Mothers’ Day. A celebration of those who have given birth, raised children and have been shaped by the process.
Married with six children, this became the holiday of cherishing home-made cards, hand-made potholders from little plastic looms and wonderful—or questionable–attempts at cooking.
It was a day I loved and felt thoroughly uncomfortable with. I’ve never enjoyed being the center of attention.
It was a responsibility/job/calling that I’ve loved. Which felt like celebration enough.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve appreciated why the discomfort lies heavily on my heart.
There are many women who have nurtured, loved, encouraged and built into others who aren’t their children. They’ll never be called “mothers” in the strictest sense. But they’ve mothered others well, with generous hearts, deep compassion and unconditional love.
There are those who’ve had children and have lost them, through accidents or disease. Their empty arms reflect an acute sadness that comes from love being taken in an untimely way. From losing the dreams and hopes that had been part of their child-rearing process. Whether time with that child was moments or years, the pain of loss is real and life-shaping. They’ve learned perseverance through their journey of loss.
There are those who’ve tried and been unable to have biological children of their own. Some have chosen to go the route of adoption and have embraced another mother’s child with hope and unselfishness, wanting to give to these children what had never been offered to them. Others have remained childless and have poured their kindness into the lives of those around them. Giving grace where it was needed. Showing up for those who needed to be seen and heard.
There are those who yearn to be married and have families and haven’t had that opportunity. Yet marital status hasn’t limited them in their love for others, or in their willingness to serve and care for those who need them.
There are those moms whose children are more of a challenge than a current blessing. Children who’ve walked away from family, responsibility or kindness and live lives that are hurtful to those who care for them. These are the moms who have redefined perseverance and hope. Who’ve been shaped by a different pain and become stronger for those around them.
There are those who’ve been blessed with children with special needs. Children who won’t fulfill parental dreams of success and grandkids. They’ll require special attention and tenderness because they may always be home. These moms see past their own dreams to the bigger picture of godly hope.
As women, we’re not defined by our reproductive ability or our marital status. Having children isn’t a reward for good choices in life or job. As women, we’ve been specially chosen by God to be nurturers, encouragers, people of safety, living sanctuaries for the hurting, words of wisdom for the desperate and lost.
We’re called to reflect Jesus.
I’d love to see a day that celebrates the hearts of women who care. Those who recognize that real life takes strength, grace and truth.
Happy Strong Women’s Day, gals.
I celebrate who you are.
Jesus does, too.