It’s been a week of women in our house. My daughter was born on International Women’s Day and so we’ve celebrated her birthday this week, and of course it’ was Mothering Sunday yesterday. It was also yesterday that I finally got to announce my next training post which starts in July, and is a big move for the whole family. It means the end of an era living in this house. While our home, is a normal semi in a cul-de-sac in the middle of the suburbs, it’s been the place where the monumental occasions have happened for me and my husband.. namely becoming parents! I still remember walking into the living room one day, after forgetting for a split second about our eldest, and thinking ‘why is there a baby there!?’
It will be sad to wipe away the height chart and give away the toys and declutter their clothes and help them say their good byes. All part of mothering I guess, but seems like a rubbish part at times. I know I can do it, because my own mum has helped me so many times to get through difficult events or stages, and she is an amazing role model as a vicar herself. I know the pattern and lifestyle of vicaring, and I know the privileges and problems it brings. Not first hand but by watching and learning from her. I’ve seen her change into a poised, polished woman, who can turn on the sermon, when I know it’s not always how she feels inside. I’ve also seen her cope with really challenging situations at home and at work and I know she doesn’t think she did that well but she showed me how to battle on, in a christian way, which doesn’t count the cost. 25 years ago today the first women took the plunge and became ordained Anglican ministers!
My dad has had a stellar career and is an amazing, godly man. By the end of his career he was a world christian leader and in retirement has led voluntary organisations in York. Mum has often been in the sidelines, but somehow she didn’t hold onto that and when the opportunities have come up she’s been excited to join in God’s plans. Now in her 70’s she should perhaps be slowing down but really I don’t think she wants to, and while she’s often disappointed in the way the church behaves, (she was one of the first women to be ordained and faced awful prejudice) her enthusiasm for god is no less powerful today than it was when she first became a christian in her 20’s.
Whilst I’ve been training myself she’s been really interested to hear about the course but hasn’t tried to give any advice, and has been really supportive with childcare and practical help. Most of my life I have known she’d really like to tell me what to do, and is often biting her tongue! The biggest complement my dad ever pays me is ‘chip off the old block’ and I’ll take that, because she is amazing, not just to me but to my whole family, and we all love her madly.
Jesus also felt like a parent, wanting to help but waiting to be asked. In one part of the bible, we see him weeping for Jerusalem, wishing they would listen and not ignore him. In the Message version of the bible it says in Matthew 23 v37-39
‘How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me.’
I love this picture of God aching to embrace us, but waiting patiently for us to come to him instead. He feels upset we are ignoring him. This is an experience I have almost daily with my kids (for the third time… I’m going to count to 5 now…. I am leaving the house… )
So today I’m going to pray that I’m listening to God, accepting his love, and to reflect that to others, by being more patient that the people I love, will come to understand things more clearly and know God more dearly.