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Devotion in Motion: Dysfunctional families in the Bible

By nwamamas - Last updated: Sunday, September 21, 2014

¶ Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. ~ 1 John 3:1 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I overheard a television program the other day on which they were discussing “dysfunctional families.” That got me to thinking. I’ve been working around people a long, long time. In my whole lifetime, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a perfectly “functional” family. Have you?

dysfunctional familyDid you ever stop to consider that the families we read about in the Bible would fall into the “dysfunctional” category? Adam and Eve had two sons, and one was good and the other was wicked. Noah had a drinking problem. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all showed favoritism in the raising of their children. St. Peter had a sick mother-in-law. St Paul and his sidekick Barnabas had a parting-of-ways over their dealings with Barnabas’ nephew John Mark. King David’s children didn’t get along with him—or each other—at all. And these examples just scratch the surface. I’m sure you can think of other examples from Scripture.

So, try not to feel too bad about your drunk uncle, your aunt who’s been married 6 times, or the first-cousin that you’d never let into your house except for the fact that you share the same set of grandparents. The Biblical record shows you that you’re not alone in having a few offbeat family members. :-)

Have you noticed that we have a lot more tolerance with the quirky behavior of our relatives than we would have with the idiosyncrasies of random people off the street? That’s because we’re related by blood to our kinfolk; somewhere back in the family tree we share a common father with them. And since this is true with our earthly families, I believe we certainly should have a lot of patience with the people in our “church families.” After all, we’re related by the blood of our Saviour to all Christians — and we all share the same Heavenly Father.

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher hopes his kinfolks don’t count him as one of their crazy relatives.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

The Rockwood Files: Taking out the digital trash

By nwamamas - Last updated: Saturday, September 20, 2014

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

It was the summer of 1980 and the open field next to our house was overgrown with tall grass nearly waist-high. Then one day papers blew all over the field, getting snagged and tangled in the unruly grass, making it even more of an eyesore. So my mother sent me and my big brother out one afternoon to pick up the litter.

My brother, who must have been about 13 or 14 that year, grumbled about the chore all the way out to the field, while I trailed behind him. He griped loudly right up until the second he picked up the first piece of trash and realized what it was. I saw the paper, too, but my 7-year-old brain assumed it was simply a magazine photo of a lady wearing black underwear, her hair blown back and a long string of pearls draped around her neck, which was odd because she’d forgotten to put on her shirt.

My brother stared down at that crumpled page for a second and then spun around on his heels with the page held behind his back. “You can go home and play. I’ll pick these up by myself,” he said.

I didn’t argue since playing sounded much better than picking up litter in the field, so I skipped back home, leaving my brother alone with the trash he was suddenly eager to collect all on his own.

Years later, I realized that what my mother had assumed was just litter blowing around an overgrown field was actually pages from an abandoned Playboy no litteringmagazine. It took my brother a couple of hours to pick up all those pages, which he said he threw away. Looking back on it? We all know he didn’t throw them away. Those crumpled pages were probably smoothed out and passed around a large group of neighborhood boys who were likely amazed when my brother told them about that special “field of dreams.”

Fast forward nearly 35 years later. Here I am, the mother of a nearly 13-year-old boy as well as a 10-year-old boy, both of them traveling the on-ramp to puberty. And I’m realizing that the overgrown field is still right here – only now it’s not a literal place. It’s a web – a World Wide one. And we don’t even have to walk outside to see it. It’s on our computers. Our phones. Our iPads. Even our TV has access. We’re living right smack in the middle of that tangled, gnarly field, and keeping the trash picked up is a full-time job.

To be honest, it scares me. My boys don’t have to wait for the wind to blow somebody’s forgotten nudie magazine into the field. The pictures – and, even worse, the videos – are a click away. Even though Tom and I have spent days installing internet filters and monitoring software and parental controls, I worry that clearing this figurative field is impossible. The sickest parts of humanity will always bubble up through the cracks. Statistics say that, on average, kids first see porn online at the age of 11. And by the time boys become college freshman, about 60% of them are addicted to pornography.

After reading those stats, part of me wants to pack up and move to a cave in Antarctica where there’s no Wi-Fi. And the other part of me – the part that knows we can’t outrun the world – hopes we can somehow stay a technological step ahead of our kids’ next temptation. But even more than that, I pray – now more than ever – for the help we need to raise good human beings, even in the midst of so much trash.

gwen rockwoodGwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

Local student needs our help

By nwamamas - Last updated: Friday, September 19, 2014

Happy Friday, mamas. Earlier this week, a friend who is also a doctor for Mercy Health passed this information along to us to share with all of you. As moms, our hearts hurt when we hear about a child in our community with a serious illness. Below is information about a Rogers High School Student named Jackson who has been diagnosed with a form of leukemia. He’ll need a bone marrow transplant and the people in his family are not a bone marrow match for him.

Getting tested to see if you’re a match is as simple as getting the inside of your cheek swabbed. So please go by the donor registry event on September 26th at 6 p.m. at the Rogers High School football stadium (on Dixieland Road in Rogers). If you can’t make it to the event, there’s also a way to join the donor registry online. All the details are below, or you can CLICK HERE to see more info online.

bone marrow

Inside His Head: My husband cheated. Should I stay?

By nwamamas - Last updated: Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dear Inside His Head husbands,

My husband had an affair about a year ago and I just found out in a roundabout way through a friend. When I asked him about it, he admitted it happened, but said he hasn’t seen the woman (or cheated on me with any other woman) since then. He says he wants to stay married, loves me and our kids and doesn’t want a divorce. I don’t know if I can trust him again. Do you have any advice for me? I’d like to stay, but I’m so hurt.

MAVERICK: He’s going to have to regain your trust and that will take more than admitting that he slept with somebody once he was caught nearly red-handed. To be honest, the way you describe him he’s not anywhere close to seeming to be sorry enough for what he did.

This is a huge red flag so proceed with caution and your eyes wide open.

I understand you’re hurt, anyone would be hurt in your situation. If you want to continue the marriage then that’s to your credit.

The thing is, he needs to want to continue it too, and he needs to be willing to take some serious steps to begin to rebuild your trust. This is not a situation where he gets to say “Oops, my bad. Sorry about that.” and gets to move on. If he’s unwilling to work on regaining your trust, well, he’s full of crap when he says he want’s his marriage back.

If he starts trying to deflect this back on you. If he tries to imply you let the infidelity happen. If he is pretty much anything but apologetic and willing to work hard and swallow his pride to get his home back, I wouldn’t put much stock in his sincerity or your chances for success.

The bottom like is this: He shattered your trust.

He has to admit that. You have to admit that.

He has to genuinely seek your forgiveness and if his effort is sincere you have to forgive him if you wish the marriage to continue.

He can’t just pay lip-service to this and neither can you.

You can’t say you forgive him and beat him up for the next few decades and he doesn’t get to sulk or imply that he was anything but wrong in his actions and willing to walk through hot coals to regain your trust.

If you don’t  really resolve this issue of infidelity, and just do it half-way, your relationship may still exist but it will do just that, nothing more.  It’ll just limp along, year after year, and never really have a chance to heal and possibly grow moving forward.

Don’t go through this alone.

Seek professional help with someone you trust, a therapist or a member of the clergy you both agree on. If your husband is unwilling to seek help, he’s not contrite, and if he’s not contrite, he’ll cheat again so don’t invest any more time with him.

Rebuilding your marriage is going to be tough, really tough. He must be truly sorry and be willing to prove that with his actions. Your job is even harder, you must be willing to totally forgive. I’m not saying this happens overnight but this is the attitude you must start from.

Good luck

MICHAEL: When we get married, we think we know how everything is going to unfold.

We tell ourselves all the things we’re going to do and all the things that we’d never do.

We envision our perfect children. We see our loving spouse continuing on unchanging from the day that we marry them.

Unfortunately, the reality is that we are all imperfect human beings.  We change over time and deal with issues that others may never know about.

We don’t see the curving path of life that lies in front of us with all its various challenges, pitfalls and setbacks.

We can’t really know what we’ll do in a situation until we’re there in it.  After we encounter them we can’t always be proud of our actions. But we can acknowledge where we are today and move forward.

So let me turn the situation around and ask me the same question as though you were the one that cheated.

Would you want to be forgiven?

If someone is worth loving, then they are no less worthy of that love after a mistake.

GRAY: Trust. Once it’s been broken things will never return to how they were before. Your relationship before this happened is broken as well. You have to rebuild a new relationship without ignoring the affair or merely keeping your fingers crossed that he won’t cheat again.

The first step toward rebuilding trust is to have a completely candid conversation. It doesn’t mean hearing the gory details, but you need to get an answer to every question you have. If you don’t know what made him cheat then you’ll never stop it in the future.

Don’t put a stranglehold on him. Had it not been for your friend, you would have never known about the affair and you may be fighting the compulsion to track his every move so you won’t miss the signals twice. Resist the urge. Hounding him down will just make you paranoid and won’t make either of you trust each other.

Keep track of how you feel as the two of you deal with this. You’re going to have some strong feelings at first, but if trust doesn’t seem to be returning over time you may need to rethink your stance. And it’s not only trust, how’s your self-esteem? Are you able to stand strong or do you feel too marginalized to respect yourself?

If conversation is a problem don’t be afraid to bring in a middle person. Counseling from a therapist or pastor can sometimes bridge the gaps and let you talk with each other without it turning into an argument. And if you’re spending your time name calling instead of really talking then you’re never going to gain traction.

If several months pass and you still can’t face the day without pain, anger and distrust then perhaps it’s time to go separate ways. At the end of this road you don’t need to feel like you’ve just accepted his cheating as a new burden you have to carry, you need to be able to confidently say “Yes, our trust was broken, but we’re too strong to have it break apart our family.”

If you have a question for our panel of husbands, please email it to them at mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com. Rest assured we won’t share your name in the Q&A.

Life with Ladybug: Perspective

By nwamamas - Last updated: Thursday, September 18, 2014

Love people sign.

By Shannon Magsam

I picked up the phone to call my husband. To vent.

I’d been to the dentist and I really needed to get a crown — plus I was reminded that I really need to have some dental surgery I’ve been putting off. And I remembered at the dentist that I also “really need” to get a mammogram, but our insurance has changed and that may be an out-of-pocket expense this time.

All I could see were dollar signs — disappearing fast down a big, huge drain.

It put me in a terrible mood.

When I called, my normally upbeat husband sounded sad and I asked what was wrong.

He told me that a woman we used to work with – who moved to another state several years ago – just lost her only child in a car accident.

My heart squeezed and, as a mom, I put myself right there in her shoes. As best I could, anyway, since I’ve never known that kind of pain.

I prayed for her (and will continue) and her loss immediately put my petty problems into perspective.

I often say to my parents and siblings that we need to enjoy each other’s company THOROUGHLY whenever we’re together. I told my sister recently: We can’t take this time for granted. We don’t know whether all of us will be sitting at mom and dad’s dinner table this time next year.

Our friend’s loss is a terrible reminder.

I read these sorts of posts all the time and I remember to be grateful and less annoyed about the small crap that happens in life for a few days. I’d like to hold on to this perspective for much longer. Like, until my last breath.

Life can be short.

You only get one.

Love God.

Love your people.

Love other people, too.

Praying for you, Cristal. We are so sorry.

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