More than any other group to which I’m privileged to belong, you all are my community, my online family, my tribe. Your comments, engagement, love, and support refuel my spirit when I’m running on empty. Please know how much I appreciate you!
Those of you who join me here on the “Ridge” each week know that since early August I’ve been writing from Massachusetts instead of North Carolina. I am overjoyed to share with you that our sixth grandchild, Jane Lucy Rowe, was born full-term at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston the evening of Thursday, August 12.
Her birth-against-all-odds echoes the meaning of her first name: “God is gracious.” Janie arrived just a few hours after a butterfly – also a beautiful girl – emerged from her chrysalis here at our son’s home to the great delight of siblings Truman, 4, and Elin, 2. The butterfly has become a powerful metaphor for me in recent months.
Mike and I are here caring for our grandchildren while baby Jane has been hospitalized the past three weeks following cardiac surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital. The details of her journey to birth and her ongoing medical story are not mine to share with you. I hope one day Janie can share them herself. I can only tell you that our entire family very much covets your prayers for her as there is yet no end-date in sight for her to come home.
As for ministry, I will be able to keep my commitment (#vaccinated), to speak at three consecutive women’s retreats at Berea Conference Center in Hebron, NH, the weekends of 9/10-12, 17-19, and 24-26. In God’s great providence, Berea is only a 90-minute drive from our son’s home, so I can continue to help out on weekdays as needed.
Like me, you’ve almost certainly experienced situations this year that have left you feeling as if your heart has been torn out of your chest and scraped over a box grater.
How do we lift our heads when everything around us – wildfires and hurricanes, cancer and Covid – threatens to steal our peace of mind and spend it like pocket change?
When I am unable to untangle destructive worry from legitimate concern, sometimes the only prayer I can utter is the cry, “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!”
If you struggle to find fresh ways to pray as well, you might want to pick up a copy of Amy Boucher Pye’s new book 7 Ways to Pray: Time-Tested Practices for Encountering God.
I love Amy’s description of prayer:
“Prayer is about being deeply loved.”
This is prayer: a response of loving attention to the God who loved us first. Prayer is our consent to being loved in the same way that the Father has loved the Son. Prayer is saying yes to the generous hospitality of the God who says to his children, “I have loved you with an everlasting and steadfast love. Remain in my love. Dwell in it. Rest in it. Make yourselves at home in it.”
As you can imagine, we’ve also been immersed in children’s books the past few weeks!
I have one to strongly recommend to you parents and grands: Crystal Bowman’s I Love You to the Stars: When Grandma Forgets, Love Remembers – a finalist for the 2021 Christian Book Award. (Follow Crystal on Instagram @crystalbowmanauthor)
This unique hardcover picture book with warm, painterly illustrations helps children understand the often-scary reality of a grandparent or older friend experiencing dementia. This is the kind of book that little hands can pull from the shelf whenever they need a reminder that love is always there.
Or whenever their grownups need that same reminder.
Prayer is about being deeply loved.
And love is always there.
Copyright 2021, Maggie Wallem Rowe