This is my third Mother’s Day – my second Mother’s Day to come and go without a baby in my arms (he was still in my belly for my first), but I am still a mom.
There are usually an influx of blog posts by mothers like me around this time of year. I know it can be a difficult day for so many of us.
I know there are a lot of moms and long-to-be moms out there that see this day creeping up on their calendars and wish there was a hole big enough for them to hide in for the day because all this day does is remind them of what they don’t have. But I don’t dread Mother’s Day. The first one after Leeland died was hard for me because everything was so fresh and my wounds were still raw. Everything that year was a first that we didn’t get to celebrate, but even though Mother’s Day was hard, it was good.
It was good because on that day, people remembered me and, in doing so, remembered him.
I could choose to hate this day. I could get angry and jealous when I see people with new babies. I could get angry and jealous when I see pregnant people with healthy babies in their bellies (because, heck, I can’t even get my period right now). I could get angry and jealous when I get invited to a first birthday party. I could get angry and jealous when I see cute little footprint and handprint gifts that Leeland never got to make. I could get angry with God for not healing my son. I could do all of those things, but I choose joy.
Because the life that Jesus wants for me is not one of bitterness and anger, even though, yes, I feel that sometimes. The life that God has for me is one full of joy and unexplainable peace.
And when I choose anger and bitterness, I deny myself so much of what God wants for me.
The world would tell me that I have every right to feel those things if I want to, and that’s true – and you have that right, too. But God would say, “confound the world, and show them that your circumstances – that this world – can’t ruin you and steal the joy I’ve placed in your heart.”
So, to the moms like me who have empty arms because of death or infertility, Happy Mother’s Day. I mean that. Happy Mother’s Day. Today is for you and for me and for all of the moms.
I know that hearing (or reading) those words might make you feel uncomfortable because you don’t think they’re really for you. It might be painful, and it might bring the tears, but it’s okay. Those words are for you.
And I want to challenge you to do something: choose joy this Mother’s Day…and every day. It’s not going to be easy, and those feelings of anger, bitterness, and jealousy will still rise up in you from time to time – maybe when you receive an invitation to another baby shower or when you see that belly in the baking aisle at Target. But when it happens, ask God, “How can I be joyful in this moment?” He will show you.
Don’t be content to drift through this life with a hardened heart. Confound the world.
And know that I am standing with you today and am praying for you.