Thy mercy, hear our
anxious prayer;
Keep our loved, ones now far distant,
'neath Thy care.

Jesus Saviour, let Thy presence be their
light and guide;
Keep, O keep them, in their weakness,
at Thy side.

When in sorrow, when in danger, when
in loneliness,
In Thy love look down and comfort
their distress.

May the joy of Thy salvation be their
strength and stay,
May they love and may they praise Thee
day by day.

Holy Spirit; let Thy teaching sanctify
their life;
Send Thy grace that they may conquer
in the strife.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God the One
in Three,
Bless them, guide them, save them,
keep them near to Thee.
(I.S. Stevenson, 1869)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

1988 March/April issue Part 3

The Ultimate Contradiction- Part 2
When we learned recently from dear friends that they had lost their baby, this is what I wrote to them (I’ve been asked to print it here for others who are bereaved);
“Your little note was waiting for us when we returned yesterday from Canada. How our hearts went running to you, weeping with you, wishing we could see your faces and tell you our sympathies. Yet it is ‘no strange thing’ that has happened to you, as Peter said in his epistle (1 Peter 4:12)- it gives you a share in Christ’s suffering. To me this is one of the deepest but most comforting of all the mysteries of suffering. Not only does He enter into grief in the fullest understanding, suffer with us and for us, but in the very depths of sorrow he allows us, in His mercy, to enter into His, give us a share, permits us the high privilege of ‘filling up’ that which is lacking (Colossians 1:24) in His won. He makes, in other words, something redemptive out of our broken hearts if those hearts are offered up to Him. We are told that He will never despise a broken heart. It is an acceptable sacrifice when offered wholly to Him for His transfiguration. Oh, there is so much for us to learn here, but it will not be learned in a day or week. Level after level must be plumbed as we walk with the Shepherd, and He will do His purifying, purging, forging, shaping work in us, that we may be shaped to the image of Christ Himself. Such shaping takes a hammer, a chisel, and a file- painful tools, a painful process.

Your dear tiny Laura is in the Shepherd’s arms. She will never have to suffer. She knew only the heaven of the womb (the safest place in all the world- apart from the practice of abortion) and now she knows the perfect heaven of God’s presence. I’m sure that your prayer for both your children has been that God would fulfil His purpose in them. It is the highest and best we can ask for our beloved children. He has already answered that prayer for Laura.

Monday, December 5, 2011

1988 March/April issue Part 2

The Ultimate Contradiction- Part 1.
Two people were walking along a stony road long ago. They were in deep conversation about everything that had happened. Things could not have been worse, it seemed, and I suppose the road was longer and dustier and stonier than it had ever been to them, though they had travelled it many times. As they trudged along, trying to make sense out of the scuttling of their hopes, a stranger joined them and wanted to know what they were talking about.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

1988 March/April issue Part 1

If the heart wonders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master's presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in our Lord's presence, thought it went away every time you brought it back, you hour will be very well employed.
St. Francis de Sales