I have four grandsons and they are all my favorites. The youngest, who just turned nine is a fiery little redhead who lives life at 200 percent and is uncannily wise.
Often Will will ask me to come and watch him building his latest architectural creation in Minecraft. He's rather good at design and creativity -- or in Grandmother speak: "Amazing!" He asks me for input and rolls his eyes when I want to add window boxes and shutters. But we do agree on the vegetable gardens and ponds. He's actually quite good.
The other day he had been working hard on his latest creation for quite a while and took a break to play his mouth organ (harmonica). He's just beginning, but has -- well, "flourish."
"So, how do you like my playing?" he asked.
"Well, in what way?" I responded.
"If one is terrible and ten is great, what number would you give me?"
I thought about this for a while, because clearly, he has a long way to go. "Five," I said!
He looked at me- at first surprised and then with a big smile.
"Thank you for being honest, Shosho." (Shosho is what my grandsons call me). "I'm glad you said five because that is about right. And it's the truth."
"And is that a surprise?" I asked.
"Well, you're my Shosho and I know you love me, but sometimes I think it's not the best that you always say I'm wonderful and what I do is amazing --because that's not really true. When I go to school and think I'm totally amazing but I see that my friends and other kids don't think so, I could be really confused and upset. I'm not great at everything, but sometimes you make me think I am. So it's better that you tell me the truth."
Yikes! I thought to myself. I'm 72 and he's nine, and he just nailed it. One important component of love is respect that thinks enough of the other to tell the truth. I must admit, I pondered this for a bit. He was right.
"You, know, Will," I said, "You are right, and I will try better to respect you enough to tell you the hard truth, even when it's hard. But I do have one caveat -- I can always play the Grandmother card when the situation calls for it. Because you are an amazing grandson."
"Shosho!!!" he said and rolled his eyes and hugged me.
I was recently asked to share some thoughts at a baby shower for a new mom who is unexpectedly beginning motherhood in the NICU. I love a good alliteration and so these 3 G’s came to mind as I reflected on motherhood as a fellow, former NICU mom:
GRIEF, GROAN, and GLORY.
No one anticipates motherhood beginning in the NICU. No woman dreams of being wheeled onto a unit, meeting a tiny child covered in tubes and lines, living inside a box. A mother dreams of holding her baby. Bonding. Feeding her baby. Lying her child in a crib. Having a baby shower BEFORE the birth of her baby.
Expectations and dreams of motherhood are often not realized until they are not met, and the sting of this is felt profoundly as you sit at a NICU bedside, holding back tears, trying to cope with the trauma you’re experiencing. Grief is real and wields its accompanying emotions at unexpected times and in unexpected ways.
Which leads me to a second G, GROAN.
Not only do we groan, but all of creation groans in this fallen world. Pregnancy complications and premature births are evidence that this world is not as it should be – evidence that we are eagerly awaiting a Savior to return and establish His Kingdom, ushering in the new order. The former things will pass away – sin, suffering, pain, and grief. No more tears. No more hospitals. No more IVs or ventilators. No more loneliness or mom guilt. And as you await that day, our coming King invites you to pour your tears out before Him. To know that in Christ you have access to groan before your Heavenly Father.
In your GRIEF and in your GROANING, there is the GLORY, my third G.
GLORY belongs to God, and one of the great mysteries of motherhood (and really all of life) is that God is glorified in and through the grief and groans of His people. God is glorified when we find our hope in Him as we suffer. And God is glorified when His people reflect His love for one another in community, coming alongside one another in joy and in sorrow.
May you know the Father’s love in the lonely, joyful, sad, uncertain, exciting, bittersweet moments to come in motherhood. Rejoice in the godly women who surround you and want to love you well. Invite them to come alongside you in motherhood… when you have much to celebrate, when you need tangible help, when you feel misunderstood and lonely, when a new milestone surprises you with joy and laughter, when an unexpected diagnosis is given…
Fellow NICU mom, our Father is sufficient for your grief and your groaning. To Him be the glory.
Can discipleship be simple? Yes! There’s been a lot of talk about discipleship lately at PCC, and I want to provide you with a simple “roadmap“ to have discipleship meetings with someone. Simple can be defined as “easily understood or done“ and “uncomplicated in form”. I know I am more likely to do something If I feel competent and confident in it, and simple is best. Also, something that is simple will more likely be reproduced by other people, therefore helping disciples to make other disciples. So, here is the roadmap. I didn’t create it; just the messenger.
Break the discipleship meeting into 3/3s in this order:
I truly hope this helps you to disciple others. This simple, biblical, and reproducible method has created many disciples around the world. I’d love to encourage you in this and pray for you and your disciples; please email me at email@example.com to connect.
Mary David is the pseudonym for a global worker from PCC. She enjoys spending time with her family, sharing the Gospel, and watching God work.
Here you can read perspectives on life, ministry and God's Word from a variety of PCC's female leaders.