Related By Chance, Family By Choice FREE TODAY on Amazon, B&N, Google

relatedfree

 

Start 2014 off on the right foot with your in-law, get Related by Chance, Family by Chance FREE today. Very exciting! My publisher is sponsoring a giveaway of my book  Every ebook purchased on JANUARY 10 will be FREE! Please share it with your friends! And if you missed the FREE day, you can still save $11.00 off the cover price Jan. 11-17. Find it at: Amazon.comBarnes and Noble.com, and Google Books

I wrote Related by Chance, Family by Choice to be a resource for women who want to change and grow in their relationship with their mother or daughter-in-law to more reflect the spiritual family we, as Christians, are a part of. That’s why I’m so happy Related by Chance, Family by Choice is being offered free on eBook today.

CALLING ALL BOOK CLUB LOVERS!

Book Club Image copyI’ve recently added a couple of exciting new resources designed to help you get the most out of Related By Chance, Family By Choice. With book lovers in mind, it’s perfect for use book clubs, Bible studies or small group discussions. And if you are pressed for time and would like to go solo, it can help make your individual reading experience even more meaningful!

Under the tab “Resources” you will find two documents. The first is a guide for creating a book club or small group. It has information that will work with any book in addition to the discussion guide for Related. The second document is the discussion guide alone – perfect for all of you pros with experience in creating and running discussion groups and Bible studies.

I hope you’ll get a group together, or think about suggesting Related to your current group. If it’s local, I’d love to come for a Q & A session. If it’s somewhere out there, we can arrange a Skype connection.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions about using these resources! Happy reading!

HARD LOVE

Depositphotos_19467921_xsExcerpted from WorthABowedHead.com

I always had this idea that if and when I married, life would be perfect. It was all there in my head; every little detail. Needless to say, not one bit of what I imagined can be found in my life today.

I love my husband dearly and my three children are blessings indeed, even on those days when we are not all in one accord. Family can be such a blessing. I know too, though what a nightmare it can be. In-laws can make life hard and vice versa. Talk about trying to stay in one accord – it seems simply impossible. And in some instances, the negativity goes beyond my family. My in-laws are good people –but the relationships on all fronts are not just strained, but broken. And in need of a repair that only the Lord can provide.

That said I have been studying, reading, the Book of Ruth—commentaries and anything else I can get my hands on to try to repair or just build again, a new “family.” I have seen some of the movies, heard the jokes and nightmare stories about in-laws and I never thought it was true. Not a bit of it. Unless they all just didn’t care. I expected mine would be different. I imagined I would have an amazing family to show and share. They’d be well traveled, well read, and so very witty. So none of that is the case with my in-laws. Time to put the dream to rest and find those gems within the family that we have.

That can be a real struggle. As I try to determine how to move forward, how to better things for all of us, I had the chance to read Related by Chance, Family by Choice by Deb DeArmond. With lots of scripture throughout each chapter and many references to the biblical story of Ruth and Naomi – there is much wisdom within these pages. Written by what I am sure is a lovely lady and her three lovely daughters in law it is filled with wisdom for those who have a less than perfect place with their in-laws. There is the perspective of both the wives and the mothers. There are ideas and prayers; suggestions and ideas for how to make family so much more. Even those like my own who are truly hard to love (and see me as the same I am sure).

I have my faults and I try to stay honest about my walk with the Lord. I try to remember that our extended family does not follow Him, not all are mature in their faith. Some days I know I am not showing His light. Especially when I am not showing the love. I pray for Him to give me His eyes and His heart for those I find so impossible to love. Truth. Love. Both are desperately needed in the world today. And demonstrated in a way that is not hateful and demeaning, but full of true and honest concern for one another.

How do we begin? Especially with those who already have a history of bad relationships? People full of anger and animosity? When one is unpleasant to be around, how do you show love and concern? When problems arise and when folks talk at and about you…I do believe this is where the Holy Spirit MUST lead us. We must remember, as is said often in this book, my mother-in-law is his mother. We love him – his family is where he came from – his roots and his heritage. His ways good and bad stem from his family. And like it or not, we must learn to seek out the good within all things.

I would love to see things change within our family. Although we see them, perhaps this can change. Perhaps we can step – happy feet – one at a time into a place where perhaps they will find joy in their grandchildren. Maybe there can be a bit of peace within our home. Ah, to be able to see them and not dread their visits. When they visit, I write the date of their departure on the calendar. It’s not how we want it to be.

So with some excellent suggestions from writer Deb DeArmond, and a lot of prayer- I mean A LOT – I am hopeful that He shall begin to move more and more within our families. That we may see Him and show Him.

Deb’s Podcast on “Always Faithful” Radio Show

Want to know a little more about the new book on mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships? Deb was recently interviewed about the release of her first book, Related By Chance, Family By Choice by Athena Dean of Always Faithful Radio. Scroll down to the broadcast from 11/2 – and you will find me!  Use the link below that says “Deb’s Podcast”speaking

 

 

Deb’s Podcast

 

 

Hug A Daughter-in-Law Today!

IMG_9999_237By Deb DeArmond

September 26 is National Daughter-in-Law Day. I’m blessed with three wonderful DILs. I’ve also authored a book on relationships between Daughters-in-Law and Mothers-in-Law. Related By Chance, Family By Choice, releasing November 1. This article is written as a reminder to mother-in-laws to honor those sometimes considered “the other woman.”

“You know what I love about you?” asked my daughter-in-law Sarah as we sat in our favorite coffeehouse. “You don’t have an opinion about everything we do.”

I almost laughed out loud.

“Of course, I do,” I replied. “I’m just not entitled to give it unless you ask for it or God instructs me to share it.”

She seemed surprised—and that felt good. Those who know me are aware I always have an opinion. Her surprise was feedback that I’d done a fairly good job of keeping it to myself more often than not.

Unsolicited advice on topics like finances, childrearing, cooking, or housekeeping masked behind “I’m just trying to help”—are a recipe for conflict. To your son’s wife, it sends the message that what she’s doing isn’t acceptable—she may feel you’re attempting to control her and the home she’s making for her family. The need to control never comes from a position of love. It comes from a position of fear. Let it go.

Instead, set your heart to pray for your daughter-in-law, to encourage her, to learn what’s important to her. I’d never been interested in the sport of running until DIL Penny joined our family. I’m looking forward to attending a race that marks her return to competitive running after the birth of my grandson. She’s her regaining her strength and speed. It’s been fun to share in her success, and I’m so proud of her.

When you appreciate the young woman your son has chosen, the need to point out her shortcomings becomes less tempting. Once you see her as God made her to be, you stop seeing flaws and you value her in a new way.

I recently shared an important lesson with a young friend, raising two little boys. She can’t imagine a woman could ever be good enough for them.

“If you make your sons the center of your world,” I told her, “you will be devastated, because you will never be the center of theirs.” She nodded, her eyes brimming with tears, the truth of the words sinking into her heart.

“How can I get beyond this? What can I do to make sure I don’t become a monster-in-law who ends up alienating not only my future daughters-in-law, but my sons as well?”

Here are the tips I shared with her.

  • Accept the Word as the authority on family order. The Lord is clear on this. The covenant we make is with our husbands, not our sons. Scripture in both the Old and New Testament all carry nearly identical passages about leaving and cleaving. It’s critical we acknowledge and submit to this principle. If it’s God’s plan for the family, it should be our plan.
  • Surrender your need to advise. This can be tough, but’s not optional. Wait till she asks, or until God prompts you. She may do things differently than you, but different is not wrong, it’s just different.
  • Pray for your son’s spouse-to-be. Son still single? Pray! When our son proposed after a very brief courtship, friends questioned my calm. The answer was simple: I had prayed for her all of his life. My heart recognized her the moment I met her. I experienced peace, certain of his choice. Praying for your son and his future wife when they’re still children also helps to prepare your heart. So no matter his age, pray. Start now.

When you are willing to honor your son’s choice, you are honoring God and walking in obedience. I didn’t lose my sons; I gained three wonderful daughters. What a gift.

The boys did not necessarily want a girl “just like the girl that married dear old dad.” We are unique, different from one another, but we share a love for Jesus and the desire to live life together successfully as a family. I learned to think of the differences as a gift. Different isn’t wrong—it’s just different.

Amazing how much easier it was to suspend judgment when I stopped comparing my way to theirs. I’ve been surprised by how much they can teach me if I’m open to learning. We’ve grown closer as a result. I know these are smart girls—they think my boys are wonderful!

Something’s Terribly Wrong Here! Part 2

DIL6

By Deb Dearmond

As promised, today we are flipping the coin over to examine the image of the daughter-in-law.

Often she is the recipient of our sympathy. After all, she has to put up with the fire-breathing dragon her husband calls Mom. And if you missed Part 1 of this article, please take a look: I’m not suggesting that some MILs haven’t worked very hard to earn their reputation as difficult at best and disastrous at worse.

But often daughter-in-law’s no bargain either—and it’s working against both women—and the man-in-the-middle.

During the research for my book Related by Chance, Family by Choice, I interviewed a woman who told me she had found the key to dealing with her son’s wife. “Keep my mouth shut and my checkbook open. She’s not interested in spending time with me, but she’s glad to spend my money.”

The DIL, according to our survey, may be the one to throw the first punch in the relationship. In fact, she may do it peremptorily, just to let Mama know how things are going to be.

A DIL may come to the relationship expecting a meddling mama-in-law, one who corrects and criticizes, who believes her DIL will never be good enough for her son. With this as her expectation, DIL stakes out her territory and puts Mama on notice that her advice, her suggestions, even her interest in creating a relationship are  unsolicited and unwanted.

Often what we expect to see is exactly what we find. Any movement in the bushes gets a barrel full of buckshot. She’s hostile to the woman who raised the husband she loves and stakes out her territory  with a wallop.

Even if she’s not hostile, the younger woman may encounter a very different “mother” than the one who raised her. The challenge comes when we see different and judge it as wrong. Different is not wrong. It’s simply different and often, we do not understand the difference.

When we fail to understand, we fill in the blank with our own interpretation and we hear:

  • I hate you.
  • You’re not good enough for my son (and never will be).
  • You’re doing it all wrong.
  • You’re a a bad wife, mother, homemaker, cook, etc.

We now have our personal (but inaccurate) translation, and we live as though those words came from her mouth. We may even believe she actually said them. Once offended, we may return fire and the battle rages.

At this point, you may realize you’ve had a  role in creating the problem—or you may believe sincerely that your hands are clean. To the Lord, it doesn’t matter. If the relationship is in trouble, God asks us to step out and clothe ourselves, preparing to do His will and His work. It’s not about who did what or who’s to blame. It’s about accepting responsibility to walk in love.

Each of us is responsible for our own behavior; God is responsible for the results when we are obedient to walk according to His will.

If it’s already bad, are DILs doomed forever to be stuck in a really stressful relationship? Not if we choose something better.

1 Thessalonians advises us to dress properly in the Spirit: “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (1 Thess. 5:8 NIV). Joyce Meyer puts it like this: “How do you put on something spiritually? You have to plan for it mentally.” We must plan ahead of time to:

  • compliment and encourage
  • forgive quickly
  • bless those who curse us
  • focus on the needs of others

In other words, don’t wait for the feeling to kick in to kick off a change in your approach. Feelings are fleeting and subject to change. Plan kindness. The way you put on love is to decide to do it and then follow through.

I can hear some of you asking, “So I’m supposed to be pleasant in the face of her punishing attitude? Slap on kindness along with my favorite shade of lipstick?” Yes, you’ve got it!

It’s easy to love those who are lovely, kind, generous. Anyone can do that. Even the sinner. Jesus asks us to go well beyond that.

So call your MIL, take her to coffee, send her an email that says, “thinking of you.”

After all, she did raise the man of your dreams!

Something’s Terribly Wrong Here! Part 1

By Deb DeArmond

 

MIL 2I had an eye-opening experience this week.

As my book on mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships prepares for release this November, I spent some time searching online for appropriate photos to use in articles and press releases.

Using what I thought were reasonable search terms (mother-in-law) I was stunned at what I discovered. Here are just a few of the photographic examples: monkies in fur coats, angry women with rolling pins, a wedding cake topper with room for three – with mama in the middle.

And honest, this image  came up under the search “mother-in-law.”

From Fred Flintstone’s embittered relationship with Wilma’s mother to the long-suffering Debra Barone whose MIL seems intent on running her life, it appears that mothers-in-law need a better public relations campaign.

How is it possible that without skipping a beat, a groan is the first utterance when we hear the word mother-in-law? As much as I hate to admit it, cliches and stereotypes emerge when there’s some kind of pattern that flips that switch. The whole MIL experience has become an urban legend. Movies, TV and even songs herald the horrible-ness (not sure that’s a word) of having one, unless she lives on Mars—or is dead.

It shouldn’t be so. So what are some top tips to make sure your face doesn’t end up on the next website mother-in-law mosaic? Here are three bite-sized chunks to chew on:

1. Remember that although your son will always be your kid,  he’s not a kid anymore – and neither is his wife. They   are adults and deserve to be treated as such. No dropping in unannounced, no looking through the stack of mail on the counter, and no snooping through their cupboards when you are babysitting the grandchildren. Respect their privacy. Please.

2.  Unsolicited advice is unwanted advice. “But I’m just trying to save her from making a big mistake.” No matter how well intentioned you may be, it won’t land well. My DIL, Sarah, once said, “You know what I appreciate about you, Mom? You don’t have an opinion about everything we do.” I nearly laughed out loud. “Of course I do,” I replied. “I’m just not entitled to share it with you unless you ask me or God nudges me to tell you.” Let them build their experiences on their own without trying to step in and you might just be surprised when they ask, “So, Mom—what do you think?”

3.  See your DIL as family, but don’t ever forget, she already has a mother. Being the back-up singer in the band may not seem like a good gig, but it can be. I’m incredibly grateful that after raising three wonderful sons, to have daughters in my life. We are family, not just friends, but if you try to trespass on her mom’s turf, don’t be surprised when you are asked to step back. There’s room in her life for her mom and for you, too. Among my good friends are the moms of my daughters-in-law. They did a great job raising these young women, and I am a beneficiary of their work. Let them know you appreciate what great daughters they raised.

Three quick tips, all gathered in the process of writing Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships. Although the book won’t be out until November of this year, you can get a head start on establishing, maintaining, or improving your image—and your life—as a mother-in-law!

And in case you think the younger women in the MIL/DIL equation are getting a free ride, stay tuned. Watch for the second part of this post. What goes around, may come around…

The MIL/DIL Dilemma

Back to BackBy Deb DeArmond

 

I spoke to a young woman recently who told me she was looking forward to my book release in November. Related by Chance, Family by Choice is about transforming the relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. And often, they need transformation. The research for the book indicates the relationship between MILs and DILs is not much better for those of faith than those outside of the church.

“It’s gotten pretty bad,” my young friend told me. “She was the family’s best friend—until the day after she married my brother. Then it was a different story. She makes sure they spend very little time with us. And now that they have a baby, it’s even harder on us.”

It’s not an unusual story. Just last week a colleague shared the story of friends whose son was killed in an auto accident. They were heartbroken. They learned of it when friends living in the same city as the young man and his wife saw it in the local newspaper and called to offer their condolences. His wife, their daughter-in-law, had not bothered to let them know. They attended services, sat in the back of the chapel, and went home as the rest of the family attended a dinner together.

I don’t know the backstory here. Perhaps there had been some bad blood between these family members leading up to this event. But there is no excuse for this behavior – ever – and particularly not for those who follow Christ.

So whose job is it to set things right if they are already bad? What if it’s the other woman who has been the problem all along? As a woman of faith, what does God expect of us in a situation like this one?

Have you experienced it? What’s your take on this? Let us hear from you!