Tenderhearted

Tenderhearted.

A word I don’t hear much anymore. I want to hear it more.

A quality I don’t see much anymore. I want to see it more.

A life I don’t live much anymore. I want to live it more.
Tenderhearted.
A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life; a hardhearted person lives a hard life” (Proverbs 28:14 MSG).

A Wise Woman Builds

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

A leading reason people need marital counseling is difficulty with in-laws.  Sometimes a wife compares everything her husband does to what her father did and is quick to express disappointment and criticism when her husband does not meet expectations. Sometimes a husband is more loyal to his mother than he is to his wife.

Ever seen one of those difficult marital situations where the husband has never cut the apron strings from his mother? Ever witnessed the pain resulting from a wife idolizing her hero-daddy to the neglect of her husband? Both situations spell trouble. How can this be prevented, especially when the parents in these situations are often emotionally and spiritually needy to the point where they are dependent on the unhealthy attachment to their married son or daughter? Let me share a story with you.

I have a godly friend named Flo who is the mother of four boys. All four of her sons are Christians. All four are married to Christians. All four couples are raising their children in church faith-communities. Flo has devoted her life to her family, having been a full-time, stay-at-home Mom during her child-raising years. She was involved with each of her boys and supportive of their various activities and areas of involvement. As her boys grew older, she developed healthy adult friendships with them.

Flo once shared with me some advice she shared with each of her sons before they married. Her words went something like this: “Son, you have to love her more than you love me. You have to choose her over me. If you are not ready to do that, you are not ready to be married. She has to come first.”  Even though Flo loved her boys and had a good relationship with them, she knew that her boys needed to “leave father and mother” so that they could be united with their wives.

These words of wisdom helped shape her sons’ devotion to their wives. In situations when she felt like interfering, she would remind herself of that advice she had shared with her sons. And so these words also helped prevent Flo from speaking words that might have been hurtful to her sons’ marriages.

In an age of helicopter parents who hover over and interfere in their children’s lives, even if they are married adults, I appreciate the wisdom Flo shared with her sons. In an age where mothers and fathers are so emotionally and spiritually needy they cannot bear to “cut the apron strings,” I admire a woman who is emotionally and spiritually healthy enough to release her sons so they may be fully devoted to their wives.

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1).

Not Your Ordinary Obituary

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” Proverbs 14:1 (NIV).

Wow! The other day I read an obituary that was…well, not your ordinary obituary. I was going to link to it but it has been removed from the Internet. It’s my understanding that this was a real obituary and not a joke. So, I changed the name of the deceased and some of her family members so as not to call attention to the real identity of the person. And I want to include it here it so that we can all reflect. Here it is —

Jane Doe
1926 – 2008
Jane Doe, born in 1926 in New Jersey, left us on August 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Tom, her son, Tom Jr., and daughter, Billie.

She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona, and son Billy; grandchildren, Donnelle, Joe, Mitzie, Maria, Mario, Marty, Tynette, Tania, Leta, Alexandria, Tommy, Billy, Mathew, Raymond, Kenny, Javier, Lisa, Ashlie and Michael; great-grandchildren, Brendan, Joseph, Karissa, Jacob, Delaney, Shawn, Cienna, Bailey, Christian, Andre Jr., Andrea, Keith, Saeed, Nujaymah, Salma, Merissa, Emily, Jayci, Isabella, Samantha and Emily. I apologize if I missed anyone.

Jane had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.

Her family will remember Jane and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.

There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM.