They aren't here to give you a card today. They can't scrawl a family portrait with markers or press their paint-dipped palms into handprint flowers on construction paper.
They won't be in your Mother's Day photo this year. They can't wrap their arms around you or snuggle their heads against your shoulder. They can't tickle your ear with a whispered "I love you."
But the memory of them will be with you today, as it is every day. And you will miss them, as you do every day.
Motherhood is always a thankless job. You know this well. And yet, there is particular sense of emptiness that comes when you carry a baby who never breathes, when you endure the pains of labor for a baby who never cries.
Mamas who grieve, you have given much of yourselves to love your little ones. You gave much while they lived inside of you, your bodies ravaged by nausea and fatigue, your bellies stretched and marked. You gave much when they died, your hearts bruised and broken, your faith tested, your hope lost. You give much still as you remember, wrestle, mourn, and daily fight for joy without them.
Some days, I know, it all feels like a waste. So much time and energy spent on lives that are no longer, that the world will never see. What fruit can come from this? you may wonder. So much pain, and so little to show for it.
But my friends, I want you to know today that God does not see it that way at all. He has seen every sacrifice you've made, every tear-streaked journal page you've written, every private moment of anguish and despair. He has seen it all, and what He sees is beauty.
Beauty in tender hearts that have allowed themselves to be broken open by love.
Beauty in the honest tears and raw prayers that have been offered out of your grief.
Beauty in a love for your children that persists, knowing it will never receive anything in return.
Beauty in your gaze turned heavenward, in a loosening grip on this world's fleeting pleasures.
None of us would have chosen this kind of beauty. We would have chosen, would still choose, to have all of our children in our arms. And yet I don't want us to miss the beauty that is here in our broken stories, a beauty heavy with whispers of Him.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18