It was Mother's Day. My mom lived in another state so I was going to have lunch and celebrate with a family in Texas that had adopted me as a daughter. I loved time with my far away family and my local family.
I had two desires ever since I was a little girl. To be a wife and a mom. I probably dreamed about it more than most women. When my friends would talk about where they wanted to go in their career I thought about how I would just do the “work thing” until it was time to start a family. I'll admit, I never desired to be a career woman or achieve anything specific outside of the role of motherhood. I don't think I made motherhood an idol because I didn't obsess about it. I just thought it would happen for me like it happened for everyone. It's the natural progression of life. And I had a great example for a mom!
Then the years started going by …
On this particular Mother's Day I got in the shower to get ready for church. I remembered it was Mother's Day. All of a sudden I started to cry. I cried the ugliest of the ugly cry. With each passing tear I got louder and wondered if the apartment above me would call 911. I was aware that the pressure behind the tears were causing my eye lids to swell and soon I'd look like I lost a boxing match. I took the advice of a friend who once told me how to blow my nose without a tissue like they do in baseball (still not sure it's true Krystl). I don't usually talk to God in the shower or when I'm going to the bathroom unless it's an emergency (gotta have respect). But on this day I begged to understand and reasoned with the list of regrets from my past. I pleaded for comfort and strength to accept the fact I may never be a mom.
I don't get jealous when others have something good I don't have. It's just not in my makeup. I celebrate every engagement, wedding, baby shower and promotion. I love seeing others happy and I feel their joy in the depth of my heart. Living vicariously through others is rejoicing with those who rejoice!
So what came next surprised me.
I didn't want to go to church and hear a message geared for mommies. I didn't want to be the one sitting when all the mommies were honored and stood up. I didn't want to be passed over again for the gift the church gives out to mommies. I didn't want to see dressed up kids and mommies. I didn't want to see the children's ministry artwork for the mommies. I didn't want to have other people try to encourage me saying “my time would come to be a mommy.”
The childless single women I know don't talk about their feelings around Mother's Day. Maybe it's against the unspoken rule to honor those that have kids and the understanding the day isn't made for them. But it's also because it's almost like admitting defeat. We don't speak of it because we don't want to prophesy the negative because the Bible says there is life and death in the power of the tongue. We don't discuss it because we still have hope.
Every Mother's Day reminds us of another year has gone by. Another year for our eggs to get old and our womb to dry up. Gone are the days where we worry about looking good naked for our future husband. That's superficial compared to the biological clock running out and wondering if we could get pregnant at all.
And married friends say, “You could be like Sarah who had a baby in her old age!” Lord help us because that's not encouraging! We understand they are well meaning when they share how much work it is to be a mom, how tired they are, how they don't have time to themselves … enjoy our season of singleness while we can. But what if we've been enjoying it for 30, 40 plus years already? And if they are tired how much more would we be at 100 years old!
We begin wonder who will take care of us in our old age. Seriously.
Some folks say you could always adopt! I love the idea of adoption but I wanted a baby reveal party, a shower, an epidural and seeing who the baby resembles in pictures.
We want our nieces and nephews to grow up together as cousins in the same stage of life. To take vacations and do all the things we see on Facebook (because that is reality).
Then God ….
Not long into the minutes that all those thoughts and others crossed my mind I heard the Lord say, “You are a mother and are being celebrated in heaven.” It's like the floodgates from my eyes and nose came to an abrupt close. I think the water in the shower stood still too. God came in and reminded me of all the young men, young women and kids I have mothered over the years. I've had the ability to make an impact in ways other women haven't been able. I am good at encouraging, comforting and nurturing! I've spent more time with the Holy Spirit learning how to do this well. Getting God's perspective on my lack of biological or adoptive children allowed me to meditate on the impact I've made. It also showed me the honor that is given to us as earthly mother-less women from the heavenly hosts.
But mostly I had an encounter with my heavenly Father that didn't shame me for having a good desire. He didn't reason with me and try to distract me by telling me of the good things I did have in this season. He met me in my grief and told me who I was in spite of who I'm not yet. He may as well come down from heaven and hugged me and said, “I'm so sorry you haven't had kids yet. I grieve with you.”
I'm telling you when you see things from God's perspective you are transformed.
I still unapologetically didn't go to church. I didn't want the moment I had with God to be ruined by a well meaning person asking me why my eyes were puffy and encouraging me my time would come. Honestly, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have thought of my situation because most parents don't think of it on Mother's Day or Father's Day. And why should they? It's a day to celebrate who they are not console me for who I'm not …
Of course I met my Texas family for lunch … because duh, it's fun to celebrate mommies. They make sure it's a good restaurant on Mother's Day!
And God showed me it was a day to celebrate how I've mothered well too.
This post was originally shared on SingleMatters Magazine – a program of Jill Monaco Ministries.
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