Well, since this is my birthday week, I thought we'd have a little creative fun. I would be SO happy and honored if you'd join in & you might even win a prize! Check it out!
As days and years gather behind me, I realize more and more how much less I would be without the confident, reliable love of my Mom in my life. Some of you may have grown up with that space in your life unfilled by your own mother. Maybe your grandmother or aunt or someone else loved and tended your heart like my Mom did mine. Maybe you are the woman filling that space in a child's life right now. The truth is, that space doesn't go away, does it? We want to be mother-loved now as much as ever.
So this song, born on Mother's Day, is offered now to Mother-women and their Children of all ages during this week of focused thanks-giving. A very small token of gratitude. I encourage us all to make the moments and our words count. And celebrate!
With small pangs of heartbreak, I allowed him to turn 6-years-old.
Twice that day he leaned close and whispered: I'm six.
He's trying it on.
He's turning, we're all turning; officially exiting "Chapter of the Small Child."
We've spent a lot of time here.
Years ago, when I tossed my graduation cap high in the air along with 500 other high schoolers, I seriously couldn't beLIEVE the moment had ACTUALLY arrived. I'd dreamed about it for so long but sort of thought I'd keep dreaming and never really get there.
Before that, I'd spent all my growing years as the daughter of an army officer, relocating every 1-4 years, living in 12 different houses before I'd finished high school.
Our North Carolina-born&raised kids can't fathom that, recently asked if it was as terrible as it sounds. Honestly, no...it wasn't. (until high school!).
The thing is, when you live in the military, you EXPECT to move.
You are always aware that your life - as you know it - is temporary.
When I was six, there was no thought of staying anywhere. And the people in your community? THEY don't stay either - also moving in and out, so you're all in the same boat. I'm sure the experience of a military WIFE is a whole different story, but for us kids...it was what we knew and expected.
The anticipation of relocation shaped relationships, but not always in the way you might assume. We were pretty quick to dive in, declare our "best friends." Bobbi Jo, Jennifer, Jodi, Jennifer, Leslie, Merri, Megan, Jeff, Monica&Jen, Laurel...cherished friendships. Hearts broke at year's end when the movers showed up, but in the meantime? Let's play!!
Everything moved. And we knew it.
Everything still moves, on a swift current that lets us touch beauty just before it wrinkles, enjoy a few minutes of good health before the bad, feel the weight of wealth in our palms before it is spent, relish a full house before an empty nest...life before death.
We anticipate, we release. Over and over and over, every day.
If these are the things we trust to keep us afloat, we will find our very selves swept downstream, because they are not meant to stick around for long...only to stretch and point toward the unseen, which will not be taken away, will not be destroyed by moth, rust, or old age.
So...I let him move on, my last little downy head. He moved on to age six, and tomorrow he will move out to some other life away from his mother.
And she will grieve for a time, but she will not be swept away. Because what she holds onto is the Unmoving Love that holds onto her.
As I sang “Mary’s Song (Breath of Heaven)” for our worship service this past Sunday, in the small sanctuary filled with dear friends who only think kindly toward me, I was strangely nervous and so very aware of my own inadequacies. My voice trembled and my fingers faltered. I tried to close my eyes, which is my usual way of focusing and shutting out distraction. But I didn’t know the music well enough to not follow the chords with my eyes.
I spoke truth to myself as I sang (it’s amazing the inner conversations that can take place concurrently with outward expression)…
It’s not about you…Sing it the way you sang it during soundcheck…Breathe…Stop thinking…
And suddenly I had rounded the corner into the third verse:
“Do you wonder, as you watch my face,
If a wiser one should have had my place…”
These words…ohhh, the cut. This is what I wanted to ask. My honest question.
“But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan
Help me be strong…”
Strength beyond myself. I do need it - desperately. Because this is all I’ve got. It’s not impressive.
“Breath of heaven, hold me together…
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness, for you are holy…”
Hold me together. Pour over me your holiness! Pour over me…
As the chorus repeated, I was overwhelmed by the realization that I was no longer singing “Mary’s” song, but my own. That is, Mary’s song IS my song.
I think we have much in common with the mother of Christ. This young Mary, who was underqualified by all human standards.
Mary, to whom the Son came, not through her own works or deeds but through the work of the supernatural Spirit of God.
Mary, who didn’t know what her road would to look like or how she would deal with it, and was certain only of her own weakness and God’s sovereignty.
Mary, who offered a song.
Mary, whose outward growth became apparent as the life of Jesus grew within her.
Mary, who rejoiced.
Mary, who suffered.
Mary, who was used by God precisely through her human frailty and childlike faith.
Surely my road isn’t as hard as the mother of God’s.
I can learn from her.
How to sing.