Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The vine and the branches - part 1

Ever since having kids, jewelry has increased in meaning for me. I remember when I was about 10 years old, trailing along behind my dad as he strode through the mall with sights set on Ben Bridge. My siblings and I were all with him the day he selected the special piece that featured all our birthstones. We came home that afternoon with a small, velvety box, giggly and suspicious as we did our best to keep the "big secret" hidden. We were proud and confident that Mom was receiving The Best Mother's Day Present Ever that year.

As I became a mother myself, it seemed like a natural rite of passage that I begin dreaming of my own piece of jewelry to feature my kids' birthstones. I was thrilled when BOTH my girls were born in the month of August. How perfect for Graham!? He could buy me a pair of green peridot earrings and call it good - two for the price of one! But then baby number three came along in October, month of the opal, and all plans were spoiled. Suddenly the idea of combining gemstones no longer seemed quite as appealing. A pearly opaque opal paired with sparkling lime green? A quick Google image search confirms this idea to be ill-advised.

So I switched gears and got on a stacking ring kick. My kids' names are each only four letters long so would easily fit engraved across a set of textured stacking bands. I envisioned something delicate and stylish, truly one of a kind. I sent Graham links periodically leading up to Mother's Day, subtly hinting at the idea. He didn't bite. The man doesn't like to be told what to do and let's just say planning ahead far enough in advance to arrange for personalized jewelry isn't his spiritual gift.

Instead, in his very Graham way, he came up with his own idea and presented me with the beautiful gold branch necklace pictured above.

"It has 5 limbs," he told me, "one representing each member of our family."

He said he hoped to get our names engraved on each branch someday. 

"I guess this means we're sticking to three kids then," I joked.  

It was no set of stacking rings but I loved it anyway. What made it special was that it was his idea and it meant a lot that each of us were also represented. Plus, the more I think about it, birthstone jewelry really isn't my style.  

Over the years, my jewelry collection has expanded. Most of the pieces hanging in my closet have a deep meaning behind them which really speaks to me. Many of them are stunning creations made by the amazing Rebekah Gough at Rebekah Gough Jewelry (though the branch necklace actually is not one of them). Sometimes I swear between my husband and girlfriends, we keep her business running! A few years back, Graham gave me her "Mama Bear" necklace to represent the fierce dedication with which he tells me that I mother. Then a generous friend at my Bible study spoiled our entire table the "Free Indeed" necklace that I talked about here. It has since become my theme piece for the year. In August, I received the "Circle of Hope" necklace, a most thoughtful birthday gift from some of my closest girlfriends who have been walking alongside me in the midst of this really hard season.

It is really only in the last half decade or so that I have begun wearing necklaces with any degree of regularity on the average day. I do it less so as an accessory and more so as a symbol. What I choose to wear around my neck is selected with great intentionality and serves as a reminder of the truths I want to live into on that particular day. So when you see my neck adorned in that delicate gold circle, chances are I awoke that morning needing to remember that I have hope. When it's the little bear with the word "mama" engraved across it, you'd better believe I'm feeling discouraged in my parenting and desire to dig deep and give my all to my littles.

Earlier this week, feeling weighted down from a tumultuous weekend, it was the gold branch necklace that I reached for. I had just stepped from the shower where the floodgates had come loose. Tears and suds mixed and swirled together down the drain as I sobbed and cried out to God. 

The Mr. and I are doing a lot of hard work in our relationship as a couple (which I wrote about in a prior post), and as individuals, and that leaves us feeling at times very tender. We are both carrying heavy loads. I wish I could share all the details for this to make more sense but we just aren't there yet. So I'm gonna divulge what little I can using broad brush strokes and pray that God makes sense of these words and uses them somehow. 

(to be continued....) 


  1. *Hugs*
    I think I might need to get one of those mama bear is always a relief to me to hear about other mothers struggling in their parenting confidence...makes me feel more normal (especially when it is mamas who I admire as parents).

    1. I think we ALL need mama bear necklaces!!! Thanks for the sweet words. Press on mama! (Isn't it funny how we all think everyone else must know what they're doing?)

  2. I have a few pieces of jewelry that I wear regularly and the ones I wear the most have the most meaning behind them. I recently bought a necklace with "nothing to prove" stamped on it. I wear it most days now as a reminder that I have nothing to prove because Jesus proved everything for me already.


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