I’m still reeling.
Even two days later, I have that buzz of excitement about me. That walking-on-air feeling.
Usually, after any fabulous trip or event, there is that feeling of euphoria. The ‘top of the mountain’ high. The “But Lord, it is GOOD to be here.” Coupled with the “Please. Please, don’t make me leave!”
Except, the strange thing is, I don’t mind being back home. I don’t mind one bit. Unlike when I was young and picked up from the Texas Hill Country after several weeks at summer camp, or after a total grown-up, get-away vacation, where we all trudge through the doorway and wish with all our hearts we were still where we were…. It’s not like that now. After these three days, spent with women from all over the country,
I think we all knew, whether we liked it or not, that the whole point was to go home.
Several beautiful women shared messages with us. And they gave us words that I’d like to tattoo to my heart. Words are powerful, ladies, and I thank you for yours:
As Marion shared, we need to remember and remember and remember again that we are not alone. We are able to go home and be free. To go home and love. Love unfailingly. The Church gives us the ultimate place of true, authentic freedom. So, we make our hearts large with thanksgiving for this Church we love so much, with all its vastness and freedom to be who we are as individuals, however our motherhood looks for us. And we have confidence that it is good and well-done.
As Haley shared, her bright red lips and tattoos shining – our motherhood does, in fact, change us. Let’s not pretend it shouldn’t. But it doesn’t wear us away to nothingness. It doesn’t rid us of anything but our worldliness, our sinfulness and selfishness. Our motherhood teaches us to love, and enables us to love outside ourselves in ways we never though possible. After all our worldliness and sinfulness falls away, we are left with our TRUE selves! That “me” the God has always intended us to be. From the very beginning.
As Jen shared, we have to realize and accept that what we do here as mothers is HARD. Freaking hard. That we might feel alone, or weird, or outcast, but we’re not. And even if we were, it is worth it. Because we are building cathedrals. Little solid masterpieces, stone by stone, stack by stack, mortar by mortar. We brush away the dust, we sit on the hard cold floor, alone, often, amidst the rubble of our attempts. But we are not building monuments to ourselves. We know that God sees. And that makes all the difference. We join with Him to make something beautiful for the world. Now we have a place, my sisters – invisible though it might be. We join together, wherever we are “with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. ‘The Invisible Woman” by Nicole Johnson
So, after years of thinking that maybe I’m the only one, even in a community full of fabulous women, I know that I’m not. I saw so many facets this weekend, and I know there are so many more of us who couldn’t be there. Different women, different paths to motherhood, different ways of living, working, loving, suffering. Women who sat quietly in the back with a soft grin across their lips. Women who rocked babies with that gentle bounce from foot to foot. Women swelling with new life within them, and women suffering infertility. The shy women, whose ideal evening was sitting in an armchair in the lobby making one new friend and the bold women who rocked the mic at karaoke and shredded the dance floor.
And whether you were there or not, it doesn’t really matter. Because the message was for all of us. It is good to be here, as Hallie reminded us when we arrived.Right here, in this hard, beautiful mess of a spot. God wants you right where you are. And He wants YOU, with all your desires and inspiration, your passions and gifts and thoughts. He doesn’t want you to pack way your ‘self’ so that you can be some cookie-cutter woman of the Church. Because in the Church of God’s heart, there are no cookie-cutter anythings. We are each created unique and unrepeatable. As individuals, as women, as mothers, as wives. So, live it up, ladies. You can be you and be holy. They are not at all at odds.
Whether we work or stay home, home school or public school, go organic or go drive-thru, nine children or infertile, aged twenty-one or sixty-one. No matter, this weekend, I think we all saw the true, beautiful, wide, wise face of motherhood in the Church.
And oh, how stunning she is. All the facets. A gem is all but nothing without its facets.
We shine, ladies. We shine.