A Mother's Day Reflection
I watched her as she greeted me with grace as I entered the church where we would celebrate her daughter's life. She stood straight, cheeks bright with life and eyes that told the story or her past three years with her medically complex daughter whom I had the privilege of caring for.
The church filled, the music played, the service commenced and it was hard. I imagined myself in her shoes. I grieved. I felt a lot of guilt for the blessing of my three healthy children who I left at home with their father. I had not appreciated those healthy blessings enough.
I stepped up to the front and delivered a eulogy for my precious little sunshine patient. I made it through the memories, I made sure to connect my eyes to hers and assure her of my own sadness, even guilt for not coming up with a miracle to save her precious one. My eyes also showed love, devotion and a promise of being a better mother myself than I had the day before.
We walked out of the church, we hugged and I got in my car for that long ride home. I don't remember any of that trip, only the imprint of the day being forever marked in my heart and mind.
I've watched her since that day, grieving, loving, languishing. I've also watched her welcome new life from her womb, God's rescue for her grieving mama heart. I've watched him grow, her wrestling with the goodness of life and the sting of death and I wonder how she does it. And does it with hope.
I've sat with her. We've cried, laughed, toasted our little unicorn angel in heaven and eaten chocolate cake with red painted toes in her honor.
When I reflect on Mother's Day, on how God would want me to experience it, I think of her. Being a mother is very much like that old adage of walking around with your heart outside your body. And what comes of our hearts? They are often warmed, often full and often bursting with pride and joy. But they are also often heavy, burdened and broken. Our hearts sometimes align with our heads, making sense of it all. But more often, our mama hearts lead, emotion pumping with each beat as we try to absorb the goodness and pain at the very same time of all that it is to be a mother.
The greatest gift I have been given is to be a mother. It is truly what I felt called to more than anything else. My womb has been filled three times and for that I embrace the full treasure, honor and privilege it is to have been granted these gifts. I grieve many other women very much like me who have not been blessed in the same way.
The human experience is one of highs and lows, for sure. But, for women, Mother's Day is once of such extremes that it cannot go unsaid. The beauty in the pain, the light in the dark, the goodness in the lessons of fear and doubt. Both the answered and unanswered prayers. The celebrations and disappointments. The laughing and the crying. The living and the dying.
I read Proverbs 31 to my children yesterday as we wrapped up online church before heading out to celebrate Mother's Day with Stan's side of the family. My take home message to my children was not one to describe how I embodied these traits (though that is my deepest heart desire), rather of the importance of knowing what the Bible says and letting the good words of God remain on repeat in their hearts and minds.
The steadfast truth of God's word promises to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11), to fill our stomachs with daily manna (Exodus 16) and to allow our fig trees to bud in His due time (Habakkuk 3:17). Translation - our deepest heart longings as women and as mothers (and as all people for that matter!) are all fulfilled in the Bible. "God is good, He is good to us and He is good at being God" (wise words from one of my favorite Christian women, Lysa Terkeurst). You should check out her story of faith and trust in God...
Wherever you are in your life's journey, God's word, when accepted as truth you can count on, will not only be your comfort, but also your guide. The way of this world is fast-paced, reliant on instant gratification and flooded with the temptation to believe that we hold our own destiny so we better get to making that happen for ourselves- and in a hurry. As a contrast, the Bible shares hope in God's plan for our life journeys and promise of ultimate healing and fulfillment in eternity with Him with daily trust, one step at a time.
The Bible is more than a book of rules, rather it is a book for the broken hearted, the lost, the grieving, those wanting more. It is a book that makes the reality of pain in this world one that is understood, embraced and allowed to live and breathe.
Just like my hope for my children on Mother's Day, my hope for each of you is that you would know the goodness of God through the truth of His word. Good times and bad, there is always a plan, always hope and always a bright light at the end of whatever your dark tunnel is. We all have them, friends. And we are all welcomed by God to snuggle into his chest and exhale as we release our trying into His more than capable loving and trustworthy hands.