If ever there was a holiday that pierces my heart it’s Mother’s Day. I mean how can it not. All the commercials are celebrating mothers. People everywhere toss out a “Happy Mother’s Day” just because I’m a woman of childbearing age. The most painful however has to be the church serve. A day set aside specifically for the precious mommies and daddies to dedicate their babies back to the Lord. An event so small but still something I have fantasized about for so long. Some girls fantasized about their wedding, planning all the little details, picking out the perfect dress. Me…. I dreamt of the day I could stand at the front of the church, with a precious baby in my arms in fabulous pink flowy dress or a dashing khaki suit, to give my precious child back to God.
I thought this Mother’s Day would be my moment. You see last year I was FINALLY pregnant. We were expecting a beautiful little girl and a handsome little boy. This Mother’s Day I was going to give my precious gifts back to God. God had another plan! On July 28th 2013 at twenty-two weeks gestation my perfect Vance was born at 10:18am and his little sister Veronica was born shortly after at 11:05am. We spent three short hours with them before they went home to be with Jesus. During that time I remember trying to memorize their faces. Cherishing how their hands looked in mine. Whispering “Mommy and daddy love you so much” in their ears just so they would know they were loved and that the last thing they heard was their mommy’s voice. I was in complete rapture that even though they were so incredibly small we could see our features replicated in them. My daughter’s long skinny feet are just like mine and my son’s big toe looks just like his daddy’s! They carried a piece of my heart with them when they flew away to Heaven with angel wings.
For so many of us who struggle to conceive or have conceived only to have lost our precious child, Mother’s Day can be absolutely unbearable. While preparing for this post I learned about the history of Mother’s Day. Let me tell you what I learned amazed me. Mother’s Day was founded by Anna Jarvis in 1908 (becoming an official holiday in 1914) to honor her own mother, Ann, who had experienced the loss of seven of her own children. You see the day was created to honor a bereaved mommy! Anna Jarvis (the founder) remained childless her whole life. Wow a childless woman founding one of the most challenging days for infertile and bereaved mommies. GO FIGURE!
There is this beautiful quote from Franchesca Cox and it goes like this, “A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see but by the love she holds in her heart.” I absolutely love this. Just because you can’t see our children we are still mommies. And another thing God uses all kinds of ways to allow us to be mommies while we wait on our own children. We may babysit, or teach, lead Sunday school, or mentor a young child. Me… I used to teach two and three years. I did that for five years (officially). I can not count how many children I had and I considered them all mine. I cried when they hurt, I rejoiced in their happy times, I missed them when they were absent, and oh how I bawled when they moved up and away. They might not have been my biological babies but they were still mine. God allowed me to mother them while their mommies were away. Psalm 37:4 says to “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I’m not saying only delight because He will give you something (believe me it doesn’t work that way…. in my desperation I have tried ALL things). When I read delight it says to me that I am to draw near to Him. Love Him with all I have and even all that I don’t have. To rejoice always in the countless blessings He has already bestowed upon me. I recognize that when He answers my prayers it might not be exactly how I intend. When I pray for a baby I have to remember He’s given me countless babies including two of my very own.
My Heavenly Father knows me inside and out. As Psalm 139:16 says it so beautifully (the Psalm writers were positively brilliant), “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” He knows my greatest desires and He knows what I need. He has already planned out what, when and how I am going to receive it. A time may also come when I learn that having children here on earth is not God’s plan for me. Believe me I pray of course this is not the case (because I’m not sure I will take it very gracefully, I ask for forgiveness ahead of time). But until that day comes I am going to be joyful always; pray without ceasing; and give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus (1 Thes. 5:16-18).
If you are needing a little extra encouragement and grace on Mother’s Day, personalize Numbers 6:24-26: “Lord bless me and keep me; Lord make your face shine upon me and be gracious to me; Lord turn your face towards me and give me your peace.”
*May I also add that while you prayerfully seek God’s plan for you and your family that you remember mothering is not just about biology. Adoption and Foster to adopt are beautiful ways to bring a child into your life.*