Monday, October 9, 2017

Holy Ground

They enter singly and in groups, laughing and chatting. Hugging me and each other. We
grab something to drink and start settling down. We look like any average group of (oldish) girlfriends getting together, some fixed up for work, some in our workout clothes. It is a relief to be finally be together.

My house is a war zone, but they don’t care.  There was a time when that kind of thing mattered. Not so much anymore. They ignore the peeling 1980’s wallpaper, boxes of Mother’s stuff we’ve never dealt with, stacks of books everywhere. We head into the family room and sit on furniture with shredded upholstery, thanks to Ziggy, The Demon Cat.


This is Holy Ground.

We have found each other... mothers whose hearts have been broken for our children.  If you ran into any of us at the grocery store, you might not guess what lay behind our lipsticked smiles and sunglassed faces. We’ve experienced more pain than we could have imagined possible in our former lives. Sleepless dark nights of the soul. Life has not turned out as we expected. Our dreams for our precious children have been derailed, if not destroyed.

But we’re still here.

And we still laugh.

Most of us have known each other for years. We’ve drifted in and out of each other’s lives with changing seasons. Some of us were in Bible Studies together in our 30’s, mothers of happy little children, full of life and infinite potential. We prayed countless promises of protection and provision over those little ones. Naively, we imagined (or at least hoped) that a good God wouldn’t allow our ‘sweet Christian families’ to be touched by tragedy. We read all the books. We played by all the rules.  We followed all the recipes.

In spite of that, each of us has been dragged kicking and screaming into the sorority no one wants to join… the Sisterhood of Suffering. Every situation is unique. Each sister has a different story to tell.  But we are drawn together like lone shipwreck survivors on a forgotten island, brought together by an unseen hand.

Each of us has grieved in isolation: waterfalls of flowing tears, anguished sobs echoing in empty rooms.

But when we come together, something holy happens.

Alone, we are cracked clay jars, brimming with liquid pain. Together, the heartache spills out,  runs together like unstaunched blood, and is lifted up as a communion cup.  Holy wine, poured out in a sacrifice of praise and surrender and hope.

There is no condemnation or judgment here in this shabby, holy place.

We are free indeed.

Recently, I was asked to name a female role-model.

I couldn’t think of just one.

These are my heroes:

The Beautiful Brave Brokenhearted,

who won’t give up, no matter what.