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Sunday grace

Dear Father in Heaven,

Thank you for the women, for the ones who touched my life and left their fingerprints.

For the women who lived before, fighting battles and suffering long that I might live free and equal, and be considered a person and not property.

For the women in Scripture who stood tall and brave in the face of adversity, who spoke prophesies and championed soldiers, who stood between kingly decrees and their children, who faithfully followed in terrifying conditions and spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.

For the women who taught me through word and example, who told Bible stories and expounded the Truth, who lived lives of grace and mercy, who were faithful to their husbands and loved their babies.

For the women who saw my untamed talents and the beginnings of my gifts and nurtured them in me, smiling their encouragement and applauding my progress.

For the women who authored books that made me laugh and made me think, who pricked my heart and seemed to know my story, who did not condemn but showed me how to move toward healing.

For the women who were my grandmothers, leaving their impression on my parents, passing along the inheritance and blessing of their goodness.

For my aunts who loved me and treated me like one of their own.

For cousins who have been like sisters.

For my dear mother, my mother-in-law, my step-mother, each one so different yet profoundly impacting my life.

For my one daughter-in-love who continues to teach me about loving  a husband and training her own brood to fly.

For the friends who have become like family and kindred spirits, and for daughters-of-my heart who have their own special place.

For the women, O Lord, who have been your vessels and have poured into my life, who opened their heart and welcomed me into their circle, who have laughed with me and cried with me, who have held my hand and hugged my neck, who have prayed for me and inspired me to take courage.

For these women, daughters of Eve, tough and tender, warriors all, leaving a legacy of love and devotion, being the beautiful crown of creation and housing the light of Jesus. They cause me to give You thanks on this Mother’s Day.

Thy have left their fingerprints on my life.

Sunday grace.

 

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Dealing with Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is complicated. At least it is for me.

I’ve celebrated it in sundry ways.

There were many years when I celebrated my own dear mother.

I suppose words of affirmation are my love language because I wrote a lot of notes and letters to express my devotion.  Often there was a handwritten note to the woman I considered to be the very best, and I was thankful she was my mom. I told her so, setting words to the page on Mother’s Day.

In 1983, my mother died. My grief seemed unbearable. Mother’s Day that year filled me with deepest sorrow and loneliness. I no longer had a mother to celebrate. It changed the day forever. And it changed me.

There were the years when my son was young and learning what it meant to celebrate his mother.

It was a Sunday evening of Mother’s Day, and this little lad of mine wanted to “take me out” to MacDonald’s® for an ice cream cone. You see, there was a give-away of free cones to any mother who came, and it was what my son could afford.

I was weary and worn. Problems don’t take a holiday, and I didn’t really want to go. My mother took my aside me and helped me understand that this was important to my son. This was his gift and I needed to receive it.

So I drove the two of us the few miles to the fast food restaurant, and we enjoyed the taste of cold sweetness together. It is a memory I hold dear.

When that one sweet boy grew tall and whiskered, there was that one year he let me know I was to be a mother-in-law. I was so excited and felt like I had been to a big reveal party where someone proclaimed, “It’s a girl!”  The one daughter-in-love became another reason to celebrate being a mother in a completely new and different way.

 

There were the years when I should have been holding another baby on Mother’s Day, but I was not. Two miscarriages in two different years left me bereft. I saw other young women cuddling babies in blankets, full of life and happiness. It was hard. I clung to my one small boy, thankful for the gift he was to me.

There were years I worked myself silly on Mother’s Day.

I was a Mom and a Grammy. I invited my family – son, daughter-in-love, three grandchildren, dad, and step-mother – and cooked up a storm. I wanted them here, not spread out at a restaurant that would be overly crowded with families trying to bless their mothers, waiting for us to give up our table.

This was my way of celebrating. And it was a blessing to me. Nothing is sweeter than having the house burst with noise as dear ones come through the door, They spread out through the rooms, then we wound our way in a circle before the meal, holding hands for a prayer of grace and thanksgiving. We gathered at the table, and this was sharing life together. The laughter, the stories, the children in dress up clothes, the making of memories were worth every bit of effort.

When the youngest grandchild and the only boy was quite young, I planned for him to sit next to me. He was the non-stop talker, and I was especially patient with this little guy who had my heart.

I recall those years fondly and would do it all again in a heartbeat.

And now I am in a different season. Our family dynamics have changed.  Time, death and life stages have altered the holiday. Family units evolve; they cannot stay the same.

So the second Sunday in May is complicated for me. I know I am not the only one.

In the way of the Lord’s giving and taking away, I recognize the blessing of others who entered my life as changes were dramatic. Older women became my mentors after my mother’s death. Friends of all ages have loved me, touched my heart on any given day.  My life is full and rich in relationships.

Though it may be complicated, we should celebrate. Mothers are a breed of their own. Their hearts demonstrate God’s own love in a way no other can. They are tireless, loyal, selfless, committed to their children, and will never, ever stop loving them, even when they are the prodigal.

Where would I be without the godly influence of my mother who loved me without conditions? What other experience can be likened to being mother to a son and then getting to love his wife? And who can even describe the joy of being a grandmother? It is compensation for growing older and a do-over for parents who become wiser with the years.

Mothers are grand, they are amazing, they are something so special, no way around it. Celebrate them. Give them their due reward and praise.

No matter how complicated Mother’s Day is, it marks a day to cherish the women who shaped us and loved us, who influenced us and guided us, who shine as heroes and warriors.

I’m thankful for my own precious mother, for the experience of being a mother and grandmother, and for women who have enriched my life in ways I can never fully express.

Happy Mother’s Day to them all.

 

 

Today

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.  But it’s Wednesday.

I’m listening to The Carpenters a lot lately.  Their music takes me back to an earlier day.  Life looks simpler back then from my vantage point now.  But it was not simpler as I was living it out.

Life is always complicated and a roller coaster ride.

I sing out loud with the CD on the player.  Some songs make me smile, some bring a tear.  And today I’m OK with a tear.

I’m missing another birthday.

My grandchildren who live too-far-away have had birthdays without me for almost five years.  And can it be they have been gone from the house next door for that long?

Pardon me while I get melancholy and then write about it.

I post on Facebook a birthday wish, add photos and say how much I miss that boy and hope the birthday box arrives in the mail today.  It does not feel like nearly enough.

I pray for him.

I pray for someone else’s grandchild this morning.  Two people in our Sunday school class have a granddaughter who has been sick a long time.  Sweet William and I call her name in prayer so often.  And I wonder how the hearts of her grandparents are faring in this horrible storm.

I’ll be sharing lunch with a friend today.  Her grandson lives in one of the far corners of the states.  Their visits are few and far between, like mine.  She and I share our concerns and our love for our grandchildren.  We will catch up with each other and talk about those nestled deep in our hearts.  And if we cry, it will be OK.

My morning Word is in Psalm 90 as the sweet Spirit led me there.

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. . . . Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. . . . May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children . . . “

I make it a prayer and add, “Show your splendor to my grandchildren.”

They are far away, but the Lord is near.

Be near us Lord Jesus.  On birthdays and on regular days.  When we are close and when we are not.  When the sun shines and when it is a rainy day.  On Mondays and Wednesdays and all the days of our lives.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us . . . “

orange-7936

For all the women

Mother’s Day blogging is upon us.  I am reading them this week.  I’ve written my share.  What else is there to say?

As a mother of a grown up son, I long to hear the words, “well done.”  I want to hear that I did a good job, or at least that I didn’t leave permanent physiological damage.

We women are known for comparing ourselves with other women.  We wonder if we are keeping up, if we are good enough at this high calling, or are we failing at the most important task of our entire lives?

Looking back, I see lots of places for a do-over.  But life does not offer a rewind.

Perhaps that’s why we enjoy grandmothering so much.  We get a little bit of a chance to do things differently, realizing that some things we thought were so important just were not.

I miss my own mother on Mother’s Day.  I always will.  When she was alive, I tried to tell her how much I loved her, how I appreciated her role in my life.  I hope I did it enough so that she felt like she had done her work well.

Mothering is the most rewarding and sometimes the most heartbreaking of jobs.  We celebrate and we cry.  We hold close and then we let go.  We teach and instruct only to come to the place when we must keep our mouths shut.

It’s not easy being a good mother.

Yet is it the way God planned for children to be raised, nurtured, loved, trained, and set off on their own as young adults, just so the cycle will repeat itself.

God’s tender compassionate heart is reflected in mothers.  They don’t give up on their children.  They don’t turn away from them when they make mistakes, end up in jail, turn out badly.  They keep loving, keep praying, keep hoping for better days.

I am thankful for women who have poured their love into my life in so many ways. While some will have the title of “mother,” others will not, but their hearts still mother in ways only women can.  God made woman that way.  She is unique, a creature like no other.

William Ross Wallace said it well:

Woman, how divine your mission,
Here upon our natal sod;
Keep—oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Where would we be without the love of mothers, the love of good women?  Blessed are they.

mother andbaby hands

A melancholy musing

Two almost-sisters were blessed with new grandbabies last week.  One is a cousin by marriage who has been family a long time  The other is a life-long friend who calls me her “forever friend.”

I am so happy for both of them.  There is nothing like holding a new baby in your arms, and when that baby is your very own grandchild, well you just have to experience it and you know what I mean.

I was blessed beyond measure to be at the birth of my first grandchild, a girl.  Our one and only son and his beautiful wife lived close to us then, and her parents were driving from out of state to be here when she entered the hospital.  So it was my great priviledge to be in the birthing room when that tiny little creature breathed her first and squalled like a baby.

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,   Because birth itself is simply breathtaking.  But when the son of my heart gives life to his own child, that is a mountain’s high peak.

My melancholy comes when I wish for and long for that grandgirl to be closer to my house.  She, along with her two siblings (my other equally precious grandchildren), and her parents moved far away three years ago.

So when I get a Facebook message from that first grandgirl saying, “Dreamt that I arrived at your house after a long trip. I miss your face!!!!!”, I weep.  I just can’t help it. Because I. Miss. Her. Face. So.Very. Much!

Elyse older

I know I’m not the only one.  I have friends whose grandchildren live across country, and we often share our joys and heartaches at short bursts of togetherness and long stretches of being apart.  We understand each other.

So I rejoice with those almost-sisters who have new babies to hold and snuggle.  They will cherish these days.  And I weep with those who wish their grands were right next door, like mine were for twelve years.

I thank God for those twelve wonderful years.  I was given time to invest in relationships with three that are still precious and dear to this Grammy’s heart.  Those years were a gift, an important and valuable gift that I don’t take for granted.

In my tears, I will remember the hugs, the smiles, the cups of hot cocoa, the snuggles with a thousand Disney movies, the tucking into bed, the reading of books, the telling of stories, the prayers.  Ah, the prayers.  They never stop.  They go wherever the grandchild goes because that is my connection with her and with God.

And I trust God to hold her.

Who am I?

 

WHO AM I?

I’ve worn a few hats in my work-a-day-for-a-paycheck life, professionally speaking. Personally, I’ve been daughter, niece, cousin, wife, mother, mother-in-law, friend. But the one that tenders my heart the most is being grandmother.

Just this week, the one and only son brought his family from their Tulsa home to visit for a few days. Just a few short days. Not nearly enough days. But I will take what I can get.

As they came in the door, there was a sudden invasion of joy brought by five precious souls, and this house was full again. Full of talk and catching up. Full of games, toys and laughter. Full of kids running in and out. And hugs! Lots of hugs.

Tucking sleepy heads into beds was my privilege. Cooking meals to fill hungry tummies was not work but pleasure. Keeping the coffee pot full and hot was no chore at all.

The few days went by too swiftly.

Already they are gone. Out the door, into the SUV, and down the road before I can hardly blot the tears from my eyes.

For me the time is too short and the distance is too long.  Because those three precious grandchildren and I, we share something that cannot be explained. 

If you are a grandmother, you know what I mean.

I am very much a relational woman. I love my family and friends.  I gladly make room in my heart for one or two or many more, and I feel rich because of these precious gifts from God above.

But this grandmother thing, it’s just something not easily described in words. It is deep like the ocean.  It is like priceless ancient treasure while being fresh and new each time the children and I are together.

In honor of the three stars that shine in my sky, the sunshine that drives away my rain clouds, the faces that melt me every single time,  I will tell you who I am.

I’m the . . .

  • Bubble blowing – wagon towing
  • Game playing – “be kind” saying
  • Story telling – letter mailing
  • Walking, biking, sometimes hiking
  • Lesson teaching – WORD “preaching”
  • Favorite book reading – hungry tummy feeding
  • Sometimes singing – Front yard swinging
  • Together chatting – love patting
  • Picture taking – cookie making
  • Apron wearing – Popsicle sharing
  • Hug giving – Christ living
  • House cleaning – crock pot beaning
  • Clothes washing – dish washing
  • Kid washing – foot washing
  • Dinner fixing – pies a-mixing
  • Table setting – doggie petting
  • Swim time taking – fall leaves raking
  • Movie time snuggling – sleepy head tucking
  • Bible reading – Flower seeding
  • Journal writing – bird nest sighting
  • Papaw loving – grandkids loving 
  • Others loving, loving, loving 
  • Whisper praying – blessing saying
  • Chair rocking – Time tick-tocking

 EVER LOVING GRAMMY!

“Grandchildren are like a crown to older people.”  Proverbs 17:6 (NIRV)”

Are you a grandmother?  Do you know what I mean?  Please tell me I’m not alone.

Grand-motherhood

Fourteen years ago today, I became a grandmother.  My oldest granddaughter, Elyse, celebrates her 14th birthday today.

Becoming a grandmother has been one of God’s best blessings. He is so creative to plan that as we get older, along come these little people to bring back the kid in us.

When I was pregnant with my own child, some 30 plus years ago, there were no machines to picture the embryo in the womb.  I barely got to hear the heartbeat in the last month.  For the entire nine months, we had no idea what we were having.  Several people told me I must be having a girl by the way I carried the baby.  Someone else told me she could not imagine me with anything other than a girl.  Did she mean that I was way too prissy to raise a son to be manly? I still don’t know.

When the doctor announced, “It’s a boy,” the surprise was wonderful.  I was thrilled, delighted, overwhelmed and humbled to have been chosen by God to be mother to this wee baby boy.  I loved every minute of him. 

After a number of years and a few heartaches, we realized our son would be an only child.  I put away some of the things from my childhood, my doll furniture and dolls.  The hope of giving them to a daughter were gone.

Instead my days were filled with being mom to a boy, and not a dull one was among them.  I picked out boy clothes and made a Spider Man cape. I bought little cars and trucks and yes, even fake guns, boy toys, for him to play with. I made his room look masculine and cut his hair to look like his dad’s. I was a den mother for a batch of his Cub Scout friends. I dealt with a caged gerbil that was bound and determined to escape. I even shared his affection with any number of the fairer sex, until I finally took second fiddle to the one woman who truly captured his heart.  All the stuff boys are made of became our experiences, Sweet William and I.

Can you even imagine, then, the excitement I felt when my son and sweet daughter-in-love announced they were having a girl.  Visions of pink ribbons, frilly dresses, tea parties and baby dolls danced in my head.  I was going to have a girl-child to snuggle and cuddle, to share girl playtime and chit chat, to experience female moments that can drive a guy to distraction. A girl would understand that giggles and tears are just an emotion away.

Since that day 14 years ago, I’ve been blessed with two more grandchildren, a loves-to-dress-up girl named Celeste and our all-boy Ethan.  Let no one try to argue with me, there is a difference in boys and girls.   And I am loving every single minute of experiencing their uniquness.

Want to know the amazing thing about these grandchildren? They are equally delightful, they bring equal but different joy, and they have burst my heart wide open with love.

Being a grandparent is like getting a do-over, a rewind, a second chance. The things I would have done differently with my son, I get to do differently with my grandchildren. Things I thought so importance during my son’s boyhood, really don’t seem to matter that much now.

I think it is due to growing older and wiser, seeing life with mature eyes, and knowing we parents made a lot of mistakes and in spite of us, our children turned out OK.

I think I’ve become more fun as a grandparent, less particular, open to new experiences. I count the moments precious.

One day, I will pass on to my heavenly home. While I have this day, I want to build a house of memories for my grandchildren. I hope they remember laughter, funny stories, hugs and kisses, good-night prayers and blessings, unconditional love, complete acceptance.

I am depositing love into their hearts and I am storing up prayers. Sometime in the future when they hit a snag in the road or when something almost crushes the life out of them, I hope they will remember how much their Grammy loved them, believed in them, and talked to God about them.

Being a Grandmother is one of God’s best blessings.