(Originally written on Mother’s Day, May 2017)
Over the past few years, Mother’s Day has become vastly different than when I was a child. Not in the way that I imagined it though, with my own children scribbling hearts on paper and gifting burnt toast and flowers with breakfast in bed. Mother’s Day now predominantly serves as a reminder of what I do not have and what may be out of my reach.
I found myself somewhat dreading church this morning, knowing full well that Mothers would be recognized and the message would center on this same holiday. As it should.
I have never wanted to take away from the joy that it is to be a mother, to merely receive the accolades of Mother’s Day, or to cause anyone to pity me.
But before you think that I handled today with ultimate poise and grace, I’ll admit:
Yes, I did wrestle with the conflicting emotions of joyfully watching children hand-select chrysanthemums for their mothers and grandmothers and at the same time painfully realizing that I was the only woman who would not be receiving a flower from her child.
Yes, I did come home to shed my make-up in tears.
Yes, the events of this morning have given me the words and emotions for this post.
On an average day, I am so busy with life and seeking contentment that I am almost surprised when the inner hurts well up within and overwhelm me. I want to desire first what God has for me, I want to see and appreciate the beautiful people that God has blessed me with, I want to reflect on the wonderful memories with my husband, and I want to live in the opportunities that God has provided for us as a couple. I do not want to focus my entire life on the things that I cannot have, brooding discontentment and anger. But some days—almost without warning or expectation, wounds are reopened and tears must flow. Sometimes, we must confront those feelings that lurk deep down, mourn them, and offer them once again to the Lord.
These are the days of “sitting on the bathroom floor, mascara running, ugly crying.”
These are the days that I feel most alone, helpless, and overwhelmed.
These are the days that I, momentarily, loathe my situation.
It is also these days, while I am pouring out my soul and looking in the face of my deepest hurts, that I (literally) cry out to God. In these moments, I cling to Him more than ever before because only the hope that I have in Him is remotely comforting. These moments have hosted the sweetest, most intimate prayers. Sometimes, that raw emotion is healing—almost strengthening because it shakes me from daily routine and causes me to look at Christ, my rock.
I found myself glad to have attended church this morning because through my Pastor, God presented a powerful reminder and a source of encouragement. Rather than the usual passages that are recited on Mother’s Day, we turned to 1 Samuel reflecting on the infertility struggles, constant faithfulness, and eventual motherhood of Hannah.
I can’t think why I haven’t thought to reflect on Hannah before, given our similar struggles. I am so thankful for the reminder and in awe of how God provides for our needs before we even realize them.
The passage below from 1 Samuel 2, “Hannah’s Triumphant Prayer” has been on my mind ever since this morning’s message. This prayer occurs after God has answered Hannah by giving her a son when in turn, she gives him back to the Lord for service. Hannah could’ve kept her son at home, close to her. And it would make complete sense that once you finally receive something that you’ve longed so deeply for, you cling to it—almost smothering it for fear of losing it again. But Hannah realized that her son was a gift from God and ultimately belonged to God, who had a greater plan for his life. To me, it serves as an encouraging reminder of Hannah & her faithfulness to God, regardless of circumstances.
Her perseverance in prayer before knowing that God would even give her the child she wanted.
Her perspective of the greater picture outside of her own desires.
Her understanding that her role with her child was not for selfish purposes but to raise him to love & serve the Lord.
Her willingness to give her son back to the Lord rather than keep him for herself.
I hope & pray that I would develop these similar qualities and if I am ever to receive the child that I long for, that I would open my arms to allow him or her to be used of God rather than be a hindrance in God’s greater plan for their life.
I realize that there is no guaranty that God will answer my prayers in the same way that He has answered Hannah’s. However, I am not finding hope in the fact that God will eventually give me what I want but that He is powerful enough to do so & that ultimately, He knows the greater plan for my life.
I hope that it encourages you, hopeful Momma, on this Mother’s Day as it has me.
1 Samuel 2:1-10
My heart rejoices in the Lord;
my horn is lifted up by the Lord.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
“There is no one holy like the Lord:
There is no one besides you!
And there is no rock like our God.
Do not boast so proudly,
or let arrogant words come out of your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and actions are weighed by Him.
The bows of the warriors are broken,
but the feeble are clothed with strength.
Those who are full have hired themselves out for food,
but those who are starving hunger no more.
The woman who is childless gives birth to seven,
but the woman with many sons pines away.
The Lord brings death and gives life;
he brings some down to Sheol and He raises others up.
The Lord brings poverty and gives wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust;
and lifts the needy from the trash heap
He seats them with the nobleman
and gives them a throne of honor.
For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s,
he has set the world on them.
“He guards the steps of his faithful ones,
but the wicked perish in darkness,
for a person does not prevail by his own strength.
Those who oppose the Lord will be shattered;
He will thunder in the heavens against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
He will give power to his king
He will lift up the horn of his anointed.”