A migraine had been trying to set up residence since early last evening and was threatening to keep me home from church, but perhaps going to a place that's saturated with prayer would help. Besides, where better to be on a special, bittersweet day than church?
We have a prayer meeting before the service each week and for me, this time is the best part of church. I was late because I stopped to help a young woman struggling to walk with with four enormous loads of laundry so prayer was already happening when I walked through the door. The first words I heard were, "the mothers who mourn." Perfect timing! All were silent as I found a place to sit and then Nathan continued his prayer, praying specifically for me. Ken came, laid his hand on my shoulder and continued the prayer after the Nathan was done. What a blessed way to start church!
As I walked out to mingle with those arriving for the service, I was given many hugs. To be loved is such a sweet, sweet gift. Jessie chose to sit with me and when Nathan led us in prayer for all the moms present and represented there, she laid her hand on me and prayed for me. Bonnie said that many others had their hands stretched out towards me as they prayed for me from their seats. What a gift! Jessie, thank you for sitting with me. Thank you to all who prayed.
The service was beautiful, with nine babies being dedicated to God, each one surrounded by parents, siblings and whomever of their extended family could attend, followed by four women who shared their understanding of God's maternal characteristics. It began to be personal for me as the worship band came back to sing and play for prayer ministry time:
You are so good to meYes! God, my Father in heaven is immensely good to me and who but him can heal a broken heart? What a blessing it is to belong to him!
You heal my broken heart
You are my Father in heaven
While we were still singing that last song, Christina, a young woman friend, came and handed me a small box. Inside was a little keepsake box from the Willow Tree line with a mother and baby carved on the outside. Along with the gift, Christina gave me several long hugs, not wanting to let go. How blessed is that?
Michael came, sat beside me, put his arm around me and blessed me. I don't know Michael very well, we've only spoken a couple of times but he often comes to the pre-service prayer meeting and operates the sound system at church. He was the one who took care of sound at Mikael's funeral so I guess that's our connection. Guys aren't always so good at this sort of thing and I usually have low expectations of men so this was an incredible blessing.
And then there was Raymond--Raymond with the long, tangled hair, roughly-shaven beard, stocking hat perpetually on his head and diction that makes him difficult to understand. He lives in the church neighbourhood and has kind of "adopted" me. He came and sat beside me, just to chat.
and chat. So sweet.
Back home, my mom came by to give me flowers for Mother's Day! It's supposed to be the other way around (but I did have a gift ready for her). While she was here, my family gave me other gifts: a Willow Tree figurine of a mother holding a young son from Tom and a whole horde of high-end chocolate from Mons. I can maybe have a piece or two in the morning if I get up really early, but not every day or it will keep me awake at night, so I think I now have enough for several months. Yay! Oh, and the Mother's Day card Tom and the boys gave me was absolutely perfect--a pop-up, 3-D card of waterlilies and dragonflies! So beautiful! Here's what they wrote.
You are the best Mom in the world. When the boys were growing up, you virtually raised them up by yourself. See how each of them turned out? I thank you and God bless. Love, Tom
Mom, you blessed me with life, love, joy, success and everything I am today (bad handwriting included*). You are the best and only mother I could hope for and I will never forget your hard work, love and dedication in raising us boys. Love you, Mom--your son Mons.
I have a bunch of words that describe for me what you mean to me. They may seem generic, but each one comes from a specific memory of you; there isn't much room! Great advice, loving, supportive, encouraging, attentive. You're the kind of parent that I want to be one day. We should spend more time together. I love you lots! Erik
Konrad phoned from Vancouver.
I'm sitting here now, full of Olive Garden's minestrone soup, bread sticks, cheese ravioli and zeppoli. It's been a wonderful Mother's Day and I am so very blessed. Thank you, God!
p.s. The migraine was gone by the time church was over.
* I taught him GOOD handwriting