Mothers and Not-Mothers

Odd title, I admit, but just keep reading, and I’m hoping you’ll “get it”.

Mother’s Day is almost here. It is a wonderful time to celebrate our mothers and if we are really blessed, to have someone celebrate us as “mom”.

But for some, Mother’s Day can be painful. Okay, I hate to be negative about holidays. I dump on Valentine’s Day and now Mother’s Day.

Woman, what is wrong with you?

Well here goes. I personally know how hard Mother’s Day can be. My husband and I lost a child in December of 1892 —just kidding, we’re not that old, but on December 4, 1979 (still a long time ago for some of you) our first son was born prematurely. He lived for only for fifteen days. That did not make for a pleasant Christmas. Did not make for a pleasant Mother’s Day the following May. And you know when you go to church, how they make such a big deal over Mom’s Day. “If you’re a mother, would you please stand?” kinda thing. Well, okay, I was a mom, but what’s a mother without a child? What do you call that person?

Whew! This is hard to write, but for some, you know what I am talking about.

The next Mother’s Day was tough as well, and the next, and a couple more…because now, guess what! My husband and I struggled with infertility. Fortunately it was not one of those “forever” struggles, and about five years after we lost Michael, our daughter was born. Can I just begin to tell you how much she meant to us? I mean, I could actually hold this baby! Wow. And I got to take her home! And I got to tuck her in at night. And…well, some of you know the sweetness of a newborn baby.

But…sometimes our dreams die and they are never revived. Can I just say how I hurt for those of you going through this? Not just for the ones who have lost a child, but for many who want a child and the months go by, each one bringing hope, and every month that hope fades a little more. It can be a harsh cycle of hope, hope dying, grief (yes, grief), then hope again and so on. And there are those well-intentioned folks who will tell you, “You can always adopt,” or any number of things that I won’t get into right now. And by the way, we can’t “always adopt”. That is another huge discussion that I may let a friend of mine weigh in on.

And I know there are some who choose not to have children for whatever reason, and I will respect that. You may be freer to minister to others. Perhaps you may carry a genetic disorder for a disease that could be fatal, and you don’t want to risk passing that on. (For the argument about Paul’s letter in which he says: “Women shall be saved in childbirth”, please don’t take that out of context because believe me it can have a whole other meaning than a surface reading can give you. Maybe we’ll take a look at that some other time.)

Then there are those who have lost their mother. Some at a very young age, and some of us when we were older. My mom passed away over fifteen years ago and I still think about what I need to get her for Mother’s Day, then the realization….oh, wait. Never mind.

I think that all women should be honored at Mother’s Day. No, really. Whether or not you ever have children or adopt children, you should be honored. My pastor’s wife feels the same way, and every year she makes something for each of the ladies who attend church on Mother’s Day. Her reason?  She puts it something like this: All women have an ability to nurture. All of us can influence the next generation.

And there are countless ways to do this whether it’s working with kids in church, loving on your nieces and nephews, taking a younger woman under your wing as a mentor or caring for a neighbor (maybe even an elderly neighbor setting an example for your own as well as other generations).

For those of you struggling with issues of infertility,  or a lost child, let me leave you with these verses:

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

So what about you moms who are struggling to get things done, struggling with children who do things you “never would have done” and so on? (Because I know what that’s like too.) Perhaps you feel like you “should be thankful” for your kids, or you “should be better” at this or I “should be like other moms whose kids always look nice” or whatever “should’s” you tell yourself, I’d like to let you in on a secret. If you are seeking the Lord, praying for your children, and asking God for guidance, I believe you are a good mom! Yup, you heard me. God sees our hearts. He really does understand your desires, and He will honor you by helping you get through each day.

I pray each of you today would feel God’s arms around you and let Him love on you. Take a moment to be the kid. Today you are the one with the skinned knee or cut finger and you need some “Daddy-time”. Take that hurt to Him, and let Him “kiss it and make it better”.

One other thing and I’m done. About six years after our daughter was born we had another son. (I don’t mean to leave you as a P.S., Sam. I just couldn’t figure out how to work you in.) And I do know that our little Michael waits for us in heaven, is having a blast, and we will see him again. Have hope and find joy and comfort in the Lord, sweet ones.

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One thought on “Mothers and Not-Mothers

  1. I’m one of those who fall into the classification of losing a mom young.

    Each relationship that ends because of death changes us. We have to be changed. Because of the nature that God gave us to LOVE, when love collides with the event of death – it alters us. Just as Jesus was transformed by and because of the cross…our loss gives us the same opportunity.

    Yes, losing loved ones hurts – a lot. It’s supposed to. That’s the way God designed us. I finally realized (recently) that when I was orphaned at 17, it was His will that I would place my dependence on Him. It’s just taken a few decades to recognize it.

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