Over the years I have come to realize holidays can be emotionally hard for people. I remember the sadness I felt on my first Mother's Day after we had moved across the country. I was used to spending it with Mom and found myself overwhelmed and lonely in a new place. I felt a sense of loss even though she was still alive. I had become a mom and my husband did his best to make it special, so I hid the sadness I felt. It was years later I faced the holiday with Mom truly gone, leaving me unable to hear her voice, buy her a card, or send her flowers. I was a bit more prepared as I've had friends over the years who grieved Mother's Day because they lost their mothers at an early age. Some of them so young they remembered having to tell their teachers they did not have a Mom and didn't need to make a card. They felt different and hated it. Every year when this holidays rolls around I still feel a sense of loss. But more than that my heart feels burdened because I've heard many painful stories and God seems to remind me of them during this holiday. It is a good burden because it causes me to pray.
I pray for those whom this holiday stirs up longings for a relationship with their mom that can never be fulfilled. It doesn't matter if mom has died, if mom has physically left, if mom is too dysfunctional to relate in a healthy way, or if mom has betrayed them, the pain of longing is a pain that runs deep. They might be longing to simply hear her familiar voice speak words or they might be longing to hear her speak words of affirmation that in reality they know will never be spoken because of a sinful or wounded heart. They might be longing to hear an apology for harsh words spoken in haste or a fit of anger or for loving so poorly or failing to return or failing to protect. They might be the longing for one more bear hug or a maybe a warm hug never once experienced. It might be the longing for another conversation or longing for a conversation they know will never be had. They might be longing to hear her laugh one more time or the wondering what her laugh would have sounded like had depression not robbed her of it. They might be longing to hear her say she understands, but realizing their Mom can't hear their words and respect their thoughts. They might be longing to having a mom who could have lived brave enough to have protected them from her perpetrating husband instead of protecting the family reputation, the church they attended, or the delusion that the family was healthy and happy. They might be longing for a Mom who was mentally stable enough to calm fears instead of triggering them.
I pray for those ladies whose hearts feel empty on this holiday, because they can't remember a time that they didn't long for a child and they live with the realization they will never be able to conceive. Their hearts hurt every month, but they hurt 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 and move on or admonish them to simply trust God more, believing their pain is a result of not trusting God. What do they do with the longing 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 babe they were excited to meet, but will never get to hold. They also grieve the loss of the hopes and expectations they had for their children and themselves. Many of them have suffered in silence because those around them didn't recognize their loss as a valid loss and even those that recognized the loss, but want them to be over it.
I pray for the moms whose memories include abortion. No matter what the reasons were, they were deceived into believing it would be easier, only to find every year they remember and feel the loss with deep shame. They find themselves wondering about the child whose life was ended. I am thankful for those who have experienced God's grace and have been able to grieve and repent. I also pray for those who haven't, always hoping they will and at last be able to grieve their child and 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 childish sentiments so sweet. Even those with other children remember who celebrate them remember the place setting no longer set at the table.
I pray for the moms who have children incarcerated or who have run away. The shame of wondering where they went wrong is sometimes too much to bear. The worry of wondering if children are alive and safe or cold, and hungry, or in harm's way is constant, never fully going away. As they grieve the choices made by their children, they also grieve their place at the table 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 done anything to prevent it?" "Why did they want to die?" "Why did they prefer death over life and over me?"
My purpose in sharing this post is not to guilt those who love to celebrate this holiday. It is 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 do hope we can be empathetic and gracious as we cross paths with those whose experience is not one of joy. It might mean writing a sweet note to a friend who struggles with infertility. It might mean planting a rose bush with someone who has lost either a child or their mom. It might mean having coffee with a friend and allowing her to talk openly about her loss again without admonishing her to move on. It might mean doing something creative with a friend who has suffered a loss with the intention of blessing another. It might mean having lunch with someone who is spending their first Mother's Day alone, reminding them through the ministry of presence that you have remembered them in their grief. It might mean asking them if there is something you can do to commemorate the person they grieve. It might mean being willing to listen to a process letter written to a mother who was absent, distracted, or or unloving and the helping them figure out ways to release the pain they feel and to forgive at an even deeper level than they had before. It might mean helping someone put in place some kind of action plan to serve another or connect with someone else who, too, has suffered loss. The truth is that when Mother's Day is hard, it offers us opportunities to love those that hurt well.
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!