I thought I would post something I read online this morning - written by none other than my wonderful husband. To him I say this: It's a good thing your aren't on twitter (140 characters or less), because this could be a nomination for the longest status update in facebook history:-) And I love you:-)
********Copied from facebook, May 12, 2013******
It has become en vogue to voice criticism of the way one has been raised, to focus on disadvantages, and to complain when things being focused on - spotlight someone or something other than one's self. It may be difficult to get a paid position as a critic, but it comes naturally to criticize, and is much easier to do so than it is to focus on the things we should be grateful for. While it is popular to insist on being in the spot light, and it is accepted today for people to explain why honoring others, or holding up a standard, is unacceptable because it makes others uncomfortable or it excludes certain people... that does not diminish or negate the mandate to give honor to whom honor is due. I find this particularly interesting when it comes to Mother's Day, and people resenting one day out of an entire year set aside to honor a pretty important person in our lives. “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. - Proverbs 31
The last week I have been thinking about my life, the way that I was raised, and the sacrifices that people have made to get me to the place that I currently am. One of the few major players in these thoughts has been my mother. While is it is great timing that these thoughts coincide with the week leading up to Mother's Day, Mother's Day isn't the catalyst for the these thoughts. Rather, it is the myriad of sad stories that I have read or heard of actual or perceived slights, disadvantages, wrongs, and the like, that so many people I am acquainted with have expressed over the past few months and years.
Many years ago, when I was struggling with my circumstances working for a ministry in Indianapolis, a man wiser than myself mentioned something casually to me that has stuck with me since that time. I have tried to take it to heart, and while I have heard it many times since in various forms it bears repeating... In life you can choose to make the obstacles in your path a stumbling point or a stepping stone. The obstacle won't change, your perspective will. It's with that in mind, that I choose to look back with a grateful heart on the people and events in my life that have shaped me into the person that I am. What is decent and good in myself and my life can be traced back to the people that God has blessed me with knowing and learning from.
My mom decided long ago to put certain personal ambitions aside to raise me in a certain way, and to give me advantages that many others are not afforded. This post is not meant to debate the pros and cons of certain lifestyles, or to promote a particular type of parenting over another. My goal is to simply be one of the voices amid the din clamoring for attention that goes on record as saying thank you publicly. I am grateful for the sacrifices made, and for the reasons behind those sacrifices, and the decisions not made lightly to follow the path deemed most suitable at the time. Another thing I have learned over the years, is that you can't beat a man at his trade, so I will defer to R.Frost in his poem The Road Not Taken:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The decisions made by my parents regarding raising their children alleviated many common pressures, and exponentially compounded others. I wasn't raised in a perfect home. Not everything was idealic, but my parents did hold to certain ideals. It's those ideals that were instilled in me, and were instilled in great part because of the sacrifices that my mother made. My parents fleshed out the sacrifices that they felt essential for my best interests, not their own. I would not have been afforded the opportunity to meet my soul mate if my parents didn't make the sacrifices they did. And so, this becomes a thank you to my in-laws, and specifically today my mother-in-law, for her sacrifices. For making difficult choices. Because of the decisions made by our parents, the parenting obstacles in our family are that much easier to make stepping stones. We have had, from our parents, what people in the racing world would call frontrunners, pace setters. So, this brings me to my wife, the most important individual in my life. She has the Midas touch, and maximizes everything in the lives of my children to their greatest potential. She does not dwell on what we have not been afforded, but chooses rather to focus on what can be done with what she has been given.
Ours is a marathon, the race that we have been given, and with so many watching, we must set aside the unnecessary, and the selfishness/pride that can weigh us down... and run our race with patience. It has always been my understanding that good is acceptable, but excellence is preferred. While most mothers sacrifice much, a select few sacrifice more. So this is a small tribute to the standard bearers in my life, that have decided to do it the right way. To those who have not settled for good enough, but aspire to greatness through sacrifice. To those who epitomize that godliness with contentment is great, and will receive a special crown that so many others will not, because they enamored with the spotlight. If this tribute describes you, or your mother, or wife, in a round about way I'm thanking you/them too, for making this World a better place. If this doesn't describe you, or your experience... relax, if there is one thing that can be learned from the women spoken of in my post, it would be that it is okay if it's not always about you.