Some of my dearest mama friends gathered a few weeks ago to celebrate this new "mother journey" I am walking. As we anticipate the birth of our second girl, I realized I needed encouragement and the support of my friends more than gifts and shower games. Cori and Mary organized a "Mother Blessing" - a different kind of baby shower.
Of course, we indulged in some of the typical parts of a shower - or rather any party at the Gilmore House. The girls spoiled me with fabulous food: Amy's deluxe nachos, Mary's stuffed mushrooms, veggies & dip, spinach dip & pita and some decadent chocolate fondue for dessert. Yum-o for the pregnant belly!
Did I mention Giada is addicted to chocolate? Talk about cravings...
My friend Stacie, who is going to become a first-time mama later this year was also part of the festivities. She and her hubby, Forest, are adopting a baby from Ethiopia. (Stacie also happens to be one of Meilani's surrogate mamas or fave aunties.) Stacie walks this journey with me always offering her support of my decisions.
It was a privilege to share this day with my mom, Maria and my mother-in-law, Chris. My friend Amy who always inspires me with her fun-loving spirit and creativity also joined the party.
This party was also a chance to catch up with old friends like Beverly who I don't get to see that often. We usually get together with our kiddos and let them run wild together. What a treat to have some "just mama" time. Bev has taught me so much about flexibility and faith on the mother journey.
Both of my mothers started out the gathering by lighting candles and sharing a blessing for baby Giada. Mom Chris shared a story about how mothering is like building a house. Mom Maria also read some favorite passages from the Bible about love.
After the candle lighting, each of the mamas introduced themselves. Since these mamas represent many branches of my life, each one was asked to bring a special bead that somehow represented them or our friendship. Mary started out adding her bead to the necklace and relating how we became friends and have influenced each other.
My college roomie, Jen, even drove two hours from Escalon with her daughter, Ella, to bless me for birth number two. The mamas were asked to share a little blessing or poem or something to encourage me on the journey. Jen shared from a wonderful book called Great With Child by one of our professors from Calvin College.
Michelle Hansen (right), our pastor's wife and my mentor, prepared a devotional for the ladies. She read a story about motherhood and shared some of her joys and challenges of being a mother. One of the most memorable parts of what she shared was that each child is blessed with a story God is writing. As mothers we desire to take control of their stories but really we are called to join our children in their story for a short while and then we must release and let God continue His writing.
The Mother Blessing was a chance to celebrate some of the mamas I have been walking this pregnancy journey with as well. Jen Schultz is due two weeks before me and we have shared many of the day-to-day joys and challenges of pregnancy together as we both anticipate new baby girls. Cori is a few months behind me in her first pregnancy and she is my rock friend who always prays and gives me that shoulder to cry on in the journey. I can't wait for my Giada to meet and hang out with her Micah. (They'll only be a few months apart!)
Part of the gathering was a "foot washing" led by my mom. She talked about how mothering is often about serving our children, following Christ's model when he washed his disciples' feet. In pregnancy, I also have to learn how to let others serve and help me.
The Mother Blessing also was an opportunity to thank each mama for the ways they have influenced my life. There are many mothers in my life but these are the ones who have really poured into me. Some are mentors, others are friends. We pray for each other, hang out with our kids together and challenge each other along the way.
We had many rounds of food and some did bring gifts for baby Giada. Some brought "recycled" gifts - favorite clothing items from their own kids. Some brought practical gifts like diapers and jammies.
I really appreciated some of the handmade gifts like this wall painting for Giada's room, hand-stiched burp cloths and onesies, and even a beaded bracelet for me.
Meilani and Ella joined us at the end of the gathering to help open gifts, make us laugh and give hugs to all the mamas.
The Mother Blessing was a fun blessing for all the girls...
A poem shared at the Mother Blessing
A woman once fretted over the usefulness of her life.
She feared she was wasting her potential
being a devoted wife and mother. She wondered if
the time and energy she invested in her
husband and children would make a difference.
At times she got discouraged because so much
of what she did seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated.
"Is it worth it?" she often wondered. "Is there
something better that I could be doing with my time?"
It was during these moments of questioning that she heard
the still, small voice of her heavenly Father speak to her heart:
"You are a wife and mother because that is what I have
called you to be. Much of what you do is hidden from the public eye.
But I notice. Most of what you give is done without remuneration.
But I am your reward. Your husband cannot be the man I have called
him to be without your support. Your influence upon him is greater
than you think and more powerful than you will ever know. I bless
him through your service and honor him through your love. Your
children are precious to Me - even more precious than they are
to you. I have entrusted them to your care to raise for Me.
What you invest in them is an offering to Me.
"You may never be in the public spotlight.
But your obedience shines as a bright light before Me.
Remember, you are My servant. Do all to please Me."
"And whatsovever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that
of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."
Colossians 3:23, 24 KJV