“Thank You” ~ The Magic Word



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candy dish

When my daughter, Christina, was small I took her weekly to Suzuki violin lessons. After an intensive hour of tuning, fingering, bowing, ear training, phrasing and  performing the musical pieces, the bow was loosened and the half-size violin securely closed into its case. Then the teacher, Mrs. Sloat, would pick up a cut-glass, covered candy dish in which she kept treats for her students. She held the dish in the air with one hand grasping the knob of the crystal lid. She bent close to the little pig-tailed girl, and her elderly face was a picture of captivating anticipation.

“What is the magic word?” she’d ask.

“Please,” said my daughter shyly but eagerly.

Then the lid was lifted off the candy dish and Christina was allowed to choose and take two pieces. But that wasn’t the end of the session yet. Mrs. Sloat held the lid in the air above the dish with another irresistible look of expectancy in her face.

Little Christina knew what was expected. So she said the other magic word: “Thank you.”

Then Mrs. Sloat replaced the glass lid with a soft musical clink and set the candy dish back upon the table, the weekly ceremony completed, and a child trained, motivated, and rewarded.

We teach our small children, from the time they can speak in syllables, to say “thank-you.” We’re pleased when teachers and others support us in that endeavor of encouraging politeness and gratitude in our children. Then, how rewarding it is when they begin to say thank-you all on their own. Magic words indeed!

When your child comes to you with nothing to gain, not asking for anything but expressing unsolicited, heartfelt appreciation, the reward is sweeter than candy to the fine-tuned parental heart.

My husband and I experienced this when our son and then our daughter went away to college. Our training was pretty much completed. Now it would be tested. And there was no guarantee that our children would heed or appreciate the upbringing they received. Doubts plucked at my parental heart: Did we prepare them well enough? Did we teach them all we should have? Will they leave home and embrace a different way?

After a few weeks of college dorm life and hearing about other students’ family situations, our son called home and said, “Mom, Dad, I’m so thankful for you both! I never realized before what good parents I have. Thank you for all you’ve done for me. And for who you are.”

Happy tears came to our eyes as we hung up the phone that day. Love is the reward of love. And hearing your grown children say, “Thank you,” is music to parents’ ears.

English: Hard candy Česky: Tvrde bonbonyBe sure to say “Thank you” to – and for – your mother and father as you are giving thanks to God for all his blessings this Thanksgiving.

~ Catherine Lawton

We Come Trembling


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The word “mother” conjures up warm and fuzzy images: hugs, smiles, meals on the table, and bedtime stories. And, of course, forever etched in our minds are Mother’s words of warning, advice, scolding and encouragement. Our mothers have largely made us what we are. “Mother is the home we come from. She is nature, soil, ocean,” said Erich Fromm. “All I am and ever hope to be I owe to my angel mother,” said Abraham Lincoln.

However, most mothers aren’t angels! “Unfortunately, in our fallen humanity, there are few perfect parents…. Many people carry wounds or voids they incurred early in life from one or both of their parents, such as unmet needs, absence, neglect, harsh words … Nevertheless, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord can go back and fill in any of those wounds with his perfect love,” say Francis and Judith MacNutt of Christian Healing Ministries.

My mother was a wonderful person, loved by many. I’m thankful for her and for the faith she passed on to me. She was my security. She sang to me, cheered me, more than once rescued me. But there were critical times when she wasn’t—or couldn’t—”be there” for me when traumatic things happened. Perhaps the wounds she carried from the neglect and abandonment she experienced as a very young child hindered her ability to deal with the emotional needs of her own little girl.

Some of my friends carry mother wounds because they have been distanced from their mother’s love by separation, bad choices, generational patterns, emotional coldness, disease, skewed priorities, and even death.

Why would we want to share the personal wounds?

Why do I share about the wounds I carried into young adulthood from early childhood—wounds of trauma, fear, shame, and unmet emotional needs? I share this only because I also experienced real healing. The Lord touched me several times during my life in powerful, targeted ways that brought change, healing, and freedom! That is the real story.

We tell enough of the hurts for the reader to “feel” the needs we had for inner healing and relational healing … so you can also “feel” the wonder and beauty and power of our God who restores our souls!

Woman Jesus healed

This morning I read in Luke about Jesus healing the woman with “an issue of blood,” who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She came up behind Jesus silently, unseen in the crowd, and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. But he noticed. He felt power going out of himself. He turned and questioned her. When the woman saw she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him” in front of the gawking crowd she confessed her need and her faith. Because of her faith—and Jesus’ power—the woman was restored to health. Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace” (Luke 8).

I think the contributors to Journeys to Mother Love (both the book and the blog) are like that woman. We’d rather keep silent about the pain and shame. But we are compelled to reach out. We came trembling to Jesus, confessing our need and faith. Now we come trembling, sharing with you our experiences of the healing power of Jesus (and of mother love).

Come share the journey with us.

~ Catherine Lawton

(This post first published Nov 10, 2012.)

A Mother’s Legacy


My heart goes out to every woman faced with a less than perfect relationship with her own mother and who may have fears of motherhood. I want to encourage those women by saying, “How we were mothered does not have to define our own mothering.”

That had always been a fear of mine. “What if I withdraw from my children as my mom did from me?” There are other fears of motherhood I experience sometimes, but I no longer have that particular fear. God freed me from that by a scripture verse He gave me while pregnant with my third child: “There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18).

I would say to myself, over and over, “I love my children. I will not fear.”

This verse has put in motion the building of a godly legacy for my children. I have been reading a book by Francine Rivers titled, A Lineage of Grace. She writes about some of the most significant women in the Bible. Rivers takes biblical truth and expounds on it a bit to create such a beautiful story of these brave women.

I found myself acknowledging the fact that my mom did not leave a strong legacy for me to hang onto when I felt weak. I did not feel saddened by this, however; I felt encouraged and determined to do my best at leaving a strong, dignified legacy for my children. I want my sons to know how to identify a strong, godly woman when it comes time for them to marry. I want my daughter to know how to behave as a strong, godly woman all through her life. This is the desire that burns greatly in me.

My goal is to never give my children the opportunity to feel ashamed or embarrassed by their mom. My mother did not have that goal. I’m sure she did not set out to shame me; however, her actions did not just affect her.

My mom was very loving in her own way and she possessed a quiet strength. I had no doubt that she was a fighter. Unfortunately, she always fought with her own strength. She never leaned on God’s strength to help her fight her battles and lead her to victory. No; sadly, she never saw victory. Over time, defeat wore her down. She gave up the fight.

Many times I am weary. But I make sure that my children see me fighting with God’s armor covering me and my family during our times of battle. There are times where I just don’t feel like praying. Then I look over the kitchen table and see those sweet faces waiting for me to dish out their portion of blessing for the day. After we have a chat about God, I realize that my act of obedience has inevitably put me in the mood to pray. Funny how God uses my children to “teach” me as well.

I’ve made up my mind a long time ago that my children will not go one day without the assurance of the support, pride, and love I have for them.

I have been so blessed to be able to tell my story in the book, Journeys To Mother Love. Writing part of my story and having it published for all to see has been an exciting, scary, fulfilling adventure.

Reading the other women’s stories in this book has let me know, once again, that I am not alone. I was not the only girl experiencing emotional disconnect with her mom. I am not the only one who has wished this fact were not so.

~ Treva Brown

(This post first published 8-31-2012)

The Imperfect Job of Mothering


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Is life coming at you like the balls that are shot out of the machine at a batting cage? In that vulnerable place, is your only hope to swing at each new, in-your-face incident, hoping to connect with a few? That has been—and still is—my prayer and hope.

My nest has emptied. Though—praise the Lord—it occasionally fills back up. But I remember those days when I was standing with a bat in my hands and my heart in my throat, as one new challenge after another zoomed at me. Daily I was required to step up to the plate. By the grace of God I connected with the important ones. However, I also missed my share. As I have told my children, who now have children, it’s all about the track record.

We cannot do a perfect job. Our children will be fine if our track record has more hits than misses. If we dwell on the missed or messed-up opportunities, we will be too preoccupied to see the next ball when it comes our way. Anyway, our children aren’t counting. They are more perceptive than we give them credit for being. They see Mom up at the plate, bat in hand. They understand she isn’t perfect. In fact, they are more comfortable in a loving, imperfect environment than in one where Mom thinks she is in control of everything. (Notice: I could not say, “one that is perfect.” There are no perfect situations. My only alternative was to express the above comparison as “one where Mom thinks she is in control of everything.”)

We have hit on something here! A mother’s unrealistic outlook can create bad circumstances—one for herself, and one for her family. From such an artificial scenario, a tired, sad mom—and confused, angry children—will emerge. On Mother’s Day, Mom will not hear accolades of, “Thank you, thank you for giving your all to project perfection!” Rather, she will be amazed at the resentment that all those efforts will reap.

Children who live in reality and learn how to accept their imperfect environments are better prepared for life. Herein lies the legacy that our children will be able to vocalize to their children: “Well, I’m going to miss some of the balls that come my way, but I will show up everyday, sincerely focus, and try to connect with each new challenge. And in addition, you—my dear offspring—will have a front row seat to watch how a person can appropriately respond to those missed or messed-up challenges.”

Then, their children—our grandchildren—will grow up and be able to echo the same authentic witness.

More importantly, all these generations will understand the real power behind the successes and how their mothers were able to humbly accept the imperfections of life. This witness takes place when, before they see their mothers step up to the plate, they see them down on their knees.

~ A.R. (Alice) Cecil

A Mother’s Day Gift to my Sons


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The last time I saw my mother alive was seven years ago over Mother’s Day weekend.  As I wrote in “Walking My Mother Home,” my story in Journeys to Mother Love, these trips back home were instrumental to my healing.

In 2012, during the editing process of the book, I decided to give the manuscript as a gift to my sons.  After my mother’s passing the year before, I’d had a heartfelt conversation with them. I tried to explain the significance of what had happened to me.  Now with the imminent publishing of the story “for the whole world to see,” it was time to give the boys more personal insight into my healing and my journey to mother love.

Here is an excerpt from that letter:

Dear Boys,

As Mother’s Day approached this week, I’ve been reminded many times that the last time I saw my mother alive was on Mother’s Day 2010. A lot has happened in our lives in the two years since then…

Since you are males, you will probably never understand the bond between a mother and daughter. But you will marry one day and will have to understand and be caring with your own wife and the relationship that she has with her mother. I hope and pray that I can have a loving relationship with my daughters-in-law too.

As you know, I didn’t have a close relationship with my mother, not so much by choice, but by natural consequence because of her mental illness. As my mother neared the end of her life though, God made it very clear to me that I needed closure and restoration with our relationship. The attached manuscript is that story.

What I hope and pray you will see in this story is the same thing I want others to see—how following God’s will for our lives, through the good and the bad, leads to amazing blessings.  I want you to embrace opportunities when God wants to use you. It won’t be easy. But that is where the biggest blessings come into play—when we are stretched beyond our comfort zone and have to rely on Him. He shows up when we lean on Him. We just have to trust Him.

So as I start on my writing journey, I wanted you to know that is exactly what I am doing. I am trusting that God is behind this and that He will use it.

I love you both dearly. I hope and pray that when you look back at your lives that you will remember that legacy that I want to leave for you. I want you to trust God and follow Him all the days of your life.

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

With all my love,

My sons didn’t read my manuscript right away. They were teenage boys, after all. When they did, their words of love were a blessing back to me.

I have the same prayer for all who read my story and the other eight stories in Journeys to Mother Love. : May you be inspired by God to embrace forgiveness and healing in their mother/child relationships.  He will redeem your pain and give you peace.

~ Ardis A. Nelson

Dreading Mother’s Day


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I dreaded Mother’s Day. I used to day dream about taking the weekend and going away to a spa … anything to get away from the constant reminders that I wasn’t a mother when I wanted so desperately to be one.

Church was torture: smiling mothers holding little ones’ hands, videos of children telling the congregation about their wonderful mommy, roses at the doorway for all the beaming mothers … TORTURE! I went through the motions, trying to disguise the tears that welled. I celebrated with my own mother hoping she didn’t notice how much I didn’t want to participate in this day. Then, at night I cried myself to sleep.

The pain of infertility and barrenness is difficult for many women. Wanting children, we will put ourselves, our families, and our bodies through the ringer in the pursuit of fertility. We watch the other mothers around us and wonder, Why not me? Our friends and family members who conceive easily struggle to relate to us, feeling uncomfortable around us and at a loss for words.

So what are we to do? During those most painful years, while I waited to be chosen as an adoptive mom and I struggled with the pain of childlessness, the only solution that provided any help at all was … surrender. I finally got to the place where I stopped fighting God’s will for my life and accepted that His plan was good, even if it was different from mine. I just told myself over and over: If God has given me this desire for children, then He will fulfill it. I chose hope over despair.

My part was to be open to Him working in a new, creative way in my life: perhaps He would give me spiritual children; maybe He would give me a ministry that would be like a child—something that I birthed and nurtured; maybe I would be called to raise other people’s children through foster care. Whatever His will, I had to trust that it was the best for me.

Ephesians 1:18 says, “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”

So this Mother’s Day, if you are a woman who is childless and brokenhearted, embrace hope.  If you are blessed with children, appreciate them; and encourage the other women around you who are childless and struggling.

~Kyleen Stevenson-Braxton

Grandma’s Apron


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I received a special Christmas present from my aunt. We share an interest in cooking and baking from scratch, so I suppose it should be no surprise to receive something fitting that theme. The apron is made from a vintage tablecloth and embellished with a vintage hankie. Even though this one-of-a-kind apron isn’t made from my own family’s heirlooms, I like to think there are stories laced in its history (much like the use of quilt squares in the Grandma’s Attic book series I enjoyed as a girl).

In any case, I will weave memories of my own with this apron and one day reminisce with my daughters.

The words below came packaged with my new apron:


Grandma’s Apron

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few. It was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material.

Along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears…

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men-folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.

(Author unknown)

~Christina Slike

Sharing our Stories in Community

As one of the authors in Journeys to Mother Love, I’ve been eager to read the stories of the other eight authors in the compilation. I could particularly relate to the story, “When I Feel Forsaken,” by Catherine Lawton. My story, “Walking My Mother Home,” is about the final two years of my mother’s life and the healing I received ministering to her during that time.

When I read the passage in Cathy’s story about the death of her mother, I took note of how it affected her. Cathy’s mother died when Cathy was 28 years old, before she was ready to lose her. She wrote that now she’d “never be able to know her mother as a person” and develop an adult “friendship” with her. Those words struck me. Although my mother lived to an old age of 78 years, I had “lost” her emotionally when I was only six, after she had a nervous breakdown.  Like Cathy, I never got to know her as a person, yet I never thought of it in those terms until I read her words.

That is the beauty of telling our stories—the good and the bad. They can impart a nugget that we don’t expect for someone else. Those nuggets can be life-giving.

My mother wasn’t someone I could ever share my inner most thoughts or feelings with. Because she couldn’t model that for me, I didn’t know I was supposed to do that with her or with others until much later in life. By then, my mother was too far gone mentally for us to communicate in that way. Fortunately, like Cathy, I had other women who “mothered” me and helped me to get my emotional needs met.

As sad as it may seem to realize what I missed from my mother (not knowing her as a person), I also realized two positive outcomes in the process. Over the past few years of my mother’s life, I wrote letters to her. Although she couldn’t write back, I think she was getting to know me as a person. She must have recognized this as a gift because she was very attentive during my visits, even after all those years of my abandonment of her.

Secondly, I realized that the Lord did give me a mother who I have been able to know as a person. I’ve had a stepmother in my life since my divorced father remarried 38 years ago. I never lived with them or called her “mom.” But we have become close.  We know each other in a way that I never got to know my own mother. It’s been a life-giving and healing relationship.

There were other parts of Cathy’s story that resonated with me as well, but I mention the above nuggets to show the value of sharing our stories. I gained an insight about myself and my journey from reading Cathy’s story. I know God wants me to integrate that into my heart for my own healing.

So I invite you into community with me and the other eight authors of this compilation. Your stories are important. You have a voice. Let the Lord use your story to inspire or bless someone else in an unexpected way.

Pick a story from one of the nine authors in Journeys to Mother LoveHow did you relate to that story? Or share your own story.

~ Ardis A. Nelson


New Beginnings


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New Year's Resolutions postcard“Have you made any new year’s resolutions?” my grown son asked me, turning the tables. When he was growing up, I’d ask him that question each time a new year rolled around.

Some of my resolutions/goals for the year are more spiritual/relational/subjective. Can’t put a ruler to them and measure success. Others are more concrete. I can look back at the end of the year, even along the way, and see progress.

As years come and go my new-year resolutions are becoming prayer lists. I’m learning there isn’t any real success without the working of God’s Spirit in the situation. I will need his grace every moment, every day of the coming year.

At the beginning of last year, one of my resolutions and prayers was for healing and renewal in some relationships that had become strained. This seems tricky because there are two sides involved. But when God is invited into the relationship there are three, and for his part he is working on all sides, giving new eyes to see, ears to hear the other person, desire for fellowship. The results may not be measurable with a calculator. They are felt, though, and I know God has worked his wonders in those relationships I both resolved and prayed about a year ago.

Measurable resolutions I’ve made: eat better, exercise more, be more faithful to pray daily for family members, write more, practice piano more, see more of the beautiful state we live in, identify 125 species of birds this year.

Have you made any new year’s resolutions? Can you look back and see how God has helped you realize any of last year’s resolutions? Are you thanking the Lord for his help the past year and praying over this year’s list?

New beginnings, such as a new year, give us the opportunity to reflect and return and be restored in what really matters to us and to our Creator.

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

~ Catherine Lawton (first published this post Jan. 3, 2013)

Living Wounds


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Nail prints in Jesus' hands and feet



Christ’s wounds—

holes, gaps, gashes?—

remain, continue there,

healed; no pain or festering.

But they remain

places on the body

of the God-Man,


A mystery!


in the wounded place

we are part of Christ.

The nails are gone,

the sword withdrawn,

the thorns pulled out.

But these wounds live,


When His followers also

stand gashed and riddled,

touching our wounds to His;

bearing scars from

our own sins and

those of others

but festering no more;

together we form

places of healing

in the body of Christ.

~Catherine Lawton

( ©2016. Excerpted from my forthcoming collection of poetry, Remembering Softly: A Life in Poems)



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photo by Tom Burke – Flickr

Loneliness. Life involves times of loss, times when we find ourselves alone with our memories. If you’ve lost a loved one—a mother or father, a spouse, or a child—you know that loneliness can wear at you and tear at you. This kind of loneliness is described in the guest post below, written by my father. He describes his feelings after my mother died.

In sorting through a box of old things, I recently came across this poem I wrote a few months after my first wife passed away.
~ ~
~ ~
The edge of loneliness
Wears at me,
Tears at me,
Wearies me.
Memories of shared moments
Leave me with emptiness.
Laughter of the past
Echoes in the empty rooms of my empty heart.
Fires kindle momentarily
With love’s memory
Then subside
Like burned out coals upon the cold hearth.
A chill creeps over me
As winter winds blow gusty
Against my quavering soul.
Brown fallen leaves
Careen with death rattle along the street,
And my spirit dries and
Blows with them into the gutter.
I feel passed up, unwanted,
Unremembered, unloved.
 ~ ~ ~
About the same time I wrote this poem, I took a walk on a beach in Oregon near my home. I picked up a piece of driftwood in the shape of a whale. One side even had an “eye.” I took it home with me and wrote on a scrap of paper: “The fury of storm and tide has made me what I am.” And, “I am what I have had the good fortune of becoming.”
~ ~
I didn’t understand it right then, but much like the processes of water, wind and sand on that driftwood, the grief process was
re-shaping me. Perhaps the psalmist felt lonely and forsaken when he said, “Out of the depths have I cried unto You.” Then there’s Jonah in the darkness, helplessness, and isolation of the whale’s belly. When Jonah came out, he became one of the most successful preachers of all time. As a result of his ministry, a whole city repented and turned to God.
~ ~
Someone said, “When bad things happen to good people, they
become better people.” Of many an older saint it could be said,
“Once young and carefree, now buffeted into a work of art.”
~ ~
So what is your ocean, and what are you becoming? Sculptured by time and the elements, a thing of beauty? Then someday you can say, “The fury of storm and tide has made me what I am.”
~ ~
~G. H. Cummings

G.H. Cummings is a 92-year-old retired pastor and counselor. He is the author of Making It In Marriage : It’s Worth the Effort (Cladach, 2002). This post is excerpted from his e-book, I Was Just Thinking, available as a free download (pdf) here.

What? You Can’t Stop Crying

Countless mothers are crying today.

Journeys To Mother Love

Alice-poetry-bookWHAT? YOU CAN’T STOP CRYING

What? You can’t stop crying.
I hear you. Been there.
You say you left your grocery cart in frozen foods.
You’re telling me it was loaded with food
and every kind of whatnot
from all the other aisles,
And then you hightailed it to your car.
There you hid behind sunglasses and drove home.
Did you remember to wipe your fingerprints
off the handle of the loaded, abandoned cart
in frozen foods?
Just kidding.

You complain you couldn’t sleep because your slumber
was interrupted by the need to blow your nose.
David of the Old Testament cried on his bed.
See, we are in good company.

Let’s look at the list of life’s events that can trigger
such an avalanche of emotion.
Just check the one that fits, or mark “Other”
at the bottom.

All right, here we go.
You poured your life into the…

View original post 242 more words

Faith in the Birthing Room


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We see photos on Facebook of young mothers, with or without makeup, with perspiration-frazzled hair, holding a red, swaddled newborn. The new mom smiles. Proud hubby hovers. Grandparents flash cameras and send out announcements on cell phones.

I’ve experienced this first-hand. 24 months ago I was present as my daughter gave birth. Her pregnancy had complications, the doctor was concerned for safety of both mother and child; but finally a healthy baby made her entrance; and oh, what joy and thankfulness we felt.

What could be more awe-inspiring than the birth of a new life? Nothing compares to the expectancy, intensity, and thrill of witnessing a baby enter this world with wiggles and cries. You can almost hear the flutter of angel wings and the melody of heavenly bells ringing as the Creator gives breath to a new little person full of promise. When the child is desired and welcomed with love, the birthing room almost becomes a holy sanctuary.

As I stood by during my daughter’s labor, feeling helpless—then as I helped during delivery by holding one of my daughter’s knees—I was breathing prayers and praises. My daughter was too absorbed in breathing and pushing to do much praying herself.

But since she started carrying this child—when she had chosen not to accept the doctor’s offer of “terminating the risky pregnancy”—she had been putting her hope and trust in God’s help. During those nine months we watched a tumor shrink enough to allow room for the baby to grow; then it moved out of the way to allow the baby to enter the birth canal.

Awareness of the Lord’s presence and help bonded our little family group. We appreciated the clinical efficiency of the attending physician, interns and nurses. I couldn’t help thinking, though, how wonderful it would be if everyone in the room was a believer and open about their faith and dependence on the Lord. I’d like to have soft, beautiful worship music playing, someone gently reciting a Psalm, all participants aware of, and responsive to, the Lord’s presence; bathing the process in prayer; welcoming the child with praise and thanks to her Creator.

That would be heavenly. “Heavenly” is probably not how anyone would describe a hospital room. But God was present and He showed Himself mighty and loving. The medical personnel—whether Christian believers or not—were used of God as He answered prayer and gave us a beautiful, healthy baby.

~Catherine Lawton

Holy Saturday


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Detail from the Lutin Pieta (Wikimedia)

Detail from the Lutin Pieta (Wikimedia)


During Holy Saturday, between the crucifixion and the resurrection, a time of disappointment, waiting, uncertainty, sadness…. I am reminded of what to do with this “weight of sorrow,” these tears: bring them to Jesus …

  • See him kneeling in the garden, overwhelmed with sorrow, in anguished prayer and sweating drops of blood.
  • See him enduring the cruelest injustice, ridicule, and inflicted pain.
  • See him hanging on the cross agonizing, bleeding, and dying, because of my sins. … read more (What to do with sorrow)

Not Forsaken


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I watched an Irish movie that brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of my mother’s story. The movie was based on a true story of an impoverished family where the mother dies and the father runs off and doesn’t care of the children, who are taken into custody by the state and placed in orphanages.

The same thing happened to my mother and her siblings, only it wasn’t in Ireland. It was in Colorado. She was the age my littlest granddaughter is now—almost two years old—when she and her siblings were taken into custody by the Otero County Court. The judge declared them “neglected children” and wards of the state until age 21. Mother’s one sister and two brothers were sent to the Denver Children’s Home, but just in time a childless couple adopted her. And though she never saw her siblings again, she was raised by loving Christian parents and grew up to be a self-sacrificing, loving pastor’s wife. This is an old photo of her the day she was adopted. Her adoptive parents found her dirty and frightened.

Some things have come full circle. Since I moved back to Colorado, I have found Mother’s birth family.  Our son, who is a lawyer, has done pro bono work representing neglected children who have no legal representation.

Though Mother has been gone from us over 38 years now, I never want to forget how God rescued a sad little girl whose mother had died of TB and whose father had run off to find work or something in that dust bowl era. I never want to take for granted the way God rescues us, provides for us, gives us people to love and be loved by.

I remember Mother smiling through tears of blessing as she sang, “A tent or a cottage, why should I care? They’re building a mansion for me over there. Though exiled from home, yet still I will sing, All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.”

~Catherine Lawton

Hannah Whitall Smith Comparing God’s Love to Mother Love


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“I do long to be to my children a little faint picture of what God is,” wrote Hannah Whitall Smith to her daughter. This 19-Century writer of classic books of devotion, such as The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, kept up personal correspondence with many people through letters. Many of her letters are published in the book, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life. Here’s a letter Hannah Whitall Smith wrote to her daughter Mary:

Your loving praise is very sweet to me, even though I may think you look through eyes made kinder by love than they by rights ought to be. If only you can learn some little sense of what God is from your thoughts of me, I shall be more than content. I think I have learned more about the character of God from remembering what my own father and mother were to me than in almost any other way. And I do long to be to my children a little faint picture of what God is.

O great heart of God! whose loving

Cannot hindered be, nor crossed;

Will not weary, will not even

In our death itself be lost!

Love divine! of such great loving

Only mothers know the cost,

Cost of love, that, past all loving,

Gave itself to save the lost.

I think I understand this.

As mothers, we have the opportunity to understand God’s self-giving love and know a little of the cost of love.

Our perseverance in loving at all costs will provide our children a clearer picture of the great, self-giving love that God has for them.

~Catherine Lawton