Mother’s Day can bring all sorts of feelings, and they are not always pleasant. Maybe you want to be a mom and haven’t gotten there yet. Perhaps your spouse is not as invested as you’d hope or he/she is nowhere to be seen. You might be missing your mama, or an ‘out of the box’ child could be causing you pain. There’s a myriad of reasons you might ache on this weekend for moms, and I am no stranger to those feelings. I ached for a lot of years, waiting to get the ‘mom’ title. Sure, we moms love being moms most days, but this world is far from perfect, even on the best days. Do you resent the idea that you ‘should’ have babies but don’t want to? I’ve been there too. What are you longing for today? I’ll share part of my story, in hopes that it would encourage you on this good, and sometimes, hard day.
We got married later in life, and then we waited for the ‘right time’ to have babies – definitely not an easy road, with a lot of longing and wrestling and discouragement. I actually didn’t desire marriage and babies as a young woman. But God had good plans for those seasons, changing my heart and preparing me to serve as a wife and mom. The many difficulties, including a miscarriage, led to sadness that gave way to despair some days. And my heart changed, really wanting marriage, and quickly after marriage, longing for children. Would I always carry sadness in my heart? Maybe you are waiting too. Or perhaps you have children, but in some way, your heart still aches. A difficult adoption, struggles with parenting, or financial concerns might tinge your joy in mothering too. The list is long. If so, my heart goes out to you. Waiting for a good thing is not easy. It’s not easy when the unknown looms long and hope goes knocking on someone else’s door, happy moms living the life you crave. Or even worse, you hear women complaining about what you would be delighted to enjoy.
I get it. The question ‘why’ is hard to resist, despite the fact that God IS good, and all His plans for us are good and loving. That doesn’t mean we will get answers, and the hard fact is that God doesn’t owe us answers. I had to really wrestle with His goodness and sovereignty on my path to motherhood. How could a good God deny the gift of motherhood for so long? Could I live a joyful life even if this gift was not granted? Some days I wondered. But in the midst of it all, a contentment and joy apart from motherhood grew and developed, something that was not dependent on whether God gave us children. A deep sense of God’s goodness, and the knowledge that He can be trusted, was hard won but so satisfying. It’s in these hard times that our faith must grow, lest we fall to bitterness. The latter was not something I wanted, so I persevered and fought for joy. Many stood with me and finally the day came when I held our dear son in my arms. But your story might still carry an ache, and to be perfectly honest – ours certainly carries them. What about you? Are you a working mom longing for more quality time? Are you struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety? Month upon month of fertility treatments? Waiting for marriage? All these and more can make the journey feel unbearable.
How can we find joy when our hearts ache? For all of us, we must find our hope in the Gospel. There is a sweetness with Jesus that cannot be found but through trials. He alone is our greatest joy, and I pray you will persevere and rest in that love. I found so much comfort in knowing that Christ suffered too, and frequently found myself in deep fellowship with Him and His sufferings. That connection is not found in holding a child, but only in knowing God and letting Him hold you. God the Father mourned as His Son suffered, too. Life is not free from suffering, even as believers in Jesus Christ, even when we receive the good gift of being a mama.
In it all, God is near and we are asked to come to him. “I am with you as you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers you will not be overwhelmed. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.” – Isaiah 43:2 (ESV) We may be ‘afflicted…perplexed…” BUT (see 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 here) God has not left us. It is hard, just like labor, but He brings us through, and there is great joy on the other side. This is another verse that I have held close, and I tell you friend, it is absolutely true! “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.“ 1 Peter 5:10 ESV
God has not walked out on me as I’ve struggled, and neither have the people who love me. Be kind to your aching soul, but remember to celebrate what God has given. Acknowledge any pain, reach out to others who may be longing too, even if you are not. There is healing on the other side. And there is a Healer. Though our desires may not be met on this earth, our hearts will be held by the One who knows us and calls us by name.