Like me, you may struggle with Mother’s Day. It may be a day that reminds you of hope deferred, prayers unanswered, questions that abound. It may be a time of year that reminds you of the painful relationship with your own mother, of the child you’ve desired to hold in your arms, of the missing spot at your table because one of your children lives in Heaven. It may remind you that motherhood has been anything but what you hoped for. It’s been hard, it feels unfair, it feels lonely. Maybe you feel unseen or even unrecognized as a mother. Maybe somewhere in your story you feel shame. Shame you couldn’t save your child, shame that you couldn’t have a child, shame that you couldn’t fix it. Your story looks painful. You don’t want pity, you don’t want to be “that woman, that girl.” You look in the mirror and wonder how life brought you here.
You wonder if your life will be a narrative of sadness, or heaviness. You wonder if there is room for hope, for goodness, for your heart's desires. You wonder if you will ever feel a swell of joy, a swagger of confidence, a flow of peace. You desire freedom. You want your life to feel purposeful. You want to feel free. To dance in the light of love, to twirl in the open space. In the breezy place where you can breathe with ease.
Here’s what I want to tell you today. You, my dear, beautiful friend, are full of beauty, full of hope, full of purpose. You are loved. You are cherished. Your story is hard and your story is painful. But through this story of pain can blossom trees of life, flowers of beauty, branches of help and hope.
Because you are made to love.
And you know how. You know the depth of love because you have known the depth of pain. You can see others with the compassion of a broken heart. As women, you have the ability to love and create in a way that only you can. So do it. Don’t hide. Don’t let shame make you small. Let your love make you big. Let your love make you strong. Like a tree that offers strength and shade to those who need it. Every act of love, no matter how small, matters. So use your love, that big bursting love in your heart. That love of a Mother’s Heart. That love that is screaming to be used. Use it ... even if you are sobbing while you are doing so. Use it.
Use it in art, use it in writing, use it in dance. Use this love as the fuel to care for a difficult person in your life. Use it to mend a broken relationship. Use this love to create, to add peace and goodness to this world. When you do, you are using your pain, your story, your child’s legacy to paint beauty on this earth. Paint beauty with your love. Paint beauty as only you can.
Nearly five years ago, my Ethan went to Heaven. He was 7. He came into this world with a sick heart. His life looked nothing like what I had planned for my first born. Medically it was hard, but he was full of joy. He danced, he sang, he laughed, and his greatest joy was to make others laugh. A prankster, a negotiator, the life of our house, the teacher of my soul.
After him came my two healthy middle boys, Blake and Chase. Both born into the life that Ethan set for us. Doctor visits, meds, uncertainty, and right in the middle — pure joy. Just two years after Ethan left for Heaven, Bodey joined us. My surprise. An Ethan mini-me. Bodey came with a diagnosis of a rare muscular dystrophy.
My life as a mother looks nothing like I planned it to be. But it’s full of beauty. Some days, that beauty is a tear-stained face wearing sunglasses. Some days it’s creative expression. Some days, the beauty feels good; some days, the beauty does not.
But like you, I’m made to love. So I’ll paint this world with the love that I have, with all the colors it brings. Paint with me. Paint this world with your love.
Happy Mother’s Day to you.
To you beautiful, purposeful, hopeful women.
Women made to love.