honoring Cicely: a Christian blessingway
I’ve written a little bit about blessingways here. About a month ago, I had the honor of throwing a blessingway for a dear friend of mine, Cicely. She is pregnant with her 3rd child, and I wanted a chance to honor her. Since we are both Christians, I thought it would also be neat to interweave spiritual encouragement through the ceremony as well. I got a lot of ideas from this blog post about ways to make it specifically Christian.
I think it turned out really well, and meant a lot to Cicely. I didn’t get any pictures during, but I was able to take some before everyone arrived.
We had it in the back room of a nearby tea house. It was a perfect location – the tea house already had that vibe of calmness and introspection, and I think they have a delightful smell. :-) I decorated mostly with candles on the tables along the walls, and we circled the chairs in the middle of the room, with small tables in between each one to set our tea cups.
Each of the women got a pot of tea, and I had a little spread of various snacks. Ideally, I would have thought about the food ahead of time and had each person bring something, but I completely forgot about it until a few days before. Since there were only a few people, it turned out fine.
I also set up a journal for everyone to write notes and words of encouragement to Cicely. I wrote out Bible verses throughout it. I hope she is encouraged by it!
After a time of chatting and enjoying the food, I gathered everyone together and talked a little bit about blessingways and why we were having one. No one else had ever been to one, so I felt it was important to explain. I also read this quote, which I think is beautiful:
“Just as a tree grows best when anchored firmly in the earth, so can a pregnant mother feel strong and capable when supported by a sisterhood of nurturing friends.” – April Lussier
I wanted to use this time to pamper Cicely a little bit, so I decided to prepare a foot soak for her. I know that pregnant women can have swollen, tired feet by the end of their pregnancies. I also love the symbolism of foot washing in the Bible, as a way to honor and serve someone. I used lavender-smelling bath salts for the soak, and later I did a light massage with lavender lotion. I had no idea what I was doing, so hopefully it was relaxing to her. ;-) I had wanted to get a henna artist to do some henna, but that fell through.
We then went around the circle and gave her our beads. Ideally, everyone was supposed to bring one bead for her necklace. However, there was some miscommunication and the other ladies didn’t quite understand what kind of beads to bring. It was okay, though, because I had brought plenty of extra beads and we were able to make her a nice necklace. Everyone did bring some words of wisdom or Bible verses to share. It was a really neat time of encouragement and advice. We had a mixture of moms with small children and grandmothers, so I loved the different perspectives that age can bring.
After this, I brought out a basin I had filled with stones and water. I had 10 stones, each with a positive word written on them. I had each person to choose two stones, and explained that these represented the stones of the path that was before Cicely. I asked each guest to pray as God prompted them for the words specifically on the stones they had chosen. I had selected a verse to accompany each stone, which I then read outloud to the group.
Here are the 10 stones and accompanying verses; the two I ended up with were Joy and Endurance.
STRENGTH – “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
PEACE – “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
COMFORT – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2
REST – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
JOY – “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” John 16:21
FAITH – “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1b-2
ENDURANCE – “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36
BREATHE – “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4
LOVE – “…Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3-4
BE STILL – “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10
After this, Cicely talked to us about her fears and apprehensions about her upcoming birth and adding a new member to the family. I had asked her beforehand to think about specific things she wanted us to pray for her. Originally I had wanted to pick verses that addressed those specific requests, but when I got her list I realized that they fit into the 10 verses I had already chosen for her stones.
I then pulled out a skein of yarn and we each wrapped it a few times around our wrist, going around in a circle until we were bound together as sisters in Christ. We then each prayed, which was a beautiful demonstration of love and giving up fears and concerns for Cicely. I think there were definitely tears when we were done! :-) After we finished praying, I cut the yarn and told them that traditionally you were supposed to leave the yarn bracelet on until the baby was born… but that in all honesty I would be taking mine off. It’s a nice idea if the baby had arrived within the week. ;-)
I handed each person a votive candle and said for them to set it near the rocks as a reminder to pray for Cicely, and to light it when she goes into labor. I then closed with this verse:
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:9-12
It was really a beautiful time, and I’m so thankful that I got to be part of this way to honor Cicely and her precious little baby. I hope to get the chance to host another one. :-)
Here are a few more verses I found for the rocks, that I didn’t end up using (though I did read them to the group). But if you’re planning a blessingway, perhaps these will be helpful for you.
PROTECTION – “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy hill. Selah. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” Psalm 3:3-5
HOPE – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
STRENGTH – “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13
PEACE – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
TRUST – “Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: ‘I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you.'” Isaiah 42:5-6
DELIVERANCE – “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
COURAGE – “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14
GIFT – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
CHILDREN – “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5
2 thoughts on “honoring Cicely: a Christian blessingway”
I’m so in love with how this turned out. I know you worked really hard on this event, and I am certain Cicely and the other guests could see the love and care that went into it. What a beautiful memory you created for her, and for all these women. So proud to call you my friend!
I was definitely inspired by you! :-)
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