“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.
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.
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.
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”