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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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The Immeasurable Gift of a Mother

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 

Image result for Lorna HirdEvery May, for the past 29 years, I have written an article about Mother’s Day, usually focusing on my own dear mom. For the first 18 years of my life, I basically took my mother for granted. I loved her, but I had no idea how hard she was working in taking care of us.

I am so grateful that my mom is still with us on planet earth.  Many of my friends don’t have that blessing of being able to pick up the phone and hear their mother’s voice, or go out to the White Spot with her for dinner.  The resilience of my mom when facing many challenges has been remarkable.

My mother, with her very strong faith, has preserved through thick and thin, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.  Mom, you are an example to the rest of your large family.

We love you very much.

As I wrote for the May 2003 Deep Cove Crier, “Where would we be without our mothers?  Mothers keep the world on track.  Mothers never stop caring.  Mothers never stop giving.”

Mom, you have modelled so much good through your caring for and serving others.  I became a Social Worker because of the anointing that I received from you to stand up for the oppressed and disadvantaged.  When I was going through teenage angst, you always deeply listened and stood with me, even though I was oblivious to your deep faith in Christ.

I know that there were times when I was a teenager when you stayed up late waiting for me to come in.  I probably helped deepen your prayer life during those times.

When our three boys were young, Mom, you were so willing to help us out, looking after them so that we could have a night off, or attend a conference.  The thousands of meals that you cooked for us over the years have always been delicious, a sign of your great love and care for your family.  Food indeed is love.

Whenever birthdays came along, Mom, you always invested so much of yourself in getting us just the right present.  Being an artist, you had that great sense of colour co-ordination when you gave us new Christmas sweaters.

You Mom, like your own mother, are a true worshipper.  Your faith has been a great inspiration to me.  Thank you, Mother, for inviting me to supper with Jesus, when I was wandering in the wilderness, lost and hungry.  I am a better person today because of that unfailing love you showed me in season and out of season.

Your worth as a Mother is beyond measure.  You are loved, appreciated and valued not only by your son, but also by Almighty God.  He loved you enough to give his only son for you.  Words cannot express what you mean to me and to your loving family.  Happy Mother’s Day.

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article for the May 2017 Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

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‘Been Like a Mother to Me’

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My mother will never forget the time that she opened up her Mother’s Day card and read the words: ‘You’ve Been Like a Mother To Me’.  “But I am your real mother!”, she said.  “Exactly”, I responded.  “That’s why I chose the card.  It’s wonderful that you were not only my birth-mother but also have been so genuinely motherly to me’.

I have been so blessed to have a mother who has been so full of care and compassion through the good times and the bad.  But not everyone has been so fortunate.  Some people have been raised by their birth-mothers who were so wounded that they were unable to express love and nurture during the formative years.  This can leave people with a big hole in their hearts and a sense of loneliness that is hard to express.

Drs. Dennis Cloud & John Townsend, best-selling authors of ‘Boundaries’ and ‘The Mother Factor’, believe that ‘mothering is the most significant, demanding and underpaid profession around.’  When they interviewed people about their definitions of true mothering, certain words came up again and again:  nurture, care, bondedness, cookies, and trust.  Drs. Cloud and Townsend were able to name five basic needs that must be met by a mother, in order for us to be healthy and secure:

Safety

Nurture

Basic Trust

Belonging and Invitation

Someone to Love.

 

Safety, says Cloud & Townsend, comes in the form of a person who is predictable, stable, and danger-free.  Without this person, the child remains in a state of panic or anxiety, unable to love or learn.  I give thanks for my mother who gave me this gift of personal safety.  I always knew intuitively that whether I was a success or a failure, obedient or rebellious, my mother would always be there for me.

The second need that mothers meet is ‘to nurture’.  Webster’s Dictionary says that to nurture is to ‘feed or nourish’.  When I was troubled at school by bullies or exams, my mother was always there to feed me, with cookies, milk, and a listening ear.  I remember going through deep struggles as a teenager about the meaning of life and career choices.  Mom was always there to listen.  True, I often rejected her advice and was closed to her deep spirituality.  But most important, her nurturing and food were always there when I was struggling.

The third need that mothers meet is ‘basic trust’.  Drs. Cloud & Townsend teach that basic trust is the ability to invest oneself in a relationship.  Healthy people let themselves need and depend on others without fear.  We live in a high-tech disposable age where everything is up for grabs.

There is an enormous fear of commitment and long-term intimacy.  Yet simultaneously many of us ache from the absence of such relational rootedness.  My wife and I have been happily married for 33 years.  I believe that a big part of why I have not self-destructed my own marriage is because of how healthy my mother was.  My mother modeled for me the value of hanging in there through the thick and the thin.  My mother demonstrated a deep faith and trust that good would always come out of even the most tragic situations.  With the help of her favorite comic writer Erma Bombeck, my mother could always find something to smile about, even when life was not ‘a bowl of cherries’.

The fourth need that mothers meet is ‘belonging and invitation’.  All of us, say Drs. Cloud & Townsend, have the need to belong to someone and to something bigger than ourselves.  Belonging and love are at the root of our humanness.  My mother, as a gifted chauffeur, was forever driving me to endless soccer, baseball, hockey, chess, swimming, & skiing lessons.  She knew that I had a deep need to belong and to grow.  My mom also did her best to involve me in Sunday school, confirmation classes, youth groups, and summer camps.  I had no idea how much I really needed the church family to be my ‘spiritual mother’.  Like many in our individualistic age, I figured that I could do any spirituality better on my own.  My mother never forced religion down my throat, but the door was always wide open.  Thanks, Mom, for introducing me to God’s family.

The fifth need that mothers meet is ‘someone to love’.  There is perhaps no greater wound in a child than having a mother who just can’t love you.  We know intuitively that everything about true motherhood is about love and caring.  Yet some moms have been so damaged that they are what Drs. Cloud & Townsend would call ‘Phantom Moms’: moms who are not really there in any tangible sense.  Others have moms who Drs. Cloud & Townsend call ‘China Doll Moms’: moms who are so fragile and stressed out that no one can get too close for fear of shattering them.  Without a mom who can show us real love, we end up feeling unwanted at a deep level and estranged from our true identity.  Thank you, Mom, that once again you came through for me in a very practical way.  For the last 55 years, you have shown me time and time again that I matter to you, and that you really care.  The love of Christ that I see in you allows me to show that same love to others.

The best news of all is that even if our mothers couldn’t fully meet these five basic needs, God can make up for any love deficit.  As the Good Book puts it, ‘though your father and mother forsake you, I the Lord will receive you.’  My prayer for for those reading this article is that each of us may discover afresh the amazing love of God, especially as seen in the loving arms of our mothers.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Thank God for Mothers-in-Law

By Rev. Ed Hird

How often do we celebrate the gift of our mothers-in-law?  Marriage counselors tell us that there are three primary areas of stress in marriages: money, marital intimacy, and in-laws.  Mother-in-law jokes tend to express the ambivalent nature of this most important relationship.  I would like to state uncategorically that I have been blessed with the gift of the mother-in-law that God gave me. It has been fourteen years now since Vera went home to heaven, but her impact is still deeply felt.

My mother-in-law found me before my wife did.  By God-incidence, we met each other at a 1974 weekend conference.  She was quite impressed with me, despite my 1970’s longish hair and embroidered overalls.  My mother-in-law really enjoyed the movie ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, and could sing ‘Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match’ by heart.  Unfortunately, when my future mother-law/matchmatcher commended me to my future wife, the assessment was not mutual.  My wife and I had been in the same High School for Grade 12.  We all know what familiarity can breed.  My wife did remember however that even in Grade 12, I had nice eyes.

Vera and David 1944When I reconnected with my future wife at UBC in 1975, I also rediscovered my future mother-in-law.  I was most impressed by the warm hospitality that I always felt in my future mother-in-law’s home.  Some people make you feel stressed by how they fuss over you as a guest.  With my mother-in-law, it all felt very natural and relaxed.  She had that gift of making one feel right at home.

When I lost my voice for 18 months back in 1980, my mother-in-law was one of the people who stood with me in practical and prayerful ways.  She introduced me to the Order of St. Luke the Physician where I learned how to combine the dual benefits of medicine and prayer.  When I am tempted to be cynical about the power of prayer, I think of my mother-in-law who never gave up praying for seemingly hopeless situations.  Once when my wife’s sister was running from the Lord, my mother-in-law recruited people from all around the world to pray without ceasing for her daughter.  As a result of that passionate prayer, the prodigal daughter ‘returned home’ and became a Christ-like example to other seekers.  My mother-in-law symbolizes the call to ‘never, never give up.’

“Like mother, like daughter” goes the familiar saying.  Thirty-three years into my marriage, I am now more aware than ever how much a mother influences her daughter.  I have counseled various women whose experiences with their mothers have left them emotionally crippled and unable to share love.  I give thanks to God that my mother-in-law raised my wife in an atmosphere of love and caring.  I know that without that foundational nurturing, my last thirty-three years of marriage would have been a very different experience indeed.  I am grateful to be married to a loving wife and mother who learned mother-love from someone who really cares.

Vera and David 1945My mother-in-law has had some real setbacks in her life over the years, but she never let it defeat her.  She always bounced back.  Family and faith mean the world to her.  Day in and day out, she was always looking for ways to comfort and encourage other people, both young and old.  Even on her hospital bed near the end of her life, she was still counselling people.   Rather than moaning about her own problems, she was remarkably other-centered, truly loving her neighbours as herself in a very Christ-like way.

One of her greatest contributions in my life has been her encouraging my involvement in the Christian Ashram retreat movement.  For 36 years now, I have attended the BC Christian Ashram each summer spending time learning how to be a healthier and more whole person.  I can honestly say that the renewal that I have experienced in the 40 Christian Ashram retreats that I have attended have made me more peaceful, more forgiving, and more restful.  I would commend this upcoming  July 25th to 27th 2014 BC Christian Ashram Retreat  to anyone who is really seeking.

What more can I say except ‘thank you’ for my irreplaceable mother-in-law?  My prayer for those married couples reading this article is that we will take time to express our gratitude to our mothers-in-law.  Life is shorter than we think.

The Reverend Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide