I’ve given birth eight times. Call me crazy, but I birthed my babies naturally, and half of them at home. Each labor brought me to a moment of not knowing if I could make it through. It was unbelievably hard and sometimes I was scared. But every single time I went into labor, I set my mind on the purpose of the contractions – my baby. I focused on the joy that would come when that little one was in my arms.
These years are like that. I’m laboring for my children who came to me from hard places. There are days when I don’t think I’ll make it through, when the pain is too great and I’m scared. I cry out for an emotional epidural. Then I set my mind on my purpose of loving the children God gave me, of believing for their healing, and of holding on to the knowledge that God is good and He placed them in our family. I waver, I fail, then the people who love me come alongside and help me see the truth once again.
I come to this Mother’s Day with joy and sorrow entwined. My arms have been filled, my table is surrounded; I know I am abundantly blessed. Yet, loving the brokenhearted has broken my heart, loving the wounded has wounded me, and loving orphans “in their distress” has brought distress to me.
This Sunday we will see women who are suffering because they have not been able to become mothers and there is deep sorrow in their hearts.
What we may not readily see are the women who have children in prison, those who are walking the long journey of mental illness or addiction by their children’s sides, and mothers in the midst of painful struggles with children who have rejected the family, or forsaken the faith they once held dear.
I don’t have profound wisdom, only this, if your heart is hurting as Mother’s Day approaches, you are not alone. There is no shame in acknowledging that being a mother can be very hard. God knows this, and somehow he counts us worthy of this beautiful, broken, messy calling.
The Lord will,
…comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61: 2 – 4
I pray for glimpses of beauty and moments of praise in your heart this Mother’s Day.
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