Be Like Fern

This may be the most important blog I ever write about moms. I have had so many of these thoughts running through my mind for months and a lot of what I have to share rooted back in a post called Togetherness.

You know how sometimes in the movies how the filmmakers will do that thing where there is a focal point on a person, probably on a city street or in a subway, and all of the people and trains and cars are just flying by? That person is standing there and it really seems as if no one even notices them. Everything just goes on. That person is how I can best describe how the moms of the current generation feel. I’m not writing this only for the moms of the current generation though, I am also writing this for the wiser mothers of past generations. Here we go.

The overwhelming thought in my mind has ben, THEY DON’T KNOW.

What don’t they know?

  • People don’t know how lonely mothers are.
  • People don’t know how isolating motherhood feels.
  • People do not realize that some days it feels as if we are drowning and there is no life preserver, life guard, or rescue plan.

Now, I just heard hundreds of people shout, “Well what about Jesus and prayer?!” I’m going to save that for the end. But you need to finish hearing me out.

Moms are drowning, isolated, and lonely you all! And all the while so many are just wizzing by without a care in the world saying, they will be FINE, I’ll pray for her, she will push through. NO THEY WON’T ACTUALLY. Do you know the phrase “Happy Wife, Happy Life?” I think “Happy Mom, Happy Life” is more accurate. Because guess who raises the children, the future generation? Moms.

I know Dads…I’m not leaving you out. I know there are single dads out there and you are living this and raising those babies and you are wonderful. I salute you. But this is actually a lot about women. So I’ll save your life raft for a different day. 

So all of these tiny people, who will someday be the grown up people, are being raised by moms who are isolated, lonely, and drowning. How do you think it is going to work out? It isn’t. That is why I am writing this. Where there is no oxygen there is no life. Where there is no community there is no belonging. Where there is no hope, there is no tomorrow.

I do hope you go read Togetherness, because the context of this will make so much sense. But I really wanted you to have a visual so I am going to use Fern. Fern was sort of my adopted Grandmother for four years when we lived in Kansas. We moved to Kansas when I was 18 months old, and left when I was about four. So that right there should give you a lot of information. I AM 32 YEARS OLD AND I CAN STILL FEEL THE LOVE THAT FERN POURED INTO OUR FAMILY. Fern lived across the street from the United Methodist Church in Olsburg, Kansas. Every Sunday after Church (that I remember) we would have lunch and spend the afternoon with Fern. She made all the wonderful food, all the desserts. And there were little pieces of history all around her home. We would find a post card and she would share memories. We would find an old fan and she would tell me what dime store she bought it at. We were never a bother. We were like family. But the truth is, Fern didn’t know us from Adam really. All I know is that from the time I can remember that this woman treated us like we were her own. She loved us like Jesus in every way she possibly could, every chance she got. I come from a family with four sisters and we were about as sassy as they come. Let’s just say I KNOW my mom had her hands full. We had a farm, and my mom did lots of the farm work during the day while taking care of us wild girls. On Sunday though, this was her reprieve. She didn’t have to cook, she didn’t have to make sure we were staying out of trouble. She was able to sit with Fern and glean so much wisdom from her older years of mothering and living life that I have no doubt encouraged my mom.

Older and wiser women, please be like Fern. Please call up the young moms they know and ask how they are. Please invite them over for a meal sometime and hold their babies so they can eat while the food is still hot. Please come over and help her get unburied from the mountain of laundry that is her life. Please pour into her. Please be like Fern. I beg of you. Our generation of moms needs you more than you know!

Life isn’t like that now. We have become a society of isolation. We talk through screens instead of over tables. We order our groceries online instead of at the store. We no longer have grandmothers or aunts or sisters living at home with us. We each have our own homes where we stay, alone. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been asked to dinner in someones home in the last year. Since I wrote about togetherness though, I have been trying to be very intentional about changing this. I am constantly inviting friends over to do “life” with us. I planned a neighborhood ice-cream social and our elderly neighbors loved it. I even got a hand written thank you note, sent through the mail, even though she lives ten steps from me. I invite people to sit on my front porch when we are out front. But guess what, during this time it has become even more glaringly obvious how much young moms are drowning.

Derick and I were talking about this a few weeks ago and we saw a friend. He said, I saw her, she really needs support…we need to ask her over. I am so thankful that through many conversations and digging into a lot of scripture, he understands exactly what I am talking about and he sees these women! So why are they so lonely?

Master researcher Brené Brown says it like this:

We are all worthy of love and belonging. Love and belonging are irreducible needs of all men, women, and children. We’re hardwired for connection—it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The absence of love, belonging, and connection always leads to suffering.

Those who feel love and experience belonging don’t have better or easier lives, but in the midst of all these struggles, they have developed practices that enable them to hold on to the belief that they are worthy of love, belonging, and joy. A strong belief in our worthiness doesn’t just happen—it’s cultivated when we understand the guideposts as choices and daily practices.

You all, the younger generation of moms has lost their guideposts. Those daily practices and cultivation are few and far between. This means that an ENTIRE GENERATION of women feel like they do not have a place and are not even worthy of love. We have lost our hope. We have been isolated for so long, that we do not even feel like there is belonging out there. Do you get this? A generation of women who are raising up the next generation have no hope! This mindset is something that we can not just switch back on. You can tell a mom she is being prayed for and she is loved all you want—but until there is action and cultivation—here will be no hope, love, or belonging.

You can feed a mother’s children all day long, but if the child goes home and the mother doesn’t feel like she is loved or have belonging, there will be so many struggles and lots of suffering throughout that child’s upbringing. She cannot give love because she isn’t being poured into, lifted up, or encouraged. She wants to try to get out there and figure this out but she is so tired because she has no help, and all the while everyone is shouting, “BUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP, I SURVIVED AND SO WILL YOU!” Surviving? Is that really the state we want our mothers to be in? How about thriving? How about flourishing? How about feeling an overwhelming sense of love, community, and belonging?

So are we JUSTIFIED or “made right with God” if we just tell these women to have a blessed day, that we are praying for them? I want to let scripture speak for itself. But if you want to dig deeper into this, I highly recommend you listen to this sermon for the answer.

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;  and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. ” James 2: 14-26

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17 (emphasis mine.)

These moms with littles need the time, need the wisdom, and need the help. And older mamas, you need our energy, our passion, and our care at some point too. This doesn’t just go one way. I know that if you pour into a young mama, she is going to care for you when you need her.

Please be like Fern. Please do not miss the women who are drowning. Please take the first action step and ask how they need your help. Chances are she will ask for something real simple like holding a baby while she gets her first shower in four days. We need each other and we are missing out on so much for the glory of God if we do not cultivate these relationships.

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