Empty-Handed for Mother’s Day
As we approach Mother’s Day this year, my heart is heavy with the grief of many of my friends who are moms. One is an elderly mother whose disabled son may soon be placed in a nursing home. Another has a young adult son struggling with addiction and severe depression. Several, including myself, are grieved with the unbelief and rebellion of their adult children. One of my dearest friends continues to struggle with the grief of losing a grandchild several years ago. I have friends who are single moms who fight and strive daily to be godly in the face of financial need, loneliness, and abandonment by their children’s fathers. Others are tied up in terrible court battles, fighting (at great financial and emotional expense) for what they believe is best for their children.
I shopped for Mother’s Day cards for some of these friends yesterday, but I left empty handed. Sparkly pink cards with flowers and trite sayings will not soothe the aching hearts of any of these moms this year. So, what can I do to acknowledge this day that may be so painful for them? How can I say, “Happy Mother’s Day” to a mom who will not see or hear from her child this year, or who lives with regret or sadness about her relationship with that son or daughter? The best thing I can say is that there is hope. There is no prodigal child that cannot be restored to his family. There is no broken relationship that cannot be repaired. There is no loss or grief that will not be redeemed. How will I prove this to them? By showing them where their hope is: In the sovereign God of the universe!
No one understands the pain you feel when you think of your wayward child, better than our loving Father in heaven. God knows your pain, my friend. He has been there, watching as your child grew, knowing every struggle, exercising His sovereignty over every choice you would make. Even if you think you did many things wrong, you can rest assured that everything that happened was ordained by God, for your good and His glory. Nothing that happened surprised our God! No trial came to you that didn’t first go through Him. He is watching still today, and His love for you will never fail (Psalm 32:8 is just one example. The Psalms are full songs about God’s unfailing love). He has a plan to bring good out of this.
Our God also understands your longing to fix a broken relationship with your child. If you have a prodigal who has rejected your love and support and chosen to go his own way, rest assured that your Father in heaven understands this. As your heart is grieved at the conditions your child is living in, or anxious to know where and how she is, remember that God’s children also turned from Him and went their own way. Jesus grieved over them (Luke 13:34). He had promised to be their strong tower, their fortress, and their deliverer, but they would not have Him. As we long to protect, love, and guide our children, we must remember that our Father understands that longing. He has a plan to bring comfort in this.
Perhaps the moms who suffer most on Mother’s Day are those whose children have passed from this world. A broken relationship can be fixed, and a prodigal may return, but children who have died are not coming back. This is a pain that I can only imagine. How do I acknowledge this special day with these childless mothers? What words will offer comfort? My own words can fail, but the Words of Scripture are always true and comforting:
We can pray that the Lord will be near to her:
This you have seen, O Lord;
Do not keep silence.
O Lord, do not be far from me.
Together, my friend and I can remind God of His promise to deliver us in our troubles:
Call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.
Finally, we can make a simple proclamation:
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.
Maybe you also have a friend for whom no flowery pink card will do this Mother’s Day. If so, please don’t forget her! If she fits into any of the categories we’ve talked about here, she may receive no acknowledgement of her motherhood at all on this important day. Don’t leave her to grieve her loss alone while you are surrounded by your children and family. Pray and ask the Lord to show you how you can be an encouragement to her.
Maybe you are that mom who is struggling this year. If so, you are in my prayers. Rest assured, our God is faithful. He has a plan, not only to bring you through this but to bring glory to His precious name as you love and follow Him. His mercies are new every morning, including Mother’s Day.