Do Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly
May 11, 2015

It’s natural to be want to be right. There is something about walking out life on a platform where  your word and thoughts are set out for the world to read.

Ideas come from research or personal experience, either way, that’s what this writing thing is about. It’s about sharing ideas and expressing thoughts to evoke change or at the least inspire. At least for me that has been my hope.

When Mother’s Day rolls around every year my feelings morph and flow out onto my pages. They often resonate with those who agree with me. For those who don’t I hear very little but we can’t all agree with every thing, right? Tradition holds a sacred place for some.

Some of my thoughts have come from my own experiences. The painful moments or the joyous days shape how I approach special days. This year is no different.

All the while I’ve stepped out, written words to be shared,  knowing my thoughts aren’t everyone’s thoughts, I still need to remain true. Sometimes blogging means putting it out there one day and having new thoughts the next.

My ideas on Mother’s Day come across strong because I have big feelings about it all. My path to motherhood was long and difficult. The stories winding through that path hold the full spectrum of memories from excruciating to beautiful.

Maybe it’s the mom in me or perhaps it’s my heart of mercy, either way I’m protective of those who may feel hurt or isolated. I’m unapologetically sensitive about how the faith community  treats the ache of others.

Here is where I need to be careful, I don’t speak for everyone. What may cause me deep pain and isolation may in fact be a better way to cope for others.

Brooke Mardell wrote a great piece last week titled “Don’t Cancel the Celebration“.  She states, “I mean, the day is about Moms. And I’m not one. So it’s not my party. But there’s all this talk about how I should be treated on their day. Wha????”

As I read her words I found myself checking off the list of places I’ve been guilty of over correcting the way we drive this thing. I felt my own heart saying “Hey Jem, why don’t you stay in your own lane?” After all, my losses don’t look like yours so why should I assume you heal the way I do?

My friend shared this morning how her healthy daughter was born the same month a cousin had a stillbirth. Everyone tiptoed around the grieving mother until she spoke up and said “Is somebody going to let me hold that baby?” She needed to hold the joy in her arms and taste the healing for her own soul. Everyone’s projection of feelings almost kept her from a moment she wanted so desperately.

A couple of weeks before my wedding my brother passed away. It was unexpected but my brother had told my dad that morning that no matter what, “…don’t let anything stop that wedding”.

There were family members who believed it was disrespectful for us to move on with our plans. They didn’t speak of it until years later but I believe it would have dishonored Glen’s memory to cancel.

What my brother understood was this, you can have more than one emotion at a time. You can grieve in the deepest part of your soul while sharing an ocean of joy at the very same time. Marrying the man I dearly love did not in any way negate the adoration I have for my brother. What it did was give me hope and strength to navigate the painful loss in my heart.

I guess I have felt like a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to celebrating certain events. A part of me had wanted to reign in the party in order to honor those whose longing has not been fulfilled. I never wanted to be one of those women in the bible who paraded their gift of children in front of the barren woman.

What I don’t want to do now is to downplay the beauty of the gift I have in front of me. When I was paying monthly visits to the infertility specialist I was reminded by a pregnant friend that she didn’t want to be pregnant. Somehow she thought that would make me feel better about it, I can assure you it didn’t. I also didn’t want to join the line of people rubbing her growing belly, I wasn’t ready for that either.

Today I’m landing in the field of keeping space for those who are hurting. Acknowledging the ache without being dishonest about the gift I hold in my own life seems to be a better way for honor to be shared.

I’ll not hide the beauty that is being a mother. I won’t make it look like it’s less than it is because that causes more wounds than it avoids. I won’t assume that I know more than I do about how to navigate the heartache of others either.

I will purpose to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my God.

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  1. Kelly Johnson

    This is beautiful! I particularly connected to the reminder that we can feel a variety of emotions at once, that one does not negate the other. Write on, sister!

    • Jemelene

      Thank you Kelly! This whole “doing life” thing is quite a process isn’t it? Right when I think I get something I realize that I don’t get very much.

  2. Brooke Mardell

    What a beautiful reflection! It reminded me of a wedding I went to the weekend after 9/11 – was it hard to celebrate in the midst of all that grief and chaos? Yes. Was the celebration all the sweeter? Yes. Xoxo

    • Jemelene

      I’m so happy you stopped by Brooke. I learned so much from your words and your heart. It was convicting in the best way possible. It inspired more than words, it spoke to my heart.

  3. Jody Lee Collins

    Jemelene, this rings so true and I appreciate your perspective. My daughter miscarried a year ago in January. The next day my niece gave birth to her second daughter. When the first birthday came this year my daughter wasn’t sure about attending the party (she’d just visited her baby’s grave). But she came nonetheless. It helped with the healing…..

    To echo your friend above, ‘doing life is quite a process’, a daily walk of careful consideration and a humble heart. Thank you for showing us yours.

    • Jemelene

      Jody, Thank you for your kindness and constant encouragement.

  4. Stephanie

    This is so beautiful and honest. There is a time and place for everything and celebrating someones joy doesn’t negate your sorrow. Because time will come when God will turn that sorrow into joy.

    Your words remind me of the prodigal son. The other brother was so upset that his dead-beat brother was getting all the attention. All he needed to do was join the party and he would know his father’s love too.

    • Jemelene

      Thank you for stopping by Stephanie. Love your insight!


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