So today is a special day.
It's a day designed to express appreciation, love, and gratitude for all the ways special women in our lives have sacrificed for us.
Many of you will receive (or remember receiving) handmade cards, lopsided artwork, or a bouquet much like the one my 7-year-old presented me this afternoon:
And we will love it. After all, as I explained to my daughter yesterday afternoon, it's not about how expensive the gift is or what brand name is on it. It's about the fact that they thought about us. They put effort into expressing that they love us and are grateful for us.
It's a great day.
Except when it's not.
Many of you know a heartache on Mother's Day that I can only imagine. And it's you whom I think of today.
Oh, there are various reasons mothers feel the sting more acutely on this day designed to elevate us. Maybe it's because you are losing hope that you will ever be a mother. Maybe your children have long since grown up and don't pursue a relationship with you like you had hoped. Perhaps you have a child who is going down a dangerous path, plunging headfirst into heartache though they may not see it just yet.
I personally know several women who likely have to brace themselves for Mother's Day because they have lost a child to miscarriage or sickness or tragic accidents. That's a sting that never really goes away, so I'm told.
Or for some moms, perhaps you feel a heaviness because you feel unrecognized. Unappreciated. Un-valued. I know some fantastic mothers who will maybe have a card tossed their way and a murmured "happy mother's day" as their husbands go about their day. Or maybe some of you might hear something along the lines of, "you're not MY mother. I don't have to do anything for you today," from the man who made you a mother in the first place.
You know that today your children, too young to even know what Mother's Day is, will simply carry on as usual. They won't stop to hug you or say thank you when you make their lunch. They won't bring you breakfast in bed or have some little something waiting for you.
You'll scroll thru your facebook feed and see all the comments from men bragging on their wife, telling the whole world what a wonderful mother she is and how grateful he is for her. You'll know that other moms have someone who will wrap their arms around them, kiss them, and thank them for the job they are doing raising the children.
And as sweet and precious and wonderful as it will be to spend your day with your kids, you will feel like no one really knows or sees or cares that you pour yourself into your role as a mother every single day (and night!).
To my friends who face a day like this for whatever reason: I call you to rise up today and REMEMBER.
Remember the One Who walks every step with you. Sees every note you put in lunch boxes. Watches as you pick up clutter for the millionth time. Knows when you hold your tongue when it would be so easy to say something you shouldn't.
Remember the One Who is neither surprised nor shocked at the circumstances you find yourself in today. He knows the plans He has for you - and they are GOOD. I always have to take note of the fact that He describes His plans for me as GOOD, not "easy". There is a big difference a lot of the time, isn't there?
I don't mean to make light of your heartache today, and I don't mean to dismiss your pain. I simply remind you (as I remind myself) that we belong to the One Who invites us to hide under the shelter of His wings. To take refuge in the security of His unfailing love. To rest in the knowledge that He is so very proud of the way you serve Him in your role as a woman, mother, and wife.
And best of all, He's proud of us even when we don't perform those roles very well. And that's the best news of all.
So today, friends, no matter what season you find yourself in, know that you are being celebrated by your Father. He NEVER forgets. He NEVER blows off opportunities to encourage you. He NEVER FAILS. And He calls you His own.