Friday, September 6, 2013

The prayers of a mom, pleading with God to have His grace collide with her child, matter.

I've been asked to speak at something called Mentoring Moms this coming week. Which, yes, we can all laugh about that right now.

I'm not one to think I have much wisdom when it comes to mothering. Being a divorced mom, I kind of feel like the tree in the forest that falls and isn't sure anyone is around to hear it.

Half of the time, my son is gone, so my mothering is curtailed 50% of the time, so I feel like I only get part time practice at it.

I've remained an amateur and never became pro like all my friends.

Or, so the voices inside my head want me to think.

But, that isn't really true...those voices are convincing me of a lie.

Being divorced and having to watch your child leave every other weekend creates an unhealthy world that you and your children have to learn to navigate.

On one hand, when Cade leaves for 4 days, I could worry and focus solely on him in his absence, but that would create a stalled world inside of that produces high anxiety and wants to become highly controlling. That mindset is riddled with pitfalls, bitterness and self-absorption.

But, if I lean too far the other direction of letting go, and creating an entirely separate life when he is not around, then that road is riddled with too many compartments and separations. I'd start pulling away from him and he'd be more of a visitor than a son.

God didn't intend on divorce for countless reasons, and one being that the affects and effects have tentacles like jellyfish. They seem to be immeasurable and seemingly invisible to many, but sting like hell and leave one afraid of the waters they wade in.

It's a world that requires redemption on a daily basis.

And as I navigate my world of being a single mom to a son, not having a mom of my own to bounce much off of nor a spouse to lean on, I find myself so often, walking and leading blindly in a world I myself am trying to figure out.

And even though I hate being (what I feel like to be) alone in the boat, it's forced my hand to lean further into God than I ever would have before.

It keeps me recognizing daily the gift of grace, the power of redemption, and my desperate need for God.

See, I'm an independent spirit who likes to know what she's doing. I don't like to be vulnerable...never have. My default defense mechanism is to shore up my walls in order that I don't leave myself in need of someone. Because if I'm in need, and they aren't there, or they leave, or they die, then I've set myself up for being broken, for being a sitting duck.

In my eyes, in my reality, the worst feeling I can have is a broken heart, so if I pad it, if I numb it, if I don't open it fully, then when the bomb drops, I don't feel the pain...or so I kid myself into believing.

Honestly, I often wonder if this will ever change. I'm 36, and even though it's gotten better through the years, this is still a problem for me.

To a certain extent I think God wired me a bit like this; meaning, my sensitivity and sympathy reflexes lend me to a point that carrying burdens is something I do. I see collateral damage and possibility for hurt everywhere, which makes me careful, observant, and thoughtful, but there are some serious shortcomings along with those traits.

One major shortcoming is that I get very caught up with doing things right the first time in order to avoid as many consequences as possible.

But, somehow, this plan of attack on life, has lent me to making some really bad decisions. I've come to realize that particular take on life can become very formulaic in order to attempt to avoid heartbreak. I get so concerned and afraid of the consequences, I don't allow for simple mistakes, for stepping back, for trying things out, for some human error, so I miss the beauty of living in the ocean of grace as one travels through some basic experiences in life.

Living out of fear leaves all that God intended for abundant living out of the equation.

I do believe this was exasperated when I was 9, when I found out that my mom was most likely going to die from cancer.

The one person I loved more than life, the one person I knew I couldn't live without was going to die.

My need to protect my heart went from a level 5 to level one million.

And even though I can look back on that and trace so many pits I've stumbled into because my heart has fought being broken since that day, it's also the moment I can trace back to seeing how much moms matter.

The day I found out my mom may not remain with me, shifted all that was within me.

And even though that's been a catalyst for some struggle in my life, it's also been what God has used to show Himself to be very real in my life.

So, moms, if you ever questioned your worth or whether or not you matter, let me assure you, you do.

You matter mom.

If you are a mom reading this, know, without question, You. MATTER.

And even if you die, you matter.

And even if your kids are gone 50% of the time, you matter.

If your kids are grown and gone, you matter.

If you're tired and alone and not sure if you can change one more diaper or wake up at 2 am another time, YOU MATTER.

My mom died over 5 years ago, and there's not a day I don't reflect on something she did for me.

And even though she did so much, I know the most valuable and significant thing she did for me and my life, was pray.

My mom was a pray-er.

Which, looking at my life, one might say, "Um, Shelly, you aren't exactly the poster child for the 'prayers of a mom are powerful' speech because you didn't make the greatest of choices in your personal life, you're now divorced, still single, constantly confused and your heart is closed and numb."

And, you know, for a long time (up until yesterday ;) ), I bought into that, wondered about that, yelled at God at how prayers obviously are a big fat waste of time.

But then, I can't deny the fact that I'm sitting here, in a Starbucks, on a Friday night, crying because I know, deep down that the reason I'm sitting here, contemplating God is because my mom prayed.

I know I wrestle with God because my mom told me over and over again that Jesus loves me.

I know that no matter how lonely I am, there's a God my mom clung to in her darkest hours, and I watched Him work through her.

I know that no matter what I face, Jesus will walk me through it, because I watched her talk to Him as He walked with her in her final hours.

You matter mom, because you are the one who introduces Jesus to your babies, to your daughters and sons, to your teenagers, and to your adult children who become your best friends.

They know Jesus because you interact with Him everyday.

They sit in their showers, crying their eyes out to God, begging Him to intervene in their marriage, because they watched you turn to Him for help, for guidance, and for mercy.

They know community matters and being a good friend is the greatest of callings and blessings, because they sat in an auditorium surrounded by 600 others celebrating your life after you were gone.

And even though my son is away from me more often than I wish, and though, if I let my heart break over that, it would break into a thousand pieces, I know my prayers are with him and impact him each and everyday, because for 36 years, my mom's prayers have impacted me.

Though vulnerability seems to be something I fight, I sit, weeping in a public place because the prayers of one mom have caused this mom to not be able to run from a God that pursues her and a Jesus that loves her, and no matter how much she fights it, there's something greater than her not allowing her to run from it.

I don't know what all I will say at Mentoring Moms, but this I do know...

the prayers of a mom, pleading with God to have His grace collide with her child, matter. 

They matter even if she's gone.

My prayer is that even though I don't always understand how prayer works, I wouldn't ever believe that it doesn't.

May I be a mom who prays...because my son will face struggles, and all my heart wants for him is to walk with, to rely on, to wrestle with, and to trust in the God that will get Him through them.

In Him,

PS - I really want my sign off to be "Kicking butt and taking names" one of these days... :)

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