The Saint Luke’s Pray and Play Group includes young moms, empty nesters, and grandmas. We drink coffee, pass out Goldfish crackers, and pray, laugh, and cry together.
Besides the time of the global pandemic, I have attended for over ten years. Those women have supported me through NICU babies, financial troubles, surprise and high-risk pregnancies, heartbreaking IEP meetings, the deaths of my grandparents, postpartum anxiety, and my third grader’s open-heart bypass surgery.
So the day we sat together, and I earnestly declared that my husband and I hadn’t experienced any real hardships during our marriage, they burst into laughter. Through belly laughs, they recounted all the crosses I had been given. They laughed so hard they cried as I sat in surprise.
They were right, and my obliviousness to it all was hilarious. They had carried those crosses with me. Like Esther with her handmaids prostrate on the ground, these women fasted and prayed with me. My intentions were their intentions, and they knew my hardships better than most of the other people in my life.
But I didn’t think of those crosses as hardships because, as Esther had prayed in today’s First Reading (Esther 14:3), the Lord had turned my sorrows into wholeness. And as I sat with my friends—this group of women who had all helped me carry my crosses—I began to laugh, too. The Lord had brought me through the pain and struggles; He had turned my mourning into gladness.
Consider when the women in your life have suffered alongside you. Who can you thank the Lord for today?He had turned my mourning into gladness. // @bonnieengstrom Click To Tweet
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Thank you for being here.
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