Mother's Day for the Brokenhearted

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.

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

27 Comments

  1. Emily B
    May 11, 2013

    This Mother's Day there is one mother who is heavy on my heart. She has lost all five of her children due to her inability to make safe choices. I know she is grieving. I am grieving for her loss, even as three of those children have become some of the most precious blessings in my life. At the preschool Mother's Day Tea on Thursday, I watched my littlest one beaming and sparkling at me as she sang Mother's Day songs to me with all her heart. Of course, I loved it. But there was a piece of me that hurt, for the woman who lost those songs forever.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 11, 2013

      Beautifully said, Emily. Thank you.

      Reply
  2. Kristi Sabo
    May 11, 2013

    This is truly a beautiful, well written view that I helps some who are hurting. And I am quite sure it will bring a glimmer of understanding or at least an awareness to those of us who have only experienced parts or "glimmers" of this type of very real pain.

    Thank you, Lisa!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 11, 2013

      Thanks, Kristi. It's really nice to hear from you – I enjoy seeing you on Facebook.

      Reply
  3. Chantelle
    May 11, 2013

    And a peaceful Mother's Day to you, my dear friend! (((hug)))

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 11, 2013

      Thank you – beauty for ashes for you, Chantelle.

      Reply
  4. Jennifer P
    May 11, 2013

    "There are days when I don’t think I’ll make it through…", thank you for that. It's hard. Really hard some days to see the forest through the trees – the plan that HE has made for our children and for our family. Just thank you.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 11, 2013

      You are so welcome, Jennifer.

      Reply
  5. Joelle
    May 11, 2013

    Beautifully said, Lisa. I love your heart.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 11, 2013

      I love yours too, Joelle.

      Reply
  6. Kris Long
    May 11, 2013

    Lisa, such perspective can only be gained through experience. I recognize the road you are on and it is Christ alone who makes the way. Your beautiful gift of expression must be so pleasing to The Lord. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 11, 2013

      Kris, I thought of you just the other day! Thank you for taking the time to comment – have a wonderful Mother's Day.

      Reply
  7. Nancy
    May 11, 2013

    Thank you Lisa. It is very well said and very worth hearing indeed.
    nancy

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 11, 2013

      I appreciate your words, Nancy. Your post earlier this week on Tess was lovely – I meant to comment! Here is a link for my readers: http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2013/05/living

      Reply
  8. Stunned_Mommy
    May 11, 2013

    "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." Yes. Perfect summary of my present state, Lisa.
    Thank you for reminding us that our Lord is close to the broken-hearted, including we whose hearts are broken by mothering our kids from hard places.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 11, 2013

      He is close to you in every moment. I just sent a text to a friend saying that I can only do this if I keep my eyes on Jesus. The moment I look away, I fall apart.

      Reply
  9. Teresa
    May 11, 2013

    What a lovely and profound and thoughtful peace. Happy Mother's Day Lisa!!!!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 11, 2013

      Thank you, Teresa.

      Reply
  10. janeh1037
    May 11, 2013

    I so appreciate this. Mothers Day can be oh so sweet and oh so hard…..all in the same year. And when it is hyped up as a Hallmark holiday like everyone has a perfect home with perfect children and perfect parents and perfect backgrounds, it just hurts so much more. I think there are many who stay away from services for just that reason. I like to look at my children and see that they have come so much further than I thought possible….still so far to go, but isn't that true of all of us? And it keeps us on our knees praying, praying, praying. If this is a hard year for you, know that there are many of us who understand how very, very difficult it can be. Praying for all the imperfect moms, all those who long to be moms and are not, and praising the Lord for the good days that help us keep on when the hard days come.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 11, 2013

      I'm right along with you, Janeh. I'll put myself at the top of the imperfect mom list; I'm pretty sure most of us are on that one.

      Reply
  11. Cari B
    May 11, 2013

    "An emotional epidural"…that perfectly expresses my current state of mind. This week has been a rough one. Actually the last couple of months have had a lot of ups and downs, and many days I just want to get off this roller coaster ride. My husband has been traveling a lot lately, and I'm just mentally worn out. I want to be able to enjoy Mother's Day tomorrow, but I know that my one child will have some issue that I'll have to deal with because it's just been one of those weeks with her. Thankfully, my husband is home for a few days, and even though I've been broken, wounded and distress I know that this is where God has called me to be. He loves me in my mess, and He's teaching me to love my child in her mess.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 12, 2013

      He does love you in your distress, Cari; you are so right. I hope you get some rest today while your husband is home. Blessings to you today.

      Reply
  12. Robin Douglas
    May 12, 2013

    Dear Lisa, Hope you have a lovely Mother's Day. I thought of you this morning, and then read your beautiful post. I'm so thankful for you and the example and encouragement you are. I was so sorry to miss you when you were in Estes (impossible date for me because of Stan's tax work.) I am praying for Dimples, all the kids and the house remodel. You are an amazing mom!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 12, 2013

      Robin, Happy Mother's Day to you too. I so appreciate your kind words. I would love to see you – maybe next time.

      Reply
  13. gwenmj
    May 13, 2013

    Thank you for your words. Even in my own "messes" of motherhood, this a reminder of those things I should be grateful for. I have troubles but there is much beauty in these ashes…..My teens are filled with faith, I was blessed enough to be called mom, that some of those that have left broken from my home have returned as good adults, that I have the time to parent those that need temporary homes…..

    Reply
  14. Lisa Stucky
    May 18, 2013

    Lisa, I loved this — loving the brokenhearted has broken my heart, loving the wounded has wounded me, and loving orphans “in their distress” has brought distress to me.

    Well said.
    Thank you again for your insight!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 19, 2013

      It's so good to hear from you, Lisa. I often think back to the Embracing Orphans Retreat; what a special time.

      Reply

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