Category Archives: Family Life

A Mama’s Way

Searching clouds on breezy days
Rolling down the hill
Giggling laughing howling now
Until our aching sides grow still,

Tears blotted from sodden cheeks
Cheers composed and chanted
Into the ear pressed forward
Thoughtful encouragement granted,

Little kisses on upturned noses
Foreheads the hand lightly stroking
Singing prayers into darkest hours
Tender words in kindness spoken,

Tucking children into dreams
To wonder at the night
Illuminating words of Light
Laced through with things we like.

Copyright 2016. L.L. Shelton

Plus-Sized Grace For Wives and Mothers

A word for wives and mothers, especially young wives and mothers:
Have you fallen victim to those books and articles that insist that if you simply do this or that- your marriage, your children, your family will become this or that… Burn those. The Bible does not offer any such guarantee.

God through The Bible, His Word to us, gives you and me one mandate: Do your best to learn of me and of my son who stands ready to save you; learn to love me, and to show your love through obedience to me… And you will have my blessing. Everything else is a surprise. Get used to it.  And trust me.

Therefore, if we aren’t sure of what our own obedience looks like, we better dig deep into the Word and become sure; for while God offers no guarantees outside of our own salvation, He does insist that the best chance each of our loved ones has for a blessed and healthy life is to learn of such life and to begin to desire it because we model it for them. He also makes it painfully clear that each one we love may not come to know Him and that the ones who do come to know Him will be made to seek, find, trust, love, and obey on each one’s own private journey of faith. We will not be enabled to give anyone salvation. We will not be invited to directly participate in the inner journey. It is a very private lifetime encounter exclusively designed for the individual soul.

And while I remain convinced that no other work has the potential for greater positive impact on society than that of being a good wife and mother, personally I am truly grateful that by some miracle of grace, every time my job gets harder- I find the strength to pray harder and to work harder; and it is such a sweet surprise to realize that Our Father is working through me to bring about His best will in spite of my own sin, my own lack of this or that, my own lack of perfection. It is an additional gift from a generous Father, and it is available to all of his saved children. ❤️

Deuteronomy 6:1-9
Matthew 22 (22:36-40)

Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton

Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide


How does one arrive at a disturbed character? This is not a rhetorical question. One arrives at a disturbed character by continually ignoring three things:

1. The Genuine Existence of God
2. The Authentic Character of God
3. The Justice System of God

The Bible tells us clearly that every human is equipped with a conscience and that the conscience is there to point him or her toward God; to reveal His very genuine existence as well as His authentic character, and to make obvious His definition of right and wrong- His system of justice.

The Scriptures also tell us that the man or woman who does not see any benefit in retaining this knowledge of conscience will eventually be possessed of the depraved mind that is left to him or to her.  The Bible tells us that this depraved mind is capable of all types of evil- probably beyond what some who have thoroughly nurtured the conscience are capable of imagining.

This depraved mind is the one that displays the disturbed or disordered character; this mind is held captive by a system of belief that has developed a set of core values (to direct the soul)  that is selfish to the degree of being diabolical. This mind is the antithesis of the mind of God, if you will allow, an anti-Christ.

How does one keep himself or herself from arriving at this reprehensible state?This also is not a rhetorical question. The answer is evident. One must continually nurture belief in the three things one’s conscience has been designed to bring to attention:

1. The Genuine Existence of God
2. The Authentic Character of God
3. The Justice System of God

From the beginning, each and every time one is situationally placed so that it is necessary to purposely acknowledge these three things one must be made to do so- forced by his or her own will to acknowledge the conscience or by the will of an earthly authority figure such as a parent, a teacher, or other official to do so as the conscience must be the arbitrator of what many theologians refer to as common grace; and the truly converted under specific grace if  momentarily and specifically submissive, shall be aided further by yielding to the will of The Holy Spirit of God within the self so accessing the wisdom and power available to him or her.

The person who consciously and continually engages in an effort to refute or to silence the conscience will naturally digress to the condition of the disturbed character. The disturbed character will appear as having no conscience and will yet be a “functioning” member of the community.  A disordered character is displayed by one who was once only disturbed but has now slipped into the realm of the surely dysfunctional (rendered incapable of carrying out the requisite responsibilities of society).

The failure to nurture the conscience is the failure to nurture Truth and will surely result in the demise of the individual and the eventual destruction of any general population in which these individuals are prevalent.

Notably, George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D., has done a beautiful job of further explanation, and in giving socially  acceptable as well as academically responsible language to the subject matter found here and in our Bibles (particularly in the book of Romans), in the book he authored: Character Disturbance, The Phenomenon of Our Age.

We must take seriously the view of ourselves found in God’s Holy Word for the protection of ourselves, our loved ones, and for the benefit of humanity as a whole. May God help us!

Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton

From Mother-In-Love (Rhyme For Jamie)

I was your second mother,
Her arms held you first,
And every time I think this through
I think of you from birth;

I think of how she must have loved you,
Wrapped up in her arms,
Of how she must have felt each time
She kept you safe and warm.

I think of all she gave in hopes,
Your life would be sublime,
Of how she never dreamed there’d come
This awful space in time.

I long for her to know,
That I too loved you Dear,
That every time you came to me
I kept you very near;

For her to know I shared her love,
And now do share her pain,
My heart will ache until that day
We do hold you again.

L.L. Shelton, Copyright 2016.

Brief Thoughts On Marriage


To begin:  There is only ONE good reason for getting married and for having children, and it is:  Because GOD wants you to do it.  And if it is HE wanting you to do it; it is because He wants you to be a part of what HE is building. He wants you to be a part of illustrating HIS story to a watching world. God desires for you to be a part of LOVE as defined by Him.

Don’t allow yourself to enter these arenas, the building of marriage and family, at the persuasion of any other than God in Christ, or without reading His Word and getting whatever grasp upon this that your maturity and His patience allow to you. These are not institutions for the faint of heart and will never withstand the difficulties that come along with them unless built upon a proper foundation. Marriage and family belong to Him. They are His design and He has said that they must be structured upon Him, upon the principles set forth in His Word, to be successful.  And the terms for success in marriage must be and are determined by its Creator.

Maybe you have entered into these things lightly and without a proper amount of forethought. It is not too late. You must pray for GOD to make your partner willing and as He does this, the two of you begin (together in Christ) to tear down the old relationship and to start anew on the correct foundation. Seek out an older married couple in whom you see Christ (in other words, you observe them living together according to the principles set forth in The Bible for the living out of their shared faith). Approach them and directly ask for their active guidance and participation in your lives. If resources allow, find a Biblical counselor to assist you in building this new platform for your marriage.

Another issue may be that your partner remains unwilling to consider Christ. In this case, you must continue in earnest prayer, gentleness, and good will toward your spouse until such time as God releases you from the relationship, and you are free to start again; and this must be done with the greatest caution for two primary reasons.  The first is that you must try with all your will to NOT push your partner away from either yourself or God in the hope that the other will leave soon. This happens often in such a case and is regularly realized only when an experienced helper points out to the Christian in the marriage that this is indeed what that one is doing. The second reason is that you are quite liable to abandon the frying pan in favor of the fire, unless you have spent an adequate amount of time in the judicious study of Holy Scripture concerning the Way of Life of a Christian in order that you may more easily recognize a fraud should there be opportunity for a next time around.

Paul reminds us in a letter to the early church that it is better not to marry at all than to enter the covenant casually.  It is a choice open to the Christian to remain single and serve GOD fully from that position, rather than serving Him from the position of marriage.  However, for God’s saved child, there is no choice as to serve or not to serve, and if your heart is completely without reservation His own; you will be compelled to serve despite your finest efforts to the contrary.  (The difficulties and delights specifically associated with the Christian’s choice to remain single are beyond the scope of this short essay.)

In the end, I don’t wish to leave the impression that there are no joys associated with marriage but only trials, as that would be wholly untrue.  There are multiple blessings to be had within the marriage relationship- true friendship, God’s allowance to fully know and to be fully known by another human being- to completely relate to another person, children within God’s favor and under the protection of a legitimate bond.  I count it a great privilege to enjoy many of the wonders of marriage.

Now,  in this day of much confusion concerning marriage and family, I implore you to search God’s Word for yourself to find that these very things that I tell you are true. And may The Lord God of All bless your every effort!

Signposts: How Churches Can Minister to the Divorced

Copyright 2016.  L.L. Shelton

Brief Thoughts of Love

My Young Friend,

Love has been tragically misrepresented and misunderstood. Love both requires of you and insists that you require of yourself; it is both a proper noun and a verb. It requires of itself what is best for another and gives it without reservation. Love demands sacrifice and sacrifice usually stings a bit.  Often it is genuinely painful, at times even debilitating.  Any one who has truly loved has felt both the joy and the bite of it. The idea that love is all pleasant and ever delightful is a gross adulteration.

I hear a great deal these days about fear of commitment, about lack of commitment, and inability to commit. I listen to tales of lack of intimacy and emotional distance in family relationships and in marriage. I am often told of loneliness, and the death of community. I believe these things are symptoms of a lack of love, and I do not believe it is commitment we are so afraid of, rather it is sacrifice that we fear.

Most of us have felt the confusion resulting from a person’s declaration of love for us followed by an expression of our sexuality, only to realize rejection at a later date. Some of us have felt the terrible vexation that comes when a parent who has claimed love for us has then neglected or abused us (or our other parent or sibling) and maybe even abandoned us or left the home. Each of us has been puzzled at one point or another by the expression of love and insult from the same mouth. Each of us has brandished both affection and grief with one tongue.

People are imperfect. We are incapable of either loving or hating perfectly. This is why we are taught to strive always to become perfect in love and to avoid hate altogether. We’re instructed to leave the hating to God. We are taught to learn of repentance and forgiveness and to become experts at both, and there is a Way.

Another method by which love has been horribly distorted is by the idea that love and sexuality can be one in the same. The two are never one. Human sexuality is and has always been one way in a million of expressing love. Obviously, it is often used in a perverse manner to express things that do not resemble love in the slightest.

For many reasons, one being to set the relationship above and apart from all others, and some that are mysterious and still known only to God Himself, we are told that His system is designed to function optimally for us (for all of us individually and as a corporate whole) when each of us limit the expression of our sexuality to one relationship with one person of the opposite sex (gender) for the entirity of our lives. Yet, we are encouraged by God to express our LOVE for everyone all the time!

My third and final offering concerning the misrepresentation of love is this: God is love, but love is not God.  According to His Word, God is many things and love is ever a part of Him; His perfect Love motivating him continually.  Love is only itself.  Love is one of the many attributes of God and is nonetheless the epitome of holiness and the greatest thing.  Love is perfect. God Himself is love, but love is not God. Therefore, we in our love are not God.  God is bigger.

Lastly, in love I offer this truth from God’s Word.   It is an expression of my love for you. May it allow you some clarity and grant you a bit of peace on earth.

An Old Friend

(Please see 1 John 3:16, John 13,  1 Corinthians 13: 1-13)

Copyright 2016, L.L. Shelton

How Bad Do Ya’ Want It?

As a Biblical counselor, I hear these and other words of the same meaning quite often:  The church is suffering from lack of community.  Our marriage is in trouble due to lack of intimacy.  My response: How bad do ya’ want it?

Community and intimacy are alike in that they are the result of a cyclical pass through vulnerability. Most of us prefer anywhere to there. Community and intimacy are the continual culmination of transparency, and accountability. These things require the practice of genuine love and authentic faith. These things mandate that our love be abundantly evident that we may expose ourselves without fear, and that we will welcome critical examination in our effort to be the best we can be for the other- and doing anything without fear requires faith.

What is faith? It is the evidence of things hoped for and the belief in things not yet realized.  Do we have it? Faith in God? Faith in ourselves, with God? Faith in one another? Do we believe that all things are possible with God? Do we believe that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength? Do we believe that we can trust God to make out of each of us, fallen as we are, something beautiful? Something resembling Himself? Can we patiently suffer one another- forgiving, seeking forgiveness, receiving grace, offering grace, guiding, allowing ourselves to be guided, being consistent as well as realistic in our expectations of one another as we wait for Him to do this in His time and in His way, both individually and in a corporate sense?

May I submit to you that this is what must be if we desire community with others, if we yearn for intimacy with another? It will not be easy. It will be difficult to achieve and to maintain- and it will be the place where our joy may be made complete.  Therefore, absolutely without a doubt, worth it.

How bad do ya’ want it?

Copyright, 2015, L. L. Shelton

How I Did It All

For Stacey, with love…

When she is a wife, the mother of several children, each of whom she home schools- and everything is accomplished on a shoestring budget… the question is bound to come up… How do you do it all?

And so I’ve been asked this question many times. There were those early days when I wasn’t sure how to answer. Then came those days when I’d learned to parrot the obvious reply with beaming smile- God and God alone. This was absolutely true, albeit a less practical answer than most may have anticipated. Eventually, I began to offer this brief and lighthearted summary: I enjoy it! I never could stand boring!

I am compelled to admit that all along the journey, I have wondered at how presumptuous people are to assume that because I am roaming the wholesale club with a long trail of children behind me and two over-loaded carts, during regular school hours- I am fair game for their unremitting interference.

I have often been cornered by complete strangers who are curious as to my educational level concerning birth control. Many have taken it upon themselves to remind me that we have a perfectly good public school system that will allow me a huge break from these tremendously draining responsibilities.

Of course, this line of reasoning inevitably leads to the well-intentioned warnings that my children will never be normal socially if I persist in this probably illegal lifestyle.

One of my outstanding memories of the days when I would often venture out of the house with the entire young family in tow, is of a visit to our local movie rental store. I planned our little excursion because I had absolutely had it with my probably illegal lifestyle of personally instructing, entertaining, and conversing with my little charges day in and day out. And they had absolutely had it with me. Furthermore, I was pretty sure that if we continued in our chosen lifestyle with no reprieve, I would be socially abnormal.

We arrived at the store and I released the children to each find a family-friendly movie that we might all enjoy. This meant five movies, as the baby was too young to participate. I was contemplating some serious down time. The children scurried around the store exclaiming over first one title and then another, while I (in a moment of stricken conscience) searched for something educational. The children were not loud, but they were as usual extremely busy.

I heard the shelf fall- but really it was no biggie as I was able to restore all to right in a matter of moments. Nonetheless, as I paid the young -maybe twenty year old- store clerk, I was stunned by his question. “Lady,” he boldly asserted, “why do you keep doing this to yourself?” (Oh, yes, I was conspicuously expecting a new blessing any day.  Still, one would have thought I had appeared with twenty-two piercings and ninety percent of my body tattooed!)

Of course there have been other moments of a wholly positive nature along the way… Once, while we were having the rare meal at a sit-down restaurant, following a Sunday service, a well dressed woman and her equally dapper husband stopped by our table to compliment us on our beautiful group, to remark that they had been observing us throughout the meal, that it appeared obvious that we were a “godly” family, and to wish us continued success.

The encounter inspired a truly lovely feeling in me for some time. In fact, in review, I began to wonder if maybe they had been angels sent to encourage me, as two ordinary mortals surely could not observe our family throughout an entire meal and come to such a consensus. On further reflection, I hoped they were angels, as the thought of being so closely examined by mere human beings was really kind of creepy…

But, guess what… We who love Jesus are called to be witnesses. We are to welcome close inspection. Sobering, isn’t it?

Of course, I’m rambling now, but you can forgive a bit of digression in light of my circumstance as a mother of multiple children… Back to the question at hand: How do I do it all?

Well, honestly, I have only ‘done it all’ on one day. It remains an exceptional day in my memory. It was such an extraordinary experience that I called my dear friend, Jill, on the following day to share with her that I had discovered the secret to success.

Excitedly, I told her of how I had, with great affection sent my husband on his way for the day, prepared a hot breakfast for my large family, taught the children Bible, Math, History, and the Language Arts. I regaled her with tales of my homemade cookies at snack time, the piano lesson across town that I drove my daughter to- managing to arrive early! The amazing dinner prepared from scratch with loving hands for my family to enjoy…

She was impressed and anxiously awaited my revelation of the formula. I almost hated to tell her… I sat down at the end of the perfect day- list in hand, every item thrillingly checked off… in the bathrobe and slippers that I had put on the night before and had failed to remove over the course of the entire day. My hair had not been combed, my face had not been washed, nor my teeth brushed… I think I answered the phone and told someone I’d never heard of myself.

Suffice it to say, I don’t do it all. I do my best to accomplish what I believe my God would have me to do each day. Sometimes those things are things that I would like to do, or that I am purposing to do. Other times they are of a nature entirely His own, and have never entered my mind prior to His announcement. However, any day is a great day if I can lay my head upon my pillow at its close, and know that I have kept my mind on Christ and have, to the best of my ability as a flawed clay pot, carried out His orders.

©2010, L.L. Shelton