Friday, October 24, 2008

Back Reflections: Amazing Moms

It’s been a long time since I wrote. I’ve been traveling a lot. But now I’m finally back home—and on my back! Due to a stubborn back problem, I’m spending a lot of time on my back these days. As impatient as I am about this, I’m finding that life flat on my back gives me a different perspective. It gives me a lot more time to think—and to pray!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow for much time at the computer. But I still want to stay in touch with any of you gracious enough to check out my blog. So I’m thinking of starting a series of shorter blog entries called “Back Reflections.” I have no idea whether I’ll really be able to make this a series. But for starters, here’s what I’ve been thinking about today.

Amazing Moms

In the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of visiting Mom To Mom groups in six states: Wisconsin, Mississippi, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Every one of these visits has been sheer joy.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, while in Mississippi I learned about “happies.”

In Michigan, I learned they had “happies” as well (chocolate!), but just hadn’t known what to call them until they read about the Mississippi moms. I also got to witness the great growth of the East Lansing group. I think they’ve doubled in their second year! Both of these groups were delighted with local newspaper articles that reported about their Mom To Mom programs.

In Texas, I was deeply moved by the moms with special needs kids. They have their own small group at their Mom To Mom. I had a ball doing a Q&A session with Georgia moms—what fantastic questions they asked!

And in Massachusetts I got to meet all kinds of new-to-Mom To Mom moms, as well as several who’ve been in Mom To Mom for more than eight years!

But it all comes down to the faces—and the stories. And as I lay on my back this morning praying for Mom To Mom groups all over the country, I was struck with how many amazing moms I know. They ask great questions. They have great stories. And they have great perseverance in the face of overwhelming circumstances—as do the moms living everyday ordinary mom-lives. Great courage.

As I pray, I see their faces and hear their stories: The mom of a special needs daughter, now 12, who doctors thought would never live past the age of one. The mom whose daughter is struggling with school, while meanwhile, her husband has been out of work for over a year. The mom who asked, “Do you ever wonder when the rewards come?” The mom who told me how prayer calmed her special needs baby when nothing else would. And, even closer to home, my own daughter-in-law, lying on the couch weak and sick in her first-trimester pregnancy, but still amazing me at the good mother she is to my three-year-old grandson.

Amazing moms. And I know they represent all of you out there. So I’m praying for all of you.

It’s one of the “fringe benefits” of life on my back!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Random Thoughts on Mums, Moms, and Watering our Roots

Any of you who know much about me know that I am not a gardener.

But I do love flowers—those that other people plant and tend and care for. And I love Fall. I love pumpkins and colorful gourds and brilliant mums. Especially mums.

Our local supermarket has the most gorgeous chrysanthemums displayed in huge pots just waiting to be brought home and placed in the big stone urns in the front of my house. They’re absolutely spectacular—explosions of red and gold and bronze, colors that would look fantastic in our front yard.

But here’s the hitch: They have to be watered. Even non-gardener that I am, I do realize plants have to be watered. But I was hoping maybe mums didn’t need to be watered very often. I was hoping this because I am just about to begin a stretch of intense travel during which I will be home only 3 or 4 days in the next three weeks. That would leave Woody to water the mums.

Which will not happen.

Please understand: I am not blaming him for this. I am just observing the stresses of his daily schedule and not wanting to put anything more on him. I am also being realistic about past experiences.

So that’s why I asked the girl watering the chrysanthemums outside my supermarket yesterday how often they need to be watered. I was hoping she would say, “Oh, you know it’s funny. mums just don’t seem to need much water. They almost seem to thrive on neglect. They stay brilliant and happy whether they’re cared for or not.”

But that’s not what she said. You probably guessed that, many of you being gardeners yourselves. “Oh, they need water frequently,” she said. “Probably at least every other day.”

Rats! (as Linus would say) No mums for me this year, I guess.

I walked away thinking about how much mums and relationships are alike. They both need regular tending. Husbands do. Children do. Moms do. Maybe especially moms. Which is why our goal at Mom To Mom is helping you to keep your roots watered by the refreshing streams from God’s Word that can flow into our real everyday lives through prayer.

And if your roots are watered, you’ll be much better at keeping those relational roots watered in your own home.

As I walked away from those beautiful mums yesterday, I prayed two prayers. First: “Lord, please let my words water the roots of moms through Your Word everywhere I go. With every word spoken or written. In listening as well as speaking. In word and in deed. Young moms and older moms—we all need watering!”

And there was another prayer: “Lord don’t let me forget—even in this busy upcoming time of travel—how much my own roots need constant watering through your Word and prayer. And help me keep the roots of my own relationships watered. With Woody especially, as I’ll be away a lot over the next few weeks. And with my precious kids and grandkids, even though my ‘watering’ has to be via email and phone more often than in person. I want to live—as well as teach about—a well-watered life.”

So, if you’re lucky enough to have beautiful mums gracing your yard, don’t forget to water them. But more importantly, remember that husbands and children—and you, yourself, Mom!—need watering even more often.

A well-watered mum—or mom—is so much more fun to have around the house!