My morning prayers (and all-day prayers, really) are filled with mamas today. That’s not unusual. Many, many mamas are on my prayer list regularly—both close personal friends and Mom to Mom groups around the country.
But today my heart is especially heavy with recent conversations. My memory is filled with God-moments from last weekend at the wonderful Hearts at Home Northeast Convention in Rochester, Minnesota. Later this week I spent a few precious hours around a warm, cozy table on a gloomy November afternoon with mom-friends sharing deeply from their hearts. And then there have been texts and phone calls and emails from near and far.
The stories swirl around my mind and fill my heart. Young mamas struggle with multiple miscarriages, contested adoptions, tiny babies fighting mightily in NICU’s, and post-partum depression. A 7-year-old is pushing a mama to the edge, and a 17-year-old makes one mother of 6 say to me, “If I’d had a 17-year-old first, I’d have had only one child!”
Mamas of young adult children are on their knees everywhere. A daughter makes one terrible choice after another to pursue what looks like the life of her dreams but what may very well turn out to be a nightmare. Another runs from God down “the labyrinthine paths of her own mind” (to borrow from Francis Thompson’s poem “The Hound of Heaven”). How long will it take them to come to their senses? Another fights the constant specter of past drug addiction, while a son battles alcoholism. Are they really “clean” and sober now? Sons and daughters move home as marriages fall apart. Why is this happening to so many marriages?
I think of these stories and pray for these mamas and their children, no matter what age they are. As I pray, God brings to mind words of encouragement. Words from somewhat random sources. Words which strengthen me as I pray and which I hope will encourage my friends—and every one of you who may need “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” (as the great old hymn puts it):
- From an old prayer quoted in the September 12 reading from Streams in the Desert: “O Lord, support us! Yes, support us on every leaning side.”
- From Psalm 94:18-19: “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”
- From a Facebook posting my daughter tells me comes from Ann Voskamp’s wonderful blog: “One foot in front of the other and one murmured thanks after another and underneath the Everlasting Arms will hold.”
I pray for every one of my mama-friends with leaning sides and slipping feet—including me! And I wonder how it is that Sarah Young, in her amazing devotional Jesus Calling, always seems to make God’s Words speak directly into my life. Just in case these words from her November 9 entry might describe you as they did me:
“. . . some fears surface over and over again, especially fear of the future. You tend to project yourself into the next day, week, month, year, decade; and you visualize yourself coping badly in those times. What you are seeing is a false image, because it doesn’t include Me. These gloomy times that you imagine will not come to pass, since my Presence will be with you at all times. When a future-oriented worry assails you, capture it and disarm it by suffusing the Light of My Presence into that mental image. Say to yourself, “Jesus will be with me there and then. With His help, I can cope!” Then come home to the present moment, where you can enjoy peace in My Presence.” ( Jesus Calling, p. 328)
My prayer for all of us, sisters of the leaning sides and slipping feet.