Over the years I've come to realize holidays can be hard for people. I remember the sadness I felt on my first Mother's Day after moving across the country. I was used to spending it with Mom and was overwhelmed and lonely in a new place. I felt a sense of loss even though she was still alive. When I became a mom, my husband did his best to make it special, so I hid the sadness I experienced. It was years later that I faced the holiday with Mom truly gone. It hurt to realize I was no longer able to hear her voice, buy her a card, or send her flowers. I was a bit more prepared because I had some friends who had shared their grief with me on Mother's Day. They had lost their mothers early in life, some of so young they had to tell teachers they didn't want to make a card because they didn't have a mom. They felt different and hated it. When Mother's Day rolls around, I still feel a sense of loss. But more importantly I feel burdened because of the painful stories others live. It is a good, God-given burden that takes me to my knees.
I pray for those for whom this holiday stirs up longings for relationships with moms that can never be fulfilled. It doesn't matter if their moms have died, if their moms have abandoned them, if their moms are too dysfunctional to relate in healthy ways, or if their moms have betrayed them. That pain of longing they feel is a pain that runs deep. They may be longing to hear their voices speak words of affirmation that they know most likely will never be spoken because of sinful or wounded hearts. They may be longing to hear apologies for harsh words spoken in fit of rage, for loving so poorly, for failing to protect, or for leaving them. They may be longing for one more bear hug or for hugs never given. They may be longing for another conversation or longing for a conversation they never will have. They may be longing to hear their moms laugh one more time or the wondering what their laughs would have sounded like had depression not stolen them. They may be longing to hear their moms say they understand, but realizing their moms won't hear their words and respect their perspectives. They may be longing to having moms who would have protected them from perpetrators instead of choosing to protect family reputations, the church they attended, or the delusion that their families were healthy and happy. They might be longing for moms who were stable enough to calm fears instead of triggering them.
I pray for those whose hearts feel empty on Mother's Day, because they can't remember a time that they didn't long for a child and live with the realization they will never conceive. Their hearts hurt every month, but even more on this day. They hurt not only for the unfulfilled longing, but because of the lack of empathy and the people who clamor for them to get over their grief or admonish them to trust God more. What do they do with the longing the Creator has written on their hearts?
I pray for the ladies who were able to conceive but lost children before they could breath their first breath. They grieve the loss of the baby they wanted but will never get to hold. They also grieve the loss of hopes and expectations they had for their children and themselves as parents. Many of them have suffered in silence because those around them didn't recognize the loss as valid and those that did, are impatient with the grief they experience.
I pray for the moms whose memories include abortion. No matter what their reasons were, they were deceived into believing it would be easier. Yet, every year they remember and feel their losses shrouded with shame. They find themselves wondering about the child whose life ended because of the choices they made. I am thankful for those who have experienced God's grace and have been able to grieve and repent. But, I pray for those who haven't repented, always hoping they will do so, so that they can grieve their child and confess the decision they made as they cling to the assurance of a heavenly reunion.
I pray for the moms who were fortunate enough to birth children and enjoy them for a season only to lose them way too soon. They have walked a grieving journey many of us will never walk. When this day rolls around, their hearts are both heavy and thankful as they remember past Mother's Days filled with cheer and hand made cards expressing sweet childish sentiments. Even those with other children, are reminded who are celebrated can not help but see the empty chair of the missing sibling.
I pray for the moms who have children who are incarcerated or who have run away. The shame of wondering where they went wrong is sometimes too much to bear. The worry that comes from wondering if children are alive, safe, cold and hungry, or in harm's way is constant. As they grieve the choices made by their children, they grieve the holes left in their family and the dashed hopes they had for their kids.
I also pray for the moms and the children who lost their relationship through suicide. That death is a hard one to grieve because of all the unasked and unanswered questions. "Was it my fault?" "Could I have prevented it?" "Why did they want to die?" "Why did they prefer death over life?"
My purpose in sharing this post is not to guilt those who celebrate this holiday as it's a relationship that deserves to be recognized, honored, and celebrated! I just want to remind us that it is not always easy for others. I hope we can be empathetic and gracious as we cross paths with those whose experience is not one of joy. This might mean writing a note to a friend struggling with infertility. It might mean planting a rose bush with someone who's lost a child or a mom. It might mean having coffee with a friend and allowing her to talk about her loss without admonishing her to move on. It might mean doing something creative with a friend who has suffered a loss and wants to bless another. It might mean having lunch with someone spending their first Mother's Day alone, reminding them through your presence that you remember their loss. It might mean being willing to listen to a process letter written to a mother who was absent, distracted, or unloving and then helping them figure out ways to release the pain they feel and forgive at a deeper level. The possibilities are endless, for when Mother's Day is hard, it offers us so many opportunities to love those who hurt.
Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!