My friend, Susan B. has been in my life since 1989. We lived five houses apart for a decade. Our families enjoyed summer beach trips together, with two other families. Even though we moved from that street sixteen years ago, our families have remained close. It takes intentionality by both parties to keep a relationship going strong. We met up at a party this past weekend, and we talked about the fact that Sunday would be the first Mother’s Day since her mother’s passing back in August, 2014.
I’ve loved her mother for years and it was special having her first name the same as our daughter, Leah’s. During her last days of life, Susan was juggling full-time work with her frequent visits to Tranquility Hospice and I offered to stop by and visit her. While she was sleeping peacefully, I read aloud the scriptures: Psalm 27 and Lamentations 3:22-26. It blessed me to be one of the last loved ones to sit with her before she passed quietly on August 8, 2014, her grandson, Ryan’s 25th birthday. Despite the fact that her mother was very ill with Alzheimer’s, it’s been difficult to say good-bye to the one who gave her birth.
Did you know? The modern American holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Her campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her beloved mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Anna’s mission was to honor her own mother by continuing work she started and to set aside a day to honor mothers, “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”. Anna’s mother, Ann Jarvis, was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.
In 1908, the US Congress rejected a proposal to make an official holiday, among jokes that they would have to proclaim also a “Mother-in-law’s Day”. Due to the campaign efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all U.S. states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a local holiday, the first in 1910 being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers. (Wikipedia)
Funny, as in ironic, how Mother’s Day conjures up so many emotions. On Sunday, our Pastor Ike Reighard asked ALL women age 18 and up to stand and be recognized as women-not just celebrate mothers. Pastor Ike pointed out that many women who want children have not been able to have them, yet. He did not want these women to feel isolated on Mother’s Day, a very thoughtful gesture. Our church had single roses and cupcakes for everyone. It was a beautiful morning of celebrating the gift of MOM. The NINE Gifts of the Spirit were in full bloom for Mother’s Day at Piedmont Church.
But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE (personal growth fruit)
PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS (personal relationships fruit)
FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL (personal development fruits). “
Yes, Mother’s Day evokes so many feelings. With all the touching Facebook posts/pictures of our mothers, what’s not to love? But what if that was not your personal experience? What if your memories include a mother who lacked financial resources, mental health, or the support of family/friends? What if your mother passed recently, like our friend, John, and you are still reeling from the news? Adopted at birth, what if you would like to meet your birth mother, yet the opportunity has not yet presented itself? What if your mother was an addict, hooked on pills or booze during your growing up years? What if unexpected infertility describes your journey when this holiday arrives? What if you’ve experienced the devastating loss of your unborn child, like two of our niece, Amy’s best friends? What if your mother passed when you were very young and you have little memory of her? What if…?
One thing I know for sure is that every one of us has a mother who chose LIFE for us, and with the enormity of the present day abortion controversy, this is a bigger deal than it has ever been before.
As a woman, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a grandmother, how can you and I bear more fruit as we journey through our lives? Are our branches bare?
I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does grow fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch, that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15: 1-2; 4;5-8
Yesterday on my drive to church, I heard two songs that inspired me. I texted the titles/artists to my friend, Susan B. and she said she was encouraged by them, as well.
Click on the links below to hear them and make it a great day!