Mothering Sunday and a mothering God

 

Mothering Sunday (as opposed to the American MOTHERS' DAY in May) is the fourth Sunday in Lent, when traditionally we gave thanks for mother church. I think it was the Victorians who began to send their servant girls home for the afternoon to see their mothers, and it developed and was transformed.  Today it is fraught with difficulties in church, as clergy try to appease so many for whom it is difficult for whatever reason.

Mother's Day is here to stay.

Retailers love it.

But deeper far than any sentimentality (in the best sense of that word) is the mothering of God.

EL SHADDAI  -  I am the Almighty God  (Genesis 17:1 AKJV)   

 

EL - this very old word for God means might, or power. But  SHADDAI has a very different sense - that of provider, the one who pours out all that is needed. Just as a mother feeds her infant, and provides everything - strength and nourishment, love and contentment. Hugs. Oh the hugging of a mother and child in a loving relationship!

 

The Lord God, seen as a breastfeeding mother.

Pouring forth into us.

Pouring out all that we need to sustain and nourish us. 

Pouring out love and blessing.

Holding us, hugging us.

 

Lord, I need to know you as my El Shaddai today:  the lover of my soul.

 

 

This post is linked with a post  from my other blog, Grace2help.com  (a daily devotional for those in the first year of bereavement) and is from Week Sixteen of The Scent of Water - the rest of the week continues the theme.

 

photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net Mother's day:Stuart Miles/Retrievers:khunaspix

The Scent of Water has moved ..

During November I am embarking on the NanoWriMo project, to get my latest book, THE SCENT OF WATER, under way. It's a year's worth of daily devotionals (Monday - Saturday) for the first year of bereavement - read the introduction HERE. In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, this is unedited, a first draft; we just keep writing! Grant grace ? And comments and suggestions are most welcome.

You will find THE SCENT OF WATER at its own website: www.Grace2Help.com

The Brook Besor

An explanation:  During November I am embarking on the NanoWriMo project, to get my latest book, THE SCENT OF WATER, under way. It’s a year’s worth of daily devotionals for the first year of bereavement - read the introduction HERE.  It will soon move to a new website (Grace2Help) In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, this is unedited, a first draft; we just keep writing!

Grant grace ? And comments and suggestions are most welcome.

WEEK TWO

This week’s daily thoughts are based on the story of King David and his men after the attack on Ziklag, in 1 Samuel 30. They had lost everything – their homes destroyed, their families taken away. They were devastated.

 

MONDAY

David and his men wept aloud until they had

no strength left to weep.

1 Samuel 30:4 

It’s our normal reaction to grief – tears rain down until we are exhausted. Then we weep again.

These men wept together. Lord, I need someone to weep with me today.

Let my tears be a reminder to me of how much I loved and was loved, and a reminder to be grateful for that love.

 

TUESDAY

But David found strength in the Lord his God

1 Samuel 30:6

Confronted with disaster, bereft and lonely, David did the only thing he could: he went to the Lord. He’d lost his wife and children, his companions were blaming him for the disaster, and he felt totally alone and misunderstood.

Lord, that’s how I feel:  alone and devastated by my grief. Will you strengthen me today?

 

WEDNESDAY

Then David said to Abiathar the priest…

1 Samuel 30:7 

After resting in the Lord, David turned to a friend - he called on his pastor for spiritual advice.  Sometimes talking with a trusted friend or with a wise pastor, can help to ease and to understand the grief.

Lord, show me who I should turn to. And when. Actually, Lord - please just send someone, nudge the right person into coming to me?

 

THURSDAY

Then David asked the Lord.

1 Samuel 30:8 (NLT)

What shall I do, Lord? I feel lost, overcome, consumed by all that I am feeling today. There are decisions to make, things I have to do. Guide me, show me, help me.

And keep me in touch with you.

 

FRIDAY

They came to the torrent Besor: and some being weary

stayed there.

1 Samuel 30:9 (Douay Rheims)

 Resting by the brook, too weary to go any further, worn out by grief. Allowed to stay, allowed to rest, allowed time to recover. I too am resting at the Brook Besor, needing time to recover. And that’s OK; I don’t have to do what I would normally do. I can have this time out for now. And that's such a relief to know.

Thank you Lord.

 

SATURDAY

We share and share alike--those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment

1 Samuel 30:24 (NLT)

It is not a disgrace to have this time out. This is one of those times when I need to stay by the Brook Besor. David was generous to those who had stayed, exhausted and worn out; he treated them the same as those who had continued into battle.

God’s grace is a generous grace. HE understands, even if others don’t seem to.

Lord, thank you for allowing me this time at the Brook Besor. Thank you for undeserved grace.

The Scent of Water - part three

During November I am embarking on the NanoWriMo project, to get my latest book, THE SCENT OF WATER, under way. It's a year's worth of daily devotionals for the first year of bereavement - read the introduction HERE.  It will soon move to a new website (Grace2Help) In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, this is unedited, a first draft; we just keep writing! Grant grace ? And comments and suggestions are most welcome.  

WEDNESDAY

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize (with our weaknesses)

Hebrews 4:15

Jesus understands not just the facts of my grief; he understands the feelings too. He understands the pain, the depression, the hurt of being left alone. Far from being cold and heartless, he is full of tenderness and sympathy. He too knows the full gamut of emotions. Even if those around me try to understand, how can they know just how I am feeling today? Bless them for trying; but I  feel that they can't know exactly  how it is for me today.

But Lord, you truly do know and you truly do understand. You have experienced every single emotion. Only you can fully sympathise. Let me know your feelings in this with me today.

 

THURSDAY

Emmanuel: God is with us 

They will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."

Matthew 1:23 (NIV)

God, you are in this with me. You know how it is; you know I have to go through this path of grief. But you are here in it WITH ME. And I am so glad I don't have to go through it alone. Thank you, thank you. Keep close to me today Lord, otherwise I fear won't get through it. Just saying your name, Emmanuel, means a great deal to me today.

Emmanuel.

God with me.

Today.

 

FRIDAY

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

It is not a failure to come to the throne of grace; it isn't a sign of weakness. Far from feeling that there's something wrong with me or that I'm not spiritual if I have this depression and huge sense of grief, I can actually know that this is a normal part of being human and alive, that our God welcomes me to come to him. At the throne of grace there is help when I need it most - his love and mercy and pure grace are there, ready to be poured out over me. Every day. Whenever I need it. And how I need it today.

Grace to help. I need that grace today.

 

SATURDAY

He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death."

Matthew 26:38 (NLT)

It cost the Saviour to walk the path of suffering and death. He experienced the deepest feelings, emotions and pain. Experienced them to the point of being so crushed, so depressed, that life itself seemed almost pointless. In the depth of my own sorrow, I am yet again amazed that he could reach this point - could know, could truly know, just how it is. Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

The Scent of Water

During November I am embarking on the NanoWriMo project, to get my latest book, THE SCENT OF WATER, under way. It's a year's worth of daily devotionals for the first year of bereavement - read the introduction HERE.  It will soon move to a new website (Grace2Help) In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, this is unedited, a first draft; we just keep writing! Grant grace ? And comments and suggestions are most welcome.

MONDAY

He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. It was our sorrows that weighed him down.

Isaiah 53: 3-4 (NLT)

Jesus knew grief; the sense of the Hebrew is that he was familiar with deepest calamity and sorrow.He knew; he knows. And he carries our sorrows.

So he does understand. I don't even have to tell him - he knows how I am feeling today.

Thank you, Lord, for knowing.

 

TUESDAY

Jesus burst into tears.

John 11:35 (ISV)

These words give me permission to grieve. Not that I need it - although sometimes in our western culture I feel that I do need that permission. Too many times I have been told that it's all for the best, they are in a better place ..... they may be, but I am left here without them, and I am hurting. My tears fall unchecked and I want to hide. Public grief is not part of my culture.

But it was for Jesus;  he burst into tears as he arrived at the tomb of his close friend Lazarus. He was not ashamed of his grief. Death causes tears.

Lord, all I can give you today are my tears. 

THE SCENT OF WATER AND NANOWRIMO

   

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo – a way to write a novel in the month of November. 50,000 words by the end of the month – no editing, no procrastinating, just write. And have a first draft completed by the end of the month.

I signed up.

But not to write a novel. Nor to write 50,000 words. I have had on my heart from some time to put together a daily devotional, as an aid for the first year of mourning and bereavement. Just a verse and a few thoughts, for the times when mourning and grief mean that anything longer, anything deeper, is impossible.

For those days when finger-tip-hanging is by just one nail. When grief is all consuming, raw, inconsolable.

I know that. I have been there. For a full two years I have been there. There were times when I barely clung on. When hugs rubbed me raw, and consoling well-meant clichés rang false.

When God seemed far away. I was far away.

I could not read. Anything, let alone the Bible. When the depression and the blackness were all consuming and life was barely worth living.

I had Amy Carmichael's  "Edges of His Ways,” a book of short daily devotionals usually based on a verse of Scripture. Some days were good, comparatively, and I read the brief thought. But it was not specific enough, did not often touch my deepest cries. I needed something more, something very short but very intentional.

I decided to write it myself.

And NaNoWriMo has given the incentive and, if I’m honest, the kick you-know-where to get going. So here’s the plan.

Every day I will post what I am writing. And soon, very soon, I will set up a separate blog to be this devotional, this scent of water. It’s called Grace2Help and I will send you the link very soon.

I will be posting the links and we will see how we get on. Please add your thoughts, suggestions, comments. And please pray.  For my prayer is that this devotional will one day help someone. If it’s only one, it will be worth it.

The book of Job and the telling of his suffering and bereavement  is probably one of the oldest books of Scripture. It asks one of the oldest questions: Is there hope?

Is there hope for a tree cut down?

Yes.

At the merest scent of water it will bud and grow new shoots again. (Job 14:7-9)

The scent of water. My prayer is for this new project to be the merest scent of water for someone else who feels like a tree cut down.