A prayer for those with hurting hearts this Mother’s Day

I see you sister.

I hear the pain in your voice, I see the tears welling up in your eyes.

As we are approaching a holiday that celebrates mothers, your hearts are in mourning. There is darkness, rather than joy, in a day honoring mothers, and you are feeling the angst more as Sunday approaches.

Perhaps it is because you have lost your own mother, and the grief still sucker punches you in the middle of the night, no matter how long it has been since she has been gone. Or perhaps her health is failing, or Alzheimer’s is ravaging her mind, and you are already in the throes of sadness as you prepare for her future. I’m sorry, sweet sister, for that which you’ve lost.

Perhaps your mother never mothered you, and you grieve your lost childhood.  You weren’t able to be a child, to be free, filled with joy and delight, knowing you were loved, accepted, cared for, as all children should be. Perhaps you were abused, or ignored, or abandoned. I’m sorry, precious daughter, for the broken heart you’ve endured.

Perhaps you are grieving the loss of a child, one that made you a mother. A baby, not even carried to term. An infant, lost far too soon. A child, a teen, an adult. Our babies are always our babies, no matter their age, and every parent that outlives a child grieves deeply the loss. I’m sorry, momma, for what you have lived through, for the ache that your soul holds, for the part of you that will always be missing until you are reunited in heaven.

Perhaps you have never been a mother and it causes an ache in your heart, especially as we draw near to Mother’s Day. Every Hallmark commercial, every flower advertisement, crushes your broken heart just a bit more as you are reminded of that which you haven’t had. I’m sorry, dear one, for your empty arms that bring you pain.

For whatever the reason, if this is a holiday that hurts your heart and causes you distress, I am sorry. Sorry for your hurt, for your pain, for the ache and the sadness and the despair you may feel.

 

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My prayer for you in these days to come is that you feel loved and supported. I pray for grace and mercy to surround you; that those friends and family around you would be able to give you comfort, hold your hand, wipe away your tears. I pray that the good, gentle arms of the Father would hold you and that you would be able to lean into His embrace. I pray that you would find community that knows your pain, understands your grief, and can sit with you in your sadness. There is beauty in being understood, in being seen, and there is freedom found in sharing your burdens. I pray that you find trustworthy people who can help hold your grief, and that their love buoys you in the deepest, darkest places.

You are not alone, dear one.

You are never alone, and may you always find hope in the truth that you are loved abundantly by your Heavenly Father.

 

A new year, a new goal

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 image from Wikimedia Commons

Well, here we are.

Seven days, just one week, into the new year, and resolutions have already been broken. Busted. Thrown out the window.

Exercise more? Well, I wrote up a plan for exercise. Does that count?

Lose weight? Okay, I did start my second round of Whole30, and haven’t cheated yet, so hopefully that will happen.

Pray more? Um, failed.

Read the Bible daily?  So, yeah, maybe I need to adjust that goal to once a week and then, HEY! I’ve done it!

Part of my problem with resolutions has been that they are not specific. More? More than what? Once a week? Once a month? Once a year?

They are also very me-centered.  I thought about what I wanted, what I think I need, and what I need to do.  I didn’t ask for guidance from God, and I decided on my “wish-list” of goals.

And that, my friends, is where I went wrong.

There is nothing inherently wrong with setting resolutions, with putting goals out there. It is a good thing to make plans in order to succeed in things of this world. If I hadn’t followed a very specific plan of training, I never would have been able to complete a marathon. Without a plan, I never would have been able to read the Bible completely in one year.

But, let me tell you, when I did those things, I prayed about them. Hard. I prayed for strength, for endurance, for a will that was not my own in order to complete the task and accomplish the feat.

The dear husband, who is in his first year of shepherding a small church, challenged our congregation last Sunday to set apart time to meet with God and ask Him about our new year, to seek God’s guidance and will for our lives. To ask God to bless our plans, or show us new ones, if ours did not line up with His.

And so, I did that. No, not immediately that Sunday afternoon.  And not in one time of quiet and rest. No, my time with God was a bit messy, and broken into different times, some at home, some at work. (This is where it is a blessing to be a massage therapist. Unless I have a chatty client, there is peace and quiet….and it is fabulous!)

I listened. I waited.

And I heard. 

No, not a deep voice, calling from the heavens. No, God didn’t sound like Morgan Freeman. (Well, maybe He does. Mr. Freeman does have. quite. the. voice.)   Instead, a deep impression into my soul, a firm desire implanted, a peace that overcame me.  There was clarity given to me for the journey.

It was also…challenging. Because I was asked to step out, even further, in faith. To risk. To share.  And that desire that was felt, deep in my bones? I know it wasn’t of me, because it was for things that I don’t feel equipped for, or talented in, or capable of.  The stirring of my heart to speak to groups, to preach, to teach….yep, totally out of my comfort zone and wheelhouse.

Dear husband and I have talked about creating a way to teach others what we were taught of healing prayer. We see a deep need for healing in this place.  We are surrounded by the walking wounded, broken by the world, hurt by others, by their community, by their families, by their own choices in life. Both of us want to help equip others to pray, to love, and to lead the hurting to Jesus, to lay their burdens down and take up His yoke. We have felt confirmation of this desire, and I know the nudging I feel is from God.  I still don’t know what it will look like, how it will shape up, but I know that this comes not just from our own desiring.

I also know that God is stirring me to write more.

My goal for this year is to write a blog post once per week. 52 posts.

It sounds impossible to me. After all, the total I’ve published is 46, and that is in the course of 2 1/2 years.  (It is so nice that WordPress keeps all those stats for me, isn’t it?)

In order to meet this, I am going to have to lay aside my fears, my insecurities, my perfectionist tendencies.  They may not all be polished and pretty. They may even have a few spelling or grammar errors (gasp!).  But they will be prayed over, and prayerfully given, with a hope that someone is given hope, shown mercy, met Jesus, through each and every one.

My intention is to really dive into what healing is, and what it means for us in today’s world.  There will be scripture, there will be stories of my own journey, and there will be questions….and probably few answers. I can’t say that every single post will be deep, theological, or wonderful, but I can say that it will be authentic.

So, will you journey with me over the next 52 weeks? Will those who know me hold me accountable to this?

Will you too ask God’s guidance for your plans and goals for 2016 and see where He takes you?

Living in my calling

As our move back to the northern homeland begins to loom larger in the forefront of our minds, it is natural for those around us to be curious what I will do while my sweet husband begins to work in ministry.  I have been asked quite a bit lately about what I want to do when we move back to Minnesota.

When I think about what my dreams are, I have never hesitated to let people know my plans to return to working in the field of massage therapy. Yes, I am out of practice. Yes, my hands are weak now, since I rarely give massages, and never more than one in a day. Yes, I need to review my anatomy and kinesiology books to brush up on technical terms, along with the insertion and origin of muscles. Yes, I have no idea where we will be living, or what type of environment we will be in, or whether or not massage therapy will be an accepted practice in the town we go to.

But yes, that is my calling.

And I plan on living in my calling, and utilizing my gifts, even if it isn’t profitable, or accepted, or, well…whatever.

I am passionate about the work that I do in the field of massage. It is not just about helping someone to relax, or to work out a few kinks in their muscles.

No, it is so much more.

It is a healing art.  It is beautiful work, and it stirs me to the depth of my soul.  I ache to provide a safe space, free of judgement, free of condemnation.  I pray that it is a space where a person’s condemnation and judgement on their own body can cease, at least for a time.  A place where every person’s body is accepted, where they can attune their mind with their body, where they can connect the physical to the emotional and the spiritual.

We live in a world of disconnect. We are taught from a young age to control our emotions, to hold our tongue, that there are acceptable times and places to emote, to speak, to be honest, and to be vulnerable. We are taught to “manage” our feelings…and what we essentially do is stuff them down, cover them up, and disengage with them.

But our bodies know the truth.

Our bodies hold memories, hold emotion, hold truth. When we do not release these, our bodies can suffer. It can cause us illness or pain.  Emotions not expressed can result in our physical bodies breaking down.  The more research that is done on the mind-body connection, the more we understand how our emotional health manifests in our physical health.  It is beautiful, really, how we have been designed and created to integrate our bodies with our spirits, and how they reflect one another.

I love the human body. I believe that we are a miracle, a beautiful work of art.  The way the muscles curve and bend, the way the skin highlights every angle, the loveliness of the fingers, the length of the limbs.  We are intricate creations, made in the image of God, and we are beautiful and unique. This is probably why I loved life drawing class in college. The body amazes me now, and it amazed me then.

We are created to crave touch, to connect through touch. There is so much research on the benefit of touch therapy, beginning in infancy and extending through the adult years of our lives. Babies thrive when given touch, in weight gain and physical development. Seniors suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s have less behavioral and wandering issues when given regular massage. Those of us in the middle years of our lives have better general health when touch therapy is utilized. It is beautiful how we are created to flourish through healthy touch, in every decade of our lives. And it is wonderful that there is now research being done to help confirm this fact.

And the work that I love? This work that is my calling, the work of massage therapy that doesn’t feel like work?

I am blessed to know what my calling is. I am blessed to help connect the disconnected, to use the power of touch to center and ground another.  I am blessed to use touch to help heal the wounded, give connection, and to be able to use the gifts that I have been given .  I am excited to return to this field that I love, in this new season of my life.  I have an even greater appreciation of these beautiful creatures that we are, and the miracle of healing.

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