Category Archives: Family Life

What does the Gospel mean for our marriages, children, and everyday family life?

What are moms good for?

by Dietrich Gruen

This Mother’s Day I invite you to reflect on whatever legacy your mom has passed along to you, while I do the same.  The vignettes I share will spark similar thoughts of your own mom, I hope.

Mary Gruen first celebrated Mothers’ Day as a new mom in 1950, the year she gave birth to me. That, of course, was her first legacy to me—life, but she also passed along the legacy of faith.  I came to faith in college February 27, 1971, when I experienced a “second birth” at the height of the Jesus Movement, amidst the Vietnam War protest era.  When calling home to say, “I found Christ,” my mom had a testimony of her own to share with me, then added, “I have been praying for you, for this God-moment, six years now.”  So it is my mom who preceded me and interceded for me in matters of faith.

How about you, were you raised by a mom who prayed for you every day, or are you praying that way now?

Mary Gruen also gifted me and led me into a life of serving others, sharing the love of God.  She was a throwback to that era of stay-at-home moms who were fulltime volunteers—in the school (president of the PTA), in scouts (den mother), in her church (treasurer, newsletter editor, quilter), in the neighborhood (community organizer), and in retirement (hospice volunteer). I got to see love-in-action, and grew up secure in that love and learned to find and give love to others in this world.

We all grow up learning what our parent models for us. How about you, what did you learn from the way your mom lived?  And if you are a mom, what are your kids learning from who you are?

The mothers we learn from need not be our own.  When asked, “What makes you keep on going and giving as much as you do?” Mom would always harken back to a life-changing meeting with Mother Teresa in Calcutta.  Mother Teresa, upon greeting her guests, took Mary’s hand in both of hers, saying, “I don’t want your money.  When you return home, I want you to look about you.  When you look, I want you to see.  And what you see, I want you to do something about.”

Mary Gruen did just that, adopting the poor as her life’s calling, serving in places and doing ministry eerily similar to me…. With the Lower Cape Cod Outreach—a nonprofit much like Middleton Outreach Ministry, where I served as its Executive Director (1997-2008)….  In a walk-in medical clinic and drove the elderly on appointments—much like I am doing now as a medical driver with Richwood Transport!  Mom was also a hospice volunteer, holding the hand of 25 residents as they died.  I would do the same, beginning with holding her hand at her death; six years later I entered hospice ministry myself, as a chaplain with Generations Home Care & Hospice.

Moms do not create either monsters or angels, but provide the conditions—the physical and spiritual and emotional DNA—for what God will do.  Moms of all types—midwives and grandmothers, career and stay-at-home moms, praying moms and task-master moms, nannies and nurses, school moms and den mothers—all those women God will use to shape us.  Those who bring us into the world, those who raise us in the home, in the faith, in school, on the athletic fields, who work us and pray for us—God gave us the moms (and dads!) we needed to shape us into the person we’ll become.

And we are still becoming.  God is not finished with any of us.

Parent’s Corner: What Three Months with My Daughter Has Taught Me About God

They say that having a child colors your understanding of God and life.  That bringing new life into the world changes how you see the world.  Until three months ago I didn’t realize how incredibly true this was.  I feel like the charcoal sketch that I was looking at has been transformed into the most vibrant of Monet’s.  Possibly the most profound instances of this is in regards to how God has painted my understanding of prayer and His emotional nature.  

photo-1454191297004-cefa4b1042d8.jpeg

Feeling Prayer

I’ve always prided myself on being a man who was confidently in touch with his emotional side and when it comes to prayer I’ve always prided myself on being the guy who says “it doesn’t matter what you say — just speak and let the Holy Spirit translate it for you!”  But if I can be honest, having Maisey has opened my eyes to just how theological I’ve been about all of it.  It’s been a standard case of the “head but not heart syndrome”.  I’ve known in my mind how God desires us to talk to him in prayer, I’ve known theologically how the Holy Spirit intercedes and translates for us when we talk to God but I haven’t felt God’s heart for us regarding prayer.  It took the birth of my daughter for it to finally click.

Continue reading Parent’s Corner: What Three Months with My Daughter Has Taught Me About God

Thick Skin & Gracious Hearts: Parenting in an Age of Conflict

Written by Truett Glen, Thick Skin and Gracious Hearts: Parenting in an Age of Conflict originally appeared on his blog, Thoughts From The Glen

We want to be tough yet kind disciples of Jesus — not like a crab, with a layer of armor outside but nothing substantial inside, nor like a slug, completely vulnerable and lacking a backbone, but like a horse, with both a soft nose and a strong body.

The Real Reason We Are Unhappy

Who’s to blame?

A lot of people are listening to TED Talks these days. I think it is because they are supposed to be smart and scientific. They are mostly just secular and progressive. I was listening to one about how monogamy does not work anymore and how we should be “Monogam-ish”— that is, mostly monogamous. The first part of the talk was full of all kinds of pseudoscience, but the main idea was that marriage is a worse than fifty-fifty gamble and it definitely needs an adjustment if it will have the potential to make us happy. And the thing we need to adjust is probably the monogamy part.

You may or may not think that’s particularly controversial. For my purpose here, this is just one example of a much broader phenomenon. It is part of the general unhappiness with the things that are supposed to make us happy, including human institutions that have lasted tens of thousands of years. The secular and progressive way of dealing with such a phenomenon is to blame the institution — the thing that was supposed to make us happy. If we are not happy in our marriages, then the problem is marriage.

photo-1422809623770-a1487918d542

Continue reading The Real Reason We Are Unhappy

April’s Parent’s Corner: Worship in the Family

Hello Parents,

I’m planning to post articles related to issues of faith and parenting each month. In order to keep some semblance of order in the upcoming stream of posts, I will cover a theme that will span multiple months. Each month, I’ll cover a different angle within the theme. First up: family worship. I am convinced that the way parents worship makes the largest determination on whether or not their children will adopt their faith as their own.

Continue reading April’s Parent’s Corner: Worship in the Family

Helpful Advice for Parents: Teens and Their “Risky” Brains

Murky PathThe land of adolescence seems to become more murky with each successive generation that passes through it .  If you are a parent or someone who volunteers their time working with teenagers you know this.  You also know how tricky it can be to help them navigate through those years.  On one hand there are the trials and tribulations that mark the transformations of those “in-between” years known as puberty.  And as if that wasn’t enough the other hand is full of  the added complexities of living in the 21st Century.

Continue reading Helpful Advice for Parents: Teens and Their “Risky” Brains