I completely understand the feeling of dread walking into church on that day. The day I wished I could have pulled the covers up over my head, but didn’t. Or rather couldn’t. As a member of the church staff, it was a workday. So, I had to show up.
Ready to go.
Even if my heart was breaking inside.
Many of you know the day of which I speak. When the youngest mom, the oldest mom, the mom with the most kids, the mom with the youngest child, and even, the one with the most kids with her at church were honored.
All of them.
And then, there was the rest of us.
We weren’t meant to be excluded or made to feel less than. Yet, oftentimes, we were and we did.
For women like myself, those who struggle to get pregnant (or stay pregnant), Mother’s Day isn’t a happy day. Especially when some in the Chrisitian community proclaim that a woman’s highest calling is to be a wife and a mother. (Personally, I believe anyone’s highest calling is to love God with all that we are.) I remember many Sundays when well-meaning people would ask, “Oh, when are you going to start a family?” They had no clue we were trying…A LOT! But nothing was happening. For so long, I wondered “If I don’t have children, am I loser?” Momentarily forgetting about all about the other gifts, skills and abilities that God had given me to steward, develop and use in and outside of the church.
After several years of trying to conceive, we finally did. Then, shockingly, we did again! And I love my children. Both are miracles and gifts to our family. And, in some ways, my feelings about Mother’s Day have changed. Even still, my heart empathizes with many who long for a child and whose hearts ache as they continue to wait. To them, this is a day they wish they could sleep through, or bypass, or even erase.
I still remember…
I have thought of you and prayed for you. Those I know personally and even those for whom I’ve never met. Have you just taken another pregnancy test only to discover it’s negative…AGAIN? Is this is your first Mother’s Day since your mom passed? For others, your relationship with your mom is not what you had hoped it would be for a variety of reasons. And to my friends who have chosen a life of singleness or who are graciously living life to the fullest until you are directed otherwise, I applaud you. To you, actually to all women, I say: You are valued, needed and important.
This Mother’s Day, I want to honor the many women who have gotten me to this place. For their inspiration and influence, encouragement and exhortation, belief and investment, and for their many prayers. I am grateful for each of you and the role you have played in my life. These women include: the mother who gave me life and my mom who watched me grow, my daughter and mother-in-law, my “college adopted mom,” best friends and Soul Sistas, my spiritual director and mentors. I have known some of you my entire life (or most of it) and others for only a short while. My life’s journey has included “friends in the skin” and my “Cyber Tribe”. Each of you hold a significant place in my life and have shaped who I am today.
As we approach a day that has mixed emotions for many, let’s be aware of those hurting among us. As well, let’s see beyond what Hallmark has made this holiday to be about and celebrate all the women who have come into our lives, spoken to our hearts, and changed us for the good. Women who have encouraged us, invested in us, and loved us as their own…even if we were not. And in turn, let’s see those young girls—soon-to-be grown women—right around us who need us to do the same for them. Let’s be the mothers and the sisters, the friends and the family that so many need. Let’s be women of God seeking to love and live as Jesus did in our homes and neighborhoods, our churches and communities, our towns and countries, and as far reaching as our influence will carry.