Friday, October 28, 2016

Our Yes

A few nights ago we had a double baby shower to celebrate two beautiful mamas in my Bible study group. I hosted in my basement, which turned out to be the perfect intimate setting we needed for laughs and tears and sharing our hearts. The twinkle lights and decor reminded my son of the atria in Juneau...he said to my husband, "Mama made an atrium down here!" Yep, I cried at the dinner table when I heard he had said this. I thought the shower pictures would be fitting for some of my thoughts today.

Beautiful and delicious cake made by Sheila

In a social media saturated world, we can’t help but look around at the lives of others. Family size is just there! And when your heart has the stirrings of wanting to be more open to life, counting how many children and calculating the spacing of said children becomes easy mommy math.

True. Except that we don’t always know the true size of any family unless we are privileged enough to hear the story of each mother as she tells who has grown under her heart and who has grown IN her heart.

By under her heart, I mean babies and children who were here and are no longer visible materially in this space but have gone on before the rest of the family. Miscarriage. Stillbirth. Sickness. Tragedy. All such real crosses. I have sat humbly in the presence of these brave mothers. They walk with a family that is missing someone and yet so very present.

 Loss can even occur IN a heart. I recently befriended someone who “lost” in a way, a little girl she was paired to adopt overseas and  had become very attached to only to have her torn away because of a change in circumstances, her file was moved along…in a sea of adopting files. And the mama shared this with tears welling in her eyes. I share this hoping you will always see through these eyes when you start sizing up families.

So in our one minute world, we see and we size up, it just happens. We compare and we look at your family and at mine.

Where is your yes? Where is hers?

She said yes nine times! She said yes to a four sibling adoption!?!

If she can do that many children and be so happy, why is my yes SO hard then?

(Hey! Be careful putting others on a pedestal you comparer you!)

Oh be so gentle with yourself!

With her yes came the graces, they are not yours to have but hers.

I wonder, dear reader, if you can turn from contemplating on not being able to say yes at this particular moment to affirming hers. Can you even believe it? Yes, make all that you see in her yes..not about YOU!

If you or your husband are struggling with a call to more children, can you be a blessing to those who have children?

Can you rejoice when she first tells you she is having her ninth? Can you give big hugs? Can you say, “Congratulations! How can I help you?”

You are life giving when you bring a casserole. It might be simple comfort food to you, but to her it will taste like the best meal in the world…because she didn’t have to make it!

When she has her third, can you have her other two toddlers for a playdate so she can be with just baby? When you drop her children off at the end of the playdate, can you empty her trash can…without being asked?

You don’t have to even do a “work of mercy”, it can be as simple as kind eyes in Mass at the back of the narthex with a whisper “Your baby is beautiful.”

If you are not at a moment where you can say yes, can you find moments where you cheer on other mamas in their yeses! I have walked many months of my life holding back from our Lord because I felt what He was asking of me at the time was too big. If I could serve my friends with little ones, I found a bit of comfort in knowing I was making their life giving love choices feel even the slightest bit easier.

There is a woman who walked this earth, it was the land of Israel to which she called home. She made room in her heart for everything with her yes, the whole of humanity, including you.

Oh the Blessed Mother, dear reader, allow yourself to rest in the heart that pumped blood to our Lord and Savior. Allow her maternal heart, full of grace, to comfort you and your journey to yes.

God bless.

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