As I gaze around the nursery/guest room, the furniture and walls are a reflection of the heritage of women in my daughter Maggie's life. I’ve been here for three weeks helping Maggie with her three year old daughter Evelyn, little baby Audrey and all that goes into keeping a family fed and cared for.
I'm sleeping in the bed in Audrey’s room that belonged to my “Meemaw”, Audrey’s great, great grandmothers wedding bedroom set! Draped across it is the matelasse bedspread I used in my daughter’s nursery mixed with wonderful pillows she has chosen for this special place.
Maggie has a gift of mixing the old family pieces with the new to give it her special touch. Hanging above the bed is a beautiful floral painting created by my daughter who has grown up to be such a talented artist. The flowers make me think of my grandmother’s garden and my own mom who grew roses. She always had bouquets of flowers in vases around the house. I remember my “Meemaw” walking with me along her flower beds teaching me about all the flowers that bloomed in her yard. Her joy and love for flowers was contagious! I loved spending time with her as we walked in the beauty together. She passed on that love for flowers through the generations! A legacy of love for God’s creation and taking the time to nurture it.
When Maggie brought her little baby girl home, I filled every room with the beauty and scent of flowers in all shades of pink. I noticed that it was our grand daughter Evelyn who was most taken with the flowers. She would run from vase to vase smelling and admiring them, pointing them out to her mom. Her favorite is hyacinths!
While I’ve been here, I looked for a way to nurture her love of flowers and scents and so we planted a little garden around her playhouse of potted herbs and flowers. She especially loves rosemary. So, of course, we had to bake something with her herbs, delicious cheese biscuits with the rosemary and lemon thyme from her garden! She was so proud and brought some of her biscuits across the street to her neighbor.
There is a heritage of beauty in nature that cannot be mistaken in the lives of my children and grand children. Maggie paints it and several times this year my youngest daughter, Mary Elizabeth has called me from NYC all excited as she walked through central park. At last, after the long winter, the flowers are in bloom and I can hear how the beauty in the park has lifted her spirits. I pray that little Audrey will grow up with a love for beauty in nature as well.
My eyes move to the crib that Audrey will soon sleep in when she moves from her mom and dad’s room. Her big sister, Evelyn, slept in that crib too. I remember going with Maggie to pick out the crib and rocker for Evelyn’s nursery, our first grand child. Now they are part of Audrey’s room. Just outside the nursery is my childhood dresser, used in my youngest daughter’s room in my home and now passed on to Maggie - a perfect spot to house diapers, wipes, all that baby stuff and photos that represent the families that have invested in these precious parents - Maggie and Spencer.
My eyes gaze up at the shelves my daughter has hung in the nursery. They are filled with wonderful books that she will soon read to her little girl as she rocks her to sleep. I notice my daughter has also hung a keepsake shelf with pewter cups lovingly engraved with the names of her children and her own childhood cups, a sweet little lamb and a picture of Maggie pregnant with Audrey. There is also a child’s tea set passed down to her that was my mom’s and the silver fork and spoon that Maggie used as a little girl.
I have always loved tea parties with my girls and so while I’ve been here Evelyn had her first "real" tea party with mom and Mimi using her mom’s childhood tea set while baby Audrey slept. We made cherry chocolate chip scones and Evelyn requested peach tea with lots of sugar of course! She dressed up in her “frozen” dress and made sure everything was just right. It was the shortest tea party I’ve ever had as a three year olds attention span is rather short! But the fun memory will always be there and the tradition now continues.
The soft music continues to play as I rock and pray the prayers and Scriptures I lifted up for my own two girls. We have discovered that Audrey really likes piano music. It instantly soothes her and puts her off to sleep. I smile as I think of it. Her great grandmother “Smock” was a pianist and passed that heritage of the love and gift of music on to her son, my husband Ken.My grandmother, mom and sister all played the piano. I pray that Audrey Kathryn’s love for beautiful music, especially the piano will flourish as she grows up.
This Mother’s Day will be very special for me because my youngest daughter, Evelyn and Audrey’s “Auntie M”, will be flying in from NYC to join us and Ken will fly up so that we can all be together to celebrate - a rare treat to all be together!
My spirit is overwhelmed with gratefulness. For you see, my personal history also includes eleven years of infertility. Each month, year after year, tears would flow and the pain would resurface. Infertility brings unexpected sorrows and struggles to a marriage. I wondered if I would ever experience motherhood and couldn't even imagine the joy of being a grand mother in that difficult season of my life. So I am well aware that Mother’s Day doesn’t always bring happy thoughts. I remember those May Sundays in church when the mothers were honored and I would try to hold back the tears of longing and grief. God answered my prayers.
I have been blessed with a heritage of strong, loving women who have invested in my life -my grandmother, a mother who devoted her life to her husband and children and a sister who has poured into the lives of my children as well, giving sacrificially of her time and resources to nurture and love them.
Yet, I know that everyone reading this today may not have children or did not have a loving mother in their life. I wonder as I rock and sing to this sweet baby, could we turn the disappointments and longings of our lives into blessings for others. If you struggle with the approaching Mother’s Day, see if perhaps the Father might show you how to turn your sorrow and longing into blessing for another.
- PRAY - intentionally pray for your children or others about their godly character and future.
- Offer to help out a young mother by babysitting for an afternoon or a night out.
- Cook a meal for a new mom to help share the load of juggling a new baby.
- Offer to pick up some groceries for a mom or bring over a sweet bouquet of fresh flowers.
- Put together a little “lovey” gift of bubble bath, tea, a scented candle to encourage a new mom to take a little time for herself. You could even offer to watch the children while she indulges in a soak!
- Plant a little garden with a child or set up a special tea party.
- Seek to walk in forgiveness and love. Offer grace.
- Speak words of affirmation and encouragement.
- Offer to do a few loads of laundry for a weary mom - the list of needs is endless.
- Use your imagination and do something that reflects your heart.
- Do something special for your mom!
I pray that she will grow up to live a life devoted to Jesus as her Savior and have a deep love for His Word.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths
of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand--
when I awake, I am still with you.
The Father has woven you together by the work of His masterful hands. “From the womb God’s hand is on you.”
Soak in the beauty of that thought for a moment and take in the wonder of it for your own life......
created my inmost being…..knit together…..fearfully and wonderfully made....in the secret place....
all the days ordained for me…
God has a unique vision and plan for us all to be complete and whole in the love and transforming work of Christ
as our Savior. Our role is to surrender to His work within us that He might complete the Masterpiece He designed.
You were created for a specific purpose and no one else can fulfill it.
I have one more week with these precious ones, these masterpieces of our Creator God. Then I will have to take the long eleven hour drive home. But the memories, the heritage, the love and the hope will linger in my heart until we see each other again. I know and trust that He is the master Artist and has a unique and beautiful design for each of my children and grand children. One of His beautiful purposes in my life has been the blessed journey of being a mother and grandmother.
I am forever grateful for the treasures of motherhood!
With a full heart,
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Next Women's Retreat is
September 30, 2017
Solomon Episcopal Conference Center
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