Mother’s Day always looms in my heart as a hard, conflicting, emotional holiday for many of us. My two best friends have lost their moms. We struggled with infertility for 5 years and I know countless women who have experienced miscarriage, failed adoptions, hurt or estrangement with their own mothers or whose children have passed.
It’s not all fancy brunches and flowers.
This year I’m hosting an event at our church for women whom this holiday is a hard one. I’ve been planning and preparing for it for weeks and feel like I’m knee deep in the pain and ugliness and vulnerability of it all – like when we were going through infertility ourselves. The brunch was yesterday and it was raw and real and emotional and powerful and beautiful. As I’ve been thinking through this event and what Mother’s Day is like for hurting women, two main things have been coming to mind.
1. Jesus Cares.
When we’re suffering we can feel alone and even abandoned. We feel like the rest of the world is moving forward in bliss and we’re stuck in sorrow, shame and loss. Sometimes we blame ourselves and feel the scarlet letter of “failure”. Often we mourn the loss of the dream. Maybe we fear we’ll never be happy again.
At my brunch yesterday, I shared about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11. My favorite part of that passage is how He responds to Mary. Martha sought out Jesus when He came and Mary stayed home. I’m speculating a bit, but I imagine her grief felt too great that she didn’t even know how to set it at the feet of Jesus. (Anyone else been there?) Yet he calls for her. She is weeping and sorrowful and says “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” And she’s right you know… if Jesus had quickened his pace, He could have healed him.
But she doesn’t know what’s about to happen next. She doesn’t know that Jesus has this insane evidence of God’s glory about to happen as He raises Lazarus from the dead.
Even though Jesus DOES know what He will do – he doesn’t just say “just you wait Mary… you won’t be crying soon!”
NO. He sees her – He is deeply troubled and distressed… and He weeps.
He weeps because she is weeping. Because his friend Lazarus is experiencing death, because Mary and Martha are so distressed and sorrowful. He knows He’ll bring life from death. But the death still happened and it’s still something to mourn.
Jesus cares about you in your sorrow and your grief. He loves you.
2. It’s not all about you.
In suffering, we often become inward focused. I know when we were going through infertility, my distress felt so all encompassing I closed some of my friend circles and could barely maintain the few friends I held closest. I stopped serving and pouring into others because my soul’s distress could barely be contained.
I remember my husband gently and gingerly suggesting that it might be beneficial in that season to serve others.
It shocked me. How am I supposed to give my life away when I can barely get through a conversation without crying? My emotions are right at the surface and it doesn’t take much for them to spill over.
But he was right. And I found out serving and loving others was a lifeline for me. At the time all I could manage was perhaps baking cookies and giving some to a friend, or buying someone a coffee. But when I was able to serve, I thought more of others and less about myself – – in a very good way.
True life is in giving our life away.
This is such a hard lesson I’m continuing to learn, but its always so surprising to me how pouring myself out for others can fill me up too. I know this is really hard in suffering. I’m not saying you have to run events or serve weekly in your church’s childcare or whatever may seem totally overwhelming and crazy right now. But if you too have found yourself shrinking back from serving and loving others, I urge you to take one small step in that direction. Bring doughnuts to a friend. Send a gift to a family member. Text someone that you’re praying for them (and do it!).
Hope in Suffering
Sister, if this Mother’s Day is hard for you – you are not alone. I’ve had many Mother’s Days where I just wanted it to be over… where I tried my hardest to hold back the tears that would eventually roll down my face, and the sobs from my chest. Even now, after adopting our two incredible boys, Mother’s Day still runs the entire gamut of emotions for me.
Weep. Cheer. Mourn. Celebrate.
Do whatever you need to do in this day.
But just remember Jesus cares. He cares about your losses and your grieves. He is with you and He will bring hope and healing into your heart if you let him.
Your suffering is not purposeless. You are not left alone in your pain. Jesus knows every tear we cry. And He has promised that one day, he will wipe every tear from our eyes, that mourning and pain and death will be no more. And the King who sits on the throne says “Behold! I am making ALL THINGS NEW!” (Revelation 21)
Even through the hurt and the tears, let’s join hands and praise him together.
My Previous Mother’s Day Posts:
- Mother’s Day: 15 Reasons I’m Thankful for Infertility (2010)
- Mother’s Day for the Rest of Us (2011)
- Another Mother’s Day (2012)
- My First (Happy) Mother’s Day (2013)
- When Mother’s Day is Painful (2014)
- A Bipolar Mother’s Day (2015)
- When Mother’s Day is the Hardest Day of the Year (2016)