There are a lot of reasons your Mother's Day might be hard this year (maybe it's been hard for years, even). I don't have to name your grief here for it to be valid. But I'll take a stab at a few that I've known first-hand either in my own life or in the life of women I love.
- A deep longing to experience motherhood that has not be met.
- The recent loss of a mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, mother-figure, or maybe your own child.
- You haven't experienced a physical loss of one of these relationships, but these relationships are strained, painful, complicated, or missing.
- Grief for the momma first families and adoptees who experience
I'm still in the thick of some of this with you. I don't claim to "be on the other side." Some grief lingers for days, months, even a whole lifetime. But I'd still love to encourage you with the reminder of the One who is in it with you. Who does not leave you or forsake you, no matter what circumstances and the enemy may try to tell you. The One who entered our brokeness, made it His own, and is not only pointing the way Home, but gently guiding our every step with love and care.
One of the most healing things any of us can do is allow ourselves to grieve what should not be (or have been). I'm learning to do this now, so I'm not speaking as an expert. But through some intense therapy I'm learning that acknowledging the pain and sadness of my own story does not cloud or diminish His goodness in my life. Instead, it magnifies it. Turning my head from the gaping wound as I limp along inhibits me from running the race set before me. The first work is to acknowledge the pain.
As I've been processing my own grief this year a dear friend encouraged me to read Dark Clouds Deep Mercies: Discovering the Grace of Lament, by Mark Vroegop. I highly recommend this book to anyone walking through suffering. It has given me some tools to practice lamenting the pain in life and then turning my lament to trust and praise. In it he says,
"...every lament is prayer. A statement of faith. Lament is the honest cry of a hurting heart wrestling with the paradox of pain and the promise of God's goodness."
Psalm 13 is a beautiful example of lament turned to trust and praise.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
We can be certain that when we take our lament to Him, by the power of His Spirit He will tune our hearts towards His goodness and even though our circumstances may have not changed, He will cause us to praise.
I'd love to point your eyes to four truths for grieving hearts this Mother's Day. If you are not in a season of grieving, maybe you know someone who is and can encourage the hope found in His Word.
1) For those still longing to be mothers: (due to infertility, pregnancy loss, disrupted adoptions, or you're still praying for the husband with whom you hope to start a family)
Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. Lamentations 3:22-26
2) For those who've lost a mother in your life or even your own child:
For in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God—for whom and through whom all things exist—should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying:
I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters;
I will sing hymns to you in the congregation.
Again, I will trust in him. And again, Here I am with the children God gave me.
Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. Hebrews 2:10-15
3) For those who've who's relationships are strained and painful:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away. Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life. Revelation 21:4-6
4) For those desiring to honor a first momma/adopted child relationship: a prayer to pray for each of them
I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:16-21
“At some point in the future, the final word will be spoken. God is going to intervene, and lament is one of the ways we defiantly say, 'This is not over!' In fact, the pain that causes lament can create a longing for the future like nothing else." - Dark Clouds Deep Mercies, Mark Vroegop
Come, Lord Jesus, come. Until them, we wait with Hope.
From this family of sisters! Scriptures the Lord has used to encourage your hearts in this area or scriptures you have used to encourage and pray for others.
You are good, and you do what is good;
teach me your statutes. Psalm 119:68
For the Lord God is a sun and shield.
The Lord grants favor and honor;
he does not withhold the good
from those who live with integrity. Psalm 84:11
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
A person’s steps are established by the Lord,
and he takes pleasure in his way.
Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed,
because the Lord supports him with his hand.
I have been young and now I am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned
or his children begging for bread.
He is always generous, always lending,
and his children are a blessing. Psalm 37:23-26
Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
you understand my thoughts from far away.
You observe my travels and my rest;
you are aware of all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue,
you know all about it, Lord.
You have encircled me;
you have placed your hand on me.
This wondrous knowledge is beyond me.
It is lofty; I am unable to reach it. Psalm 139:1-6
As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so I long for you, God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while all day long people say to me,
“Where is your God?”
I remember this as I pour out my heart:
how I walked with many,
leading the festive procession to the house of God,
with joyful and thankful shouts.
Why, my soul, are you so dejected?
Why are you in such turmoil?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:1-5
For he has satisfied the thirsty
and filled the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:9
Rest in God alone, my soul,
for my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock.
My refuge is in God.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts before him.
God is our refuge. Selah Psalm 62:5-8
The Lord is near the brokenhearted;
he saves those crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7