How can I possibly celebrate Mother’s Day, when it’s a day that reminds me of all that I have lost?
And yet, it’s also a reminder of all that I was given.
I’ve spent the past few years carefully guarding my heart from You, Lord, because You didn’t answer my prayers the way I so desperately wanted you to. Now You have her and I do not, and You’re the only one who truly knows how lost I feel without her. You are a good God—always completely and totally good—but I’m afraid fully open my heart to You, afraid to be vulnerable, because what if I don’t agree with the things You declare to be “good”? Losing her doesn’t feel good to me, so now trusting You seems like a risk.
Maybe I’m acting like a temperamental toddler, stomping my foot and refusing to eat my carrots. Having a fit because I didn’t get my way. I know You cannot answer “yes” to every prayer we pray and that healing isn’t always the outcome we get. I know it’s the normal cycle of life for a mom to go before her child. I know countless people before me have lost their mothers and managed to survive. I even know that, ultimately, complete healing happens when someone goes to be with You. I feel like a whiny crybaby, but I get it. I do.
But even though I can separate myself from the situation intellectually, my emotions don’t respond to logic. Without my mom, I feel lost. Without her, I wonder who I am. Without her, I wonder who I should become.
But You recently reminded me that she’s as close as You are. I can be close to her only when I draw close to You.
So, please, Lord, help me.
Let this be the time that comfort finally overshadows the pain. Don’t let my sorrow cancel out my joy. Help me celebrate Mom today. Let me hear her voice and her sense of humor, her opinions and her personality, in the voices of others today—or even in my own words.
Let me share stories about Mom that make me laugh. Help me let go of the pain and hurt feelings that go with some of them and remember that she wasn’t perfect (and neither am I). But she loved me, and she did her best—and even in her imperfection, she was pretty amazing. I am more confident, more strong, more sure of my place in the world because of the way she raised me. Many of my personality traits and interests originated in her. I am who I am—both good and bad—in large part because of her. Help me embrace that and not let sorrow keep me from remembering.
Let me love people the way Mom did. She touched so many lives beyond our immediate family. Lord, teach me to notice the needs all around me and equip me to be the help that she was to so many, and let me do it as she did: humbly, quietly, for the sake of the person in need and not about her at all. Thank You for the ways You must have nudged her to reach out, and thank You for letting generosity and nurturing and kindness be part of the legacy she left behind.
Let me be the kind of parent who teaches her kids that they are inherently lovable and valuable. As a teenager, I rebelled against everything my mom said, every rule or guideline she tried to impose. As an adult, I see that her intentions were always good and her actions were based on what she thought was best for me. She loved me enough to push me to be better.
Until I had kids of my own, I didn’t understand that kind of love. When my kids resist me, give me the strength to stand firm in my love and convictions. Let them know that I adore them for their quirks, admire their inherent characteristics, and if I have high expectations, it’s because I have the highest of beliefs in their abilities. Help me show them that my love is unconditional. It is not based on their achievements; it’s the kind of that stems from deep inside, from a place that supersedes surface achievements and behaviors.
It’s the kind of love that You offer to them, too. And to me. And to my mom. Remind me today that we are all bound together by Your phenomenal grace. We’re not as far apart as it might seem. If she is with You, and we abide with You, then we’re dwelling in the same place. We don’t have to forget who she was or let go of our memories. We can be sad if we happen to feel sad, but we can also rejoice.
Because she is with You. And we are with You. Either of those things would be worth celebrating—but both of them are true. So today, Lord, free me from the burden of my grief. Thank You for giving her to me. Thank You for loving me that much. Thank You for walking beside me, through sadness and sorrow and joy.
Thank You for the hope You have given us that we will see each other again.
Thank You for the DNA you implanted within me and for the knowledge that I carry her with me every day.
Thank You for who You are. Thank You for understanding how much I miss her. Thank You for my memories.
And thank You for this day dedicated to honoring and remembering our moms, and for all the reasons I have to celebrate and rejoice.
Kelly O’Dell Stanley is the author of Praying Upside Down and Designed to Pray. A graphic designer who writes (or is it a writer who designs?), she's also a redhead who’s pretty good at controlling her temper, a believer in doing everything to excess, and a professional wrestler of doubt and faith. She blogs at kellyostanley.com and calls small-town Indiana her home.
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