What’s This?

Just a week ago or so I was sitting on the couch and reading a book to my two little grandsons Connor and Tyson. Without any warning, Connor pushes right at my belt-line and says, “What’s this Grandma?” I replied, “You mean my belt?” “No” he said, pushing right above my belt, “This, right here! Do you have a baby in your belly too?” It’s all about babies right now for these two since they will welcome a new sibling in their house this summer.

I was trying not to take it personally and believe that Connor really thinks I look six months pregnant, so I laughed out loud which caused both of them to erupt into giggles. My vanity says, I was just slouching while sitting so my middle section was protruding a bit, and since babies are on the brain it would be only natural to think that Grandma would be joining the fun! After all, Tyson had referred to “his baby” in his belly when he crashed on my bed recently.

As the laughter wore off I thought yes, there is a baby in my belly, although not a “baby” as an expectant mother would have. I am pregnant with anticipation of the future even though I can’t see all the puzzle pieces and how they will fit together. It’s hard sometimes when the path you are on takes a different turn. I recently was laid off from my job. It was bittersweet just yesterday as I now was classified as a “volunteer” at one of our fundraising events, a golf tournament. I was still part of the team, but now I was no longer on the staff. I found myself tongue-tied talking to the participants when they asked what my role was in the organization. I didn’t know what to say, and fumbled over my words. I’m trying not to beat myself up because it’s the first time I had encountered that question in the context and I wasn’t prepared to give the answer never-the-less the reality of the answer. It was kind of another “what’s this” question, but for me, it is directed towards God. “What’s this God and what does it mean now?” I don’t know the answer and this blog post might not make much sense. I wrestled with just telling the cute story of Connor and leaving it at that, but this is what is flowing from my heart at the moment and so I have invited you into my journey, even if it doesn’t make sense!

So for now, being pregnant with hope for the future also means a loss and I am grieving. I am planning to still be a part of the ministry and volunteer but I will miss the community of the office and the camaraderie of my co-workers on the day to day basis. I will miss the sometimes daily crazy chaos that comes with working in a non-profit ministry that is trying to make a difference with limited resources. I will miss the God-moments of watching and hearing of lives being changed and brokenness turned into beauty. What am I pregnant with? Hope, because I know that hope is a person, my Jesus. He is what I place my hope in today even the Y in the road and unexpected twists and turns. What are you pregnant with today?

How Do You Become a Mother?

I was reading a friends post on Facebook and she was wishing everyone in her world a Happy Mother’s Day. She freely admitted that she is not a mother, but rather referred to herself as a business midwife. She is an entrepreneur who has helped and nurtured hundreds if not thousands of women birth their dreams. (You can check out her website at www.nacwe.org)

I started thinking, how does one really become a mother? Other than stating the obvious process of physically becoming a mom, what does it mean to be a mom? The dictionary is always helpful, so I thought I’d start there. The word “mother” as a noun means “a term of address for a female parent or a woman having or regarded as having the status, function, or authority of a female parent.” The word mother as a verb is; “to care for or protect like a mother; act maternally toward” (www.dictionary.com). We can safely assume then a mother is a woman who functions as a female parent, cares for, protects and acts maternally towards others.

We all understand what that looks like with children but how about thinking outside the box and giving a blessing to those in our life who “mother” in the spirit of the above definitions? So today, I want to celebrate all those who are seriously parenting others in their world. I think of another 89 year old woman who has been a mom to over a 100 teenagers and adults in her lifetime. Having no children of her own, she and her husband opened their home and their life to foster children, kids mostly in their teens who needed a little course correction. She nurtured and encouraged freely with her maternal authority and bestowed to them the gift of total acceptance and love. She is a mother in my eyes.

Lisa Bevere in her book Nurture says this, “Nurture, the language of the feminine heart, is being restored as women arise, recognize each other, and begin to connect for strength and purpose.” God has instilled in each one of us the ability to nurture and love for a significant purpose that is far beyond what we can even imagine. We don’t need to have children to extract these gifts and influence our world, it is a powerful gift waiting to be unwrapped. I am a mother, but nurture didn’t come easy to me, I had to cultivate it and learn but now thirty-four years later, I think I am beginning to get what it really looks like to be a mother in heart and spirit. My children have left the nest and I carry a burden to nurture now more than ever. There is power in the sisterhood and nurture of women. Let’s join together as mothers to be world changers, an extension of God’s love to others. Happy Mother’s Day!

Comparison and Facebook

Tonight, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of college women about the trap of comparison. I brought up the contrast of falling into comparison and Facebook. As I was prepping, I came across a blog on this topic, it hit me square on. This is subtle bait from our enemy to travel down that rut in our minds diminishing who God made us to be! I shared this and that I was reflecting on what I had recently learned and we had a lively discussion.

I found myself in awe of the awareness of these amazing young women. They had such brilliant insight. One said that on Facebook, we don’t really share all of ourselves, we don’t often share the bumps and bruises but wanting to put our best “face” forward when we post. The goal is to get “likes” and “comments” so we can feel better about ourselves. Wow! Such wisdom from this generation and so we talked about, is it really connecting relationally on social media on a true heart level? Do we really see beneath our “faces?” We asked ourselves tough questions; when we look at Facebook does it cause us to actually compare our lives with others? For example, wishing we had a better life, or why does that person seem to have more comments, more likes, or for Twitter fans, more followers? I could of listened to them all night.

As they walked out the door, I gave them a love letter from God compiled from promises in scripture that tell us exactly how God sees us. The assignment was to cozy up in their beds before they went to sleep and read it so their minds could be renewed as they slept. They graciously thanked me for coming and for sharing with them. Honestly, I was the one who was blessed. These lovely young women have big dreams for God and they are renewing their minds so that their comparisons don’t distract them from God’s destiny for their future.

I really do have fun on Facebook, it can be a effective way to communicate in our society, but it has it’s drawbacks. I just found it fascinating and it was refreshing to honestly take a topic like comparison and see how something as culturally relevant as Facebook can feed the comparison lies. We as a group determined that knowing the truth is what sets us free (John 8:32). The reality is that God gives us the thumbs up of his unconditional love every single moment of our “posted” lives. He “likes” us each and every day!