Real Talk: Never far from my heart
In just a few days, we will mark one year since the COVID-19 pandemic paralysed normal life here in London, drastically changing our routines far beyond anything we could have imagined. Currently, we remain in a ‘stay at home’ restriction and we are continuing to navigate our way through our third lockdown. However, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel!
Here in the United Kingdom, we have been promised freedom following the rapid action of the vaccination programme and a steady lifting of restrictions. If all plans come together properly, and we behave ourselves as required, then in a few short months we will be able to get back to the true sense of fellowship and community we are all longing to embrace. Just the anticipation of this celebration is making me want to dance!
Like many others, what I have missed the most this past year is spending time with people. Specifically, I have missed my family, especially the grandchildren! Wondering when we will see them again has been the hardest part of this pandemic journey. I have been simultaneously wishing the days away so that we are one step closer to seeing them again and wishing the world would stop altogether so that we don’t miss another moment of them growing up! Technology has allowed us to have many treasured conversations about life, God and future plans, but there have been times when family, community and togetherness have felt so unreachable. How can you keep a family close during a pandemic?
Today is Mother’s Day in some parts of the world, including the United Kingdom. In many other parts of the world, Mother’s Day occurs later in year, but the celebrations here are slightly different. Traditionally known as Mothering Sunday, today would have seen Christians visit the local ‘mother church’, or the church in which one was baptised or christened. In recent years, however, many of the British population simply take today as an opportunity to honour their mothers and reflect with gratitude on places they call and have called ‘home’.
Although I am not British, I like to take this day as an opportunity to think of the gifts of home and family. This year, I am celebrating the one-year anniversary of a very special gift: a beautiful silver necklace, engraved with the names of our grandchildren. It was gifted to me by my husband last Mother’s Day, and when I opened the gift, I had no idea just how precious it would become. God was going to use it to remind me of the bond and relationship we share with our five grandchildren. Throughout these months, this necklace has kept them close despite the distance between us. While the world seemed to stand still and become fragile, the love of my family would be sustaining and unbreakable.
Every morning when I awake, I place this necklace around my neck so that it falls close to my heart! I can’t count how many times a day I reach over and wrap my fingers around this necklace, feeling for the engravings of their names. In these moments, it is amazing how close I feel to them. As I close my eyes, I see the faces of Aleks, Kheri and Bella, with their parents in Australia, and Kayla and Thomas, with their parents in Canada. It reminds me of the responsibility and privilege it is to pray for God’s protection and care in the lives of children. Not only should we pray these prayers over the children we know, but let’s raise up a prayer for all children in our world, especially as we emerge from or continue to struggle through this pandemic.
I want to be a grandmother who influences, impacts and inspires her grandchildren. I want to show them that they can embrace a strong relationship with God, cultivate a deep faith, be courageous and resilient. I want to see them become who God is calling them to be – whatever that will look like for them – and for them to live their best life ever! I believe in a God who hears prayers such as these. I am confident that he is watching over us, and our children, and our grandchildren, and I believe the same for you! I am grateful to the villages of people who invest in the lives of children, meeting them in their spaces and walking alongside them. For those of us who desperately miss the children in our families, the love and care these individuals show them makes all the difference!
As I close my Mother’s Day reflections, I share these words of wisdom that I live by: Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren. (Deuteronomy 4:9, The Message)
Commissioner Rosalie Peddle
World President of Women's Ministries