This will be my fourth year celebrating Mother's Day. It's not a huge deal at our house, but I have pleasant and sweet memories from the past three years - getting to sleep in, not having to cook, walks and playground time with my little family.
But I know Mother's Day isn't a simple holiday. For many of us, it evokes not only gratitude, but also griefs and disappointments. It calls attention to what we've been given, but also to that which is missing and that which might have been.
I still remember five years ago, when I wasn't yet a mother. We'd been trying for almost a year with no success, and I was certain something was wrong, that we'd never be able to have children. CJ and I went to church that morning and I watched the mothers stand and be recognized, tears brimming, and when we left after the service, the tears just wouldn't stop. Somehow we ended up on the roof of a parking garage in downtown Fairfax, and I sobbed.
Last year, I stood in church, ever so grateful for my Ellie girl and for the baby I'd recently learned was growing inside of me, but still missing Avaleen. There were no tears that day, but it was bittersweet.
I think the tricky thing about Mother's Day is that many of the mothers most worthy of recognizing are the very same mothers it's hardest to honor. Hallmark doesn't make cards for their situations.
I think of my friends who've lost babies this year, who held them for a few short moments and then had to let them go.
I think of my friend who's a single parent, who pours herself out day after day, serving her children in the face of unimaginable suffering.
I think of my friends who long for babies, who wait and wonder and weep.
These women would probably tell you that they are weak and hurting and lonely and afraid, but this Mother's Day, I want to honor them for their faith.
It takes faith to love a baby you know you might lose. It takes faith to stay engaged with a thankless child. It takes faith to joyfully snuggle other people's babies, even as you long for one of your own. It takes faith to keep crawling back to Jesus' feet, even when you don't understand His ways.
Thank you, my dear friends, for living out that kind of faith. I watch your lives, and I see Jesus. Even if Mother's Day can't feel happy for you this year, I pray that you will taste some measure of joy in the very real presence of a God who sees, who knows, and who cares very deeply about each one of your tears.