I'm sorry that I haven't been able to check in and read your blogs the past week. I will be home on Wednesday to catch up.
I attended the most beautiful service yesterday at Providence Community Church in Mt. Juliet, TN. The United Methodist Pastor, Jacob Armstrong is very personable and intentional about reaching out to those who are hurting.
I'll be honest, it's not been easy for me to attend a Mother's Day service since my mama passed away 4 years ago. I am usually with my children at the beach. I've tried to concentrate on the blessings of being a mom myself and enjoying my children and pushed away any thoughts of my mama. It was just too hard. The only reason that I went to the service was to stand beside my daughter who sat with an empty heart and hands and nervous anticipation of what was just around the corner.
The message was not the typical Mother's Day sermon. After all, who are we really there to worship? It bothers me today how so much emphasis is put on everything else, from the worship team to the pastor, to the children, to the youth and to the recipients of those for whom we celebrate.
(I will share his message at a later day which was very timely for me.)
My daughter saw the carnations and thought, "Oh, no not another one!" However, his approach was different. He honored all women at the end of the service with first a reading by Amy Young. Two girls on the praise team read the following:
To those who gave birth this year to your first child-we celebrate with you.
To those who lost a child this year-we mourn with you.
To those who are in the trenches with little ones everyday and wear the badge of food stains, we appreciate you.
To those who experienced loss by miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away, we mourn with you.
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears and disappointment, we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don't mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, or spiritual moms, we need you.
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children, we celebrate with you.
To those who have disappointment, heartache and distance with your children, we sit with you.
To those who lost their mothers this year, we grieve with you.
To those who encountered abuse at the hands of your mother, we acknowledge your experience.
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood, we are better for having you in our midst.
To those of you who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children, we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be.
To those who step parent, we walk with you on this complex path.
To those who envisioned lavishing love on your grandchildren yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you.
To those who will have emptier nests in the coming year, we grieve and REJOICE with you.
To those who placed children up for adoption, we commend you for your selflessness and remember now that you hold that child in your heart.
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expecting or surprising, we anticipate with you.
This Mother's Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
Read more of Amy Young's blog at www.messymiddle.com.
At the end of the service, Pastor Jacob asked the ladies to come up and pick a carnation-red for those who still had their mothers and white for those whose mothers are no longer with us. Those flowers were placed on the altar. Afterwards, we were given the bread and the wine remembering the ONE for whom we derive our name, Jesus. Pastor Jacob then prayed. It was moving. I looked at my daughter. Tears of comfort were streaming down her face as I looked with blinded, flood filled eyes.
My heart rejoices in a God who sees, who understands, who cares and a community who is willing to walk WITH us on whatever journey life may bring.
My son't birthday was yesterday, We was my favorite Mother's Day present of all time.