Since losing my mother in 1988, Mother's Day has always been a day I dreaded. It has been a day that I've wanted to just pull the covers over my head and forget. As a child, making Mom's Day crafts, for an alternate family member or inviting an alternate family member to a Mother's Day banquet was almost like twisting a knife in a wound. For me it was always a reminder of what wasn't, of what I desperately missed and yet would never know. I ached, a piece of me missing, a gaping wound in my broken heart that no one else could fill.
That sorrow took on a whole new meaning when in 2005 my second son went from the arms of my husband, his earthly father straight into the arms of his Heavenly Father. Mother's Day was doubly hard as a daughter missing her mom, AND as a mom missing her son. Mother's Day seemed like a day simply to exploit the brokenness in my life. Losing Asher in 2008 only compounded the pain.
For decades now, Mother's Day swoops in in May and steals my joy, bringing to my knees as tears fall and I mourn what has been lost. I have dreaded Mother's Day for so long that I have had no idea how to embrace it. I have been blessed with healthy children and being their mother is an honor like no other. I want to celebrate that, yet I've not known how. The void is too big, too gaping and too raw.
This year, I am trying desperately to break the cycle. Mother's Day doesn't steal my joy. Satan does. He swoops in and pulls the rug right out from under me, reminding me of all that's been lost and making me yearn for and even envy those who celebrate without the sorrow and loss. He reminds me of how I fall short and am nothing to be celebrated myself. The thing is...he can only do that if I let him. If I focus my eyes upward, I see a God who is MIGHTY to save. I see a God who has held my quivering grief filled body through each and every loss. I see a God who has shown me comfort that I would never have known otherwise. I see a God who has never left, who has wiped each tear and picked me up and led me onward.
Mother's Day will likely always be bittersweet. Being a mother is one of the greatest honors the Lord has bestowed upon me, but the scars of loss still ache a bit. I am coming to accept the fact that they likely always will. Much like life, we are constantly swaying between grief and joy and it is a journey, and one that will likely never end. All we can do is keep our focus on Him and surrender. We give it to him, all the hurt, grief, anger and bitterness. We lay it at his feet and we walk away. We leave it. He is good. He has a good plan and he will work each and every ugly hurt out for our good. He will. I have seen it. I look back at where I have been and where I stand and I am awestruck, it doesn't negate the pain, but gives it purpose.
I sit here tonight thinking of all of my friends out there dreading tomorrow. Some of you have just lost your own mom, some have lost a precious child, some long to be mothers, some are mothers who have given up their children. I think about the despair and raw heartache. My heart breaks because I know a bit about that ache. I believe God has really been speaking to my heart today. I wish I had magic words to offer, unfortunately there are none.
Friends, if a taste of bitter is what you are feeling as Mother's Day approaches, let me encourage you. It might take twenty four years, but one day it will hurt less. One day you will be able to breathe again. One day you will be able to go outside the safety of your home on Mother's day and not want to punch every daughter taking her own mom for granted or mom taking her children for granted. God is with you today. Our savior, he can move mountains....I have witnessed it. He is mighty to save, and he wants so desperately to save you. He CONQUERED the grave! He did...he did it for you and for me. For me, dreading Mother's Day, I believe became a habit. I am going to break that habit right now, replacing it with looking it as an opportunity to pray specifically for each hurting heart out there...each heart that is dreading Mother's Day.
We serve a God who is so much bigger than we can fathom. We serve a God who has plans we couldn't dream up if we tried. He wants good things for us, and sometimes pain is part of that. It sucks, but I promise there is purpose. He conquered the grave, His power is within us, and weeping may last for the night but I am here to tell you that JOY comes in the morning...sometimes it takes years, but it comes if you accept it. I have felt for so long that I needed to dread Mother's Day because of all of the sorrow it reminds me of and that if I did not weep and grieve on this date that I was doing a disservice to my grief, but I am learning that I can allow the joy to come. I can celebrate because God has conquered all of it. My feet are firmly planted upon the Rock and He has proven Himself to be a faithful and loving God. I can celebrate in SPITE of all of the pain because His grace and His hope are GREATER than all of it.
So, tomorrow is likely to be bittersweet, but I sure am going to relish in the sweet because if you had told me a year ago we'd be the parents to a half dozen children, four on earth and two in Heaven, I'd have though you nuts, but not our God...he is so creative, so merciful and so loving and his plans for us are good. You might be in a pit of despair right now, and it is okay to hurt, to really enter that pain and allow yourself to feel it, walk through the muck and the mire, and place your feet upon that Solid Rock, because He IS mighty to save and he will bring beauty from the ashes. There is purpose in the pain. He promises he will and he keeps his promises. It is okay to be where you are...one day you will breathe again...one day He will make all sad things come untrue. He is the only One who can fill the void, and He will...if you let him. The positive may never outweigh or make up for the negative...but even in the negative...He is there.