May 10, 2019
When Mother's Day is Tough
"Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15 (NLT)
Little did I know how hard my "first" Mother's Day would be.
I'd dreamed of that first holiday, anticipating the joy and celebration. When I learned I was pregnant, my husband and I were ecstatic. We excitedly told a few close friends and all our extended family we were expecting a new bundle of joy.
Several weeks later, I sadly discovered I was having a miscarriage.
That Mother's Day was anything but joyful.
But my friend Deb? She knew. She understood I'd just want to weep and had called me that morning. Deb left a heartfelt message, sharing a short Scripture and a prayer reminding me of God's goodness - which was exactly what my soul craved that day.
Although Deb didn't have children of her own, she knew firsthand the pain of losing someone she desperately wanted to meet one day. In her case, she'd lost a child through a decision to terminate a pregnancy when she was in college. Yet she'd come to a place of healing in the years that followed, and knew my "first" Mother's Day would be an emotional challenge.
Deb stepped into my heartache and lived out our key verse of Romans 12:15, which reminds us to "Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep."
Although that was my first challenging Mother's Day, it wasn't my last. Nearly 10 years later, we lost my beloved mother-in-law suddenly due to a massive stroke one fateful April day.
My grief after losing her so unexpectedly was palpable and raw. I'd cry myself to sleep, begging God to tell her in heaven just how utterly loved and special she was.
I vividly remember walking into a card store the week after her funeral, where all things motherhood bombarded me. I couldn't walk out of that shop quickly enough, as it was too soon to pretend everything was fine.
Thankfully again, dear friends brought wise words of comfort, and gradually the acute pain of initial grief morphed into the dull ache of loss.
Perhaps you, too, have known deep sorrow around a national day devoted to celebrating mothers. Maybe you long to have children, but that door hasn't opened. Or you've lost a child or mother ... or the spouse you thought would always be there to help you parent well. I wish we could connect face-to-face, and I could simply offer a hug to let you know you're not alone.
For many, Mother's Day is a joyful celebration, with spectacular reasons to "rejoice with those who rejoice" (Romans 12:15a, ESV). Yet I know from experience how difficult that can be. Whatever pain you're enduring, here are a few things that help me cope when I truly just want to weep:
- We can look to God's Word to find comfort. Oftentimes, I've grabbed my Bible and a journal to process my hurt, reminding myself that God Himself has endured deep grief. Reading through some psalms, such as Psalm 10:14-18, helps me regain perspective.
- It's important to nurture my own soul on Mother's Day. Some years, that means doing something special (even if it's small) to feel celebrated, making time with my closest friends around Mother's Day, or planning open discussions with my husband about my expectations for the day. Each new season brings different opportunities to creatively guard my heart.
- We can comfort our sisters the same way we've been comforted. Other years, I'm aware of a friend who's grieving on Mother's Day. Whether she lost a child or her mama, I've tried to send encouragement through a prayerful phone call, an uplifting text or sincere note.
This weekend, let's strengthen one another and offer hope when hope feels far away.
Lord, thank You that I can turn to You always, whether I'm happy or hurting. Fill me with Your peace and presence, and help me bring comfort to others in the way You've comforted me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Corinthians 1:3b-4, "God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (NLT)
1 Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (NIV)
Today you can start a chain reaction, one that spreads biblical Truth and hope to the world. You are an important link to your mom, sister, daughter and community! Click here to learn about Each One, Reach One, where each one who donates will be equipped to reach one more.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
If you're hurting this Mother's Day, read Psalm 73:23-28, and note all the ways God is with you.
How have you been encouraged by a sister in Christ in the past? How might you encourage someone who's facing sorrow this Mother's Day (or another celebratory holiday)? Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2019 by Stephanie Raquel. All rights reserved.