Bawling or Shouting for joy – this one thing will make a difference this school year.

It’s the first week of school here – probably where you are too. Or maybe it was last week. If you sent a preschooler off to school or a K5’er then maybe you shed quite a few tears. Who knows you could have a high schooler and still be struggling on the first day. I received a SOS text from a Mom friend  sending her youngest off to Kindergarten this week.

She gave me permission to share this with you since we’re all in the same Motherhood boat and we need each other. Really we do.

“Pleeeaaasse pray! I’m already feeling my emotions getting the best of me heading to kindergarten orientation this morning.  I need God’s help to get control of my tears. My Grandaddy called just when I needed him & prayed with me. I need my heart overflowed with joy. The devotion on Proverbs 31 hit me this morning. Then my next devotion I opened was about being a mother. Whhheeewww.
I’ve been with the boys as a stay at home Mom 1,634 days/4 year, 5 months, 23 days/233 weeks & 3 days/39,216 hours. Have I spent that time wisely & for God’s glory?

I’m trying to keep this big heart full of laughter & joy instead of tears. I had the thought of the very 1st time I ever saw you, Melody!! Randy asked if the kids were excited about coming back to school at Cody’s orientation. There was a hush among the crowd. Then he asked if the parents were excited about the kids coming back to school & YOU STOOD UP IN THE CHURCH PEW HOLLERING YEAAA! I still get a chuckle out of that knowing you like I do now. I thought is she crazy, who is that woman, I can’t stop the tears & she’s standing up in the church pew!?!? Randy put his head down & whispered “that’s my wife.”

Okay first of all I did not remember doing that but I did do that. I must have buried it deep deep deep within hoping nobody else would remember it either. So what was I thinking? Well, I’m not exactly sure. But I can tell you how I responded to my friend struggling to keep her tears in.

“Gotcha covered in prayer seeet friend. What you don’t know is that when I was rocking Mitchell to sleep when he was 5 months old I called Randy in tears and said, “the time is going by so fast. he’s going to be in K5 before we know it.” Randy on the phone said “you’re about to cry aren’t you?” And he’s made fun of me ever since. Lol. It’s ok to be sad that you’re passing the morning baton of teaching to another godly woman/educator. Don’t feel like you have to hold back tears. But I will pray with you for joy to accompany your sadness and maybe together they will produce less tears. Praying for you right now.”

Tears are okay. Joy is okay. Sometimes they come in different doses and at different times. Whether you are a Mom who is standing on the pew yelling “YEAH” or bawling your eyes out I can you that one thing will make the difference in your child’s school year. And it’s prayer.

Pray for your child. Ask God to show you a verse of scripture that you can pray over your child and maybe a theme or word to cover them over the school year. Last year it was “Endurance” for Mitchell and his verse was  Col. 1:10-12.  

I knew he’s be running Cross Country and it would take endurance for him to stick with it and keep grades up. Our God is so good friends and he hears our prayer for our kids. Mitchell stuck with XC and is going back for a second year of it.

I choose a verse for Sophie in regards to her independence and ability to function quite well within her own abilities. My desire is that she lean on God and know her help comes from him.

So Proverbs 3:5-6 is what I prayed for her all last year.

This week I’ll pray and ask God to reveal to me scripture I can pray for my kids this school year. He will show me. And he’ll show you if you desire it.

I also love the prayer coverage my kids receive from Mom’s In Prayer. This is a prayer group I’ve been a part of since our son started preschool. What I love about this one hour time of prayer is that it’s focused and we pray a different scripture over our kids every week. Also we pray specific requests for our kids. I love having other Moms pray for my kids because they pray things I haven’t thought about praying for. It’s the perfect example of the body of christ coming together and working in unison. Prayer does this in a powerful way. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Pray for your child’s teacher/s. In our Mom’s in Prayer time we pray for the teachers as well and we pray scripture over them also. If they give us specific requests we are faithful to pray for them that day. It makes a difference friends. Of course you don’t have to be in MIP to pray for your kids or teachers. This is just a platform. You’ll find great resources on how to pray for your child and your child’s teacher on the MIP website.

And if you happen to be local know that we have two groups meeting in our area right now. Both meet on Friday mornings. Any Aunt, Mom, Grandmother is welcome to come. Email me for more details.

Happy first week of school friends!!

 

 

 

 

What New Zealand Taught Me

Randy and I just got back from a trip of a life time to Napier, New Zealand. Napier is a small little town on the North Island that is charming, quaint and nothing short of splendipitous. I think that means very very spectacular.

We stayed with missionaries who pastor a church in Napier and who work a lot with youth/teens. Our nearly two weeks in New Zealand was spent speaking in a variety of platforms. Randy preached at church twice and spoke to a group of teens for a three day retreat. I spoke with the teen girls and led Umbrella Prayers at a women’s conference. And we had a lot of table time discussing missions, culture, God and lots of other stuff.

The sights were amazing. Sheep everywhere and fantail birds were our favorite. We never saw a Kiwi bird and from what we understand you don’t see a lot of them. Magpies were these black and white birds that are beautiful and just when I was getting all excited about them being pretty and having an adorable name I learned that they are mean birds that pluck the eyeballs out of sheep. Yep. So that was disappointing. Somebody needs to tell those birds about Jesus.

Through this trip I learned how much comfort I find in the prayers of believers. I knew traveling to NZ might be hard for me with some of the various health issues I have but after 48 hours of travel/waiting and still not being there I knew we would need the prayers of believers to sustain me/us. So I blew up Facebook with updates and requests for prayer. And so many of you supported us through prayer and God heard you.

God gave me a strength and energy I know I don’t possess to speak on Friday night. We had been traveling since Tuesday afternoon in Atlanta and we finally arrived on Friday afternoon around 3:00pm. I spoke that night at 6:30pm. Our luggage hadn’t arrived and I was wearing the same outfit I had been wearing since Tuesday. Ewwwww. I spoke in the same outfit but thankfully had time to get a quick shower (yay) and put back on the same clothes. I was speaking on very little sleep and major jet lag but God empowered me and I felt confident His Spirit spoke through me that night.  I learned to always, no matter what, pack an extra pair of clothes when you fly out of the country. 

I learned that even though prayer is HUGE it’s not prayer that gives us the strength. It’s our God. And if it was just you and God alone He would be enough. Even without the prayers of others. This might sound confusing with my previous paragraph on the desperate call for prayer from others. But let me explain more…..

It was that first Friday night in NZ  after I had spoken and I was so tired. When I went to sleep I knew I had two more speaking sessions the next morning. I was going to bed with still no luggage therefore my travel outfit, speaking outfit and pajama’s all in one were still clinging to my body begging to be changed. I desperately grabbed my phone to text a prayer request for energy for the next day and luggage to arrive. And that’s when I realized that the time zone was totally off. I’d be texting in the middle of the morning and I didn’t want to wake anyone up. (Randy had gone to bed early while I was at my session and was in a deep sleep or he would’ve been my prayer partner.) It was such a surreal moment for me. I was almost discouraged at the thought of not having anyone to pray for me in that moment and that’s when I felt God putting inside of me the truth that He alone is enough and able to hear. It’s HE who we pray to. It’s HE who hears our every cry. He alone is my Rock. I would even be teaching on these things the very next day and yet here I was about to freak out at the thought that I had nobody to intercede for me when I felt I needed it so badly. I laid my head on that pillow and said, “Lord, it’s just me and you and I know you will be my help in my time of need. Please give me the strength for tomorrow. And clean underwear!!”

I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and as I walked down the hall there I saw our luggage lined up against the wall. I went to bed at 10:30pm and our luggage hadn’t arrived. But at 3:00am it was there. The airport had delivered our luggage around 11:00pm that night. Ahhh yes, this is our God. Even cooler than clean underwear arriving is this Facebook message I received Saturday morning from a friend in the States who said this:

Hi Melody! I’m not sure what time you are speaking but I checked the time in NZ and it is 6:45 there so I’m guess you could be speaking now or anytime soon. And I woke up at 2:45 a.m for no apparent reason or maybe for the apparent reason to pray for you. Father, thank you for bringing Melody and Pastor Randy to New Zealand safely. I pray that You would renew Melody’s strength and keep her mind in perfect peace as she speaks this evening. I have no doubt that You have some awesome things planned including lives changed by Your power. Please prepare the hearts of the ladies Melody is speaking to tonight. May their hearts and minds be open and ready to receive what You want to speak to them through Melody tonight. Lord, I give You all the glory for the great things You are going to do. I ask these things according to Your will and in Your name. Amen.
And this is our God.
Her prayers were going on for me while I spoke on Friday night and God in his grace allowed me to read this on Saturday morning as a fresh reminder that yes God is the One who gives the strength but he uses his people to intercede for that strength and to encourage others.
More lessons learned from New Zealand to come because I learned some incredible cooking tips and we all know I need some of those. I can’t wait to share with you how to cook ground beef fast and healthy.

 

5 ways to survive Mother’s Day when you want to be a Mom but aren’t.

Mother’s Day is a sweet day of honoring our Moms and our children. Flowers, dressing up, pictures, cards that share our heart’s message and on and on the celebrating goes.

But there are women most likely in your midst who are having a hard time celebrating because of an ache inside. A deep ache that can’t always be explained. She might be the woman who is barren and longs to have a child. She is the woman who has lost her Mother. She could be the woman who never knew her Mother or was abandoned by her. I know women in all categories. I was that woman in one of the categories for years. And she’s the one I want to address today on this blog. The woman who longs to have a child but can’t or hasn’t.

So to the woman who understands this ache within her soul,  I want to give you five things to hold on to this Mother’s Day season.

  1. Remind yourself that God knows and sees your situation. He is sovereign and in complete control of your/your husband’s body and it’s ability to reproduce. He can change your situation with his voice. He is this powerful. And because our Creator God is a good and loving God you can trust that his ability to do all things or reverse anything is good news. Trust him with your infertility. Don’t refuse to be comforted by God.
  2. Don’t stop praying for your baby to come unless God leads you to stop. Pray specifically. Write your prayers down and date them because I promise you God is at work in ways you can’t see or fathom. As you look back on your prayers you will be able to trace the fingerprints of God during this incredibly slow, painful wait. I say don’t stop praying for your baby because, for us, we had prayed for God to change the desires of our heart if he didn’t want us to have children. We earnestly prayed and felt a confidence and a peace from God that he wanted us to have a family so we continued in praying for a baby. But God does shut this door for some in various ways. But until he clearly shuts that door I would say pray and don’t stop.
  3.  Ask people to pray for you.  It’s not always easy to share our personal stuff with people and especially when it relates to infertility. I totally get this! Like who wants to add their ovaries to the church prayer list. And who wants to raise their hand at church and say, “Ya’ll pray real good for us because my man’s gotta give a sperm sample tomorrow.” Sheesh that’s just creepy uncomfortable to type let alone say out loud. If you’re going through IF you understand this is base line IF lingo. Even though it might be slightly uncomfortable I’d encourage you to ask God to give you a small circle of trusted friends and family who will commit to praying for you specifically. A prayer “task force” if you will. I still have a prayer team that I call on periodically during the year. And guess what? Many of them were a part of this prayer team when we went through infertility. Prayer is your lifeline. It’s worth talking about the uncomfortable for the peace that comes with entrusting our womb to God. And may I say that if you are reading this and you want me to pray for you I would love to. I have a heart for praying for women struggling in this area and I’d be honored to pray on your behalf. Email me and tell me how I can pray for you.
  4. Ask God to help you know and rejoice in the fact that He alone is enough. This is one of the main lessons I learned through infertility. God alone is my salvation and if he never provided children I would still have the greatest gift I could ever have and that’s my relationship with Jesus. It didn’t make the pain or the desire for children go away but it gave me a comfort and a security in what I already was given.
  5. Ask God to help you see what nugget of truth he has for you through infertility. Because he has something. Sometimes it takes hindsight to see that nugget of truth but the power of God’s word along with his Spirit many times reveals powerful truths to us in the moment of reading scripture and praying. I encourage you to ask God to show you unique treasures in his word during your baby wait. They will be life lessons that will carry you all through life. Psalms is a great place to read. Psalm 77. Psalm 63 and the book of Job are great sets of scripture.

Friends, I am here to tell you that you can survive Mother’s Day this year even though you’re walking through infertility. If you are overcome with emotion on Sunday morning and can’t sit through another Mother’s Day sermon then sit it out and don’t be hard on yourself. But don’t allow yourself to wallow in self-pity either. Be honest with friends and let them pray for you. And can I tell you that there is another chapter to this story being written. You can’t see it. I know it feels like a blank page that won’t ever turn. I don’t know you but I know my God and He will not leave you hanging. It might feel like things will never change right now but the fact is God is working out a plan and already knows the ending. For us his plan included bringing two amazing children to us through adoption. We had no idea all that was unfolding during the days that felt silent and still. It was nothing short of a miracle. Be encouraged. Our God is working in the silence.

I am praying for you friends.

 

What are Umbrella Prayers?

Many of you have asked about umbrella prayers. Some of you know already and are probably sick of hearing about it by now – ha! I am to honestly. If it poured down rain today I wouldn’t want to see one single umbrella in my sight since that’s all I’ve looked at since January. Just Kidding. Sort of.

Umbrella Prayers is a creative tool in praising God and praying for others (and yourself) that I discovered a few years ago. After doing a study on the Names of God by Kay Arthur I sensed the Holy Spirit giving me a picture of an umbrella with his names, attributes and characteristics written on the panels. Not names or ideas we “think” or “want” God to be – but who God says he is in scripture.

Psalm 63:8 says, “My soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me.”

I want to be a woman who clings to God in both the torrential, downpour kind of a day as well as the sunny, stroll in the park kind of a day. And the Lord knows we have both! Sometimes all in the same day. As I learn about my God in scripture it just makes me want to cling even tighter to Him. And knowing that he holds me with his right hand just makes me love him even more.

So at an Umbrella Prayers event we have lots of hands on activities. We first look to God’s word to see this pattern of remembering who God is by looking at a man in scripture who was flat out depressed and in a complete tailspin in life. He tries a few things to comfort himself and nothing worked. The only thing that brought him resolve was when he remembered who God is and what He had done in the past. And this very strategic act of worshipping God by remembering who God is changed his outlook completely.

So we follow Asaph’s example in Psalm 77 and we recall how God has worked in the past. How we’ve seen him work and be who he is in our lives. We used the resource booklet below to help us see in scripture where God describes himself. This booklet is filled with Attributes and Characteristics of God and verses with each attribute. And then we take a few minutes to brag on our God. We share with each other at our tables which attribute means a lot to us right now or which attribute has been most meaningful in the past.

Then next phase of Umbrella Prayers is where we write out some of those attributes of God on a small umbrella that has been pre-painted on two panels. Our theme verse of Psalm 63:8 is a great verse to include reminding us to cling to who God is. Just picture the covering of our Abba Father over us protecting and loving us through life. Such a tender truth. One of our speakers shared a powerful testimony of God being her Abba Father through the brokenness of her own earthly father’s relationship.

Sharpies, fabric pens and paint pens all work great on the panels. We used acrylic paint for the panels ahead of time.

The final step in Umbrella Prayers is where we make an umbrella prayer together on paper or in our books. Our prayer together was taken from a request that was shared among our group. We prayed for a woman at our event whose husband had a brain injury recently and will be leaving for an extended stay in rehab. We recalled together and wrote in the big part of our umbrella that God is a Healer and Comforter. And up under that umbrella we prayed/wrote out specific requests to pray on behalf of her husband. We covered his nursing staff, his recovery and his family in prayer while remembering and calling on God to be who he is in this man’s life. We didn’t know him but we could bring him up under the Powerful Name of our God and trust him with this sister and brother in Christ. Some people gave their umbrella prayer to the woman attending and she said she was going to take them home and put them up in her husband’s room when they move him to rehab this week. Beautiful picture of the Body of Christ praying together on behalf of someone most of them don’t know.

We closed our time by crafting an Umbrella Prayer personally on behalf of someone else in our lives. Cards were given out to everyone so they could enclose their umbrella prayer and mail to their friend/family member later.

So that in a nutshell is what Umbrella Prayers is about. Anyone of any age can pray. It’s never too early to start and it’s never too late to begin praying. I have found Umbrella Prayers to be a fun, creative yet powerful tool in my prayer life. It has encouraged others as I have mailed some of my umbrella prayers and it has kept me going in my personal prayer life.

This women’s event was such a joy to plan and lead. I was blessed to have a fantastic team of women praying, designing and helping in huge ways. And of course there’s my man who supported this whole vision from not shooting down my idea to hanging umbrella’s from the ceiling to tripping over them in our house to putting together a fantastic resource booklet to moving tables and chairs and working after hours to help pull this thing together.

I will be sharing Umbrella Prayers with a middle school group of girls in May and then again with at a women’s conference in July. I love this so much and it’s such a delight to teach something I’m so passionate about.

 

 

 

When Mama’s Pray

I remember praying with a group of Moms years ago when one of the teenage sons of a Mom was in a deep funk. He was glued to his computer screen hooked on a game that kept him up for hours on end. We asked God to release the control of this addiction and to help him break free. Little did we know the very next day the boy would spill a drink all over the keyboard preventing him from playing his game. We didn’t want to exactly “celebrate” this huge disappointment to the teenage son but we did thank God for intervening in a way we never saw coming! We know God answered this prayer of ours and it encouraged our faith and made us lol a little bit too. This boy eventually pulled out of this extreme stronghold and we can’t help but know God used the effectual fervent prayers of a group of Moms gathering together in His name.

Prayer is a powerful tool God has gifted us with. Let’s view for what it is – a life changing piece of our faith and daily walk.

I’m praying for some big things right now. Things only God can do. But things God can do. I don’t know that God will answer these requests in the way I’m asking but it won’t stop me from praying or believing that my God is through and through Good.

 

 

Growing Stronger Roots – A Prayer Journal Review

Oh friends this prayer journal is such a great little nugget of gold. I just love it. I’m still not sure how I came across Tara Furman on social media but I’m sure glad I did. She put together this prayer journal and it’s packed with all kinds of treasures!

My favorite features in this prayer journal…

The categories – Praise. Thanksgiving. Confession. Favorite Verses & Lessons. Listening. Prayer Prompts. Prayer Requests.

Each category has an introduction page and the rich wisdom combined with  personal warmth has been such an encouragement to me.

The size and quality – I love the size of this journal and that it’s durable. To keep up with this format of praying will provide such a treasure at the end of a year.

One thing I’m learning right now is that I am super quick to forget things. Things I’ve prayed about and things I’ve learned.

Writing out our praise and prayer requests help us be able to go back and trace the fingerprints of God. Often in the Psalms we see our struggling brothers and sisters in Christ talking about how they “looked back” or “remembered the arm of the Lord” or “recalled”.  They spent time looking back and recalling the deeds of God. And that simple act of looking back brought a renewed strengthening and hope. I want that for me and I want that for you. To be able to look back at all God has done.

You can snag one of these power packed prayer journals at amazon of course or you can order off Tara’s website. I also have my eye on the one for girls for my daughter. She is growing in her prayer life and I am all about supporting our kids in their faith walk and if it costs money you spend it. What greater gift can we give to our kids than to teach them to know and love their Creator God. And prayer is such a huge part of our faith walk. So I see this journal as such a keepsake treasure and life giving tool. I’m totally going to be ordering one for my girl.

 

 

We trust the God we know.

we-trust-the-god-we-know-2

One way we get to know God is through his word. His word is alive and active. And the more we know him the more we love and trust him.

Today’s Attribute and focus is God is our Shield.

Remember today that no matter what you face you have a God you can take refuge in. He is safe. He is strong. He can protect you. Run to him. Praise him for being your shield. Find comfort in knowing he is your shield.

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:30 This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Psalm 33:20 Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 115:9 O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.

Lord, today we praise you for being our shield as your word tells us you are. We believe you are our shield and we are asking you as our shield to protect us from what you know we need to be protected from. Sometimes we don’t even know what you shield us from. Thank you for those times, Father.

Umbrella Prayers

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For something to sink into my brain I have to visualize it in pretty simplistic terms. Just how I roll. So when I am talking about Umbrella Prayers I have this visual in my head of holding up an umbrella. The umbrella represents God and who he is. An attribute of God.

I focus my thoughts and praise on God and who He is. Our God is vast according to scripture. There are so many facets to him and we can’t even comprehend it all but he does give us many references to who he is in the Bible. Knowing who God is and recounting who he is will make a difference in our lives.

After praising God for who he is and meditating on God himself I will then move into a time of confession. Asking God to reveal and show me hidden and blatant sin in my life. Sometimes I write and sometimes I don’t care to put pen to paper about these grievances. Either way – there is sweet relief in the immediate forgiveness of our God.

My next step falling under Praise and Confession is a time of Thanksgiving. It’s pretty self explanatory. Thanking God for answered prayer, for unanswered prayer, for surprised blessings and every day beauties that come from his hand.

Finally, I get to the part I long to start with if the truth be known. My requests. Petitions. Intercession. However you want to put it. It’s simply where we ask God for help. For intervention. Here’s the thing with the order of these prayers….when I start with who God is it reveals who I am in light of Him and the confession comes quite naturally. Which then leads to an overflow of thanksgiving. And then when I finally get to the asking part it feels different in a way. The circumstances are the same, yes. But my perspective has changed some. I’m now viewing this request as under the protection and covering of my amazing God who is capable of all things. Who loves me faithfully. Who extends mercy. Who is a shield and refuge. This is who I choose to align my very real life troubles under.

So friends, whether it’s a torrential downpour or crystal clear sunshine in your world today, pick up your umbrella and imagine putting yourself under the covering of an amazing God who is full of grace and mercy and so much more.

 

 

3 ways to overcome a fear of praying out loud

Okay let’s get super real here and confess that sometimes praying out loud can be intimidating even if you’ve been attending church forever. It doesn’t have to be but we start overthinking the process of talking to God in front of others and fear we can mess it up. We fear what we say might not be the right thing or good enough. Or maybe we think we don’t have a place in audible prayer among our churches or communities. “That’s for the pastors and men of the church.” All these are misconceptions that satan loves to throw our way in hopes that we’ll remain silent even though there’s a strong prayer in our hearts.

I don’t want to dismiss silent prayer. Or praying in agreement with the other person who is praying aloud. This is just as important and powerful in our times of prayer with other people. I don’t care if you come to a prayer meeting every single time and never utter a word but you are praying in your heart with those around you. This is prayer too.

So why write this post then?

Because I talk to so many women who have a real fear of praying aloud. They want to but are scared to. They won’t come to certain church functions because they’re afraid of being called on to pray. If this is you just know you’re not the only one and I am hoping you will give consideration to learning how to pray out loud. Because I believe praying aloud with a community of believers binds us together and deepens our faith. If you are grappling with your fear of praying aloud may I tell you that you are growing in your faith.  Don’t interpret the wrestle with praying aloud as a bad thing – this is a wonderful thing! Embrace it and ask God to help you with it.

If you’re wanting to pray out loud but are afraid consider these three things to help. 

1.) Say aloud the prayers in your head. When you’re driving and you’re thinking in your heart and asking God to help, heal, intervene, etc…..say it out loud instead. Pray aloud when you’re by yourself and begin to form a habit of praying aloud by yourself.

2.) Pray Scripture. Did you know that when we pray scripture we are praying the perfect will of God? It’s HIS words. And praying them back to Him is powerful. An example would be Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” You can pray that verse aloud and that is your simple audible prayer. You could even read it out of your Bible if you can’t remember it. Maybe you want to add the context of what you’re praying about afterwards. Thank you that your words says, “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Would you please help so and so as they start their new job to remember this Truth. That you will give them the strength they need. Amen.”

3.) Picture God as you talk to him. Prayer is talking to God and listening to God. If you can say it you can pray it. It’s a conversation. And even though our conversation is with a Holy and powerful unseen God it is also with the One who died for us and who longs to be in relationship with us. Instead of picturing yourself praying to the “Powerful Grand Oz” and being fearful picture going to the person who loved you enough to put his life up for yours. Your Abba Father. Arms open wide and full of love and grace. This is who you’re talking to.

 

 

4 things to the Woman still waiting to be a Mom:

To the desiring woman still waiting to be Mom,

It’s hard, isn’t it? Still waiting. Hoping that this would be the Mother’s Day you celebrate as a Mother with a child in her arms. While you’re still hanging on to hope and know God has a plan there’s still a deep ache inside your heart. And you wonder if you can make it to Sunday morning service where all the Mother’s are recognized. The oldest, the youngest – if it’s like our church there will even be some sassy and fun categories that you can’t help but laugh at. The prizes of course are fun to win and you’re happy for your friends. But you still wish it could be you this year.

I have some words for you based on real life personal experience.

God has not forgotten you. He is working out a plan for you that is far better than you can possibly know. It doesn’t feel like it but it’s true. One day you’ll be encouraging others with the same words as you look back and see all that God was doing while you were waiting.

A few things to consider during your wait:

It’s okay if you cry. I didn’t do this well. I hid my tears many times and felt like if I cried that I was in essence saying God wasn’t enough for me. And that is so far from the truth. One year on Mother’s Day – soon after a failed IVF cycle –  we celebrated Mother’s Day at my Mom and Dad’s house with all our family. As soon as we got to their subdivision the tears starting welling up. I held them in all morning at church. But as soon as we pulled in they gushed. I asked Randy to back out of the driveway and do circles until I could pull myself together. And of course the guys don’t know what to do with us when we cry and it’s just all around awkward. But looking back I wish I had been more willing to cry openly.

 Don’t beat yourself up if you simply can’t make it to church on Mother’s Day. I know this goes against the grain of so many in my former circles of friends. You just don’t miss church – like ever. I never missed a Mother’s Day due to these reasons (probably more out of pride than anything) but going back I’d give myself more grace. One young woman struggling with infertility called me up one year and explained her struggle and how she didn’t think she could sit through a service that coming Mother’s Day Sunday but she was feeling very guilty about it. I told her to stay home and don’t feel bad. You’re not a wimp if you need to sit Mother’s Day Sunday out because the pain is so great. Not everyone needs to do this but if you do – don’t feel bad!

 Keep a journal. If you’re waiting on a baby through pregnancy or adoption start your journal right now. Include specific prayers and ask God to show you Bible verses for your child. Record these things because when you look back a few years down the road you will be amazed at all the things God was doing behind the scenes – on the Mother’s Day when you sat holding back the tears; on the days you looked at yet another negative pregnancy test. God was working through all of that to accomplish something greater. You may not see all of it but you I promise that you will clearly see traces of it if you start recording and then look back.

Don’t totally roll your eyes when someone says, “But you can still be a Spiritual Mother.” (Spiritual Mothering could be defined as bringing one under your arm through discipleship.) A little eye roll, yes. Because I get it – and you get it – Spiritual Mothering is great and all that but you still really want to be a physical Mother with baby hanging on hipster hip. But don’t let this baby wait distract you from why you’re here on this earth. It’s to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. So keep praying and asking for God to work his way in what Motherhood looks like for you but don’t dismiss Spiritual Mothering – bringing others under your arm of discipleship – it’s not second class Mothering.

Lord, for my friends still waiting – let them know you aren’t waiting. You are actually working a plan you have for them. Help them to trust you in this process. To cry when they need to cry. To cling to scripture and record their heart’s cry so they can one day look back. In Jesus Name, Amen.