Celebrating Mamas

Can I tell you a secret?

I am in awe of mothers.

The hand-holding, brow-wiping, life-changing women of the world.

{all the images I create are yours to use, enjoy and share however you’d like}

I love how mothers create, bring life into the world, nourish souls, tie the shoelaces of the future.

I love how they wrestle about where to send kids to school, and what to get for Christmas, and how to take the seed of a life and grow it into strong, tall faith.

I love the way they laugh about too much poop and mountains of laundry and the beautiful chaos that they somehow keep spinning in orbit.

I love how time etches memories across their faces, like little lines in an extraordinary story, and the way their eyes light up when someday someone calls them, “Grandma.”

I love how they throw their arm in front of you at a sudden stop in the car even if you’re not their child, even when their hair is silver, even when nursing and diapers feel like so many moons ago.

I love how even women without children {I’m one} somehow feel the need to nurture, to grow, to pour themselves into the next generation like so much water that just never stops. Mothers of the heart if not the body.

I don’t know where you are this morning but I wish I could cup your face in my hands and whisper this, “You are a good mother. You are making a difference. You are beautiful.”

Then I’d drop my hands and smile at you. And in a moment you’d be busy again doing what you do and I’d watch the miracle.

The miracle of motherhood.

The ordinary-extraordinary.

The divine with a little dirt under its nails.

Jill Churchill said: “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”

And with all of you mother-wonders out there?

I don’t think I’ll ever stop counting.

DaySpring Mother's Day by Holley Gerth

Happy Mama’s Day!

XOXO

Holley Gerth

p.s. In case you missed it…I’m celebrating Mother’s Day for the first time this year.  And my adopted daughter Lovelle wrote a post too.

SurprisedbyMotherhood_3D_400x480Whether you are a mother, have a mother or know a mother…you need to read the words on the pages of Surprised by Motherhood, a new book by Lisa-Jo Baker. You and the women in your life will laugh, cry and be encouraged too. This is one of my favorite books ever. And Lisa-Jo is giving away two copies for Mother’s Day to you! Just leave a comment by midnight CST on Thursday and you’ll be entered. And there’s still time to send the e-book version to a Mama in your life today!

 

* I’m taking an online break until May 21 to be with family! We will still have the Coffee for Your Heart link-up on Wednesday and my friend Jennifer Watson will be your fabulous hostess. *

What You Can Do with that Gift You Didn’t Want

Gift by Droid Gingerbread

You look at the pretty package in front of you. You undo the bow with care. You lift the lid with anticipation and…

It’s a neon orange reindeer sweater with blinking antlers!

Yessss. Just what you always wanted. Or not. Ladies, we know what to do when this happens to us. We return, regift, repurpose. But when it comes to the words our hearts get from others we’re not quite as quick to do so. So let’s change that this Christmas and new year.

Picture this: You look around the room and see familiar faces. You walk into a conversation with care. You open your ears with anticipation and…

Words are directed at you from someone that are not what you wanted at all.

Maybe they’re said with good intentions. Or maybe they’re spoken to intentionally get to you. Maybe they just sound like they should have been said to someone else. No matter the motive, we still tend to receive those words and carry them around in our hearts. But, Friends, words are gifts too and just like the reindeer sweater you can choose what you do with them:

Regift: Maybe the words offered you an opportunity that just isn’t a fit for you but someone else would love. Just think, “My friend loves orange and taking care of thousands of two year olds. I can tell her about volunteering in the nursery and the kids will love this sweather.”

Repurpose: Those words might have been intended as a back-handed criticism but you can get your creative self in gear and switch them around. Great Aunt Sandra says, “I knitted this in orange for you because it reminds me of that time you spent in prison.” And you twist that right around and say, “God has brought me a long way! Woo-hoo!” And then you cut that sweater into a million pieces and make it into a wreath.

Return: Some words do not even deserve a place in your life for a minute. So you can just picture yourself marching them back to the counter of where that person probably got them {um, the devil}. Tell your heart, “You do not have to accept that today.” Then give yourself some truth instead.

You may not be able to control what you’re given in life. But you can decide what your heart will keep. And that makes all the difference. The reindeer sweater doesn’t have to gather dust in the corner of your closet for the next ten years. And the words others try to give you don’t have to hang around in the corners of your heart either. No, ma’am.

Give encouraging words.

Receive encouraging words.

And no matter how much you’re tempted…no neon orange reindeer sweaters this year.

Deal?

XOXO

Holley Gerth

photo by Droid Gingerbread

You Can Grow No Matter What

Branch Photo by D Sharon Pruitt

Gary Oliver knows what it’s like to face hard times. In the past few years he has lost his wife to cancer, his son to a tragedy, and personally battled cancer several times. So when he stands in front of a group to speak, people listen. When he does open his mouth to share with the audience he talks not about his troubles but about finding the joy in them. Remarkable.

And then he says something that makes me want to stand up and cheer: “Growth is God’s love language.”

So if you’re not sure what to do about whatever you’re facing today, just find one small way to help growth happen in your life. Let your faith get a little bigger. Your heart a little stronger. Your mind a little wiser. Your relationships a little deeper. Your joy a little more resilient.

Because when you choose growth, you choose life. You say, “I’m not giving in or giving up.” You take back what the enemy of your heart tries to steal from you. What matters most is not that you keep going but that you keep growing.

Bit by bit. Little by little.

Gary freely admits that he’s had many tough days and shed many tears along his journey. But somehow he’s turned those tears into something that waters what God is growing in his life. And with all he’s been through, that gives me hope that the rest of us can too.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

 

p.s. You can hear Gary’s message here. 80% of his tongue was removed because of cancer and replaced with tissue from his leg. The doctors told him he would never speak again. Well, he and God proved them wrong. :)