August 21, 2019
“…And Mary said, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah…and greeted Elizabeth…And Mary stayed with her about three months and then returned to her home.” Luke 1:38, 39, 56
And such was Mary’s rapid departure to meet with her beloved Elizabeth after her encounter with God’s messenger, the Angel Gabriel, who brought to her the most incredible news about the birth of her son. Scripture tells us that after Mary had responded to Gabriel with her promise of obedience and her acceptance of the will of her Heavenly Father, she went in a hurry to greet Elizabeth and to spend time with her. Mary knew and recognized that she needed the guidance, the counsel and the encouragement of the godly woman in her life…
This is the time of year when I am reminded of those “first” days of school. It seems like yesterday that I shopped with my son for the school supplies for his first day of pre-school. He loved the school supplies, but was far less enamored with the idea of school and of being required to sit in a desk inside a building. Our daughter, conversely, loved everything about the shopping, the supplies, and her first day of school! Our children obviously survived and prospered through those days but, what I vividly remember, is the impact that each one of their “first days” had on my life as their mother. No doubt, other moms had similar experiences. I clearly remember the “Sun glasses” disguise, even on the rainy days to hide the tears which flowed freely from the eyes of the mothers of first day preschoolers and kindergarten children.
There is nothing like the feeling of driving away from a campus, leaving the “little buddy” in the care of another. And then before we know, we are driving those young adults to the college campus of their choice, and leaving the “little buddy” in the care of another. Many of my dearest friends are gearing up to do just that…to make that long drive. And whether you travel across town, or across the country…it is the long drive.
These days are a universal phenomenon. As I experienced the first day of my youngest child’s school career, (yes, that would be Christie) I could not even tell her good-bye because she ran enthusiastically into the classroom, without looking back. Good for her, but I found myself desperately gravitating toward a group of women gathering outside the school building. They appeared to be as unsettled as I was; we stood together, totally unsure of our next step. We made casual conversation, some being honest about the escapades of the morning, others being artificially composed, until one very wise mom suggested that we might want to meet at a local restaurant to grab a cup of coffee, rather than stand outside in the parking lot on the hot August morning. And certainly there must have been rules about distraught mothers blocking the driveway of the school parking lot. My first thoughts were, coffee, oh no, I only do Diet Coke.
All was well because we each consoled one another and sat through breakfast until the 12:00 pick up time. Time truly flies when women are encouraging, nurturing and consoling each other…and, I learned to drink coffee that day by adding lots of cream and sugar. And the greatest results of our first meeting were the relationships formed on that morning, relationships which would last through the years of school, and home-schooling, and life…These were the Heart Hugs desperately needed, all over cups of some form of coffee!
Oh that’s right, Mary knew and recognized that she needed the guidance, the counsel and the encouragement of the godly woman in her life, perhaps they enjoyed a cup of coffee… And that day in the pre-school parking lot, we moms recognized the same need for Heart Hugs…
Heart Hugs are God’s Idea…
I am amused when science announces a major scientific revelation or discovery as though it was a new and original thought. A few years ago a study done at UCLA produced some shocking information concerning women and their need for other female relationships…friends, sisters, mothers…the whole female spectrum. The study determined that women handle stress differently than men and that women’s DNA is wired with the need for female relationships. It concluded that healthy female relationships directly affect women’s health and the stresses of life, longevity, quality of life, and productivity. I really do not think that anyone was surprised by these findings. In other words, God designed women to need the relationships of other godly women…so Mary hurried to Elizabeth…just as I hurried to the circle of women in the pre-school parking lot.
I often think about the relationship with my sweet mother…how much I have missed picking up the phone to call her for advice or to report a new family occurrence; as we know, there are no phone calls in Heaven… So the phone calls from my daughter and my daughter-in-law, are absolute treasures as they share some of their children’s firsts with me…as they share life with me! How, I love the relationship with Christie, Claire, and their daughters, my sisters-in-law, my mother-in-law, and the friends God has brought into my life. Life is just sweeter…better…more fulfilling…more entertaining…and yes, sometimes, more dramatic…but I cannot imagine the void in my life without my family and friends.
As this summer comes to an end, use this time as an opportunity to connect with and to reach into other women’s lives. May I share something I have learned over the decades? When God closes a door, or a season of life, it is His way of lovingly, gently moving us into our next season or destination on our life journey. There were many times, when left to my own accord, I would not have had the courage to pull the door closed behind me, then, to open a new door in front of me…and to let go of the little hand in mine…So, our loving Heavenly Father walks with us pulling a door closed, as He reaches forward to open the next door…the next season, which will be filled with new friends, new opportunities for you and for your children. Remember, just as He walks with each one of us…He is walking with our little ones, our precious ones…in preschool, kindergarten…in college…and beyond.
As we encounter the “firsts” in life, a new marriage, the birth of a child, the first day of school, the ‘first’- last day of school…may we always meet with our Heavenly Father and encounter Him, then may we embrace the people He has placed in our lives…May we encourage one another, nurture, teach and love one another…Remember friends, we need one another as we step into new doors, new seasons… Keep making those phone calls, sending emails, sending texts, having coffee, meeting for lunch, praying
for one another…laughing and crying together, doing life together.
As my oldest granddaughter recently experienced her first day of fourth grade, two of our grands, their first day of second grade, two of kindergarten, and the youngest marched through the doors of pre-school, many of you will experience life’s “firsts, seconds, or thirds”…new doors, new friends, new places… May we always remember that “Heart Hugs” are Sunshine for the Soul and can be shared by doing life together…over a cup of coffee, or whatever…
Hugs and Abundant Joy,