Today is Mother’s Day. I remember when this holiday was a jumble of emotions and the work that it took to contain them all. First, there was the grief of my mother’s death. I thought that pain would never subside. By the time I had children of my own, the world was less than kind towards the ache I felt in my heart. As if I should have been over it long ago. I was given the message that Mother’s Day was only for happiness and joy. So I wrestled to keep my emotions in check.
I tried to focus on the positives, like the fact that I got to be a mother. And being a mother has given me tremendous joy! I love, love, LOVE being a Mom!
The second grief was unknown to most of the world. It was my secret that I kept locked up in my heart. God tells us in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” But my wellspring was muddied by the secrecy of the abortions I had gone through when I was 17.
I kept these secrets hidden in my heart and I didn’t let anyone in for fear they would discover what I had done. Mother’s Day was a warfare for me because it attacked my identity in Christ.
There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. The Bible says to confess your sins to one another and pray for each other do that you can be healed.
I had to get over two main stumbling blocks to get to a place of peace and joy on Mother’s Day and in life.
- Truly grieve the loss of my mother.
- Truly grieve the loss of my first two children.
I was in a Mothers of Teens class several years ago and the teacher recognized & called me out on my unprocessed grief from my mother’s death. I didn’t see it coming, nor did I appreciate when she pointed it out to me in front of the whole class. I had made some remarks and in the process mentioned that my Mom had died when I was nine.
It was not long after that experience that I spent an entire summer paying $125/hr to sit and cry in a counselor’s office. I cried and grieved my mother’s death and all that went with it. It was difficult work. I had not known how freeing it would be to face the pain, resolve it in my heart, and be able to stand up and move forward.
God truly heals broken hearts! I know because He did that work in mine.
The second stumbling block for me was the grief wrapped up in the loss of my first two children. This was hard in a way that I can’t find words fitting to express. I had to come to terms with the truth of what I was capable of and what I had done. I had aborted my first two children.
I went to a place called Carenet and they walked me through a Bible study called Forgiven and Set Free, by Linda Cochrane. The study lasted eight weeks. Each week there was homework for me to complete. Every time I sat down to do my homework I was met with grief. It came out in anger and deep sobbing groans and moans. When I finished my homework I would wipe my tears, take a deep breath and put on a fresh face. The important part is that I allowed myself space to grieve.
This season began a new kind of warfare for me. There are many (way to many) people who share the same secret. Those people rose up against me. They made all sorts of excuses about why abortion isn’t so bad in certain circumstances. Honestly, I believe my coming out threatened some of them. Whenever we see another person overcome adversity, it silently speaks to us suggesting that we too could overcome adversities.
The very thought of overcoming overwhelming odds and circumstances in and of itself can be a threat. It gives rise to the resisting and negative thoughts that tell us we’ll always be stuck and wounded.
The Bible says there is a season and a time for every activity under the sun. If you discover that Mother’s Day brings up a jumble of emotions for you, ask yourself if you have any unprocessed grief to work through.
This is my story. Each of us walks our own path. There are so many reasons why a holiday like Mother’s Day might not be a joyful celebration. It could be that you no longer have a mother, never knew your mother or have a bad relationship with her. Perhaps it’s not about your mother. Many people walk down the path of infertility or the loss of a child that died. There are so many reasons people may be sad or mad or find they want to avoid the holiday altogether.
My take away point is that healing is possible. The Lord heals in many ways. God heals with His Word. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Psalm 107:20 God heals when we confess our sins and pray for each other. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
Healing is a process that usually takes place over time. For me it took a long time. This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15
Ecclesiastes 3New International Version (NIV)
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8