The very term brings a flood of conflicting emotions. Joy at the blessing of spending time with my mom, and at the blessing of a wonderful mother-in-law. Praise and thanksgiving when I think about my spiritual moms.
Then a deep ache because we never had children. Even though we know it’s God’s plan, and His plan is always good, it still hurts.
For the past few years I’ve boycotted church on Mother’s Day. Just too painful to hear the “Happy Mother’s Day” wishes coming my way. This year I planned to do the same.
At church the week before, the pastor announced that his wife would be speaking on Mother’s Day. The Lord whispered to me, “You need to hear what she has to say.”
Uh-uh, no church for me on Mother’s Day. I’ll listen to the tape.
As the week went on, I wrestled with the go/no-go decision. By Saturday night I had changed my mind a million times, finally landing on the no-go side. The more I focused on not going, the darker my mood became.
Then I instructed the Lord (you know how we “tell” Him things), “If you want me to go to church, talk to Don and have him say we need to go, and I’ll go.”
Sunday morning I woke up in a total funk. I wanted to stay in bed all day, “talking to God,” and shut the world out. At about 7:30, Don came in to remind me we needed to leave soon for breakfast (we were going to a breakfast at my parent’s church).
“I’m not going to breakfast.”
“What? I thought it was just church we were skipping. But OK, if that’s what you want.”
After he left, I got my Bible, journal, and noticed my Utmost for His Highest devotional so I grabbed it too, and crawled back under the covers. I hadn’t read it for a while, thought I’d take a peek at it today. Yes, it was going to be a good morning, just me and God…and my broken heart.
Not so much.
Read My Utmost (May 14th), and these words pierced right through the dark cloud that had descended on me.
No matter how difficult something may be, I must say, “Lord, I am delighted to obey You in this.” Instantly, the Son of God will move to the forefront of my life, and will manifest in my body that which glorifies Him.
You must not debate. The moment you obey the light of God, His Son shines through you in that very adversity; but if you debate with God, you grieve His Spirit (see Ephesians 4:30). You must keep yourself in the proper condition to allow the life of the Son of God to be manifested in you, and you cannot keep yourself fit if you give way to self-pity.
What, self-pity, me? Yep! I was not sorrowful, I had given way to self-pity.
I now had a choice: continue in the self-pity, depressed by darkness…or obey the Lord (yes, He got my attention His way!), get up out of bed, go to breakfast, and go to church. Aka, step into the light.
As soon as I decided to get up – and I mean that very instant – all the darkness lifted and I had light back in my spirit.
I paged Don on the phone…about 10 minutes after I had emphatically told him I was not going anywhere, and told him about the change in plans. Thankfully he is flexible and understands these things.
On our ride to breakfast, God reminded me of the blessings we have in spiritual children, our "adopted" children who carried on our roofing business, and those whose lives we’ve been able to pour into because we don’t have children. He reminded me of so many blessings we have, and my heart began to flood with joy and thanksgiving as Don and I talked about it.
At breakfast, as I was wished Happy Mother’s Day several times, I smiled and said, “Thank you!” At church, same thing. And, “Happy Mother’s Day to you, too!”
Pastor Lisa began her teaching with recognizing that this was not a happy day for all women, mothers or not, and read the verse about rejoicing with those who are rejoicing, and mourning with those who mourn. God is with us all, and He understands.
“And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Let’s pray.”
Then she moved on. Her message was bold, challenging, and inspiring – she spoke about three women in the Bible, three mothers, who faced many challenges and rose above them through trusting in the Lord and obeying what He told them to do. Each of them had sorrow and challenges, and some mourned and complained to God.
But then, like I did that morning, they got up and moved on with their day, with life.
And then, like God did for me that morning, He blessed them.
God was not done with my blessing yet, though. Pastor Greg read a word before closing that confirmed what I heard before church about being a spiritual mom. More inspiration to rise up and go forward with the Lord’s plan, and leave my self-pity behind. By the end of the service, I was almost in tears as I realized what I would have missed had I stayed home.
Later that day, I was reminded of the heartache many mothers go through when their children stray into drugs, relationship problems, or sometimes just walk away.
Women without children are not the only ones who feel sorrow on Mother’s Day.
We all have sorrows, challenges, and heartaches…part of life. Most of them are outside our control. The only thing we can control is how we respond. As Joyce Meyer often says, “You can be pitiful or powerful, but you can’t be both.”
So I write these words to inspire you to get up, throw off the blanket of self-pity, and get on with the Lord’s plan for your life.
Yes, it really is that easy, just do it.
And I write these words to inspire myself next Mother’s Day when I am once again tempted to crawl under the covers of self-pity.
May God bless and keep you, make His face shine upon you, and grant you His peace!