Sunday May 13, 2018, is Mother’s Day in the USA. Mother’s Day, originally established after the Civil War to honor mothers who had lost their sons in the war, brings me #allthefeels, particularly in the last 4 years. As moms, we are constantly weighing all the pros and cons of every situation. We have to try to see into the future and anticipate it, for all the problems and things that might happen. It’s our job when we are responsible for keeping tiny humans alive, and that takes up a lot of space in our heads, hearts, and lives.
As a result, we sometimes forget about self-care or to deal with our own junk. Mother’s Day comes, and then all of that comes crashing together. Hence, #allthefeels.
I saw a post on Instagram today about staying home from church on Mother’s Day. I also posted this on my Instagram stories, with some of my responses. Then it hit me: this was exactly what I needed. I have been mulling over these words and this post the entire first half of May.
I hope you know that no matter what, I’m eternally grateful for my two beautiful children, they are such a gift and a blessing and I would never want anything I say to be misconstrued as anything other than the utmost joy and gratitude. Life after loss is difficult, it changes you, and you’re just never the same. Grief sometimes makes you look at things differently, including Hallmark holidays.
Grief over a loss can rear its ugly head at any time. It’s been 4 years and I am still overcome randomly.
It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to hate the well-meaning gestures, even from the church.
As a culture, we are ill-prepared and ill-equipped to handle grief, death, and dying. We isolate the grieving rather than surrounding and embracing them.
It is hard. Your pain is real. You don’t have to justify it or compare it to anyone else’s.
I love my church without a shadow of a doubt, and I want everyone to come, but even as a mother of 2 living children I hate (I do mean hate) that men stand in the doorway on Sunday to hand out roses to everyone who, to them, looks like a mother. What an uncomfortable job for both parties.
So if staying home makes you feel better, I’ll be thinking of you and praying for you. Because I’ve stayed home, too. And if coming to church makes you feel better, I’m so glad you joined us.
If you’re not a mom and you want to be, and some well-meaning nincompoop hands you a rose, I promise I’ll be giggling with you as we both imagine whipping them with it.
If you’re a mom with a babe (or 2 or 3…) in Jesus’ arms, I’m crying with you. If your mom isn’t alive, or doesn’t talk to you, or your wife/the mother of your children is estranged, I offer you my sincerest condolences and acknowledge your pain, and allow you to cry and hate this holiday, too.
If you’re a mom whose children came from someone else, or a mom whose children are being raised by someone else, I pray you both know the love of Jesus. He is the God who sees.
If you’re a mom who’s struggling through sleepless nights, toddler regressions, or teenage angst, there is no shame and no guilt. This journey is hard and I salute you.
If you’re a single mom, a divorced mom, a separated mom, a widowed mom, a lonely mom, I see you. I commend you. Your children see you. You are a warrior.
Maybe you’re angry with God. Maybe you’re angry at your kids. Maybe you don’t like motherhood right now. All of these are okay, your feelings are valid, and I hear you and hurt with you.
If your mom isn’t around, wasn’t around, is difficult, or you’re more focused on what you don’t have today than what you do, know that these feelings, too, are ok, and you are loved and valued. I’m sorry you’re lonely.
If you’re a mom who has it pretty great and feels guilty for any of your friends who have it “worse,” don’t let the enemy trap you with comparison. I have friends in every stage along this journey of motherhood. Even as the Lord has burdened my heart for the grieving and bereaved, I still blunder and fail. And I have other loss moms who have made me feel like my loss doesn’t count as much as theirs or that I should love this holiday with all my heart all the time because of my current station. The truth is I don’t, we don’t, you don’t, they don’t have to love Mother’s Day 100% of the time.
You do you. I love you. You are beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are loved with an everlasting love, by the relentless and zealous Creator God.
Happy Full/Sad/Angry/Empty/Lonely/Joyful/Joyous/Lonely/Conflicted Mother’s Day, from me.
All my love on this day and always,