Ginny Hobbs lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and works as a portrait and wedding photographer. She enjoys life with her husband, new baby Tripp, and their dog, Hermione.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Mothers are something to be celebrated, no doubt. Among the greatest blessings in my life are the amazing parents with whom God graced me. But Mother’s Day has been a major source of grief for me, flamboyantly flaunting all that I longed for and couldn’t have.
Mother’s Day is a time of grief for many:
· Those who dearly miss their mothers
· Those who long from the ever-numbing pain of infertility to be mothers
· Those whose children, born and unborn, have been lost
My husband and I suffered through five years of infertility and miscarried a child we had adopted through embryo adoption. After years of angst, this year the ever-dreaded day looks different for me, a mother to an 11-week-old. But the years of longing unfulfilled so indelibly wounded and deepened me that I am forever changed.
One of the greatest tightropes in life is the command of Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” But let’s be honest – often, those with blessing can easily be blinded with the ease of life. And those in suffering can have a hard time seeing past their pain. But, as with most matters of great weight and importance, Paul’s very difficult prescription is vital for living well.
How does the mother whose life revolves around her healthy children relate to those who are consumed by fertility treatments and failed adoptions?
How does the woman living with countless miscarriages relate to the mom starving for a moment’s relief from her toddlers?
The longer I live the more I’m convinced that the truest definition of love is self-sacrifice. Love does include affection and feelings, but the root of love is in disregarding your needs for the sake of another. All of time and history hinge on the one person who perfectly exemplifies this love: Christ. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Last year, an old friend and mother of three sent me the most thoughtful message on Mother’s Day. “Thinking of you and your sweet angel baby today.” After years of infertility, I was grateful to have something tangible to mourn with the miscarriage.
I asked some friends who have suffered through infertility how they felt about Mother’s Day and how they would like to be loved and remembered.
“I want to be acknowledged. I want to be recognized that I want to be a mom and I’m desperately working on it. I want to be prayed for, that my dream would be realized. I don’t want to be ignored or forgotten,” said one friend.
“One thing that stood out a few years ago . . . At church, moms got handed roses when they walked in, and were asked to stand up during service if you’re a mom so everyone could applaud the moms. It was just so uncomfortable in that ‘last to get picked for the team on the playground’ kind of way. What about those of us who are trying to become moms and God hasn’t ‘blessed' us yet? Are we not ‘blessed’ because haven’t received our ‘blessing’ yet? I wish churches would offer more support to those who struggle to start their families,” said another.
“I would really like it if people would just pray for me rather than give me what they think are ‘encouraging’ words about Gods timing. I know all that but it doesn’t change the hurt in my heart. I trust in God’s timing and His call for my life but I still long for a child. If people have never experienced the pain of infertility it is better for them to just say ‘I love you and I’m praying for you,’” said a third.
This Mother’s Day, consider others. Walk with love and sensitivity towards others. Celebrate with mothers! Life is beautiful. Motherhood is beautiful. For those suffering, pray that God will give you a heart to love those who are rejoicing. Meditate on reasons to be grateful; gratitude changes perspective. For those rejoicing, take a moment to send a message to someone you know is hurting, missing their mother or child or longing to be a mother.
I pray, dear friends, that this Mother’s Day we can love well and be deliberately considerate to others, full of grace.