A Mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the love she holds in her heart...
Mother's Day is coming...
It's one of those days on the calendar that I'm not entirely sure I'm excited about. I love the opportunity to tell my mother how much I love her, and how much she means to me. When I think about all that she is, the cards or gifts or flowers never seem like enough. I wish I could give her the world.
And it's a day that my children want to make special for me. They draw pictures or dance for me. When they are a little older, I'm sure they'll attempt to cook for me. I did for my mom. Even when it doesn't turn our perfectly, or when they leave a mess, I'm sure I'll love it.
I'll also probably wish, as most mother's do, that Mother's Day actually meant a day off from mothering. You know it's true!
But Mother's Day is hard. And I know so many women that want to hide on Mother's Day. I know I've wanted to...and have. The Hallmark aisle, the carnations, the sermons, and baby dedications. Sometimes I think this day is...awful.
For women who have lost their mothers....
And women who want, but cannot have, children...
Women who have lost children...
Why, oh why, do we have to try so hard to make this day special - and sometimes fail so miserably.
For several years, I walked out of church on Mother's Day. When they called families with new babies forward to pray over them - I walked out. Out the back door, through the foyer, and into the sunshine. Sometimes all the way to the car. Most of the time I even remembered to tap my husband on the shoulder. "I can't," I would whisper. He would nod, and follow later with the girls. Walking to our car, I certainly attracted attention. People's eyes would linger and follow my progress. But no one ever stopped me.
There are so many women whose hearts hurt on Mother's Day. Women whose hearts we hurt on the Lord's Day.
The saddest part is that in our efforts to recognize Mother's Day, we rarely recognize the ways in which all our women mother.
Growing up I had a Sunday School teacher who was (at least) in her seventies. She had been teaching for generations. I memorized verses, and the books of the bible, and absorbed so much knowledge under her tutelage. She mothered me and countless others.
My first grade teacher was the kindest, gentlest teacher I ever had. She was always ready with a hug, and even helped lead my girl scout troop. She mothered me.
Grandmothers, aunts, friends...Women are amazing for the love their hearts can shower on people. Their own children, other people's - anyone really.
Maybe the trick to Mother's Day is to try and recognize and appreciate all the ways the women around us mother. To recognize what they give to those around them, whether their children are here with them, in heaven's embrace, or are known only in their hearts.
Recognize the spirit that is Mother. So that the day does not have to wound so many.