I think we can all agree that this is a strange time. No one could have seen this season coming and prepared properly for it... but maybe that is the beauty of it.
As I am back in the states for the moment, two words keep coming up in my mind.
There is nothing normal about this season at all. It really is so different.
It's forced different plans, different routines and different environments for some.
When I landed in Togo on March 1, there is no way I could have imagined getting back on a plane and returning back to America... I probably would have told you that there was nothing that could cause me to get on a plane and leave.
Obviously, things are different now...
I am back in the states, working on French with my teammates and working on projects that are going to help propel the ministry forward the moment we get back.
Different isn't a bad word... it's a great word! Yeah, it can be uncomfortable, but it's usually in the most uncomfortable moments that we see God do the most incredible things.
Here's the deal... when I look back on this season, I want to say, "that season was altogether different... but because of it, I am altogether different because of what God did in me".
I hope that this different today helps prepare us to make a Gospel difference tomorrow.
When I flew back into the states and eventually made it to my hometown in Bradenton, FL, I had to go into a time of "self-isolation".
Isolation sounded like a terrible word to this very extroverted extrovert.
I was reminded of another word when in my "isolation"... "solitude".
If I was going to have to be isolated, I wanted to make it purposeful. The spiritual discipline of solitude completely goes against everything that I am...
I don't like sitting still and being quiet... I just don't. I'm sad to say that it has taken some serious practice to sit still for longer than ten minutes.
Through this time of practicing solitude, I have been blown away by how much the Holy Spirit has been so evidently moving in and around me.
I have written pages of notes from simply sitting, resting and listening to what the Lord wants to do in me.
'For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 'Genesis 45:6-8
I love this part of the story of Joseph!
He has just revealed himself to his brothers and immediately begins pointing to what God did through his circumstances.
"So it was not you who sent me here, but God."
Joseph sees the movement of God through all of his circumstances and God had prepared Him for this very moment.
Joseph was different than when his brothers threw him in that pit.
For me, I want to be different after all of this and I am asking God to do that in my time of solitude with Him.
Today is a day to remember all the amazing mothers in our lives. This is a day that I love to post a picture of my mom and make a very insincere comment about how she worships the ground I walk on. It’s become a tradition for me. I try to make sure my mom actually knows how I feel off of social media but I do have a reputation to keep intact in the social media world.
Though my Mother’s Day experience is one that I get to joke about because I do have such an amazing mom in my life, for some this day is unbearably hard.
I have a luxury that others do not.
Some children are grieving the loss of moms. For them this day can be a day of pain as they do not have the ability to be with their mom and celebrate them today.
Some moms are having to live in agony as they are missing children that have been taken from them far too soon.
This week has been an especially hard week for African American moms. I can't imagine the pain, sadness and fear that comes with this holiday for some. It's hard to think how so many moms have had to have some of the hardest conversations with their children this week about the cold, harsh evil in this world.
Some moms may feel alone today because their spouse is gone.
My heart goes out to the families who have been affected by the death of fathers and husbands. This has been a hard few days as some have to navigate a new reality without a husband and father.
For some, today is hard for you to look at all the social media posts celebrating mothers because all your memories of your mom are of pain and suffering.
I got to spend time with my sister and cousin today. My cousin is fostering 2 little girls and my sister is fostering an adorable 8-month-old. As I watched them and held them, I couldn't help but think of the confusion this day may bring for some as they celebrate multiple moms in their life.... but I was also overwhelmed with joy because these girls get to be loved so well by incredible moms today.
I know today can be hard for some and I am hurting with you.
Let today be about all the moms in our lives. Celebrating great memories, mourning and crying with others, being incredible families and moms for those who don't have any.
We couldn't do life without moms and I don't think we would want to if we could.
So, hug your mom, celebrate her even if it is only by memory. Then look around and cry with those who need to cry, hug those who feel alone, be family for those with none and never forget that there are so many different stories all around us.
Listen, learn and love.
Today may be great for some and hard for others. Let's redeem this Mothers Day and make it a day where we "bear one anothers burdens" while celebrating all the woman in our lives that we call mom.