Friday, October 25, 2019

A Rough Day

When my son was small, after a series of ow-ies and mishaps I would say to him, “Oh, are you having a rough day?” As time went on, when things went awry for him, he’d come find me, look up with his sad eyes, and tell me, “Mom, I’m having a rough day.” I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes just remembering the way those words made my heart feel like one of those luscious chocolate molten cakes you get at fancy restaurants. Love oozing out of a soft spongy heart.

I recently read Miracles and Other Reasonable Things by Sarah Bessey.* A passage on page 171 (hardcover, Howard Books, c. 2019), says:

Whenever my children have a fall or catch a cold, I often bundle them up into my arms and say, “Oh, you poor wee lamb.” It was a joke at first--I did it with my big kids when I thought they needed an overexcess of sympathy. I always said it with a thick Scottish accent and grandiose affection, so they would laugh and cheer up. But by the time our youngest was born, it had evolved into a tender phrase (still in a terrible Scottish accent) whispered over them in times of pain or grief...I saw how they melted and exhaled when I said, “poor wee lamb,” in recognition of their suffering, how they leaned in to receive my soft warmth before they could rise again.

One day, when she was only two, Maggie fell and scraped her knee quite badly...When I saw her…, she turned to me, bottom lip quivering, and lifting up her pudgy arms, she said, “Mummy, please call me a poor wee lamb.” There was something about the tender acknowledgement of her pain that she was craving. And in the same way, I feel God as that mother-shepherd whispering acknowledgement of the pain just as well as the path to life.

God loves us and cares for us as a mother would. On the page before the above passage Bessey wrote, “I discovered God’s metaphor as a wise, capable, strong, patient, kind, no-nonsense, deeply loving mother.” I like that description. Although a mother’s heart can turn to mush, as mine did when my son told me he had a rough day, we also need to be strong and no-nonsense. My daughter once told me she felt almost scared as a child when I would give her medicine. I knew when I gave them medicine that the kids would not want it, but I also knew I could not “cave” and let my sympathy dictate my actions. So I was no-nonsense about it, using a firm voice to tell them to take the medicine. Of course, I did not mean to scare them, but I knew there needed to be “no argle-bargle” (another favorite family phrase) about it.

We usually think of God as our Father. My father was one of the most Christ-like persons I knew, and I find it very meaningful and personal to begin my prayers with “Our Father who art in heaven.” I also find it meaningful and personal to think of God as my mother--”Our Mother who art in heaven.” God, who like my mother, loves me in a nurturing, sympathetic, strong, I’ve-got-your-back kind of way. 

May you know the maternal love of God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

*Sarah Bessey also wrote one of my favorite books, Out of Sorts, Making Peace With an Evolving Faith. I recommend it highly!


What is this?? A while back, I had an idea. I was thinking of some friends I wanted to pray for, but I didn't have a specific thing to pray about on their behalf. I decided to pray that they would feel God's love. I decided to send them an email when I prayed, so they'd know and be encouraged. Then I thought about my many other family and friends who I would like to encourage with prayer, and decided to start this email.
    Two things I try to do:
-- Encourage you with a reminder of God's love. My goal is to avoid anything where the response is "I should..." Just a short reflection of God's love.
-- Pray for you. I'll pray with each email, and please reply to me with anything you'd specifically like me to pray for you. I'll keep it confidential, don't worry..
.     If you would like to be added to the email list or send me specific prayer requests. I will gladly add you and pray with you. Email me at mavis at I'll keep all communication confidential.

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