Sunday, May 13, 2012
Mothers Day is probably one of my least favorite days of the year, along with Fathers Day I have wished this day away for many years. And today was no different. In the past I have chosen to not attend church on Mothers Day. I can't handle hearing all the wonderful stories about all the wonderful ways people were raised by their almost impeccably perfect mothers (fathers). But today was different.
I wanted to go to church. I wanted to be in fellowship with other believers. I wanted/needed to hear a message from God's Word. The question was where do we go? Here in Branson many performers do a Sunday Gospel service at the different theaters. Didn't really want to go to a show. Just wanted to go to church. Two weeks ago I attended a ladies fellowship at Friendly Baptist Church (yes that is really the name of the church) on Saturday. Then the following Sunday afternoon I got an email from a gal I met on Facebook who lives here in Branson (the same gal that invited me to the ladies fellowship) that being the 5th Sunday their church had a special music night and she wanted us to know in case we wanted to come. So we did. And in leaving church that Sunday night, after a great time of singing and worshiping the Lord, I saw a bulletin from that morning. I picked it up and brought it home. In reading it I saw that today, Mother's Day, was going to be a Celebration Sunday. It was the 5th Anniversary of them being in their new church building. I thought then, maybe we could do that because the focus wouldn't just be on moms.
We were going to visit their last Sunday but that didn't happen due to the changing of management here at Branson View Campground. We ended up just going out for a late breakfast before taking on this new journey of managers here.
So this morning I was up early and was reading emails. And one was a devotional email I just recently started getting. And it was titled Mother's Day. Of course. And the first paragraph started out about "good momma's" but the second paragraph grabbed my attention. "Others struggle when Mother’s Day arrives. For whatever reason, your mother may not have been, and still may not be, a good, healthy, spiritual role model. Your heart weeps as you continue to cling to sullen memories, anger, and bitterness. This wounded condition is actually robbing you from additional blessings God desires to bestow upon you. He wants you to enjoy life abundantly more than you could ever hope or imagine. Forgiveness is a vital key to unlocking more joy and blessings of the Lord into your life."
And then it got me thinking. A lot. I have (thought I had) forgiven both of my parents and even my step-father for the abuse I suffered at their hands. And I thought I had moved on. But the line underlined in the above paragraph really jumped out at me. I am missing out on blessings today because of the continued hurt/unforgiveness that I must be harboring inside my heart. And as I continued reading this mornings devotion that there was still hurt and unforgiveness in my heart that I needed to let go of. I prayed for awhile and then it was time to get ready for church. I was feeling a little nervous, wondering what else God would have in store for me today. Letting go of past hurts is not easy but I knew inside that more of the hurts (picture an onion being peeled) had been stripped from my heart.
We walked in the door of Friendly Baptist Church and was greeted with a big hug from one of the men greeters (reminded me of our sweet friend Gerald and his great big bear hugs that I have been missing a lot lately) and then another two more people introduced themselves and gave me another hug. Feeling a little like home (Northwood Alliance Church) and so missed in our lives over the past 14 months it was very refreshing. And then we went in and sat down. Now, most people know I like to sit right up front, Ron likes to sit more toward the back. Ron was in front and we ended up about 5 rows from the back. It was okay because of the shape of the sanctuary I could still see the whole stage and most of the congregation. As soon as we sat down the couple in front turned around and introduced themselves (this same couple, right after church asked if we were staying for lunch ~ I thought "of course, free food ~ you never turn down a free meal.") And then another couple people came and introduced themselves to us. And Virginia, my friend from Facebook was sitting across from me waved and smiled. It felt good to be in the house of the Lord.
The music was wonderful. Was amazed at how many guitars & fiddlers were up there. Even a little guy that looked to be about 9 or 10 was playing a mandolin. So beautiful to be ministered to by some great musicians. We sang hymns and a chorus. Just like we like - a nice balance of the oldies and new ones. And scripture reading straight from the Bible. We attended one church in Hondo, that there was none, none read nor any used in the sermon. We like to hear scripture being read! And special music...two solo's and a duet. It was wonderful. And then came the time I dread "when they honor the mothers." Ron reached over and held my hand (he knows this is a difficult time for me). But the pastor was wonderful. First he asked for all the children to come to the front of the sanctuary. He said we all have had mothers. Some of us were raised by godly women, some not, some had a great upbringing and some were raised in difficult situations. He was speaking to me. And then he asked for all the great-great grandmothers to stand ~ there must have been 10+ standing. And then he asked for great grandmothers were asked to stand. Wow, at least another 25+ women stood up. And then he asked for all the grandmothers to stand up. I stood up ~ I am so thankful for the gift of grandchildren and am so truly blessed with the 4 grandchildren we have (and miss the two little ones that are now in arms of Jesus) ~ probably another 30 women stood up. And then he asked for all the moms out there and those who mother others to stand up (never heard that one before ~ don't many women who have no children of their own still mother others?) and probably 10 women stood up. And all the people in the congregation clapped for all those women who were standing.
The pastor then gave each of the children a stack of cards to deliver to all the women standing. As we were given our cards we were to sit down (so the kids would know who still needed a card). And then we opened our cards. Inside was a little card (like a bookmark) and the scripture on it read "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5...oh how many times that scripture was shared with me over the past 20+ years that I have been dealing with the abuse of my childhood. Once again, the Lord told me HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME. And he never has!!! And the message inside the card "May God bless you this May...when the flowers are in bloom, when the blossoms on the hillsides fill the air with sweet perfume, when all the birds are singing, when the sun shines bright above...At Mother's Day and always God bless you and those who love." What a sweet message ~ just asking God to bless me for me and for those who I love. I felt so loved in that moment. By God and by Ron as he held my hand tightly for quite a long time.
And after a couple of the special music selections it was time for the sermon. Still not feeling too comfortable - guess waiting for "the perfect mom stories" to come. But again, God is gracious and that was never shared from the pulpit. The sermon was titled "The Three Foundational Supports for a Successful Family." The scripture was again Philippians 1:9-12. And the most important Foundational Support is that we are to love intentionally. Boy did God speak to me. You see the word that I have focused on this year is "intentional." God knew that was the word I needed to be reminded of. Being intentional. Refocus on what is important for me this year, this month, this day (and we sang "This is the Day the Lord has Made"), and this moment is to be intentional in all I say and do. Being intentional in my relationships ~ relationships with God and with my family and friends, intentional of choosing to do the right thing, in all my actions. Being Intentional.
Thank you Lord for all the reminders today that how I am and what I do is important and that I need to be intentional in all I say and do.
And as the day continued on. I am so blessed! Phone calls from both of our sons and their families. Hearing from each of my grandchildren, except for Treyson who just wants to eat the phone, is a special blessing. Being totally focused on those phone calls and the conversations was so special. Visiting with new friends over lunch, being specifically invited back to church next Sunday, being loved and spoiled on by my most special blessing in this world ~ my hubby who loves me more and more each day ~ he tells me that often.
I have so enjoyed this day ~ this Mother's Day. I know that God healed more of the hurts from my past. That He blessed me with lots of love from so many people and places. And I know, Mother's Day & Father's Day will not hold me captive ever again! Thank you Lord for a beautiful day!!!
And as always, please share your thoughts, questions, comments with me. I love to hear from all my readers!!!