Mother of all Mothers Book Review/Giveaway!!

You are the mother of all mothers

CONTEST CLOSED: CONGRATULATIONS TO CECILIA LONG!! Please email your shipping address to sgm dot shipping at gmail dot com
 

“You were chosen to be your child’s mother. Yes – chosen. And no one could parent your child better in life or in death than you do.” ~ Angela Miller, You are the Mother of all Mothers

I am so honored and excited to review this true work of art from my dear friend and fellow mama touched by grief and loss, the beautiful and talented, Angela Miller. This gorgeous, real, raw work of art that speaks to the core of a bereaved mother’s heart with love, truth, encouragement, and validation. Gorgeous art from thee Franchesca Cox, and amazing words from thee Angela from A Bed For My Heart .

I need to say something. I am a writer. I don’t take words lightly, and I’m quite particular about the use of words as I believe they are a form of art. Words that speak to your soul…words that give the nagging ache or the gaping wound a name…those kinds of words are my therapy. They always have been. I can barely process a feeling without putting the right word to the experience. It relieves me, the release. Words are healing and powerful, just as they can be damaging and destructive.

So, when Angela’s words began to woo me, something resonated in my weary depths. Yes. Speak it, sister…write it. Give this gift to the world around you. Watching her find the words…name the twisted agony of a grieving mother’s heart. Watching her process, pour out, filter through, and just say it…set a piece of me free.

I have begun to fall in love with Angela’s heart as she posts her piercing words from time to time, upon lovely graphics on the A Bed for My Heart Facebook.

I had not taken the time to read her gorgeous essay first published on Still Standing Magazine. The one that resonated as a communal outcry of validation from mothers worldwide, speaking truth into their darkness. Literal beauty rising from the ashes, before our eyes. Women looking through their tears on the computer screen, somehow less alone, if only for a moment, because someone…someone spoke the very words that counteracted the accusing lies in her face, rolling unworthiness and defeat around in her tattered, grief stricken mind, choking away the life. And, someone…someone knows. Someone speaking truth and hope, even while she sits in the pits of moments of her own utter despair.

She speaks truth to dispel the shame and excruciating guilt that cloaks a grieving mother. And, the judgment that often follows…

So wash your hands of any naysayers, betrayers, or those who sprinted in other direction when you needed them most. Wash your hands of the people who may have falsely judged you, ostracized you, or stigmatized you because of what happened to you. Wash your hands of anyone who has made you feel less than by questioning everything you did or didn’t do. Anyone whose words or looks have implied this was somehow your fault.” ~ You are the Mother of all Mothers, Angela Miller

She speaks aloud of the what ifs, the shoulda, couldas and if onlys that plague a grieving mother. She speaks against the lies that say, you failed as a mother. Because speaking it, naming it takes away its power.

Her words remind you, mama, clinging to the last thread of hope in the midst of a whole lot of broken…that “you were chosen to be your child’s mother”. Chosen. And, no one is more suited for the role than you…even in loss.

She speaks hope in the midst of grief. And, in reading her words…her gorgeous, hope-filled, truth-talking words, I find a kindred spirit. And, I believe you will too.

Because we want to share this gorgeous gift, we are giving away a copy of Angela’s book, You are the Mother of all Mothers here on this post!!! To enter, please comment about an aspect of grieving the loss of your baby where you could use some hope…something that was/is a struggle for you, or speak some words of your own hope that you wish to share, born from your journey. For extra entries share on Facebook or Twitter. And, please leave a separate comment for each entry to make counting easier.

If you don’t win…or you don’t want to wait, you can purchase this beautiful book here: http://abedformyheart.com/buy/

 

The Wounding Human Beings Inflict…and What to Do With all the Broken

We who wander on planet earth have all been wounded at some point by another human being. The deepest cuts, the ones that take the longest to heal, are from those we love. We all wound one another at some point. With our words, our actions, our indifference.

We all take the sacred gift one offers when she gives a piece of her heart, allowing another human being to tiptoe in, and inflict harm whether on purpose or inadvertently. Because we’re flawed. We speak from our broken places. We revisit our own wounds. We have moments of self-seeking, self-protection, self-preservation…that have nothing to do with loving one another.

People you barely know may speak words or exhibit behaviors that sting. Those closest to you, however, hold the sharpest weapons. They know your weak places. They know how to shoot an arrow so specifically to inflict the most damage. What is left behind…broken trust, broken hearts, broken fellowship. A whole lot of broken.

And from a spiritual standpoint, there is one who studies you and me…studies and waits for an opportune time, to whisper his accusations in the ear of the vessel doing the accusing…to divide…to destroy…to tear down what God is building up in us. And, in our hurt…we listen… to both the accusing vessel…and the reaction of the accused. We listen to the harmful words that tear down.

I’ve been wounded. And, I’ve done some wounding.

I think if we’re all honest, we’ve been on both sides of the battlefield. Those gifted with words can unleash the deadliest of insults. What does the scripture say about blessing out of one side of your mouth, and cursing with the other? We do it, as human beings.

Ironically this same tongue can be both an instrument of blessing to our Lord and Father and a weapon that hurls curses upon others who are created in God’s own image. 10 One mouth streams forth both blessings and curses. My brothers and sisters, this is not how it should be. 11 Does a spring gush crystal clear freshwater and moments later spurt out bitter salt water? ~ James 3:9-11 The Voice

And, when we’re wounded, we justify our reactions, lashing out like an animal in a cage, fighting back. Well…he hurt me. I have to protect myself. She let me down. I had every right. I’m not the one who threw the first verbal punch. At least I didn’t (fill in the blank).

I spent some time on my patio recently…something I haven’t done enough lately…indicative by recent failings to control my own tongue, my own reactions when backed into a corner dripping from wounds. On my patio, I received the kind of spanking a loving Father gives when His daughter’s heart is bent for a wayward path. Oswald Chambers is a good vessel for the truth-talking, no nonsense, lie dispelling necessary when one has spent way too much time listening to the accuser.

The wounds hurt. I won’t lie. They hurt and the words roll around in your mind long after they’ve been flung your way, piercing the outer layer…to the inner layer. But, that hurt is no excuse.

Because, we are called to die. Die to ourselves. Lay down our lives for a friend. Love dies to self. To the rights we think we have. To the justification we feel we’re due. To the need to speak our case, right the wrongs, claim our value.

It is humbling. It is excruciating. It is impossible without the prompting and empowering of the Holy Spirit. Especially when the words, the hurts inflicted…were soooo wrong. So unprovoked. Underserved.

I’m pretty sure the Savior I serve knows something about unprovoked, underserved wounds.

Humbling. Conviction.

So, when I brought my broken to the patio, my list of “look what so-and-so did to me, Dad” to my heavenly Father, in the ugliest of self-justified, victim-y whines, he answered with a gentle, life-giving, freeing spanking.

“From our Lord’s standpoint it does not matter whether I am defrauded or not; what does matter is that I do not defraud. Am I insisting on my rights? (In marriage, in friendship, with family, with children, at work)…or am I paying what I owe from Jesus Christ’s standpoint?”

“Do the thing quickly, bring yourself to judgment now, In moral and spiritual matters, you must do it at once; if you do not the inexorable process will begin to work. God is determined to have His child pure and clean and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will prevent none of the working of His spirit. Our insistence in proving that we are right is nearly always an indication that there has been some disobedience…
(ouch)
Agree with your adversary quickly. Have you suddenly turned a corner in any relationship and found that you had anger in your heart? Confess it quickly, quickly put it right before God, be reconciled to that one – do it now.”

As I typed those words from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, I am thinking of the one who has been repeatedly harmed or abused in dangerous ways. Neither I, nor God is commanding you in those cases to physically be reconciled (unless He works such a healing), but in your heart…in my heart…He is saying release that anger…forgive…be reconciled…in your own heart.

Forgiveness is a gift more for the one doing the forgiving. A healthy, freeing, healing release. For you. For the one laying it down, dying to self…even if you deserved so much more…and were not in any way deserving of such pain. If you cannot have restoration with the relationship (as is not always possible or best), you can still have healing in your own heart.

And, if it isn’t too late, if you haven’t spoken words that you can’t take back, lay it all down the next time someone you love spews the ugly your way. Lay it all down, first.

And, set yourself free.

For we all have our broken places…as Oswald Chambers reminds in another entry:
“There never has been a saint yet who did not have to live a maimed (broken) life to start with. But it is better to enter into life maimed and lovely in God’s sight than to be lovely in man’s sight and lame in God’s.”

He can always heal our broken places more completely than we can we strive to do so with our own devices. After all, He’s an expert at creating beauty from the broken.

Why Can’t You Just Get Past It?

“I don’t understand mothers who lose a child. Why can’t you just get past it?” People have whispered these words about me in conversation, especially in the early days after losing our babies, measuring grief “performance” by how much I spoke of my children or how easily tears came, or whether or not I was [...]

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Finding Purpose in the Pain

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I have walked with thousands of mothers over the course of the last decade. Mothers who have said goodbye to their sweet babies, who often, after the initial shock and devastation of grief, find themselves longing to mother…to birth something beautiful from the pain, to find the purpose in her child’s life…and through her loss. [...]

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Operation Support Sufficient Grace 2014

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Some beautiful, amazing support has been displayed during Operation Support Sufficient Grace 2014. Our last big fundraiser of this season is coming up, and we would love to see the outpouring of support continue for this organization. We do not take government grants or support, so our donations come mainly from individuals and some private [...]

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Grace Rebel

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I’m wondering how to speak these words tumbling and churning inside, begging for release. The trouble is, the conveying…the truly nailing it on the head with explanation. Lately, I’m feeling rebellious. And, by lately, I mean for several years now. These molds we try to force ourselves into. They aren’t fitting. Just like when we [...]

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A Grace Rebel’s Mother’s Day Survival List for Grieving Hearts

I’ve said it many times before, that expectations may be listed right up there with money as the “root of all evil”. Expectations, like those we have on “special days” set aside to honor us…birthdays, Mother’s Day…or holidays that really weren’t ever meant to honor us, but we’ve somehow claimed with our expectations…like Christmas and [...]

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What I Wish People Understood About Perinatal Hospice

We hear the words hospice, and often think, “the end” or “giving up”. The opposite is actually true. Hospice can be empowering and freeing, bringing comfort and even hope. It isn’t just about the end of life on this earth. It is about living every last moment, the way you choose. In the case of [...]

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Let it Go

Can’t sleep. In the wee hours of this morning, the words are begging for release. So, here I am. Last night, I watched the Disney movie, Frozen. Several parts spoke to me in the deep recesses of my heart, the places most often tucked safely away. When Elsa sings the words from “Let it Go”… [...]

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Live from (Corning), New York

I stepped off the plane, and noticed the hills, a contrast to the flatlands and cornfields back home. I thought it must be one of the most beautiful places on earth in the autumn, when the leaves on the trees peppering the hills are full of color. I was greeted at the airport by three adorable [...]

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