To the woman silently weeping in church on Mother's Day,
I stand two rows back and watch your shoulders gently shake as the tears stream down your cheeks. I see your husband reach over to gently squeeze your hand, while you wipe your face with the back of your sleeve. I don't know you. But I do know that while some families are planning their Mother's Day around church services and brunch gatherings, for some, there is no planning at all.
For some, Mother's Day is hard.
Perhaps you weep for the unnamed baby you miscarried this past year or for the stillborn child you held in your arms, but never heard cry. Maybe your suffering comes from years and years of unsuccessful fertility treatments. Maybe it's the rejection of yet another failed adoption. Maybe you experienced the unbearable loss of a son or daughter. Perhaps you recently lost your own mother, or never even knew her at all.
For years that woman weeping in church on Mother’s Day was me.
A long journey of infertility left me dreading church on Mother’s Day. I often thought of reasons to miss or conveniently had a terrible headache that morning. I couldn’t bear the thought of grinning through the “greet your neighbor” portion of the service. Everyone would turn to shake the hand of the person next to them and someone would undoubtedly wish me a “Happy Mother’s Day.” I would fake a smile, but cringe inside, knowing I had yet another fertility treatment scheduled.
The role of “Mother” seemed like such an unattainable title. My unmet desires left me feeling alone and forgotten.
Your God remembers you.
“I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit; you heard my plea, ‘Do not close your ear to my cry for help!’ You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’” Lamentations 3:55-57
No matter how it may feel to you, your heavenly Father is always near (Psalm 139: 7-12). God knows your heartache and hears your cries (Ps. 56:8). Even on the days when it feels like loneliness and darkness could swallow you whole and you don’t feel his presence, he is there. Even in great suffering you never leave his loving hands. He doesn’t flinch at the weight of your pain and he doesn’t rush your grief. He is with you even now. He sees you, and beckons you to come (Matt 11:28).
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
God knows the deepest desires of your heart. He hears your longings and your cries.
Sometimes I really struggle to believe this. If God knows my desires, why hasn’t he fulfilled them? Be careful here, sisters. God hears your desires. He just may not fulfill them in the way we think they should be fulfilled. But your Father’s ways are better and he never ignores you (Is 55:8-9). He is with you and he hears you.
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18
He remembers you because you are his daughter.
“In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” Ephesians 1:5-6
My greatest hope and identity—your greatest hope and identity—is not in being an earthly mother. It is in being an eternal daughter. A daughter of the Almighty, merciful God. Remember this, sweet sister. By the incredible grace of Christ, you have been given a place in God’s family. You have been allowed to call God Father and to know him and worship him. This title—this relationship—can never be stripped away. It is a gift not withheld. It cannot be miscarried. It cannot be earned. Our Father calls us his and in being his, we find his unending love and comfort in our pain.
Look to your Father and find comfort.
Because Jesus paid the price of your sin and my sin, we are gifted the title of daughter. Being a daughter can bring comfort to you even in the throes of sadness because of whose daughter you are. You are a daughter of the God who created all things and sustains all things. Turn your gaze upon God’s perfection that is forever fastened to his sovereignty over your life (Deut 32:4; Ps 139:16).
Dear sister, I am praying for you today. I pray that you will be satisfied this morning in his steadfast love that spans the sky (Ps 36:5, 90:14). I pray that in the hardest valleys of your life, you will surrender to the God of all comfort whose grace never runs out for you (2 Cor 1:3-5; John 1:16). I pray that you will cling to the promises of God today and each day forward because he never changes and he will never fail you.
“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30