singing in the trenches: this is motherhood too.
In these muddy places, when the rhythms of my heart fail to keep my hope alive, I know I have lost touch with You, I know I have been drowned once again in the sorrows of this world. I’m looking for a song to sing, but I’m too tired to go on again, in joy. Too tired to fight. But then I think, this is how the enemy wants it. He wants to take me out by the knees, the enemy of this world, the destroyer, the liar and home divider. So no, I will not give in, not this minute, not this hour, and eventually when my head hits the pillow, I will say, I did not give in this day. I did not give up, although I could see the crest of the wave threatening me with it’s angry foam. This pilgrim’s progress is slow somedays, and there are dark moments when I feel I am lost in the brambles. Where is the light, I cry, and the breakthrough, and where is this God of mine? Hear me, hear me, hear me. I am worked up like an infant, caught up in my own needs, demanding.
But this is not about me, and my life is not my own. And so I shout the song, and it’s not pretty, but it’s a song nonetheless, a song from the throne room of heaven.
The strength in each mother’s heart, the very flame of God, it is stronger than we know, and it is holy.
We carry the balm of Gilead in our hands, our hearts, our voices, our touch. We are the homemakers and the nourishment. But we are broken too, and the more we are crushed, the more we have to give.
Because we give less of ourselves and more of Him.
The balm of Gilead or the balsam of myrrh is obtained from a tree. When a tree wound penetrates through the bark and into sapwood, the tree bleeds a resin. To harvest this resin, or myrrh gum, the collectors must wound the tree repeatedly to bleed the tree of it’s gum. Eventually the harvested myrrh becomes stronger and shinier as it ages.
Thank goodness, my God is the not the one wounding. He is not the one bleeding me out.
But he is making me stronger, newer, and He is turning these wounds into wholeness and healing. Without Him, I would just be wounded and drained, watching the puddles gather at my feet. But God is the great harvester, he gathers my offerings, however measly and returns them to me as riches. And so, when I bleed, I know He is there, gathering me in His arms, and yet urging me forward in this journey, whispering: don’t give up, let me carry you, let me make all things new.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was girded with strength the moment of her miraculous conception. And after her embarrassment and shame and her fears of losing Jesus as a young boy, she grew. She held his tiny hands as they made their way through history, and when he was 33 years old, still her baby and yet not her own, she sat at his beautiful and bloodied feet. And she kissed them, gently, afraid of causing him any more pain although she knew he had died on that tree. And she was probably afraid of the barbaric nails that pierced him, they way they looked in his feet, the feet that she had shod with sandals over the years, and watched take their first steps in the dust. And yet here they were, these precious feet, pierced for our transgressions. She probably didn’t quite understand it then, her heart so ripped to shreds with grief. But she inherited the strength of her Son, the strength from the Father, and she has passed it through her lineage, called us to adopt it too.
She sang her song in mourning garb, and the wait, oh the excruciating wait of three long days…but sure enough, He returned and He rose, and He replaced her black lamenting cloth with an abundance of wildflowers, a crown of beauty! And she sung a new song, she sung a new song, and song that she didn’t know she had.
I’m singing this right now…
There’s not a prayer I’ve prayed
That You haven’t heard
Not a tear I’ve shed
That You didn’t feel
You’re the God who comes to raise the dead
I know You’ll raise me up again
Every fear in me You’ve put to rest
It’s the song sing I bring
Of Your faithfulness
And every tear has led my feet to stand
Where the ocean meets the land
Sink or swim I’m diving in
Where the river starts rushing
Where my heart starts beating
For the rhythms of the testing
And the songs of the trials
I will lift a cry up to You
Sung with hope inside my eyes
Sink or swim I’m diving in
To the passion of Your heart
Where love starts
I lift my hands, if my hands fail me
I’ll bend my knees, if my knees grow weak
I’ll raise my voice and sing, I’ll sing
I know that You love me.
-Will Reagan and United Pursuit “Give Me a Song”