Friendship

When Mother’s Day Isn’t A Happy Day

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Friendship, Love, Motherhood, Words | 21 comments

#40 mothers day

 

My stomach began to tighten the day the calendar turned from April to May. Faces of friends, looming situations and broken dreams began to subtly wrapped their tentacles around the upcoming holiday we call Mother’s Day.

For some women I know, a rose at church or a trite Mother’s Day greeting are salt to an open wound. For others, the absence of these gestures grate on the soul like sandpaper.

I spent hours on the phone the other evening with a mother deeply grieving the loss of her only child who died six months ago. Words failed me. I know three other women who have shared the same painful loss this past year. Mother’s Day will never be happy for them again. It’s also a difficult day for those who have lost their mother, either by death or to the slow spiral of deterioration of Alzheimer’s.

Other women sit waiting in the lonely cell of barrenness – hoping for a miracle. They dread the fact another empty-armed Mother’s Day will come and go for them. Still others are waiting to hear from their prodigal son or daughter lost to the evil clutches of addiction. There are no words for them either. How can we comfort someone in such silent pain. How can we make Mother’s Day a happy day for them?

My heart aches for the hurting and grasps for words that soothe. Words that comfort and ease the guilt of a society that broad brushes our holidays with trite slogans and endless adds. It’s not our fault that commercialism leads us by the nose to the card counter, the flower shop and simplistic quotes. But it is our fault when we don’t bother to consider the unique lives of individuals in the process.

Mother’s Day doesn’t need to be eliminated in order to alleviate the pain of hurting women. But Mother’s Day can be sensitized by our care for the individual people in our circles.

Our words and actions have power. We can offer solace to the hurting by our understanding.

Celebrate the gift of motherhood with women presently enjoying it. But also look for those who need more than a quote, more than a rose – they might just need you. A hug, a cup of coffee, shared tears and most of all – a listening ear. Let them talk and tell you their stories over and over and over again.

May we be a society that bothers to know each other well and strives to love our neighbors appropriately. May we demonstrate compassion, kindness and care this Mother’s Day. And be a blessing to someone who might find the day difficult.

 

Read More

Unobstructed Views

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Friendship, God Speaks | 16 comments

replace photo on blog

 

Today – it’s an honor to be included as a guest blogger on the (in)courage website. I hope you’ll take a minute to read it, search the site (maybe even leave a comment) and then – please go tell a friend how much you appreciate them.

If you’re a regular subscriber, you’ll certainly see the contrast between today’s post written a few months ago, and my last post, Redemption. With a heavy heart I continue to pray for hurting friends – and yet, I’m grateful for lighthearted moments that breathe grace and hope into my soul, reminding me I’m not alone. Please click here to visit (in)courage with me today.

 

 

Read More

Remembering With a Friend Today

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Death, Friendship, His Love, Hope | 8 comments

He loves & listens

 

We turn the pages of our calendars to October today. For some, it’s a joyful welcome to the new fall season. But for my dear friend Debbie, it’s a reminder she faces a month peppered with memories – both good and hard.

Five years ago today, her family welcomed the first grandchild into their lives. Inexplicable joy came in the form of a redheaded bundle delivered by her youngest born. For the next three years, pink exuberance took over the family gatherings.

Coming up in a couple weeks another more difficult date looms on Debbie’s calendar. Two years ago on an October Sunday morning, her granddaughter’s residency drastically changed. While her parents slept peacefully down the hall, little Eisley was ushered to her heavenly home without warning, without explanation and without a kiss good bye.

Can you even imagine burying a three year old – much less, your daughter, your niece, or your granddaughter?

My heart aches for the October grief this family suffers each year. Dates scream out the ‘what if’s’ as birthdays and meaningful holidays pass by. And the memory of leaving her little body at the cemetery – could there be anything more difficult.

As Debbie’s sister in Christ and friend, I apologize for trying to understand her grief – or worse, trying to make sense of it. Grief is painful. Grief is long lasting. Grief needs understanding and sensitivity.

Eisley’s memory is worth keeping alive no matter how hard it is. Debbie needs Eisley’s memory to be kept alive. So as her friend, I need it also.

CS Lewis said in his book Grief Observed, “The death of a beloved is an amputation.” This is hard truth!

The Holy Spirit offers comfort. The Word of God sustains. But we, her community and family – are called to be the gauze and tape. We squeeze with pressure until the bleed subsides. Each October the wound reopens. Each October my friend needs holding.

Recording artist Laura Story knows about pain and suffering.

Remember a friend today as you listen to her beautiful call to embrace our hard places. Please remember my friend Debbie and her family today too – October 1, 2013 – on what would have been Eisley’s 5th birthday. Pray for unveiled mercy.

 

 

Read More

A Different Kind of HARD

Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in Extraordinary Everyday People, Friendship, Joni and Friends | 4 comments

 outside w chair

 

 

We came because we agreed to be teen group leaders for Joni& Friends Family Camp. Families affected by disabilities came for retreat and respite from their unique lives. The connection was life changing.

 

During the month prior we wrestled to prepare meaningful curriculum, but truthfully, the task seemed impossible with the diverse nature of our group. Over and over we found ourselves saying, “It’s too hard – it can’t be done”. We wanted to throw in the towel and admit defeat.

 

However – after meeting Lori, Barbara, Haley & Brian, along with many others, our definition of hard completely changed.

 

cynthia

 

 

Hard is knowing your husband who is blind and limb-less would literally die if you didn’t feed him. Hard is dressing a son with cerebral palsy who’s 6ft tall. Hard is realizing you’ll never dance at your daughter’s wedding because her particular disability will probably prohibit marriage. Hard is explaining to healthy young siblings why people stare at their brother all the time. That’s hard.

 

No – planning activities for one week out of a year was not hard, it was an honor.

 

Our week was filled with contradiction and challenged perspectives. Many preconceived ideas were obliterated the first evening we welcomed families to camp and into our hearts. It was apparent we had much to learn.

 

 

 worship camp style

 

Want to know what hard really looked like last week?

 

Our STM’s, meaning short term missionaries who served one-on-one from sunup to sundown – AND who paid $400 to do it; taught us about hard. We had several STM’s in our group who spent 10+ hrs a day with someone who couldn’t talk to them. While their friends were engaged in activities – they sat silently beside their camp friend stroking a back or keeping a discreet distance. They were challenged to find ways to enter into their camper’s world discovering keys to unlock connection and develop relationship.

 

Ask any teen if that’s hard. Better yet, ask the parent of the silent teen what it’s like the other 51 weeks of the year.

 

friends for life 

 

Other STM’s ran after their camper with ADHD or autism all day long, clocking between 5-13 miles per day. They chased, laughed, collected banana slugs and loved. Some never finished one meal sitting down all week because their camp friend chose to eat on the run. I wonder what dinner time looks like the other 51 weeks of the year in the homes of these active teens.

 

Last week was a short pause from the hard reality families affected by disabilities face every day.

 

sarah

My husband and I won’t be using the term HARD so flippantly anymore.

 

I only hope I can be as gracious as the STM’s were when small hiccups occur in my day. I hope I can treat people with differences with the same respect and kindness I saw the STM’s and parents give.

 

043

 

Hard for me, will be accepting the challenge to model what I saw.

 

true love

 

“Then Jesus said, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-24

 

 

 

 

Read More