Friday, May 11, 2012

Stepping In

Step. It seems like such an odd word to describe a familial relationship.  Step-mother.  Step-daughter.  And then there's the whole Cinderella tale to give it a negative vibe.  The word brings a cold and removed feeling with it.  It is aggressive somehow, menacing, mean. 

But there is nothing cold, removed, menacing or mean about the woman who stepped into my life, stepped into that role of mother. 

There wasn't a clandestine night, with surprise consequences.  No, she went in, eyes wide open, to three children.  Three children who would later end up on her doorstep, bags in hand, broken, hurting teens in desperate need of mothering when she herself had hands full with three new babies and a husband at work on an ocean far away.  Now she was mother to six.  Six who desperately needed mothering.

I always knew that it was rough for her.  But with age comes understanding.  And with my own children came even greater understanding.  I understand why the one time she went through the effort to ready us all to leave the house together each week was to go to the house of God.  Why she clung close and desperately tight to Him.  How else can one mother?  How else can one mother six?

She stepped in.  She stepped in to countless messy hard places, broken hearts, marriage, birth, sickness.  She rejoiced with us, she cried with us, she broke with us, she loved us.  She stepped in, again and again.  She is mother now to seven.  Yet just two came from her womb.

She is a mother hen who has gathered her chicks from afar.  She mothered us.  She raised us.  She chose us.  

Step, from the Old English, steop-, with connotations of "loss," in combinations like steopcild "orphan," related to astiepan, bestiepan "to bereave, to deprive of parents or children," from Proto-Germanic, steupa- "bereft". *

I am not bereft.  I am not bereaved or deprived.  I am not, because I have a mother.  I have a mother, who stepped in... 

My mother hen, with 5 of her chicks and 2 grand-chicks.

*From the Online Etymology Dictionary

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1000 Moms Project

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gratitude Isn't Always Pretty

Mothers Day.  It's one of those days.  A day all polished up to gleam in the sunshine.  But what if your mother isn't polished?  What if she is full of grime? What if thinking of her brings pain and heaviness instead of thankful polished words fit for the prettiness of the day?

It hurts.  It hurts having a mother who is broken and dirty.  It hurts having a mother who hurts.

I have walked down dark roads.  Dark roads that she led me to.  Dark roads someone led her to.  Dark roads that showed me her pain. By God's grace alone, today I do not walk those same roads.  Yet still, my mother does.

Luke 4 

17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him (Jesus). 
He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
     to set at liberty those who are oppressed

Deep in my heart I have a little bag.  It holds a handful of small gems.  Moments that I hold close.  They shine pretty in the sunlight.  A mother who turns music loud and we dance.  A mother who buys a new dress and we eat prawns on the water and she celebrates me, another year older.  A mother who cooks good food and teaches us to eat well.  A mother who can be so silly and fun and laughsThese are my treasures. 

Yet so often, that laughter turned, turned right round into sharp arrows that pierce a soul.  Wounds causing wounds.  How much did it hurt her to raise me?  How many scabs were ripped clean off, pain oozing from the deep as she labored over me.

She does not laugh now.  She sits, deep in pain, far away, alone.  She lashes out at anyone who comes near.  She curls around her pain.  It holds her captive.

I pray.  I pray God's good grace will reach her.  I pray God's good grace will set her free from her prison of pain.  I pray that she will laugh and dance again.  I know God's healing balm of grace.  I pray that she will know it too...

Ephesians 3

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 1I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!    


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1000 Moms Project