Being a Good Mother-in-Law

I married my husband at 21 and became a Christian at age 33.  I
never had a Christian mentor and could have used the help of an older Christian sister when my mother passed away when I was 42.   As I revisited the story of Ruth, I realized I want to be a better Christian mentor to my own daughter, daughter-in-law and to other Christian young women.

  If you’re unfamiliar with Ruth and Naomi’s story in the book of Ruth, Naomi had been a widow for 10 years when both of her married sons passed away.  Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem and since both of Naomi’s daughter-in-laws were Moabites,  Ruth instructs the childless younger women to return to the homes of their own people.  Orpah does, but Ruth insists on staying with Naomi:

 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”  But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
Ruth 1:15-18 (ESV)

Each time I read Ruth, I wonder what made Ruth decide to stay with her mother-in-law.   Was it her kindness?  Was she just feeling sorry for her?   Had Naomi been such a good mother-in-law that Ruth desired to go with her instead of going back to her Moabite people?

  I would only want to go with a woman who was kind and upright. As a child/teenager there was so much turmoil in my own family, so I didn’t have good examples.  I married into a Christian family, but I’ve only seen favoritism and badmouthing of ex-daughter-laws which made me bitter.  Rereading Ruth has shown me the kind of mother-in-law I would like to be and how God has directed me to be.

Titus 2:3-5 shows the responsibilities of females in the church body:

Titus 2

Here’s my list of rules for mother-in-laws.  Please feel free to share any advice/rules that have helped you in your mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship.

1. Pray for your daughter-in-law.
2. Always call ahead before visiting.
3. Do not be intrusive.
Don’t call too much, visit too much or do things without asking.
4. Don’t be critical of your daughter-in-law.
How she raises her children, keeps her house, her cooking, etc. is her business.
5. NEVER criticize your daughter-in-law to your son or other family members.
6. Do not gossip about your daughter-in-law.
7. Don’t show favoritism – this includes your own children, grandchildren, and other daughter-in-laws.
8. NEVER tell your grandchildren that their mom or dad is wrong.
9. Love and praise your daughter-in-law.
10. Do kind things for your daughter-in-law.
11. Always include your daughter-in-law.  Schedule special times with her, other daughter-in-law(s) and your daughter(s). Going out to eat or getting coffee together, a simple day of baking, getting manicures, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
12. If your son divorces, be kind to your daughter-in-law, especially if there are children. She will ALWAYS be the mother of your son’s children. NEVER talk badly about an ex-daughter-in-law, especially in front of your grandchildren.



Don’t keep Jesus in the manger

  When we lived in Utah, one cold night I came home from work at 10:30 pm to find my entire neighborhood searching with flashlights and calling out my daughter’s name (she was three-years-old at the time). I frantically ran into our house to find that she had gotten out of bed at 9:30 pm to look for me — my husband had been outside cleaning his company vehicle and sent her back in the house. When he went inside a few moments later to tuck her back in bed, he couldn’t find her and asked a neighbor to stay with our son while he searched for her. The neighbor then called other neighbors to form a search party.

Thankfully, I found her in the bathroom under her pink blankie, hidden in between the tub and commode. I had only been involved in the search for less than 10 minutes, but my knees literally gave out from under me and I fell to the ground when I found her. I was emotionally and physically drained from the adrenaline rush, and one VERY, VERY thankful mama.

I wonder if this is how Mary and Joseph felt when they found Jesus after he was missing for 3 days. I also wonder if they had been busy with life and the raising of Jesus that they had forgotten Who their son was. Were the visits from the angels, shepherds and wise men a distant memory? Had they lost sight of Simeon’s blessing? Or were they terrified because they had lost the Son of God?

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 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Luke 2:41 – 52 (ESV)

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 As you begin to put your Christmas decorations away,
please don’t lose sight of the significance of Jesus’ birth.
Don’t keep Jesus in the manger.


No Bake Cookies and Christian Love

  It was 34 years ago that I first tried a No Bake Cookie.



I was single, overseas, and living in Air Force barracks. When a coworker’s wife made them for him to share at work, I asked for the recipe. It was the first recipe that someone ever wrote out for me. This couple also happened to be some of the first true Christians I met.

From the ages of 15 to 21, I could have been called a “wild child”. Even though I ran and worked out, I also smoked cigarettes and drank heavily. Very heavily. I lived a very wicked lifestyle and everyone I worked with knew it.

One professing Christian told me that women shouldn’t be in the military. He also told me how his wife stayed home, never wore pants, and only listened to the radio. Sure — like that was going to give me a desire to become a Christian.

Thankfully, God continued to put nonjudgmental people in my path who shared His love in kind and thoughtful ways. They did not put down my sinful lifestyle. They didn’t comment on my filthy language. They showed me Christ’s love in caring actions and the way that they lived their lives.

 I’ve used that cookie recipe numerous times. I’ve made them for my own family. I’ve made multiple batches for youth group events. I’ve taken plates of them to new neighbors, sick friends, and new moms. I make them for the kids I work with at school.

I rewrote that recipe on a card because the original became wrinkled and stained from use.  Every time I take the recipe card out, I think of that loving Christian wife who made cookies for her husband’s coworkers, how the LORD used those cookies to soften my heart, and I thank Him for that loving act so many years ago.  As I made a batch of  No Bake Cookies tonight, I thanked the LORD for allowing me to serve Him and will do so every time I make them.    

Teaching each other through fellowship and NOT programs

I became a Christian at age 33 and
never had a Christian mentor.  When my mother passed away, I really could have used the help of an older Christian sister to help me then and to also hold me accountable in my spiritual growth. Titus 2 shows the responsibilities of church members, with verses 3-5 directed to females:

Titus 2
I believe many Christians have become too busy for real relationships.

Most churches are not hurting for programs.  With so many activities during the week, there are great needs in the church for workers and leaders.  I have witnessed how many churches put people in teaching positions and even leadership roles way too early in their Christian walk.  I have also noticed that there are many people within the church body who do not believe that we each have responsibilities within the church — their actions, of course, contradicting Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.  I have also seen many give up serving in the church when their families are grown or even stop attending when life gets difficult.

 I am so VERY thankful for my current church home, Grace Family Fellowship. We are a reformed, family-integrated church that desires to walk in obedience to the Scriptures alone, and we align our families and our church in this same manner.  We believe that the leadership of the father in the home is paramount to the instruction of the family (and NOT the youth pastor or children’s minister), and that fellowship of the church is needed in order to have true accountability. We believe accountability begins with proper delivery of God’s Word through expository preaching. 

I now have more time for relationships with both older and younger women. I enjoy visiting with the younger women in my church, and I sometimes bring meals to give them a break from cooking.  These younger gals in my church are teaching me so much as I observe their obedience to the LORD in their actions, the way they allow their husbands to be the head of their households, and especially in the ways they work with their children — these young women do not expect the church to teach their children.  They also do not have their children in every extra-curricular activity like so many families do today.

So how are things done in your church?  Do you have so many programs available that you have little time for authentic fellowship with other believers?  Do you find yourself totally exhausted from all the volunteer work that you do?  Have you ever been mentored, or are you currently mentoring a young believer?  Do you have time for real relationships — not just reaching out to friends on the Internet?

Memorial Day

Memorial day

Less than 1% of the U.S. population have served in the armed forces.

 My hubby and I are in that one percent.  We both spent four years in the Air Force and met while serving overseas.  I also served almost 6 years in the Air National Guard.  I chose to get out of the military the fall of 1991 when I was pregnant with my second child, shortly after the Persian Gulf War.

 My unit didn’t go to the Persian Gulf because a very crucial piece of equipment was out for repair during this time.  Although my unit wasn’t activated, a few personnel were. Children had to stay with their grandparents when couples were activated for duty.  These are the kind of sacrifices that are made when people choose to serve their country.

I loved serving my country, but I also loved being a mom and I knew I could not do both jobs well.  I choose being a mom over having a military career.  I think it’s the best career choice I ever made.     ❤

I have never felt comfortable when people thank me for my military service on
Memorial Day.  Memorial Day is a day set aside for solemn remembrance of those who lost their lives while defending our freedoms.  My husband and I were once members of a church that gave recognition to veterans by asking them to come forward on Memorial Day.  We chose to stay seated during that church service because we felt this was not appropriate. They had good intentions, but definitely unfitting.

Our son is also a veteran, having served in the Army as a medic. He was stationed in Afghanistan for a year, not too far from the Pakistan border. He has shared some of what he went through but like most veterans who have experienced the traumas of war, he chooses to keep most of these to himself.  Memorial Day carries a new significance to us now because we know he has had friends who did not make it back home.

I want to challenge you to do something for veterans, and not just on Memorial Day.  There are many veterans who carry physical and emotional scars.  Research many of the great charities such as the Gary Sinise Foundation, CRU Military Ministry, and Operation Heal Our Patriots.  Volunteer at your local VA hospital or contact your local VFW.

Whatever you do, please do not thank a veteran for his/her service today.

 This can be an especially gloomy day for those who’ve lost friends either overseas or from the effects of PTSD.  Many veterans continue to fight an unseen battle, the psychological war from what they’ve gone through.  Thanking them for their service today may only hurt them further because they’re thinking of those who didn’t make it back.  Instead, invite them out to dinner or to your family’s barbecue.  Ask them if they’d like to talk about someone they served with.  Please serve them during the year, and not just on Memorial Day.

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 Heavenly Father, thank You for the bravery You have given the men and women who  selflessly serve our country.  Thank You for giving wisdom to military commanders and leaders.  Father, please protect those who are in harm’s way right now, guide their footsteps and blind the enemy to their comings and goings.  I lift up those who have lost friends and loved ones who were defending our country; please hold them close and comfort them as only You can.  I lift up those men and women who are fighting PTSD; please protect their minds from the things they’ve seen and experienced, and give wisdom to their families and physicians as they try to help them.   Please guide our government officials in ways to improve our VA system and please continue to expose flaws in the system so it can be improved.  Please show us all ways that we can each help our veterans, in ways that would bring glory to You.  I ask these thing in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

Celebrating 53 Years of Life


A generous man will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)

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A couple of months ago I shared a post about doing anonymous acts of kindness.  When we do nice things for others, our bodies produce endorphins, the very same “feel good” chemical that is released when we exercise. That is how helping others helps us — it boosts our mood because that’s how God made our wonderfully complex and amazing bodies!

I turn 53 on Friday and I have 53 cards made up.  I have no idea what acts I will do or who I will give gifts to because I’m just going to do what the Holy Spirit leads me to do.

To celebrate God’s gift of allowing me to live 53 years here on Earth, please feel free to help me do Anonymous Acts Of Kindness ~ ~ ~ anonymously because we will be elevating Christ instead of me.  In Matthew 6:1-6, Jesus talked about how we should not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing when we give to others. I really like how The Message words this:

“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that
you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater,
but the God who made you won’t be applauding.

When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself.
You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘play actors’ I call them—
treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage,
acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds.
They get applause, true, but that’s all they get.
When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks.
Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God,
who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.”

Follow this link to my Pinterest board where you can get free printables and lists of kindness acts — many kind acts do NOT require $$.