The crowd was a-buzz. Well-wishers, families settling into their seats, and most better dressed than a normal week. I knew the moment was coming.
The opening song rang through the sanctuary, and I felt a dread sweep through me. I had experienced it before, each year it had taken on new and different dimensions. It was Mother’s Day.
“All moms please stand,”… I heard, I stood and I struggled to look forward. That’s all I recall. I don’t remember any of what was said. I know we were loved, appreciated, and applauded.
I fully support honoring mothers and I wouldn’t discourage this practice. It’s just that I was in the thick of disappointment. I held onto a false ideal of motherhood, and it was threatening me to the core.
The year before a sweet friend whispered into my ear that though children were not in our home, my heart was that of a mother. I cried because it was my deepest wish. I tried to brush it off and smile at the next friend to reassure them that I was ok.
A year later, my foster daughter sat next to me. I was fully immersed the act of mothering, except at that moment, she didn’t yet claim me. I don’t blame her, I was the 6th mom she’d had and we’d had only 6 months of introduction. I answered to my first name, and did everything I could to love her.
I know now that no matter how one comes to it, motherhood is a fight; reality never matches the Pinterest perfect picture, timeline, or even expectations of how we will respond to mothering day in and day out. No one comes to it easily; we all have different labors to go through that cannot be compared.
Some yearn for children, others feel overwhelmed in the sea of small people. The details of every day overwhelm as we begin to realize—no child comes with instructions. Though we cannot fully be in the shoes of one another, I’ve been most blessed by friends who have been able to say, “Your stuff is real. Your emotions, hopes, and struggles are valid, and we are in this fight together.” In return I’m able to say the same back. Rather than sinking into the pain of our different situations and creating distance, we build one another up, pray for one another, and are united in our desire to honor God with our mothering in good times and bad.
I hope this Mother’s Day your battle, whatever it is, is recognized and honored by those who have walked in your shoes, and by those who have not. For women who have faced loss, of a child, or of your own mother, we honor you. For women who long to have children, we honor you. For women who are in the deep throes of parenting, we honor you. For the mom who is doing it all on her own, we honor you. For women whose children have grown up and moved out, we honor you. For women who are mothering children who aren’t biologically related, we honor you. For women who aren’t quite there yet, we honor you. For women discipling and mentoring those without mothers, we honor you.
I hope you can bring the insecurities, anxiety, and fear that somehow your mothering won’t measure up to the gracious feet of Jesus, and realize that your identity is fully in him. No lack in your mothering, failure, or success can make you any less, or more loved than you already are.
In the midst of the battle, I’ve found hope that though motherhood is a gift, it is not who I am. God does not look at me and say, “Mommy,” Or, “So and so’s Mom.” Instead he calls me by name. He is personally loving, knowing all the places I’ve strived, failed, cried and given up.
Isaiah 43:1 declares:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
We know that Mother’s Day can be a hard day for some. It can be a reminder of broken dreams, unfulfilled hopes, even deep shame. It can intensify the loss of a mother or a child, and it can push many memories into the forefront of our mind which we would rather not dwell on. Know that God cares deeply about the hurts and desires of your heart. He longs to be the one you look to for comfort and to draw you near. Know that your plea is not unheard, and you are not unseen. He sees you, He hears you, and He is weaving something beautiful together as He becomes the anchor for your soul.
Jesus, I ask for your mercy and love to surround the hurting, for your love to wash over their lives, and for the peace that passes understanding to be that on which they rest. In Jesus’ name-Amen
Thanks for Reading,
Anchored Voices Writers
Holly is a wife, mother of one, and foster mother to many. She seeks to glorify God in all she does, for all her life. She studied Intercultural Studies at Corban University and loves to build bridges between cultures and people. She welcomes people into her life, into her heart, and into her home with hopes of offering encouragement. You can find more from Holly here at Anchored Voices or at her blog Called to Restore.