My mom was brilliant, and she still is. She has a relational I.Q. that is out of this world. She can sense when someone needs encouragement. She knows when there is something fishy going on. She has found a way to create family customs that unite our family to this day. She’s woven her heart into each of her kids and grandkids. Her grandparent days occur every Wednesday when she takes one of the grandkids on a date night to build relationship. As a kid, she used to have red, green, and blue days when we ate blue eggs with blue oatmeal with our blue orange juice. When I had kids of my own, she found ways to weave her special touch into family holidays, making Halloween cookies…and on and on. Her wisdom, grace, and strength are some of my greatest assets to date. She also has a way of dealing with stress that seems to elude me daily.
Psychologists have shown with the Holmes and Rahe stress scale that Christmas can be a major stress inducer on marriage and families today. They also noted that moving, divorce, and a death in the family can be equally stressful. The pressure to over-spend, live up to others’ expectations, and fulfill all your children’s wants can push anyone into unhealthy debt. Fighting over money is the number one cause of divorce in America. A recent study showed that 35% of spouses have a credit card they hide from their spouse. We are spending too much and hurting the things we care about most: our spouses, our families, and our own mental health.
King David knew all about the power or secrets to hurt a family. He also realized that secrets eventually come out and create collateral damage on a nation and a family. In Psalms 51, he calls out to God and says, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part you shall make me to know wisdom.” We need the light of truth to shine upon the secret shadows that are lurking in both our country, and our marriages today.
The Chief Accountant for the United States for most of the past decade was David Walker. His foundation reports that our government is hiding some credit cards from its citizens. Although our leaders may admit we’ve overspent as a country– with over $14.2 trillion dollar tab to date, David says the reality is far far worse. (It’s more like $60-120 trillion when you count up all the promises we’ve made to buy everyone everything this Christmas.) Something tells me our nation’s leaders need a Big time out. Perhaps they need a loving mother or grandmother to grab an ear or wash their mouths out with soap.
In the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, the women realize that their nation is in trouble with excessive spending and continual superfluous wars. The women in the community all commit to a “celibacy strike” until the men in the government finally turn things around. The leaders put the moms in charge – under “bedroom” duress. Not surprisingly, they turn the country around, resolve the budget woes, and get the nation back on track – in record time. There is great rejoicing by the men when the strike ends, but far more important, future generations are saved from excessive debt and never ending war because of the common sense pragmatic approach of wise mothers.
Today our nation’s leaders could use some motherly leadership. We need mothers and grandmothers to remind our senators and congressman of things they should have learned in kindergarten. “Don’t spend too much. Save your money. Don’t spend it all in one place. Be patient. Don’t let that money burn a hole in your pocket.” Jesus looked at the crisis in His nation one day and wept. He then used a motherly metaphor to express His deep concern and warning. He said He felt like a mother hen who desired to pull her children up under her wing to protect them from the coming danger. His children refused His fatherly warning and motherly offer of protection and suffered the consequences. We need wise mothers more than ever to offer wisdom and warnings to our children, to our leaders, and to the next generation. As Proverbs tells us, give our grandchildren reserves, not receipts.
Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.
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