Notes from Jan

All the While

May 12, 2023

So much I could say with Mother’s Day at hand. One thing I choose to say to those with or without children, for whatever reason, is this: It is YOU God loves. Your worth is not connected to giving birth. YOU were born and are one of God’s beloved children.

Neither old age nor motherhood is for sissies. It’s tough stuff. Being a Mom is the best and worst job I ever had. Sometimes I blew it so badly I felt like quitting. Too often I focused on the weeds and not enough on the plant.

Last night in our book group at Christ Church, the challenges of parenting surfaced. It reminded me of a story Jill Briscoe shared at a retreat in Michigan. She likened children to plants. Determined to be a good mom, Jill tended to micro-manage. She over-checked the soil, picked away at foliage, over watered.

One day her husband, Stuart, said, “When a plant is struggling to grow, it needs a stake, something to cling to that’s stable. From the stake, the plant draws nourishment. We need to be stakes, Jill, for our children.”

Today, our culture is shifting. We question truth, blur boundaries, live fearfully, and listen to the wrong voices. Too many of us follow lesser gods of power, money and the latest trends. We’re lost in the weeds and miss the flowers around us. Whether we are parents, or not, God calls us to be Sacred Stakes in a shaky world. Sounds simple, but not easy. However, we don’t FAITH this alone.

And this leads me to one of my favorite stories about my Norwegian grandmother, Ella Tweten. Near the end of her life, she shared this story with my Mama. Grandma poured out her heart to Jesus. She shared how she helped make Papa who he was (so true) and the children who they were and more. Then added, “But Yesus, I’m in my eighties now, and I vonder, ‘Vat did I ever make of me?’ “

Well, while my Mama started to enumerate, Grandma said, “Shh, Margaret. Remember, I vas talking to Yesus.” Then added, “Yesus talked to me.(He talked to her in Norwegian.) He said, ‘Ella, all the vile you vere making dem, I vas making you. And I Love who I made.”

And He did and does love each of us.

Jesus staked his life on it.

For us.

And for them.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who are mothers, aunts, sisters, grandmothers and/or have mothered others by the work you do, the love you show to all God’s children. And to those who don’t know or care anything about God.

You are Sacred Stakes.

And All the while, He is making you. Transforming you by the tough choices, ongoing, though unacknowledged, acts of kindness and love you grace your part of the world with each day.

“Tank” you.

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  • Reply Gail MacDonald May 12, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve watched you for decade after decade, Janny, as you have been this beautiful word-picture “a sacred stake” for your children and each of your grands. And you have done it with a steady heart and lots of laughter. I will ask myself many times after this if I am a Sacred Stake to our “grands”.
    You are also a gift day by day!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 12, 2023 at 8:23 pm

      Oh, “tank” you my forever friend. We’ve weathered many storms together, dear Gail. What would we do without laughter and music to keep us moving on down the road towards Home.. Thanks for your example of being one of God’s Sacred Stakes.

  • Reply Nancy Vecchio May 12, 2023 at 7:28 pm

    Thank you once again, Jan, for sharing this, another beautiful teaching!
    Happy blessed Mother’s Day my dear friend!!
    I so love you!
    ❤️ Nancy

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 12, 2023 at 8:25 pm

      And a Happy Mother’s Day to you, dear Nancy. Loved getting to see you at the leadership retreat for North Shore Community Bible Study. So good to be together with a room full of Sacred Stakes.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood May 13, 2023 at 7:44 am

    How I love this! Thank you!
    Happy Mother’s Day

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 13, 2023 at 9:24 am

      You’re so welcome, Toni. I loved writing this piece and remembering wise words I received along this journey. As you know, being a fan of my Mama’s writing, I had two of the best teachers in my grandmother and her daughter, my Mama. Happy Mother’s Day to you, as well, dear Toni.

  • Reply Donna Poynton May 13, 2023 at 9:33 am

    Thank you for sharing…. So appreciate your wisdom and encouragement. ❤️
    Happy Mother’s Day.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 13, 2023 at 11:02 am

      Well, dear Donna, we all need encouragement. And you encouraged me by reading this blog and taking the time to respond. I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, as well.

  • Reply Jo Geanes May 14, 2023 at 8:28 pm

    Wow Jan just a huge Wow

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 17, 2023 at 8:26 pm

      Thank you, dear Jo. We all need a WOW, now and then.

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold May 16, 2023 at 11:11 am

    beautiful reminders, thank you Jan

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 17, 2023 at 8:27 pm

      Good to hear from one of my Gordon girls out in Utah. Thanks for checking in. Sending love to you and Andrew.

  • Reply Maggie Wallem Rowe May 18, 2023 at 9:43 am

    Jan, I have some favorite Jill Briscoe stories and poems that I love to share, but I had never heard this one before about serving as stakes for our children. Thank you for adding it to my “Jill” collection! And because I read every post you write, my beloved “Jan” collection is bigger still these days. Also, thank you for reminding us that a woman’s worth is not connected to giving birth (or even being born with two X chromosomes.) As you know, we have a baby in our family (you know her parents) who is every inch a girl but her genetic condition means she will never be able to birth a child. Baby J has already changed our lives in countless ways for the good!

  • Reply Jan Carlberg May 18, 2023 at 11:49 am

    And you have changed many lives by the way you continue to LIVE and LEARN no matter what, very dear Maggie. Thank you for adding to my blog posts by your responses. Thank you for living with open hands and heart. Because you are teachable, you continue to teach by example and words. And may Baby J continue to bless and enrich your family and all who get to know her.

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