To me it seems like the holiday that brings the most mixed emotions.
For women that were blessed with great mothers, it is a day of gratitude.
For women that have the privilege of being mothers themselves, it is a day of celebration.
But for some women, it may also be a day that stirs up some heart ache.
As a mom who has walked through the loss of a child, the day sure is bittersweet.
At our church last week we wanted to acknowledge and honor these very women. The women whose shoes no one wants to walk in. The women who have the scars of loving and losing – whether publicly or silently, whether years ago or recently.
I asked five women to stand with me at our church that day. Five women who had reached out to me after our own baby died. Five women who knew, in some way, shape, or form, what I was feeling. Five women who prayed for me and hurt with me. Five women who I deeply respect and who are allowing Jesus to turn their sorrow into joy.
Their stories are all different, but each had a common thread – they each had at least one child waiting for them in Heaven.
Babies miscarried before anyone even knew they were pregnant.
Babies delivered without the blessed thumping of a heartbeat.
A child who only breathed for a few hours in a stale hospital room.
A grown son killed in a motorcycle accident.
And Mamas’ hearts that were wounded – and could only be healed by their Father.
As the 6 of us gathered to pray before church that morning, I was overwhelmed to be standing with such strong, beautiful women. I watched them hug each other. I heard them share their stories. I saw them shed soft tears evidencing that even if the loss was 42 years ago, the hurt was still fresh.
I lit one of the women’s candles…and then I couldn’t help but tear up as I watched them light one another’s. Six women who perhaps had very little in common and were in different phases of life. But who were still so very much the same.
One woman had just explained to her 2 girls earlier that week that she had suffered a miscarriage before giving birth to them…and that they had a sibling in Heaven. Her oldest daughter, who knew of a friend’s mom who had experienced the same thing, responded, “Then you and Emma’s mommy are in the same club.”
In the same club.
The club that no one wants to be in.
As we stood outside the sanctuary, waiting to enter onto the stage, our worship team was leading the congregation in “10,000 Reasons”. A huge lump rose in my throat as I listened to the sweet elderly woman behind me softly singing along, tears already running down her face…
You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
Worshiping the same God Who gives and also takes away. The God Who also knows what it’s like to give up a Child. Who is sovereign and kind and good in spite of painful circumstances of life that tempt us to think otherwise. The God Who promises to heal and to hold.
With that we quietly walked out onto the stage. And with a trembling voice, I attempted to get out the words of a lullaby that has been a calming salve for my aching heart…
MGBC Little Light Mother’s Day.m4v – Click on this link to view this part of our service. (*“Little Light” was written by and originally recorded by Audrey Assad)
Little lights representing children in the arms of Jesus.
Women representing hope.
Hearts in need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Afterward these sweet ladies cried together and hugged each other. They waited by the back table filled with candles so they could interact with the dozens of women who were also in the their club. They gave of themselves and shared the comfort that they had also so beautifully received.
One of these dear women said that, for the first Mother’s Day ever, she didn’t feel alone.
Thank you, Jesus.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-5