Setting Back Time (literally), Cake Batter Disasters, and Other Mother’s Day Musings

How soon it was, after we moved to Canada, that my parents bought that old daisy clock for our kitchen, I don’t recall, but I was enthralled by it. In my little mind it was the prettiest thing on earth, just like the real daisies outside. I would have one just like it when I was all grown up. Mom liked it too. So much so that when it stopped working, sometime around my late preteens, she set out to fix it.  There was also the little issue of not having money for frivolous things so what Red Green’a duct tape couldn’t fix, my parents found a way to redeem. Whether it was lack of finances or love for the clock, now useless, mom took it upon herself to fix it.  She pulled it apart, every little piece, and put it back together again. And, sure enough, it ran again.  Backwards. We kids laughed and joked about that for a long time.

Now, at 47, I look at the picture of that daisy clock and think to myself, if but for a moment, how I’d like to take the ‘clock of my life’ apart and put it back together differently. Maybe go back and do some things differently with a second shot at it. Especially as a mom. That’s me and almost every other mom, with presumably a few exceptions.

Not because of Mother’s Day, but just because of mothering and humanity, this topic has toyed with my mind more than enough lately. My failures stare me in the eye, time and time again, and more so with age. I see who my children have become and are becoming and I am amazed by God’s goodness in spite of my failures, but the awareness of generational sins, cycles and dysfunction are pretty glaring at this stage. So, yes, if I could pull down the old daisy clock, reset it, and go back with all that I’ve learned and…

Truth told, Adam and Eve would eat the apple again, and I would fail as a parent again. And we mothers would look back with regrets, losses, and wonder how God will ever redeem the impact of our generation, and the generation before us. Somehow he just would. Because God is amazing that way.

So that old daisy clock, which looks much less appealing today than it did then, can keep moving forward and I will choose to trust God to be enough for this generation and the next, even as He continues to redeem our generation and the ones before us.

And I’ll take a step back and look at the messy parts with new hope. More like that cake mom made when I was around 8 years old. The old yellow bowl was filled with batter and mom stirred enthusiastically, trying to beat out every lump. (So help us God if cake should ever have a lump in it…) And just like that, having been a bit too enthusiastic, she sent the bowl flying and chocolate batter spread everywhere on the counter, running down the counter and onto the floor. The bulk of it stayed on the counter, fortunately. We were not wealthy by any means, and wasting a cake would never do! So, after much fussing and gasping and exclaiming – while her children watched in humour – mom scraped the batter from the counter back into the bowl, cleaned up the rest of the mess, and baked a lovely cake for us. We kids who witnessed it, and those who heard the story, laughed many times over that moment.

Life is hard. Really hard, sometimes. And we moms have a habit of beating ourselves up pretty good. We look at our failures and see only the batter running down the cupboard and the mess on the floor. We forget that the bowl with batter running down it’s sides still has much in it to give, and what is spilled on the counter, God will redeem and make something beautiful out of it. The spills, He will wipe up.

Mother’s Day is the hardest for me to blog about, or write about, and I pretty much never speak publicly about my mom. There are so many unanswered questions, so many pains left in limbo, so much loss that I must give to God constantly, that it would be easier to look the other way. That is true in my relationship with my mom, and it is true in my own journey as a mom. And I’m not alone. I hear story, after story after story. I’ve chosen to forgive even where the story has never been acknowledged. When I see mom I hug her and tell her I love her, but my arms feel empty even as they are wrapped around her, knowing some things have never been and will likely never be.  Mom is old now, and because she is still living, I carry the story quietly within me out of respect. It’s something I did for dad, and it’s something I will do for mom. And when she is gone, I will speak, but I will speak respectfully as I have about dad. I bless her as she lives out her remaining days, months, years, and possibly decades (in fact probably decades… she’s pretty stubborn, or determined, depending on point of view). And I trust she has made peace with her God. I hear it in her, and bless her. But there are scars that cannot be addressed. So I trust God to wipe up the spills, scrape up the batter that remains, and make something beautiful.

This Mother’s Day, if you grieve for whatever reason, I pray for you. If you are the mom who failed and feels beyond redemption… If you are the mom who never had babies, or lost them all, or lost any… If you are the mom who is unappreciated, abandoned, or used and abused… If you are the mom who is in the thick of the mess of those early years, or struggling through difficult teen years (not all are, but some are)… If you are daughter or son who is estranged, rejected, or manipulated and repeatedly wounded… This day you are worth being celebrated.

And, this Mother’s Day,  if you are the mom whose life is idyllic, beautiful and ‘perfect’…. You are worth being celebrated.

Motherhood is a beautiful thing, made up of more joy and more pain than any human can possibly imagine exists in this world. Nothing has made the miracle of God and the wonder of spiritual life more real than motherhood. Nothing has broken my heart in deeper places. And nothing has caused me to reach out to Someone greater and say, “I need You. We need You!” And I trust that Someone with my life, my children, my mother and our intertwined stories, to bring something beautiful out of all things.

Happy Mother’s Day!

With Love, 
Trudy

 

© Trudy Metzger 2017

Have a Real Mother’s Day!

Holidays and special days are a funny thing. We run around saying the ‘right’ words for the occasion without much thought for the other person, unless we know them well. Cheerfully we greet women with a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’, if they have children, at church, at the grocery store, or just about anywhere we see them.

I think about this every Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. But, with today being Mother’s Day, I will focus on Mothers. Some of us are blessed with good relationships with our mothers or children, some of us struggle through broken or dysfunctional ones, some have been completely abandoned and rejected, and some are a blend. How does a chipper ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ greeting even begin to honour every mother?

In this stage of life I feel blessed to have a communicating relationship with my mother. For years it was virtually non-existent. And the scars and aftermath of the first fifteen years of my life–the years before I left home–remain, but have healed over and now remind me of God’s grace. What was lost then has not been fully restored, but God has redeemed it in my life. And I am blessed with five children who will be home for brunch today, and a mother-in-law whom I’ve grown to love deeply over the years, who will also be here later. These years are blessed and Happy Mother’s Day fits. It is, just that. Not perfect, but happy. And ‘blessed’, by the way, means happy or filled with joy.

It isn’t that because I have been a perfect mom. Not one of us is. Though it can seem like some are, and it’s easy to look around and start comparing with a friend who is ‘the perfect mom’, or judge ourselves or our mothers harshly for failures. But not of us are perfect, and we never will be. We vow to be better than the generation before us, and in our zeal we ‘perfect’ one area, while missing another, and we still fall short of becoming that perfect mother we want to become. Still, we are blessed if we have children, and have a relationship at all.

Today is Mother’s Day. And there are women–many who are my friends or family–who woke up this morning with deep dread and pain, because today is not their day. They have prayed and wept, like Hannah of the Bible, for an infant to be conceived in their womb, but the prayers seem to have a rubber coating, as they bounce off ceilings and echo from wall to wall. Disregarded. Ignored. Forgotten. That is how it feels to the ‘mother at heart’ who sits in the rocking chair of her early dreams, with empty arms. No child to hold. No grandchildren to dream of. This pain is real and it runs deep.

So this Mother’s Day I challenge myself and others to be mindful of those in places of grief. Don’t stop celebrating what is right and good and beautiful; wish mom’s a Happy Mother’s Day or some other blessing. But take a moment to say a word of encouragement to the mom whose child has passed away, or whose children won’t acknowledge her today, or the one whose children are but a dream in her heart. Bless the one who fosters or ‘adopts’–legally or emotionally–the abandoned children and gives them a place in her heart.

Today is a beautiful day. It is a sunny, warm Mother’s Day here in Ontario, and it couldn’t be more gorgeous! I pray that the One who made this day, and who gave us the honour of birthing children and raising them, will meet you, every one in your personal inner struggle or celebration, and lift you up, encourage and bless you. For those trying to conceive, I pray that God will grant you the desires of your heart, and fill your arms with a child. It is a good and beautiful thing, and a God-given desire. To those who are lonely and abandoned–whether mothers, or children longing for their mothers–I pray that God will fill your hearts with His love and grace. To those who have lost their mothers, and to those mothers who have laid their children to rest, I pray God will comfort you in your tears and sorrow.

Today is a beautiful day. It is sunny and warm, and couldn’t be more gorgeous. But even beautiful days welcome tears, grief and sorrow, in the midst of laughter all around you, when that is where your heart is. Whether it is a day of laughter or tears, or a blend of the two, I wish you God’s blessing! You are valued, you are loved!

 

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

 

When Mother’s Day Hurts So Much That God Cries

I opened my eyes, trying to shake the image of my son, lying on the ground, badly wounded from the explosion. He was unresponsive, almost lifeless, his breathing shallow.

The feeling of helplessness and agony that overwhelmed me, flooded back. I felt weak, nauseous. Willing the images to leave my mind, I sat up in bed.

What a way to start the day, and not just any day. The nightmare that woke me up, early Mother’s Day morning, started with numerous car crashes. Some family members were wounded, others killed. It ended with a massive explosion that nearly killed our son. It held no obvious meaning, and served only to torment my heart…

In church, a few hours later, we had communion. Jesus. Broken. Bleeding. Wounded…. for me. A Son who suffered and died, with purpose.

The nightmare flashed through my mind again. I thought of Mary. It was her son too, who hung on that cross.

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I put my head on Tim’s shoulder, and big tears splashed all over his shirt. I didn’t sob, but the tears kept splashing down on him. He saw the water spots, looked at me, and I smiled past the mess I was, willing myself to shut off the intense emotion, and that picture. I had told him the nightmare earlier…

“Dumb nightmare,” I whispered quietly, almost giggling with confused emotion, feeling a bit foolish that something not real could impact me so profoundly. 

Tim’s eyes held compassion and understanding. He is my safe place, here, on earth, no matter what the pain, the battle, the emotion. A true rock, he seems unmoved, though not untouched, by who I am.

I thought of all the mothers sitting in church that morning, or at their tables, with breaking hearts and brave faces. Maybe I was crying for them, because their tears were stopped. It wasn’t really about that horrible scene in my nightmare, I knew that.

Or maybe it was for the mothers still in bed, unable to get up, because of grief…

Or maybe it was for Mrs. Bosma, whose son Tim was taken from his young wife and little daughter… and for Sharlene Bosma, who didn’t have a husband’s shoulder to cry on this Mother’s Day, because of evil… pure evil… committed against her, against them as a family.

My nightmare ended when I awakened. But their nightmare continues, broken, and inconclusive. And I stop writing, to pray, because my heart aches for them. It aches for strangers I have never met, and yet, because I am a mother, and a wife, and a daughter, I feel it deeply. And because, through Tim’s work, I know of people connected to Tim’s family. And somehow that makes it more real.

It’s not the movies, it’s not a news report. It’s broken hearts, carelessly scattered for the world to see, by men with evil plans…. plans to hurt, to harm and to bring pain.

The reality of that evil hits me with a powerful force, like water from a filthy river, knocking the wind of hope from me, for a moment, as I contemplate that evil, and all the suffering mothers.

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The words of a wise man, depressed by life, go through my mind… What meaning is there in life… what new thing to look forward to? What has been, will be again, what has been done, will be done again… (Ecclesiastes 1)

And it seems that’s just how it is, and has been, since Abel disappeared, soon after the Garden. The first ‘missing person’ ever reported, when God came to question Cain, and it seems the evil has escalated and multiplied since then, knowing no boundaries, going from sibling rivalry to taking captive an innocent man like, Tim Bosma, with no apparent motive. And the mind can hardly grasp it, when the innocent suffer like that, simply for trusting.

But then I remember again, the Son whose mother stood at the cross, weeping and grieving at His innocent death. I see His body, again, mangled for the love of us, and bleeding hope all over place on that ugly hill. The Hill of Death–Gogatha, the place of the skull–and that hope flows like a river.

It runs down that wicked hill, and keeps flowing until it covers the earth, and fills the dead with its life, wherever it is received. (Ezekiel 47:1-12) And the skeletons and the dry bones, and the corpses of empty existence dip in that river, and they begin to dance, and run. They sing like never before because Hope has touched them…

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It is then I realize that my tears come from deep within my spirit, forming a prayer–in a place so deep I cannot express it. A place where words are lost, and only tears speak the language of that place…

And I think maybe they are God’s tears, flowing from my body, showing His heart of compassion. Weeping, not for His Son on the cross–because His Son conquered the cross, conquered death… hell… and the grave. His Son rose again.

It is His tears for His children, who are touched by evil. His tears, for us, because of the consequence of sin. His tears for me, waking from the horrible nightmare and having to see my son like that. His tears for Mrs. Bosma, and Sharlene and her daughter, whose nightmares go on and on…

His tears, falling, and splashing His love and compassion all over us, because He came–Emmanuel, God with us–to suffer, to grieve, to understand the worst of pains that a human can suffer.

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Being God, He suffered the grief of watching His Son brutalized. And being Jesus, He suffered the beating, the captivity, and the cross. All this, to understand our sorrow…

So this Mother’s Day weekend–yes, even on Monday, the day after Mother’s Day, because your grief continues–if your mother-heart breaks for any reason at all, my thoughts, my prayers and my tears are with you.

Especially with you, Sharlene and your little princess… and Mrs. Bosma and your family. This evil thing you have suffered should never have happened…

…God’s tears are with you…

Our prayers continue for Tim Bosma’s safe return. And, when you look back on this part of your story, we pray you will see only one set of Footprints, knowing that God carried you through this time.

© Trudy Metzger

Return to: Abigail’s Story Part One

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Pre-Mother’s Day Rant: Femininity & Over-Sexualized Culture

The Thursday night pre-Mother’s-Day “Girls Night Out” sale at Marks Work Wear House proved to be a worthwhile, but crazy experience.

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I headed out at noon, with plans to shop early, and get it over with. I don’t love shopping so much these days. It’s a necessity, not therapy, or pleasure or addiction. It’s what must be done. That ‘mission to be accomplished’ feeling makes crowds in stores more stressful, and shopping less fun. I would avoid that, going early.

I arrived at the store and, sure enough, it was busy, but not insane. That was great until I discovered the ‘additional 20%’ discount doesn’t start until evening. There I was, with a few summer tops and scarves. Twenty percent is a big deal, so I decided I’d return later. But before I left, I tended to one little matter….

There was one sweater on sale, in white, but not available in my size. I knew I’d get a lot of use out of–presuming it doesn’t get a stain… I avoid white unless it’s bleachable–so I had the kind cashier call the other stores to see if they had one my size.

She directed me to another store in Kitchener, where they would hold one with my name on it. I made my way to the store, about ten minutes away…

At the store, the cashier looked confused. There was no sweater on hold. I explained where I had come from, that the other store had called and confirmed, and it should be there. One cashier remembered the call, but said he told them there is none. Still, they checked again. I waited.

The cashier returned. Still no sweater. She would call all the other stores, she said, and find out who it was that had one. They called. Again I waited.

Apologetically she explained that there were no sweaters locally. Far away there might be one, but not close by. Sorry, she said, looking quite worried.

It’s okay, I told her. These things happen. It’s life.

She looked relieved, giggled and sighed, “Wow! I thought you’d be more angry. You’re not even upset. I thought you’d be mad.” She handed me a card. An additional 20% off of any purchases, store wide.

I thanked her, and left. An additional 20%, meant 40% off my purchases, some of which were already marked down by 30%. That’s 70%. I slipped it into my wallet and returned home.

At 8:00pm I slipped back to the store where my items were on hold. I asked the gentleman for my ‘Hold’ items, then joined the long line up. Very, very long line up. People inched forward. Slowly. I waited, patiently, quietly.

A woman up ahead, with a table set up, and prizes to give away, caught my eye. She smiled. I recognized her, and waved.

When I was near enough to her, we chatted. Chatting makes time move faster and the line seems to move less slowly. We talked about stuff like shopping, and work.

Speaking of work, I started a part-time job a while ago–just over a month now, actually–so I told her about that. I am a server, at the Drayton Chop House, a few nights a week. It’s a lot of fun, I said. The best is when it’s busy, and we’re run off our feet.

I have fun with it, I told her, and it helps customers relax.  And when customers like you, and they tip well, it makes you feel good, like you really earned your wage. Even when you make mistakes, if you own it, and take it in stride, it doesn’t make them upset, or when you say things and stick your foot in your mouth, and you laugh at yourself, they like it. Live entertainment, why not? Then the tips get even better, I told her playfully.

She leaned in close then, and whispered something, with a giggle. I missed what she said and asked her to repeat it.

“Do you have a good push up bra?” she whispered a bit louder. I could feel my eyebrows furrow, not connecting the dots. I stared blankly at her for a moment. She giggled again, and continued, out loud this time, “You’ll make better tips.”

“I’m not stooping to that!” I said, then continued, enthusiastically, “I’m happy with my tips!!”

A woman, presumably in her sixties, stopped shopping to stare at me, as if I had said something terrible, and it was at that moment I realized…

“I didn’t say that,” I said out loud. “And I’m still not stooping to doing things for tips,” I added. “That’s messed up.”

“It’s the way it is,” she said.

The line moved past the stand. I had filled out my ballot, dropped it in. But my mind was on our conversation, and the little tip on tips she had given.

I understand that we are sexual creatures. I understand that men are visual, at least that is how we’ve stereotyped them, and women are curvy and appealing. And, yes, I even believe in dressing to compliment the body God gave me. (A body that has changed noticeably over the years…)

But to use my body, to try to get better money…  I find every part of that offensive and degrading.

Why would I want to prostitute myself that way?

When I go out for dinner, if a server–male or female–is polite, kind and helpful, even if he or she makes mistakes, I tip generously. I know what it is like to make mistakes. We’re all human. And as long as the server takes responsibility–say for the lipstick on the glass, when I am not wearing any, or any such thing–it doesn’t influence my generosity. But neither does their gender, their age, or their looks. Not in any way.

I want to be treated with respect, and that is the respect I try to give. And that is my rant about that…

Our world is over-sexualized, and I’m committed to not playing the game. Feminine beauty is a thing of the heart, not the body. We are sexual creatures, but we don’t need to let ourselves be sexualized by culture and society, or become sexualized within our own minds.

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I am more ‘matronly’ today than I was 45 pounds ago, before I gave birth to five children and survived a massive heart attack. But my heart has become more beautiful as the Spirit of God has healed, defined and delivered me.

Not long ago, Tim and I stood in the kitchen, and it struck me how much we’ve both changed, physically. I put my arms around him, giggled and said, “Isn’t it great to be middle-aged, chubby, and in love?”

And, yes, almost twenty years into marriage, we are crazier about each other than we were back when our bodies seemed near perfect, in size and in function. Now, here we are, with creaky knees, and various other malfunctions, in a deeply committed love relationship, enjoying our marriage more than ever, in every way. There’s more to life than this body…

Today I celebrate the beauty of femininity–curves and rolls and all, with or without push up bras–and thank God for our purpose and design; made in His image, to reflect His heart to the world.

Embrace who you are–the woman God created you to be–and celebrate the unique wonder of you, fearfully and wonderfully created.

Happy Mother’s Day!

© Trudy Metzger

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