DEVOTIONALS DAILY

“The first forty years of parenting are always the hardest!”
Devotional daily
A woman I know was asked at her son’s wedding, “What is the responsibility of the mother of the groom?” She smiled and said, “Wear beige and keep your mouth shut.” She got a chuckle, but it was great advice, especially when it comes to relationships with in-laws.

Many comedians like to do a bit on in-laws, especially a mother-in-law. I must admit I have done my share of laughing at those jokes. The reason so many comedians take on the in-law routine is because the in-law stereotypes are based on realities most people can relate to. Some in-laws do meddle. When it comes to dealing with in-laws, stepfamilies, and the blend, the wisecrack wisdom of “wear beige and keep your mouth shut” is a much more effective strategy than meddling. Here’s my short take on navigating a successful relationship with an in-law or an in-law-to-be:

■ Don’t criticize the in-law.
■ Don’t criticize the in-law’s parenting.
■ Don’t criticize the in-law’s treatment of your son or daughter.
■ Don’t criticize anything about the in-law.

If I might be so blunt, it’s not about you; it’s about them. You don’t have to like them. You don’t have to agree with them. Your job is to honor your child by honoring your in-law because they chose your in-law and you didn’t.

Susan and Matt confided in me that their new daughter-in-law was not the type of person they had hoped their son would marry. She was brash, bossy, opinionated, and a bit narcissistic. They also felt she was keeping their son away from the family. While Matt wanted to confront the couple, Susan was nervous that a confrontation would push her new daughter-in-law and son away. They asked me what I thought. Although I do believe that gentle confrontations can work, I wasn’t sure that was the best strategy in this case.

“It seems like she is a bit rough around the edges,” I said. “I’d shower her with kindness and pray for a transformation. It doesn’t sound like she has a vendetta against you as much as this is her personality with everyone. What if you took on the task of nixing any negativity toward her or your son? Be the people in their lives who support their marriage. Be the safe in-laws to whom they will be drawn, rather than the ones causing tension. Lower your expectations for a while and support them whenever and however you can.”

Susan also shared she was struggling over the loss of closeness with her son. Before his marriage, the son and his mother had been close. Now, not so much. “Your access to your son and future grandkids is through your daughter-in-law,” I said. “So it’s back to supporting her in any way you can. Without being intrusive, offer to babysit anytime she needs a break and it works with your schedule. Go out of your way to bring her a small gift or write an affirming card. You’d do it for a friend, so why not for your daughter-in-law, who can become your friend? When you honor her, you are honoring your son. Be the person they want to spend time with because you are investing in their lives. Then sit back and watch the relationship change.”

I know my advice to Susan might sound like an oversimplification because life and relationships can get complicated — even good, well-intentioned people can make mistakes when hurt feelings get the best of them. But for those in Susan’s situation, the decision to support the marriage of your grown kids can help keep it from being unnecessarily complicated. Stay away from disputes with your kid’s spouse on anything. You just can’t take it personally.

WHAT IF YOU DON’T LIKE THEM?

Sometimes people tell me they just don’t like the person their adult child is dating or has married. I get it. But unless the situation is abusive or destructive, it’s better to focus on learning to like them than to focus on what you don’t like about them.

One mom I know changed a relationship with her daughter-in-law through small gifts. Her daughter-in-law had a shell that was difficult to penetrate. She didn’t have much of a filter and would say hurtful words to her mother-in-law and talk negatively about her son. She was simply a negative and draining person. One day when the mom was at Starbucks, she realized that her daughter-in-law loved Starbucks, but the young couple was on a pretty tight budget. So the mom bought her a ten-dollar gift card. Next door was a candy store that sold chocolate-dipped strawberries, and she purchased two. On her way home, she stopped by her son and daughter-in-law’s apartment with the gift card, strawberries, and a short note. The daughter-in-law loved the gesture. From that time on, it became a weekly ritual. Eventually, the daughter-in-law reached out and asked to get together for coffee. One year later, they are best friends. Of course, this wonderful ending isn’t always the case, but the point is clear: reach out in love, even if you don’t start off liking them.

Carly and David pulled me aside at one of our Doing Life with Your Adult Child seminars. They told me they had taken an instant disliking to their daughter’s husband and made both subtle and not-so-subtle comments to their daughter about him before the wedding. Their daughter went ahead and married, and now they were the proud grandparents of three children and still not too crazy about their son-in-law. But their story was a good one.

They decided against complaining about the son-in-law to their daughter. Even when she made negative comments (with which they agreed), they kept quiet. They just listened. Their philosophy was, “He’s your husband and we will stay out of the fray.” When grandchildren entered the picture, the son-in-law routinely limited their access to the grandkids and the hurts deepened. When Carly and David asked to stop by, he would say, “Not today — we are really busy.” They waited for more access with wounded hearts. They offered to babysit. They bought gifts. They didn’t miss any occasion to celebrate together. Slowly but surely, access was granted. Babysitters were needed, and they got their time. They were smart enough to wait it out and keep their mouths shut, and eventually things changed.

When I asked them how the breakthrough happened, they said, “We decided to become the fun grandparents and fun in-laws. This meant our grandkids started asking for us. We tried to create family fun as a vital part of our family culture.” When I asked if they liked their son-in-law any better, they said, “When we lowered our expectations and accepted him for who he is, things got better. We want to do everything we can to help them succeed as a family.”

Excerpted with permission from Doing Life with Your Adult Children by Jim Burns, copyright Jim Burns.

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Your Turn

If you’re in the season of parenting adult children, hang tight! Ask the Lord for help. Ask for the tools you’ll need to shut your mouth when you need to and offer kindness and support often. What have you found helpful? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you!

COMMENT

 

TODAY NEW TESTAMENT READING

NEW TESTAMENT READUNG IN BROWNView today’s reading at Bible Gateway

Luke 18:24-43

24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time

31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

INST
April 24, 2020
Who Shall Let It?
“Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” (Isaiah 43:13)

This is one of the classic “archaisms” of the King James Version, where the English word “let” does not mean “allow” (as we now use the word) but almost the exact opposite. This particular English word was originally written and pronounced “lat” and was from the same Teutonic root as the word “late.” Thus, to our Old English ancestors, it meant essentially “make late,” or “hinder.” Note its similar use in the King James in Romans 1:13 and 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

However, the Hebrew word (shub) from which it is translated in the verse of our text is extremely flexible, being rendered no less than 115 different ways in the Old Testament, occurring about 1,150 times altogether, with the context controlling its meaning in any given case.

In this context, the great theme is that of God as omnipotent Creator and only Savior. The first occurrence of shub, however, is at the time of the primeval curse on the creation, implanted in the very dust of the earth because of Adam’s sin. To Adam, God had said: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19). Here, shub is twice rendered “return,” and this is the way it is most often translated in its later occurrences.

God therefore challenges every man: “When I work, who can return anything [or anyone] to its [or his] prior condition?” Though none can deliver out of His hand, or “make late” His work, He has promised to be our Savior, “and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:11, 25). When it is time for God to do His work—whether of creation or judgment or salvation—there is no one in all His creation who can “make it late”! HMM

 

Divinely Aligned

April 24 | Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 19-20; Luke 18:1-23

GGGG

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

Romans 11:33

READ ROMANS 11:33–36

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I was deeply troubled and woke in the night to pace the floor and pray. Frankly, my attitude was not one of prayerful submission to God, but one of questioning and anger. Finding no release, I sat and stared out a large window at the night sky. I was unexpectedly drawn to focus on Orion’s Belt—those three perfectly arranged stars often visible on clear nights. I knew just enough about astronomy to understand that those three stars were hundreds of light years apart.

I realized the closer I could be to those stars, the less they would appear to be aligned. Yet from my distant perspective, they looked carefully configured in the heavens. At that moment, I realized I was too close to my life to see what God sees. In His big picture, everything is in perfect alignment.

The apostle Paul, as he completes a summary of the ultimate purposes of God, breaks into a hymn of praise (Romans 11:33-36). His words lift our gaze to our sovereign God, whose ways are beyond our limited ability to understand or trace (v. 33). Yet the One who holds all things together in the heavens and on earth is intimately and lovingly involved with every detail of our lives (Matthew 6:25-34; Colossians 1:16).

Even when things seem confusing, God’s divine plans are unfolding for our good and for God’s honor and glory.

By Evan Morgan

REFLECT & PRAY

Dear God, remind me that Your purposes and plans for my life are beyond my understanding, and help me rest in You.

What questions do you long for God to answer? How can you find rest and release through faith that His perspective of our lives is in perfect alignment with His ultimate purposes?

 

 

 

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Paul wasn’t the first author in the Bible to speak of God’s inscrutability—that He’s beyond comprehension (Romans 11:33-36). Two thousand years earlier, Job (believed to have lived at about the time of Abraham) asked, “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (Job 11:7). Isaiah also acknowledged that God is beyond human understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9). But God wanted us to know Him and said, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord” (Jeremiah 24:7). Years later, John the apostle told us how we know Him: “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18). To know Jesus is to know God. Jesus said, “If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (8:19; see also 17:3). K. T. Sim