1 Peter 5:10 (NKJV) But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
It’s hard to understand the way things work in this life. Some people have things they don’t appreciate or take for granted—and others wish for the same things and seem to have to wait for them, or do without.
Something that caused a lot of pain in my own life that I didn’t understand, was how long I had to wait to be able to have children. I remember some years when it was Mother’s Day—feeling physically sick. It was especially hard going to church and having to ‘sit’ when the pastor would ask all the mothers to stand…or, when they passed out flowers to all the mothers. Sometimes they would give me one, not knowing I was not a mother—but I knew I wasn’t. Year after year, the pain grew worse and worse.
Ironically, I was asked to speak at a lot of Mother’s Day tea parties and banquets. I was able to give another perspective to women who were able to have children without any complications.
I remember in those days how many times young mothers would say to me, ‘you’re so lucky—you have so much freedom’. Yes, I did have freedom. But what I wanted more than anything was to be a mother. I saw my sister’s children growing up and I watched everyone I knew who was my age have children—but I had none.
I would go to large department stores or groceries and see mothers who were annoyed and impatient with their children—and the pain was almost unbearable. One of the hardest things was seeing children who were neglected—wearing dirty clothes or whose little noses were running and the mother didn’t even bother to wipe it. Crying babies broke my heart. I thought it was so unfair that someone should have a child who had no real appreciation for it and was just enduring motherhood—when someone like I, would love to have children and couldn’t.
I recall being at gatherings of women where they would all be talking about their children and sharing stories…and I had nothing to say. More than once, when I was with women I didn’t know—the conversation would be about children and at some point, someone turned to me and said, ‘Do you have children?’ I would shake my head ‘no’…and they would say, ‘oh, well then—you wouldn’t understand’. And they would go back to their conversation as though I wasn’t even there.
The pain of this kind of loss is hard to describe. I was always somewhat of a loner—but as I grew older without children, ‘loner’ was an understatement. I really had nothing in common with anyone. I knew a couple of people who didn’t have children because they didn’t want them—but, I didn’t know anyone who was like me.
When my second marriage failed at age 32, it wasn’t just the end of a marriage—it felt like the end of the world. I figured nobody would want to take a chance on someone who had already failed twice—and I wasn’t even sure it would be alright with God if I were to ever get married again. So, there was a huge void in my life. Failure hardly comes close to describing it.
To this day, I still have feelings of brokenness on Mother’s Day. I can never forget the awful pain. It wasn’t just feeling sorry for myself—it was the kind of grief you have when you lost a family member. No one understood—and I didn’t expect them to. How could they? They hadn’t had to experience it, so it would be impossible for them to know the feeling.
There were people in my life who empathized with me and even appointed me as the person they would like to have be a mother to their children if anything happened to them. Interestingly, at one point—there were eleven children I had been asked to care for, if the parents died an untimely death. I felt very honored that they would trust me with such a special thing as to raise their children, but I loved my friends and certainly didn’t want anything to happen to them, either.
So, Mother’s Day is always a day when I think of those who ‘would be’ mothers, and are not. It’s the worse day of the year for those dear ladies whose pain goes unacknowledged. Sure, it’s a day to celebrate those who are mothers. But, never think for one minute that someone who is not a mother has no depth. They have carried a cross that is invisible—but none the less, they have carried it.
Declaration: I will appreciate those who are mothers—and those who ‘would be’ but are not. On days of celebration, I will try to remember the ones who are not being celebrated and pray for the grace of God to minister to their needs.
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