Heart Hugs

August 12, 2013

“…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.

Heart Hugs

As parents and children prepare for school to resume, 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 of school, but what I also 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. Even on the rainy first days of school, I grew to expect the “Sun glasses” disguise…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.

This seems to be a universal phenomenon! As I experienced the first day of my youngest child’s school career, I could not 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 and as we stood together, totally unsure about the next step…We made casual conversation, some being honest about the escapades of the morning, others being artificially composed…until a mother 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…since my diet coke just did not do the job. And the greatest result of our first meeting was that relationships were formed on that morning that would last through the years of school, and home-schooling, and life…These were the Heart Hugs desperately needed, all over a cup of some form of coffee!

Mary knew and recognized that she needed the guidance, the counsel and the encouragement of the godly woman in her life. And that day in the pre-school parking lot, we moms recognized the same need…Heart Hugs…

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. At least we now know that there is scientific evidence!

Or, 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. Husbands as wonderful as they are cannot fulfill certain emotional needs in their wives…

I have enjoyed watching my daughter-in-love, Claire, and her relationships with her four sisters, her mother, her grandmothers, and other extended family members. The female relationships in their family have provided encouragement, knowledge, experience, wisdom, and entertainment, and life, always resolved by unconditional love!

I remember my 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…since there are no phone calls in Heaven. The phone calls from my daughter are absolute treasures as she shares some of her daughter’s firsts with me…

How, I love the relationship with my daughter, Christie, my daughter-in-law, Claire, and their daughters, and my sisters-in-law and my mother-in-law. Life is just sweeter…better…more fulfilling…more entertaining…and yes, sometimes, more dramatic…but I cannot imagine the void in my life without this female family and my dear friends whom God has brought as we see each other through life…

And to my friends and family, I have learned that when one of these beautiful women in our lives is taken from us…to go to Heaven, or to move to another location, or from life circumstances, we must seek new relationships! If we will be faithful to respond to others from the depth of our own needs, it is amazing what God can do! I have a young friend who, in a short period of time, lost her mother and her sister. These losses have been devastating. However, she has chosen to trust God and to reach out to other women and to allow new relationships into her life. She is a newly-wed and I know that there are many times when she would love to pick up the phone and make that call to her mom or her sister…And by God’s grace, she makes a call or sends a text to her new friends. They certainly are not substitutes for her loved ones…but they are relationships that are conducive to the way our Mighty and Amazing God has wired her! And she courageously keeps reaching out. I know because I have been the recipient of her friendliness and her transparency. She blesses my life.

Keep making those phone calls, sending emails, sending texts, having coffee, meeting for lunch…praying for each other…laughing and crying together, doing life together.

I often think about Mary and her incredible faith and courage. She believed her God and she chose to honor Him, to obey Him, and to trust Him. She first encountered Him…then she embraced the people God had brought into her life. She hurried to Elizabeth and spent time with her and trusted her, before returning to the life that God had planned for her.

As we encounter the “firsts” in life, a new marriage, the birth of a first child, the first 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…(Titus 2:3-5)

Next week, when my granddaughter experiences her first day of preschool, and many of you have life “firsts, seconds, or thirds”… May we always remember that “Heart Hugs” can be shared by doing life together…

And always over a cup of coffee, or whatever…

Hugs and Abundant Joy,

deborah signatuer copy