Our calendars come with it already labeled, a day to celebrate all that mothers are and all they do. Yet it’s a complicated one isn’t it? A day that often holds both joy and sorrow, expectations and longings, words spoken and much left unsaid.
And so today I share with you some of my own Mother’s Day remembrances with the hope that you will be encouraged and pointed to our only lasting Hope, our God.
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
My brother and I were maybe six and eight, old enough to know we should do something for our mom on Mother’s Day, but not skilled enough to execute plans on our own. We schemed with our neighbor to come to her house and cook breakfast, then we surprised our mom with breakfast in bed. I’m sure she knew ahead of time, but she acted surprised. Plus, she actually ate the food, which may or may not have been an enjoyable experience. It was our less-than-perfect attempt to recognize her and celebrate her, a single mom providing for us and bearing all the weight of parenting on her own. On this Mother’s Day if you find yourself doing all the things, feeling unseen and unappreciated, may I encourage you that what you are doing matters, and I hope you get breakfast in bed.
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word."
II Thessalonians 2:16-17
We’d been at Sacred Heart Medical Center for 21 days, and I wanted so much to be home for Mother’s Day. Twenty one days is three weeks, and in hospital time that feels like at least six months. But, my son wasn’t quite ready. Although his heart had been repaired by surgery when he was just nine days old, his body wasn’t quite strong enough for him to be released. And so we spent Mother’s Day in the hospital, exhausted and fighting for hope. If this year you find yourself waiting, for a diagnosis, for a hospital release, for a dream to be fulfilled; if you’re tired and weary and fighting for joy, may I offer that God knows, He sees and He is our hope. Run into His strong arms, rest on His promises, give Him your worries and dreams.
"The Lord your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will be quiet in his love. He will delight in you with singing."
I sent her a card for the first time this year. I should have sent one before. She’s not my mom, or my mother-in-law, or even a current mom figure in my life. She’s my aunt, and in my early years she was like a mom to me. She was briefly married and never had children of her own. But she went on every vacation with us, she hosted all the family get togethers, even went to doctors appointments and a surgery or two with me. I knew by the ways she loved me well, that I was valued and cherished by her. She’s been a mother figure to many children since me, and she hasn’t been recognized adequately for who she is and what she’s done. If you find yourself in a non-traditional mothering role, as an aunt, a friend or a caregiver, we celebrate you today also. Thank you for the vital role you play in each child that you love well.
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up,"
I Thessalonians 5:11
It’ll be the last year when all my birds are in the nest; we launch the first one off to college in the fall. So, I’m not really sure how I want to celebrate this Mother’s Day. Mostly I just want to hold each one close and tell them how much I love being their momma and what a gift each one is to me. How I’m a better person and I understand more of God because of them. That each one is cherished and unique. That whether they grew in my belly or in my heart (through adoption) my love for them is complete and fierce. And, I want to tell my husband that I’m sorry for years past when I placed unfair, often unstated expectations of what Mother’s Day should be on him. That the best gift is getting to be their mom, in our actual messy life, where there’s laundry to do and food to cook, and no Instagram worthy pictures to post. I will hold my kids tightly and my expectations loosely, drawing close to my people and my God.
"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."
“When each brave woman shows up and does her thing, she actually wins a thousand other battles because she makes a thousand other women brave.” (Ann Voskamp) This Mother’s Day let’s be brave together, showing up authentically, valuing and building each other up, all to the glory of God.
In these last words I want to acknowledge that for some your Mother’s Day is overwhelmed by grief. Maybe it’s the of the loss of your own mother, the loss of your child, or of the dream of a child; maybe it’s a wayward child or a broken relationship. May you know in these painful, crushing days that
“the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”