Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The pink rose of Mother's Day

For those of you who have read my previous blog, you will know some of my feelings surrounding Mother’s Day and my decision to not only attend church but to share in the service on that day. I wanted to share with you how it went and how God spoke to me in a beautiful way through it. 

As part of the service we wanted to provide a space for grief and lament as well as a space to celebrate. We had a display of white roses on our mercy seat (the place of prayer) and as we played a beautiful song people had the opportunity to take a rose (or as many as they wanted) and place it in a vase to represent a person/opportunity that they remember on this day. It was an absolutely amazing, spirit filled moment. 

As a celebration of the mother figures in our life we gave everyone a red rose. In the morning, as I was preparing the roses by attaching a bible verse to each rose, I found one rose that didn’t seem to be as ‘attractive’ as the others. The stalk didn’t seem as strong as the others and the petal on the outside had a mark. It didn’t seem to ‘fit in’ with the rest. I was going to throw it away, but I felt the Lord say:

‘Don’t throw it away,I see the flower, I think it is beautiful, I think it is good enough and I know who will receive it.’ 

So I attached the bible verse and put it amongst the others.

Towards the end of the service, I explained that everyone could take a rose at the end. As we Sang the closing song ‘the voice of hope’ – I felt arms around me and one of the beautiful women in church presented me with a rose. After the meeting I looked at the rose and realised that the rose I had been given was the rose I had almost thrown away before. I felt God say to me that he knew that especially on this day I can feel sad and broken, he knew that I often feel that I am not good enough to be a mother…I feel like that rose, I don’t ‘fit in’ 

 I then felt God remind me what he had spoke to me before he said:

‘I see you, I think you are beautiful, I think you are good enough and I know what is in store for you.’ 


When I returned home, I put the white roses from the service along with ‘that’ red rose on the mantel piece. It looked stunning. As I sat and looked at it, something caught my eye. On the end of the mantel piece was a silk pink rose. My stepdaughters had given me it the day before as a Mother’s Day gift along with lots of other goodies. 

I found this pink rose profound. It spoke to me of the blessing of my three stepdaughters. The mix of red and white. Red for the celebration of what they have brought to my life, the love that I both have for them and receive from them and the countless blessings I receive from them. White for the sadness of not having them with us every day and having to ‘share’ them 

I found this pink rose spoke to me about my journey through infertility. White for the grief and lament of never having that miracle baby and of another month passing by without a positive pregnancy test. Red for the celebration of sisterhood, of women who pray for me and journey alongside me, for the support of women who grieve in my losses and celebrate my successes. Also red for the amazing things that God has done to make me fruitful in a time of bareness. 
I found this pink rose spoke to me about Mother’s Day. White for the grief of another Mother’s Day without a child to call me mum and for the sorrow I see in the faces of so many women. Red for the amazing things that God has done in and through me in order to encourage other to see him in a difficult day. 

Today I pray that you might recognise the pink roses in your life. 

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Why you will find me in church this Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is approaching. For some people it is a time full of joy and celebration, for others, however, it can be a horrendous time full of sorrow and pain. I fall into the second category. For the past few years, as we have been ttc it has got harder and harder. 

For a while, as a single woman Mother’s Day was tough as it reminded me of a future I wasn’t sure that I would have. Then when I met Paul I suddenly became step-mother to three teenage girls and it brought a whole new dimension. Mother’s Day at church was filled with conflicted loyalty for the girls and a reminder that I wasn’t a real mum! I remember one year, one of the girls going to get me the obligatory ‘Mother’s Day gift’ whilst another having stern words with her that I shouldn’t receive a gift as I wasn’t really her mum and that their mum was at home expecting a gift. The whole while I felt terribly guilty that I had put everyone in such a position, happy that I was seen in some way as a mum and sad that the children felt so conflicted in their appreciation of me. 

As we have journeyed through infertility, Mother’s Day has got tougher till eventually I stopped going to church altogether on that Sunday – and that’s pretty rough considering I’m the minister! However over the past year God has really been working on my heart and this year not only will I be sitting (somewhat vulnerably) at church but I will also be preaching! 

In my walk through infertility I spent a lot of time cutting myself off from those around me who were celebrating motherhood, it just seemed to highlight my hurt and failures, but last year God changed my heart and encouraged me to consider Romans 12:15 ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.’ I was pretty good at mourning with others but struggled to rejoice when people received what I so desired. 

On my trip to Israel last year God showed me how I was missing out on so many blessings by having my focus on the wrong thing. I remember standing on the Sea of Galilee as the worship song ‘it is well’ played and sensing that God had so many blessings to lavish on me, I just had to reach out and take a hold. This started a real journey of transformation in my life. 

A few weeks ago as the cards started appearing in shop I got that familiar knot in my stomach as I felt feelings of failure, insignificance and grief. As I considered what Mother’s Day in church might look like for me I felt God challenge me. He reminded me of what his church should look like. Colossians 3:15 (the passion translation) says: 

‘Let you heart always be guided by the peace of the anointed on, who called you to peace as part of his one body. And always be thankful.’

As the body of Christ – his church – we are called to be peace. What a beautiful thing it would be if his church brought peace to those who struggle with Mother’s Day. If instead of opening wounds of hurt, grief and trauma, the church poured a healing balm upon them and gave them space to lament in order to find the perfect peace that only God can give. 

God reminded me that when the widow offered the last of her food to Elijah, God provided abundantly more and triggered a miracle that brought glory to him. By attending church and trying to provide a place of safety for those who find Mother’s Day hard it may seem like giving a little offering to God, as sacrificial as it may be for me. But I know that It will be seen and honoured by God, it will reach out to others like me and who knows what miracles may happen! 

Last year I attended a beautiful service at Liverpool Cathedral called Mothers Day Runaways, designed for people like me who find Mother’s Day tough. The people involved practised this lesson of offering a place of peace for those in turmoil and it was a beautiful thing. God moved so powerfully and as I look to the service this year as my time to lament and grieve, I know God will minister to each person there. 

This year I look to Mother’s Day in a different way. I still feel sad for what could have been, and the longing for the day when I will celebrate being mum, but this year I brought myself a beautiful Mother’s Day gift so I won’t feel forgotten and I have vowed to try and spread peace on a day that for some people is filled with fear, and I can truly say in this situation ‘it is well with my soul.’ 

My beautiful necklace from The knotted Nest on Etsy.

Today if you are looking to Mother’s Day with dread, I see you, I know it so well and I understand. I would love to pray for you so feel free to drop me a message and I pray that this will be your experience:

“Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super abundance until you radiate with hope.” Romans 5:13