Fear of Mothers-in-law

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I was surfing the web on mother-in-law and saw this word, pentheraphobia. So what is this phobia? Pentheraphobia is the fear of your mother-in-law. We also have the Soceraphobia. It is the fear of your parents-in-law. What causes phobias? Phobias can be caused by traumatic events, experiences early in life, and also we just don’t know. What could cause someone to fear you and me? Fear is an unpleasant emotion that you feel when you think someone or something is going to cause you pain or is a threat to you. What could be causes of Pentheraphobia?

We have fear that has been implanted by the media over many years. Mothers-in-law are portrayed as causing pain to people in TV shows, movies, jokes and more. Some of us have earned the meddling, interfering and critical role and many of us have not. This stereotype can be hard to overcome in relationships. Stereotype is a picture in one’s head. Changing pictures that have been put in and may be hard to take out.

Another cause could be events that have been seen between the mother and the grandmother. When we do not see a good relationship modeled growing up, then fear could develop of having the same kind of bad relationship as an adult with the mother-in-law.  Adults do not realize the fear that can be instilled in children when they see anger hashed out through harsh words. Fear of what could be can cause a stand off in the relationship.

Fear of the unknown is a phobia all by itself. H. P. Lovecraft says “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”. There can be fear of not being accepted. Fear of not being loved by the mother-in-law.  Fear of not being able to make all the decisions with the husband. Fear of not being the main woman. Plenty of fears to roll into one big fear of the unknown.

So how do we work at easing any fear of the mother-in-law in our relationship. We have to work overtime with portraying an openness. We want to be open to work out any problem that arises in the relationship. We have to practice the one another passages in our Bible. We should show love to one another. (I John 3:11) We should pray for each other. (James 5:16) We should live in harmony with one another. (I Peter 3:8) We are to be at peace with one another. (Mark 9:50) I think you get the picture. When we have fear to over come, it will take a lot of positives to overcome the negatives.  The bigger question is do you want to move past fear and grow a relationship. Jesus asked the woman, “do you want to be made whole?” The question is ours to answer.

This week my mother-in-law went to heaven seven years ago. There were fears of the unknown along the way. I am so glad we both worked at overcoming the fears and moved into a loving relationship. The desire to have a close family was stronger than fear of each other.

Paul and Mattie

Looking at the Heart by Lynn Autry

 

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Have you been fooled before by someone. Have you expected a person to continue to act in a Christ-like manner just to be disappointed? Wouldn’t you like to see inside of a person at the beginning of a relationship? We have a lesson in the Bible about the heart. “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible,  but the Lord sees the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7) God tells us not to be deceived when we look on the outward appearance or actions. He looks at the heart. God sees our emotions. We may can hide hurt or disappointments but God sees what we are truly feeling. Our heart shows our intentions. God sees our issues, all of them. God sees what lies behind our actions. God sees our strong will and desires.
In relationships, it is easy to look at what we can see. If you are like me, you have looked at actions and thought this person will make a great in-law. We have also looked at a person and thought they would be a terrible person to try to have an in-law relationship with. We have been deceived by looking at what we could only see with our eyes. Some of you are like me and you have lived long enough for God to show you how wrong you were. Actions spoke louder than words and proved you and me wrong. The people of Israel thought Saul would make a great King. They were deceived. This strong good looking man did not have a heart to stick with God and obey him. Young David had a heart that would follow God and have a heart after God.
We need to focus on what God sees. God sees the motivation behind the actions. We need God to implant his heart for people in our heart so that we will see the heart behind the actions.
God gave Israel a lesson over and over in this. God also gives us lessons on seeing beyond what we can see with our eyes. Judging comes naturally for us, at least for me. It takes real effort to wait and let God guide us through what we see and what we don’t see.
It takes patience, prayer and self-control. When we pray and stay in tune with God, He can guide us through what we see and don’t see. Patience helps us just to wait and see. Having self-control keeps us from saying and doing  what we may regret later.
When you are picking out potential in-law possibilities, remember the Saul and David story. Saul started out hiding and David started out tackling a giant. God will see what you cannot see. God sees the heart and years down the road for you.  We just see the here and now. God saw the battles David would need to fight. God sees the battles you will be fighting and who you need by your side when the war is waging in your life.
We also need to remember this story with all the people in our life. We have to leave it to God to help us see the motivations behind the actions of people in our family. He sees the heart and our sight is very limited. We can be easily hurt by what we see. Just remember God sees the insides and knows what lies underneath. Remember to pray about all relationships. Remember to have patience with all people. And remember to have that all important self-control. Our all-knowing God is in control when we are struggling with what we cannot see. Don’t be deceived, God sees the heart.

Stepping Through the Mines

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Stepping Through the Mines

Being a mother-in-law sometimes can be like walking through a minefield. We are trying to navigate around hidden pieces planted below the surface without getting blown up or blowing up the family relationship. Sadly, the mines below can’t be seen with your eyes. Your senses will tell you something is there but many times we do not trust our senses. Many mines below the surface we had nothing to do with. We step on without knowing or thinking.

We sometimes get caught in the mine of expectations. We are not the mother-in-law that was expected. We are too friendly. We talk differently than expected. We have too little money or too much. Expectations can go everywhere. When we do not meet the expectations as to how we are to look, act or communicate. We are caught in a mine. We may be caught in the mine of being a mother-in-law. There are daughters and sons that did not grow up with their mother having a mother-in-law or a relationship with one. So, the fact that they now have one to deal with can be a mine that you step on at the wedding. There is the mine of individuality. We are individuals with different thoughts, ideas and lives. We are all different people. We will have different opinions. We will not agree always on the same thing. It is easy to step on that one. There is a mine of culture. We grew up in the South. They grew up in the North. We grew up in the West and they grew up in the east. We cook foods that go with the life we have had. Our culture may not be accepted at points. the mine of parents can be stepped on. Parents from the wife and husband will be very different. In all of the in-law relationships we have, Rodney and I are very different than the parents of our daughters-in-law and son-in-law. We all like different things. It can be a mine when the differences are hard to accept. We may step on the mine of faith. We believe differently about our daily walk. We believe in church attendance. They may not. The belief in drinking and smoking may be differently. Many mines can be very personal and the mine of our belief in God is one of them. When children enter the picture, mines are a plenty. It is easy to step on the mine of how to discipline or raise children over and over. The care of our grandchildren can be just as personal as the care of our children was to us.

I could go on and on about the mines that are in this in-law relationship. I could write a book about the mines that I have stepped on. Many times, I have stepped on the same ones over and over. The mines are there as you try to navigate this relationship. The difference in each relationship is forgiveness. When each person in the relationship is ready to forgive when they are offended, then we avoid the mines being detonated. Yes, we step on the mine but the mine can stay dormant by the forgiveness that God gives us and we give others. I have had this both ways. I have had mines that were not detonated and mines that were when I stepped on them. I am so thankful for forgiveness and the forgiveness that has been shown me as I stepped through this minefield of in-law relationships.

 

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Problems with Happiness?

 

 

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Problems with Happiness
Does problems determine your happiness? To be truthful, I have let problems determine my emotions. We all have problems. We all lose loved ones. We all deal with illness at some point in our life. Some of us share problems with children, finances, jobs and church. I could go on and on about problems we share. How can we be happy in the midst of our problems? How are other people happy with all the problems they have? Several years ago, I allowed problems to drive me into depression. I was trying to handle them all by myself. Which is the enemy’s plan by the way. It was not until I realized that God was my only hope to pull me out of the pit I was in that things started to change. When I realized that I needed Him and His Word to survive then and only then did God begin to heal my heart. When healing started, forgiveness and freedom followed. Between 2001-2003, I learned how to be happy in the midst of my problems. God was the key. God is always the key. He unlocked my mess and opened up happiness in the midst of my problems. Problems didn’t disappear but ugly parts of me did. A trade from God.

The Deserted Feeling

 

The Deserted Feeling by Lynn Autry

 

Do you feel deserted sometimes? Paul did. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:15, “You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.” Paul felt deserted. Paul was suffering for the cause of Christ. He had worked hard and now he felt deserted. Desertion is a feeling we have as parents sometimes. For whatever reason or excuse, relationships sometimes become distant with one or more of our children. We may try to be close but the other person in the relationship is not willing to make the effort to improve the relationship. As a parent, we can feel abandoned by an adult child. The “after all I have done for you” pity party creeps in.

When this happens, remember that everyone has not deserted you. Paul had not been deserted by everyone. He later sends greetings to friends in the same region. Most importantly, God has not deserted you. Whatever happens good or bad with our family, God is always there to hold your hand and comfort you. He has not abandoned or deserted you. In Psalms 73: 23, God says, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.” How awesome is that? Whatever happens with our children and family, God is always there. If your children call you or not. God is always with you. If your children see you are not, God is always there. If your children acknowledge you on Mother’s Day, God is always there. You get picture. When you feel deserted, God is always there. You are not deserted, feel his closeness today with the other people in your life.

When this happens, remember that everyone has not deserted you. Paul had not been deserted by everyone. He later sends greetings to friends in the same region. Most importantly, God has not deserted you. Whatever happens good or bad with our family, God is always there to hold your hand and comfort you. He has not abandoned or deserted you. In Psalms 73: 23, God says, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.” How awesome is that? Whatever happens with our children and family, God is always there. If your children call you or not. God is always with you. If your children see you are not, God is always there. If your children acknowledge you on Mother’s Day, God is always there. You get picture. When you feel deserted, God is always there. You are not deserted, feel his closeness today with the other people in your life.

 

God will not abandon

Stuck in the Middle by Lynn Autry

 

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Stuck in the Middle

Who likes being in the middle? Middle children complain about being in the middle. We definitely do not want to be in the middle of arguments or fights. We tend to like the beginnings and endings. We tend to want to rush through the middle of a good book to get to the end.

In the story of Mary and Martha in John 11, these two women found themselves stuck in the middle. They started their day with just a sick brother as they carried out their day. They had the normal cooking, cleaning, washing and caring for a sick brother. When Lazarus became progressively worst, it was time to call for Jesus. He did make house calls. Jesus made the decision to wait and then Lazarus died. These women found themselves struck in the middle. Their day had began like a normal day with their brother and now he was dead. Jesus had not came to change their circumstances. They were in the middle.

We have relationships that seem to start out great and then one day bam. The relationship will seemingly take a turn for the worst. Something will happen or not happen to make the relationship stall out. We find ourselves stuck in the middle. The middle is when doubts pour in and we want to hear a word from God to carry on. The middle is when a relationship with a daughter-in-law is put on hold. The middle is when someone close quits talking and you don’t know why. The middle is when a loved one is told she has cancer or a child rebels against God.  Mary and Martha did not know anything to do but continue through their day and wait.  When we are in the middle of relationships that have stalled out, we have to continue our normal activity and wait.

In John 11:14-15, “Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”(The Message) The relationship now is dead but keep looking around the corner. Christ is going to give you new grounds for believing while you are in the middle. It is easy to stall out emotionally in the middle. Thomas told Jesus for them to  go and die with him. When relationships look bleak, it is easy to throw in the towel and quit. As Thomas said, “we might as well die with him.” It is easy to want to just quit and let the relationship die. Jesus says in the middle is when I give you new belief. How awesome is that. Mary and Martha were in the middle but Jesus was going to give them new belief.

In the midst of this new belief that is right pass the middle, Jesus intends to show us who He is. Jesus told Martha, “I am, the resurrection and the life. The middle is not just about ending or pain. It is about believing in Jesus and looking to him for what He is going to teach us. Mary and Martha had already decided to believe in Jesus so in the middle of their pain and death, they could wait on their belief that Jesus was coming. Jesus was coming to give them the assurance that if they believed in Him they would live and have eternal life. He was coming to show them the glory of God. He was coming  for their faith to flourish. Jesus comes to us in the middle to give us life and belief in the middle.

Instead of looking at the middle negatively, which is easy to do. Look for the new ground for believing that God is giving you. Look for who He is and watch the glory unfold in your life. Being stuck in the middle is not all bad. There is a ending that you do not want to miss. There will be a day with no more middles, pain and tears. God has the perfect ending to every middle we have. Just hang in there through the middle, there is more believing for you.