Remembering the Forgotten Mothers

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This weekend, we celebrate Mother’s Day. I never look forward to it because few of mine have gone well.

Instead of whining about why my Mother’s Days aren’t fun, I’d rather help my readers notice the mothers who get sidelined or find it hard to enjoy this day.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
Psalm 68:5

As you remember your mother, wife, grandparents, or any other women in your life who answer to “Mom” please try to share a kind thought or blessing with any you know who are:

Single Moms: Most children learn to celebrate Mother’s Day through their fathers. Without a father to guide them, they don’t recognize the importance of this day.

Military Wives:  These women have the same problem as single parents if their husbands are deployed.

Stepmothers: They get a bad wrap thanks to fairy tales. Any woman who willingly marries a man with children does so with plans to embrace the lives of those children. That doesn’t mean those children remember them on Mother’s Day.

Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren: Most of them did not sign up for this. They’ve already parented one generation of children and were not anticipating doing it again.

Mothers Who Have Lost Their Children: I can’t begin to imagine the pain they experience.

Mothers Whose Children Don’t Contact Them: Estrangement from a child hurts. This is that little baby they carried and doted on.

Mothers Whose Children Live Too Far Away: They tend to understand the problems brought on by distance, but it still makes for a lonely Mother’s Day.

Women Who Have Lost Their Mothers: It’s been three years since I lost my mom and shopping for Mother’s Day cards is bittersweet. I, always, find the perfect one for her.

I’m sure there are other women who belong on this list. Find them and wish them a good day. If you have time or the means, treat them to lunch or a mani-pedi or give them a break from the kids for a few hours. They will appreciate it more than you know.

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Strength In Our Weaknesses

DSC_1853 - CopyBut Moses replied to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent-either in the past or recently or since You have been speaking to Your servant-because I am slow and hesitant of speech.”  Exodus 4:10

I hated giving presentations in front of my classmates. In the seventh grade, after one knee-knocking report, a friend told me, “You were as white as a ghost.”

In the ninth grade, a teacher called on me, but first admonished the class, “Now, everyone be quiet because Barbara has a soft voice, and we need to hear her.” I wanted to crawl under my seat.

If you know me now, you’re probably wondering how I could be the child in these two instances. I am, but I’m nothing like that now. In fact, my career involves speaking in front of people ALL. OF. THE. TIME. I’ve spoken to groups ranging in size from 3 people to an entire auditorium filled with standing room only.

I got over my fears.  Not quickly, but I did begin to face and deal with those fears by the time I was twenty.

Sometimes, God calls us to tasks we don’t understand, much less want to do. The Bible is full of people like that. Why does God delight in taking us into the uncomfortable? So, He can demonstrate his power through our weakness. People will not doubt the message came from Him when he uses someone in a powerful way that goes against their nature.

Here are some examples:

  • Moses
  • Simon Peter
  • Sarah
  • Esther
  • Naomi
  • Jonah

Who else can you name who found their calling through God’s power rather than their own?

Prayer of Humility and Selflessness

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In 2011, I attended the very first Christian Communicator’s Conference (CCC).  This conference assists Christian women in developing and expanding their speaking ministries.  The conference propelled my life of faith into new levels of discovery as I sat at the feet of founders, Vonda Skelton and Carolyn Knefely. As an added bonus, I met several like-minded women with the same goal:  enhance our speaking careers to serve God.

In 2013 and 2014, I attended Advanced Conferences offered by Christian Communicators.  Over the years, I’ve forged friendships and come to admire so many of these women.  Their personal stories of faith amaze and inspire me. Even though I haven’t met all of them, many of them have touched my life in ways I never anticipated.

The most recent conference ended just a few weeks ago. This year, Vonda and Carolyn passed the baton to three new women to run the organization.  I’m excited to see what’s in store for this community of women.

The Prayer

As I’ve heard reports from the latest group of alumni, I’ve been reminded of the prayer Vonda and Carolyn use to send the participants back into the world. This prayer moves me each time I hear it. Written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), it perfectly expresses a servant of Christ’s humility and selflessness.

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

The Appeal

Speakers and writers start serving others because they feel compelled to share and to help. It takes a certain level of ego to believe you have something to say, so they must fight the urge to be prideful about their service. It’s easy to forget why they started serving and to focus more on self rather than the ones served.

This prayer refocuses me.

I’ve highlighted in bold the parts that are hardest for me. (You have no idea how hard it is to admit this!)

Which parts of the prayer are hardest for you?

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