Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mom and Chicken Soup

I read this morning of a friend who was sick. Her mother came over and made her homemade chicken and vegetable soup. My wife did that recently for one of our sons.

One of the things every one of us shares is having a mother; I had two. One was my birth-mother and the other was a lady who could not have children and adopted me when I was three months old. She is the only one I ever knew as a mother.

Due to various health problems, my mom was sick a lot. It was serious stuff and fills a lot of my childhood memories. She died when I was sixteen.

As a devoted mother, my mom did the best she could with me. My guess is that chicken soup made its appearance somewhere during my early years.

It's not easy being a mother to a child like I was; even harder when your own health is bad.

I have two distinct memories of times when I was sick with a cold and cough. Now this was back before all the candy flavored medicines came out. One time my mom was trying to give me some Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup. I don't know if it was as bad tasting as I remember or if it was just the contrary child at work but she actually had to chase me through the house. Finally I was cornered in the bathroom shower where I sobbed.  At that point my memory goes blank so I don't know who prevailed.

Another time I was given a Faustin formula for cough which was called a "strong drink". Normally it consisted of Old Stagg Bourbon and 7UP which was similar to Sprite. I hated the taste of Bourbon which ended up helping a lot in my teen years. There was always a bottle around our house but even with a passion for getting drunk I had to force the stuff down while holding my nose. Now I am thankful for that bit of external restraint.

Anyway, on this occasion the mixture was Bourbon and honey. I think the theory was that the honey would coat the throat with the "medicinal" properties of the Bourbon. Well as usual, I was an uncooperative patient and would not drink the mixture. It was left sitting on the night stand.  Sometime during the night my continued cough convinced me I should submit. I reached for the cup and took a drink. What you need to know is that by then, the honey had settled to the bottom so I got a mouthful of horrible tasting fire-water. That went a long way towards keeping me abstinent for a few more years.

So what struck me this morning as I thought about the chicken soup was what I missed. I didn't get to have a mom during my adult years. She wasn't at my wedding, I didn't get to see her playing with my children and she didn't get to pass on Faustin stuff to my wife. I could go on for a long time.

Be thankful for your mother even if she is less than ideal. If you are an adult and have a mother in your life it is usually a great blessing and one that can be taken for granted.

Thank her and be thankful.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Adoption - Thoughts at Christmas

I spent the first few months of my life in an orphanage. I was adopted when I was about three months old. My birth name was William Paul Bibelhausen.

I have a brother who is two years older and a sister who is three years younger. They were adopted also. I remember going to the orphanage when we were picking out my sister. I remember being in a courtroom, before a judge related to her adoption. I have a picture in my mind of my mom and dad in the front seat of the car with my sister between them. She turned around and gave my brother and me a huge smile. She was now part of our family and we were all very happy.

One of the first clues I had of being adopted was a time when a neighbor lady was breastfeeding her baby. Later my mom told us that we were bottle babies. There might have been more said that I don't remember but somehow I knew I was adopted although I may not have understood all it meant at that time. I was probably around five years old then.

I have never had any bad feelings about being adopted. I do have a friend who was raised in an orphanage who was angry with his birth mother when he met her. He wondered why she gave him up. That may be the difference. I felt like I was raised in a good home by good parents. I am very happy that I wasn't aborted.

In a Bible study recently someone made a comment that we can't choose our relatives. While that is true in most cases, I thought back that my parents chose me. When I was about eighteen, I was at a Bill Gothard seminar and one of the things he said was that God placed adopted children in special homes. I agree with that and am thankful.

As I said, I was raised in a good home by good parents. It wasn't always easy though. From what I hear, I was an especially difficult child. I also know that my mother desperately loved me. She wanted so much to be a mother. She was devastated years before when due to a hemorrhage, she had surgery and could never bear children.

From childhood, my mom was sick. She had rheumatic fever that led to future problems and many other illnesses all through her life. I have many memories when I was a child of her being sick and in the hospital. She died when I was sixteen from a heart condition related to the rheumatic fever.

After that, my dad did his best to raise us well. There were friends and relatives who came into our home to help as they had at times when my mom was in the hospital.

That must have been a very difficult and frightening time for my dad. I had already begun my decent into drugs. He used to say, "Things would have been different if Ida (my mom) had been there." I'm sure that would have been true.

I am thankful that I was adopted. I’m sad to think of all the kids now days who don’t get that chance because of abortion.

As I ponder the meaning of Christmas, I am thankful that Jesus made it possible for me to be an adopted child of God.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Lesson of Tim Tebow

To begin I must say that I am not a sports fan and know very little about football. I'm not the person who could show from statistics or analysis what kind of quarterback Tim Tebow is. I also have not watched the games he has played in this year.

But I have followed Tim Tebow very close and am moved by what I see. He seems genuine. He loves football and sees his position as a platform. He also views football as just a game and from what I've read said that God doesn't care who wins or loses. That would probably make him a blasphemer in many sports fans minds.

So here is what I know. Some amazing things have happened in the fourth quarter and overtime when Tim Tebow is playing and not all of it has been from Tim's hands. Other players both on the Broncos and on the teams they have played have contributed to the wins.

I am 56 years old. I am close to the fourth quarter of my life and may already be in it. My life so far looks like many of the Bronco games Tim Tebow has played in. I have scored a few points and have missed many opportunities. I don't have a lot to show for the years I have lived. It would be easy to say my life has been a failure and it's not going to change in the future; I will never be a great husband or father.

But here is the lesson of Tim Tebow for me. The game is not over yet. I can't let my past failures paint the future. God can turn things around and bring glory to Himself through my life.

Tim Tebow is a very inspirational player. He seems to bring out the best in the team. He helps them believe they can succeed.

He is not a one man show either. He doesn't speak in terms of I but we. He recognizes that the whole team is essential. He doesn't demean the other players when they miss an opportunity but convinces them that they will do better in the future.

When the bad history of my life plays in my mind the volume is turned all the way up. It's hard to see anything changing for the good. I feel like the people who pack up their stuff and go home early, convinced this game is lost. Tim Tebow shows me it's not. An exciting win may be just around the corner.

With God, amazing things are possible. When I really think about it, He always seems to wait until the last minute to do things. He also loves redemption. He fixes broken things.

Another thing I know is that there will be future losses. I am going to sin. I am going mess up and miss good opportunities. I hope the people around me will yell encouragement rather than say they knew it wouldn't last and that I'm no good after all.

Tim Tebow teaches us to hang on in prayer. It doesn't matter how long we have prayed. It doesn't matter if we don't see an answer. It's not over yet; persist.

A good thing to remember is that our opponent is getting weak and may be overconfident in the fourth quarter. They may be leaving the game, already convinced of a win. We need to keep playing with all that we have.

I will close with this quote by Sir Winston Churchill:

When you feel you cannot continue in your position for another minute, and all that is in human power has been done, that is the moment when the enemy is most exhausted, and when one step forward will give you the fruits of the struggle you have borne.

It's not just Tebow time but God's time to shine.