For the Weary on Mother's Day Weekend

The first phrase that comes to mind when I think of Mother's Day is "ugly-beautiful." Christian author Ann Voskamp refers to this as when something beautiful comes out of something hideous, dark, and overwhelming.

The ugly-beautiful. It's why I tolerate Mother's Day, and why I hate it. Hate is a strong word suited only for those things we detest the most. Hate is fitting for this.

Because while I'm celebrating the beautiful, someone else is wrestling with the ugly. Someone is facing the loss of a child. A miscarriage, a stillbirth, a death of one who breathed on this's all just LOSS. Someone is throwing a pregnancy test across the bathroom and when it falls to the ground, it's as if another piece of her heart falls right along with it. Someone is trying to navigate this journey of life without the unconditional love of a mother because for some reason her mother's love is conditional. Someone is grieving the loss of her own mother, longing for just one more day to celebrate her.

I still cringe when I walk into church on Mother's Day. I don't think I ever will forget, but I also pray that I never will forget the brokenness that I felt when I longed for the one "thing" that I couldn't have. The years when I prayed that there wouldn't be a baby dedication. When I held my breath just waiting to see if the sermon was going to be directed toward mamas. And the year I longed to run out of the church in despair because nine days earlier we learned that our third child would never take a breath this side of heaven and the grief was insurmountable. 

When you've walked the journey of infertility or loss, you can recognize those who are hiding behind fake smiles. Those whose eyes hold glimpses of pain. Those who can't even look you in the eye. Those who sit through the dedications willing themselves not to cry. Those whose stoic expressions show that they are just over it. Just over the weekend. Just over the day. Just ready for Monday.

I want to run up to them and tell them that I know. That I've been there. That I can pray with them. I don't dare do that though. I will not call out their struggle when they have not shared it with me. Oh, but if  I could, I would wrap my arms around those who are suffering.

So for those of you who are in that place right now, let me tell you what I would say if I could speak to you in person. I would say that I am praying fervently for you. I would tell you that I know it's ugly. I know it hurts. I know that it just plain sucks. I know that the darkness is thick. I also know that God is in the thick of the darkness. He not only sees your tears, He collects them (Psalm 56:8). He takes note of your distress (Psalm 106:44). His thoughts toward you are precious (Psalm 139:17). He has not abandoned you (Hebrews 13:5). He loves you so (Psalm 103:11)

Be gracious to yourself. Tender and caring. May you find great rest and strength in Him.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. - Romans 5:1-5


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