Mother’s Day-With Mixed Emotions

Like many, yesterday was a great day.  My husband and daughters treated me like a queen.  The entire weekend was full of acts of kindness, special treats and notes from the heart.  I loved every minute of it, just as I love being mom.  So, why the mixed emotions?

I am a firm believer God uses circumstances, the hardships and joys of life, to grow us, but more importantly to tender our hearts.  I have said it before and will say it again, our greatest ministries come from our brokenness.  While I have much to celebrate as a mother, there was a time that was not so.  Six long years yearning for a child.  Years of doctors appointments, loss, pain, disappointment, envy, anger, marital tension, loss of friendships…  Six Mother’s Day celebrations that weren’t easy, each one bringing with it wonder if it would be different the following year.

My husband lost his mother all too soon.  A loving, gracious, giving woman.  A woman I had only four short years to know. A woman who would have loved her grand-daughters with abandon.  A woman of quiet strength who was a great source of encouragement.  We too often long for her to still be present, thinking of how different life would be were she still here.

I still have my mother.  For that I am blessed.  But it is a tenuous relationship, one healing after years of untreated depression leading to a reversal of roles, words spoken in anger that can’t be erased, financial strain providing home and help with spending gone out of control during moments of manic.  She loves with passion.  She perseveres.  I have learned to release, to know my limits and to see God’s infinite care and provision.

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Motherhood should be honored.  I am thankful our nation still honors those who create, who serve as the glue in our homes, our churches, our neighborhoods, cities and nation.  I am thankful we still see the significance of mothering.  I am reminded though, that while some celebrate, some are struggling.  Their chance to mother has not yet come forth.  Others know they will never mother.  Many seek to heal relationships with mothers, with children.  Others, revisit loss and the pain of a mother no longer present.

In the midst of my personal celebration I thanked God for the hardships.  I am grateful for the twinges of pain that remind me to think of others, to bend knee in their honor, standing in the gap for them asking God’s mercies be unleashed.  I am reminded every day is similar.  Each day holds victories and celebrations for some, while loss and pain exists for others.  I celebrated Mother’s Day with mixed emotions.  I’d rather celebrate that way than oblivious to all that is around me.  I’d rather remember the sorrow, the pain, than simply celebrate the gifts, the victories.  I’d rather hope for the future than live only for the moment.

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Joy Unspeakable

tears of joy

She walked in eight weeks ago.  Quiet, unassuming.  Her face bore the lines of pain, a life lived hard, yet showed little emotion. Her presence peaked our interest.  This woman, clearly broken, yet seemingly strong.  Faithfully, each week she appeared.  The first one to enter.  The first one to open her notebook.  The one to quietly spread the Bible before her, highlighter held in gnarled hand.  Others spoke, others shared.  She remained quiet.

Today, she shared.  It was one of the most spiritual, most moving, most worshipful moments I have experienced in years. This woman I had come to know.  This woman I had prayed for, hoped for.  In a moment, in a room filled with her new friends and strangers she chose to let her voice be heard.  With dignity she began.  In tears and brokenness she finished.  A woman isolated, living without purpose.  A woman sitting, waiting.  She’d been told about this program, a Christian program.  She came. What makes a woman who has lived for years in isolation, without friendships, without hope, walk into a building full of strangers to attend weekly classes with other strangers?  Would I?  Today, I saw the depth of her loneliness.  Today, I saw the fullness of her joy.

My heart is full.  I stand amazed at the God I serve.  He moves in the darkest shadows, the quiet moments.  His Spirit moves in the heart of a woman alone, isolated.  She does not leave her home for church or to visit friends.  But in a moment, she gathers the strength to drive across town to enter a strange place and begin again.  I am humbled that my God would grant me the opportunity to be there in that strange place with my friend, waiting, hoping, praying.  I saw God move.  I was reminded again God’s glory is revealed when we come to Him in our brokenness.  Our hearts shatter and as the pieces fall, He fills us with His Spirit.  The tears drop and He catches them.  His love is unveiled and in the deepest of sorrow we feel and know unspeakable joy.

psalms 568

Living in the White Space-Interruptions Become Blessingso

I have written about white space.  I began to implement using “white space” in my planning a little over 9 years ago, after a marketing executive friend shared with me the importance of white space in printed materials or visual campaigns.  We had been visiting about a marketing campaign, and as women, our conversation had slid into sharing with one another our struggles to manage life.  Talking about white space led to talking about caring for ourselves, finding time to slow down etc…  Living in the white space has helped me move from living frustrated and frantic, to living with a sense of rhythm and joy.  I am able to see what I use to call “interruptions” as opportunities to be blessed or bless.  An unexpected invitation to lunch becomes a time to catch up with a dear friend.  A plea for help getting a house in order is a time to laugh and grow in fellowship with a friend or new client.  A gentle hug from one of my girls is an opportunity to stop and give them my full attention, listening not only to their words, but their heart.  Living in the white space gives me time to rest, permission to just stop and be for a moment-to look around and see God’s provisions, to be grateful, to dream, to grow through the words of an eloquent writer.

This week the white space has been an opportunity to walk through a difficult place with some dear friends-friends walking through a difficult pregnancy only to get devastating news and find themselves welcoming their sweet baby girl at 25 weeks, preparing to hand her over to the Lord in peaceful rest.  Living in the white space afforded me the opportunity to move some meetings, forget about the chores and just be with this incredible couple of faith.  Be.  Just be.  That’s really what the white space is about.  You see, there is nothing I can do for this couple.  Their journey is a very personal journey unique to them.  While I know the sense of loss that comes from losing a child, I do not know their journey.  I do not understand their pain.  I have no answers.  All God asks of me, of any of us, is to just be with.  He is with us.  And through us He can minister to and be with those we spend time with.  So, the white spaced was filled with sitting.  Just sitting.  Just being there.  Just listening.  Just putting my arms around when the sorrow came over like gentle waves.

As only God can do, He sent nourishment to my spirit in the perfect moment through Holly Gerth’s blog.  I share that blog with you today as one more reminder that living in the white space is so very important.  My friends’ journey is not over.  Their sweet baby girl is still struggling to arrive.  Thankful for more white space on my calendar.  Thankful that in the months and year ahead I will have those white space moments to sit and remember with my faithful friend her baby girl and the milestones.

http://holleygerth.com/okay-rest-really/

 

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