Mothers, Sisters, Aunties, Grannies, Friends

Before the arrival, or even the promise of Jesus’ imminent birth, Jesus’ Aunt, Elizabeth, was promised a son. We see from the text of Luke 1 that Elizabeth was a righteous women, of priestly descent. We also see that she was an older mother. She had been considered barren. During Elizabeth’s pregnancy, we are told that Elizabeth rejoiced that she had conceived, and went into seclusion for 5 months. At the same time, John’s father, Zechariah had been struck silent by the Lord, for his response to the Lord’s promise that he would have a son.

Meanwhile, Mary had a vision. The Angel Gabriel paid her a visit when Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant. Mary was a virgin, and engaged to be married. This means that Mary was likely in her early teens. Historically, at the time, women were married usually between the ages of 12-15 years old. Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she will become pregnant soon, and that this pregnancy will be a blessing. (As an unwed young woman, pregnancy could have been tragic!) But Gabriel told Mary that her child would be the King. According to Luke, Mary was confused, and communicated this to the Angel, who further explained that despite her virgin status, she would become pregnant, and in a way that ensured the purity of the child she would bear. Oh, and by the way, Mary, your relative Elizabeth is expecting!

Mary’s response: acceptance. And then a few days later, she traveled to visit Elizabeth. Elizabeth recognized Mary, and with the Holy Spirit’s and her unborn child’s leading, Elizabeth identifies Mary’s status as pregnant with the blessed child. Remember, Elizabeth was in her 6th month of pregnancy at this time, and Luke 1:56 says that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about 3 months. Mary, a very young (albeit mature) mother stayed with an older mother through the end of her pregnancy and likely the birth of John. What tremendous benefit Elizabeth’s guidance, and leading was to Mary! I am unsure if it was tradition for a pregnant woman to go and stay with another pregnant or recently post-natal family member, but I cannot help but observe the benefit of Mary witnessing the late stages of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, birth, and first moments or days of John’s life. Mary likely learned from Elizabeth how to know when it was time to give birth, and how to nurture a newborn child. This seems especially poignant, as Mary seems to have given birth to Jesus in relative isolation.

As a middle-aged mother of young children (meaning I am neither a young mom nor an older mom), I am aware that had I become a mother at a younger age (let alone as a teenager!), I would have likely struggled much more with the necessary giving and unselfishness required to be a good enough mother. I find that older mothers tend towards greater generosity and patience with their children. I am blessed to have in my life, a number of grandmothers, aunties, mothers, sister-in-law, and friends who have walked this road before me, and can guide me on the way. I am so thankful for these relationships.

I left a church several years ago that was, for the most part single-generational. This small community was filled with people who genuinely loved the Lord, and sought to bless those around them. They were and are doing good work! But in leaving, my family felt called into a larger church community that is decidedly multi-generational. I cannot express the joyful blessings I have experienced in mingling, learning from and doing community with others from varied backgrounds and generations.

May we all have diverse Mothers, Aunties, Sisters, Grannies, and friends from whom to learn how to live life fully, and in a way that honors out Lord, and His story.


When Their Hands Were Small: A Message To All Parents Of Prodigals

john pavlovitz

mom-baby-hands copy

So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  Luke 15:20

Our hands all tell a story.

They speak of our journey; of the days we’ve endured, and the work we’ve done, and the things we’ve touched, and the wounds we’ve collected.

Last night I was channel surfing and landed on a documentary TV series detailing the world of drug trafficking in America, and the law enforcement efforts to combat it.

The screen showed two young men barely out of high school, their faces and voices disguised, sitting in a squalid, dilapidated apartment. They lounged on a stained sheet-covered couch, talking about their booming empire, and the mountains of cash they were taking in. Their words ping-ponged wildly between detailed descriptions of their business operation, and the kind of…

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The Mysticism of Motherhood

She births and sends out a solid and substantial piece of self
Nurturing and watching it grow
She must release it in ever increasing increments until one day she sends out her beloved one
Vested full of her very life force
She does so
Sometimes haltingly
Sometimes with fears
Or tears
Or inexplicable joy and peace
Often a mix of all of these flow ever outward
But carrying the hope that this being
Infused with her essence
Will circle back to her in love.

About this poem: 

This poem was composed in a few moments of reverie… thought-play, if you will, as I waited in the lobby of a psychiatric hospital. I so wanted to use the word prana here, because it is so central to the idea that birthed the poem, but most of my readers are unfamiliar with that term. Prana is the life-force, the essence of life, what Christians would call the spirit.

Praying for the child(ren)

Good morning! It has been a long time since I have written. I have recently found my energies primarily directed into other creative endeavors. But I feel compelled at this time to share this in a do-able way.

Some time ago, I developed this prayer for praying over my child. I find it helpful when I am not sure what to pray. I share it with a caveat that I do not remember if I adapted this from some other source(s) (other than the Bible) and I am unsure at this point whom to credit… so here’s my compiled prayer for all those who pray for children specifically:

Prayer for _____________________
Scripture: Pray:
Acts 19:20 Father God, we ask and pray that your word would prevail over ____________
Isaiah 54:13 May he/she be raised with knowledge of you,
Proverbs 13:1 and grow to be the fruit of your knowledge and guidance.
Isaiah 54:13 May he/she experience great peace and composure.
Proverbs 2:6 Father, give me and grace, good counsel, and wisdom as we raise ____________.
1Peter 1:14-15 May he/she grow to submit to You, and not his sinful desires, being holy in his/her thoughts and actions.
1Peter 2:2 May he/she desire the good that You and we can offer, growing by it.
James 1:19 May he/she be anxious to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
Hebrews 13:5 May he/she be content with what he/she has, not longing for the things of this world.
Micah 6:8 May he/she act with justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with You, God.
Hebrews 13:5 May he/she share in love, and not forget or fail to do what is right.
2 Peter 3:18 May he/she grow in the grace and knowledge of you.
1 Thessalonians 4:1 May Your pleasure wash over him/her daily.
1 Peter 5:5 I ask that ____________ would learn to walk humbly with You and others, submitting him- or herself to You, Lord, and to his/her brothers and sisters in You.
1Peter 5:7 May he/she cast his/her cares upon you, Lord, for you care for him/her. May I be wise in my responses and able to respond to his/her fears, worries and concerns as you would, God.
James 1:22 May he/she be a doer of Your Word, and not a hearer only.
Philemon 1:6 May he/she demonstrate and share his/her faith and love for You in his/her every action.
2 Timothy 1:7, 9 Lord, let him/her not have a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a strong mind. May you sustain his/her boby, mind, and spirit, for you have made him/her, loved him/her, and called him/her holy, not according to his/her works, but according to your boundless, ceaseless love.
2 Timothy 4:18 Deliver him/her from evil, and preserve him.
1 John 2:5 May I keep Your Word, and as your love is being perfected in me, may ____________ also learn to walk in and keep your Word, like-wise being shaped by your love.
2 Timothy 2:22 May he/she follow after love, righteousness, faith, and peace.