Yesterday was Mother's Day. I hope all of you had the times of your lives. I hope you were able to celebrate with the special women in your lives or that you were able to celebrate being a mother too. Whether for biological children, adopted children, spiritual children, or just for nurturing children you love.
Mother's Day started to become difficult for me a few years ago as I celebrated with empty arms. I tried to continue trusting God and holding on to the fact that I still had a mother who deserved to be celebrated but it was so hard. I tried to be joyful even in the midst of hurt but the words of strangers and sometimes family would cut me to the core. They didn't understand my struggle and they weren't privy to it. I kept my hurt close to my heart. Last year's Mother's Day was the easiest I experienced by far, I was in NY away from my family. I had no reason to get up and celebrate - I didn't even attend church. I stayed home and busied myself away until the day was over.
This year I felt the same way, apparently pregnancy is not the magical key to start loving a holiday in which you spent a lot of time despising. I continued to lay down in bed long after my alarm went off. I just wanted to stay right here, in my bed. But then there was that tugging again, the kind that the Holy Spirit does when he's reminding you of your promise to be radically obedient. As I sat up in bed my hubby came into the room with my breakfast. I told him that I wanted to go to church, so after eating we did.
Before we made it into the church my empty arms were made apparent again as I watched Moms bundle up their little ones and usher them into the church. I decided right there that this wasn't going to stop me. The devil is a liar, and though my arms were empty that day they wouldn't always be. The life inside my womb speaks against his ignorance. I walked into the church spoke to the greeters and made my way into the worship center.
I sat down and immediately saw all the flowers that were placed on the stage. There they were lined up and ready for the moms to receive. I asked God to help me shift my focus on worshipping him and not on my own emotions. We had the most beautiful worship and praise session that I have ever experienced at this church, it was a huge blessing. We were then blessed by a word from my Pastor's wife, she is a woman that is strong in her silence and her message was to all women. I was so grateful that I had been prompted to be present in church on that day. After she finished her message it was time for the roses, my Pastor told all the women in church to come up and get a rose. He said that we all were mother's in the church and that our nurturing presence was needed.
My husband told me to go forward to get a rose and as I stood I heard another woman's husband prompting her to do the same behind me. She said "I'm not a mother I lost my baby." Her comment surprised me and then I wasn't sure if this is what I had heard. Suddenly she stormed out of the worship center and I realized that it was indeed. I became overwhelmed with emotion and I didn't understand what was happening to me. I felt such grief and sorrow for her. As I went up to get the rose and made my way back to my seat I continued to look for her. She was gone but her husband continued to sit in his seat with a somber look on his face.
When service was dismissed I saw him make a beeline out, no doubt to find his wife. I beelined right behind him, my husband had no idea what was going on. I quickly tried to explain but surely he thought I was nuts as I wasn't even sure how sane I was in the moment. When we made it to the church cafe I saw her sitting alone in a chair and her husband was making his way over to her. I walked up to her, I had no idea how I would be received or if I was right. I was trying to rationalize this whole experience - the holy spirit gave me no time. I couldn't find any other words except "I heard what you said. I want to give you my rose, you are a mother!" Just briefly I told her I'd been struggling with infertility for years and was finally pregnant through IVF. I told her I knew how much it hurt. She stood there in front of me blank faced. I was immediately rethinking this radical obedience. Suddenly she grabbed the rose from me and when I looked up at her face she was completely red and tears were flowing down her cheeks. I extended my arms out to hug her and it was the longest hug I have ever experienced in my life. In the hug there was gratitude, solidarity, prayer, the hope of healing and evidence of God's goodness and faithfulness.
I was so glad to have obeyed the Lord, my presence in church had little to do with me. It was all about God letting his hurting child know that she was not forgotten, that he was there with her, and that he heard what she said.
To all my sisters struggling, sometimes in the midst of the struggle it can seem like no one hears. That God ignores our prayers, our hurt, our longing - but I am hear to tell you He's heard what you said!