Still a Stick that Won’t Be Broken
“My mom is like a stick that can’t break,” wrote my 4th son 5 years ago in a collection of Mother’s Day poems.
This poem became the cornerstone of my first blog post – May 21, 2009 – and Blue Cotton Memory Launched. A month later, my oldest son married, a month after that we moved away – and God took us on a journey that eventually brought us back to this town that had been our home for 20 years.
Blue Cotton Memory started out as a place to tell all these stories I wanted to set down for my boys. It became a place where the Father and I met, where I learned to look for Him everywhere, where He helped me live faith and hope in the challenges that were to come.
“When I fail you tell me
to get right back up and try again”
Looking back, it looks like I enrolled in classes where He apprenticed me, mentoring me in unconditional love, the power of just standing, the journey of a prayer, joy-catching, how forgiveness stops telling the stories, that love needs reminding – and that no matter how much parenting can hurt – I need to get right back up off the floor of my crying place – and keep right on loving – ’cause love is a choice.
“I know you are a perfect singer”
This past five years – my boys have grown – the youngest is 13 now. “Sing, mama, Sing” has been replaced with the realization that mama is not a perfect singer. The bed-time chronicles have reached The End – some of the boys to men have recovered from the realization that mom and dad aren’t perfect – some haven’t overcome their disappointment. It makes me miss the days when they thought I was a perfect singer.
“When I’m away I know you’re thinking about me”
How I would have loved to know what was going through this son’s mind when he thought that – a mother’s children – no matter how old are never far from their thoughts – and thoughts are so much more productive when turned to prayer.
” Not just Birthday Prayers or Prayers for my daughter-in-law,
prayers while I’m driving, doing the dishes, or watching them play a sport,
thank you prayers, help prayers,
prayers when we’ve all reached the end of ourselves,
forgiveness prayers, mercy prayers, protection prayers, hope prayers
desperation prayers, healing prayers, thanksgiving prayers,
humbling prayers, seeking prayers,
prayers that knock down walls
prayers that love
when all else fails
I may not pray well, but that is what is so stunning about the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit takes my inadequate words, looks into my heart,
and translates the power of that love
into something that has the ability to cling to my sons for a lifetime ” (The Greatest Mother-Gift of All)
“Impossible to break,” he wrote
With Him, I cannot be broken. As I started counting 1,000 gifts with Ann Voskamp – I discovered the love letters He sends me daily, I found Him waiting to join me in walks – times I have felt Him slip His arm through mine on those walks, seen reminders in nature repeated over and over of Him reminding me that things like butterfly bushes and hydrangea might look dead – but there is life – to just have faith – to wait – and that it is in the waiting of a prayer sent out that the real important living happens. Writing has encouraged greater awareness of Him everywhere. That growing awareness deepened my relationship with Him. On my own, just me – I am only too breakable. With Him, I am unbreakable.
That my son thought I was that strong still leaves me in quiet awe.
My heart is a house that hope built. God answers prayers. God saves. These last 5 years overflow with evidence of God’s faithfulness. I have had to learn to live fully in the wait. I have welcomed prayers sent out returning home – in 5 minutes, 3 years – 15 years. I have seen prayers, like butterflies – fly through my kitchen door – passing each other coming and going. I have rejoiced one minute and cried in heartbreak just 30 seconds later. Motherhood – or at least, my motherhood has been like that.
“Hope standing on the shoulder’s of faith walking . . .
My heart leaps in expectation
of His Great love (The Story of the 3 Graces)
Not only has Blue Cotton Memory allowed me a deeper walk with Him – but, all those times I prayed that God would send laborers across my loved ones’ path – well – sometimes when you pray for others – the blessings of that prayer falls on you. That happened to me in this blogahood. So many women prayed for me in the midst of my challenges, allowed me to take off my mask, to reveal my imperfections – and encourage me, love me – spoke (wrote) hope over me when there was no evidence of that hope – but faith is like that. I have discovered a sisterhood in the family of Christ that has given me insight into what it really means to be a part God’s family.
5 years later – I remain, “a stick that will not be broken”
Love your posts … so encouraging and honest. God bless.
Liana – thank you for coming by and leaving your own encouragement! Wishing you God’s refreshing this week!
Blessings and much love to you my friend.
Thanks for coming by Denise! Praying a heart full of joy-catching moments this week for you!
What a beautiful reflection. I eyes misted over as I read – I only began my motherhood journey in 2011 but I think it is wonderful that you can look back and see God’s hand in everything – steadying you during hard times and thrilling you with joy over His many blessings. Our God is so faithful – wish I could shout it from the rooftops! I think the power of testimony is so important – no matter how ordinary our lives seem, in the hands of our God it is able to uplift and soften other hearts to draw closer to Him and help those who need a boost.
I like how you say, “steadying you during the hard times and thrilling you with joy” – I’ll shout with you on that rooftop! Our God is a steadying, thrilling God who never let’s go – and He’s got the plan! Welcome to this motherhood journey – you will become more than you every imagined!
Thankyou for your encouragement xo. I am so hard on myself when I evaluate my parenting, but then I see my son thriving and singing at every opportunity and I know it’s going well :). Being a mum is so motivating because it makes me want to try new outings and experiences for my son’s sake. Did you find the same when your kids were little? It’s fun planning things for them isn’t it :).
I tried things I never imagined – science museums, art projects, net-working for socialization. Luckily, God let’s us grow into motherhood, one year at a time. My oldest son tells me I’ve been too easy on the others – He tells the others he was the guinea pig. I just roll my eyes and laugh that I learned that I learned more appropriate expectations for the others through him. One example – no – 2 year olds cannot make their own beds by themselves. Nothing is wasted in motherhood because everything teaches us something! I learned that boys have the best humor -there is nothing more entertaining that the boys in a humor groove – like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby! 🙂
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, reading of God’s faithfulness in your life these last years. Oh He is so good!
Thank you, Barbie – I learned He’s holding onto me with a much tighter grip in case mine starts slipping! He is always good – even in the midst of a storm, every day!
ever strong, pliable in His hands, you are, will be…
beautiful, encouraging prayer you left me – thank you!
Your listing of kinds of prayers especially touches my heart today… God truly does want us to acknowledge his presence in and care for every moment of our – and our children’s – lives. Beautiful post!
The older I get, the more I see His presence in everything – and the more I tell my boys about it – probably much to their dismay – yet the more my boys grow the more kinds of prayers I need! I am so glad you came by!
How beautiful is this reflection on your blog history. So many times you have encouraged me with your words. I know you will continue to use your words for God’s Glory.
Thank you, Pamela. You warm my heart – that my stories encourage. Yours encourage me right back – sisters in Christ lifting each other up!
Beautiful post. I am a mom of twin boys who just turned 18 and so I could so relate. Thanks for blessing my day.
WOW – I’m doing one 18 year old at a time -x5 – and I like how that’s spaced out – no double teaming. I just go cross-eyed at the possibilities for hijinks of 2 seniors at one time- you are a mom-star!
This is so beautiful. I love the things little children say. I am blessed because my boys grew up and accepted imperfect me. But not without tears or heartache. Praying for you to find courage to face each minute, to keep waiting, to have hope.
Thank you, Micey – I remain doggedly, determinedly, faithfully hopeful! Except for those moments I’m not – LOL – but they don’t last too long before I’m back to being dogged and determined! Loved despite our imperfections is the most beautiful kind of love of all!
Love how your son described you and how that still shapes your life. Parenting is so challenging….your openness and honesty are a blessing to all of us who visit your cyber home.
Thank you Renee – I hold those sweet words my son gave me close – and try to live up to them. Parenting is challenging. I think it is the sweetness of their littleness – their hearts just pouring our such pure love that sustains us/me in the challenging-teen years. So glad you came by to visit me in my cyber home:)
Thank you for tracing your history … these kind of recollections fill us deep with gratitude. And expectancy!
Oh, this is the sweetest post. I’ve traversed many of those same waters with my own boys and reading your memories makes me a little wistful. Happy belated anniversary. Your words always give my a sweet sabbath moment.
You have such a beautiful way with words. You say things my heart thinks but my mouth can’t articulate! I love the history behind BCM and some of your journey with the boys, God, life – I am so honored to have e-met you because you inspire me so much!!
I happened to come by your blog when looking at Andrew’s website for FMF. I love your transparency, your words that weave true stories into magic. It’s beautiful.
I’m #48 in FMF this week (if you are there too?)
Thank you, Miccah! I’m so glad you stopped by! No – I’m not at FMF this week! I need to head there, soon, though!
I love the walk down memory lane! Congratulations on ten years of blogging. I think I’ll hit that mark in October. My first blog post was about a sparrow. May God continue to lead and guide you as you write, work, and parent!
Congratulations on your upcoming decade celebration! What an encouraging voice you are in the blogging community! I receive your prayer for God’s continued guidance and leading, my friend! ~ Maryleigh
Kids and what they think at early ages are amazing. What an awesome gift to you to always remember and cherish. Beautiful