Un-Mother’s Day – A Day For The Motherless, The Childless and The Ones With Regrets

Every year when Mother’s Day rolls around, my heart feels a twinge – of sorrow, regret, empathy – I don’t know how to describe it, but it lingers throughout the day. I think of the precious women whose longing for motherhood is never realized and imagine how the celebration must stab deep in their hearts.

I think of those whose mothers failed or abandoned them and imagine how the day reminds them of what they will never have.

I think of those whose mothers are gone, and imagine the sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter memories that are stirred.

I had a perfectly lovely Mother’s Day this year. It was simple, relaxed and spent in the company of my family. I felt loved and appreciated and enjoyed the gifts, the food and the words of love. My own mother is a woman of rare grace and I am honored to have such an example of a woman of faith and boundless love.

But I’m embarrassed to say, there have been Mother’s Days in my past where my expectations for what should happen, how I should be acknowledged, what gifts I should have received left me feeling more self-pity than gratefulness.

I’ve had Mother’s Days when depression and a deep sense of regret over all the things I didn’t do right and the ways I mothered horribly made it impossible for me to get out of bed.

There’s something about the contrived, commercialized, over-the-top THING that Mother’s Day, has become that makes me cringe and want to quit celebrating it all together. But I’m not sure that’s the answer. Because the celebration of mothers and all that they do is a sweet and necessary thing. I just wish we could tone it down a few notches!

If you love the hype and noise of Mother’s Day and think I’m crazy, that’s fine. But for the rest of you, reading my words and whispering a silent “amen” I want to honor you today, on this un-Mother’s Day, a Tuesday like any other.

To the motherless, the childless and the ones with regrets

To the grandmas and the mamas with empty nests

To the mothers who do it all wrong – forget the school recital, let the kids watch too much TV, feed them Froot Loops for dinner and run out of toilet paper

To the mamas with the wandering child, the stubborn son, the ungrateful daughter

To those who do it alone, without reprieve

To the dear one with the messy house, the empty bottles of wine, the unwashed dishes and piles of laundry

To the brave souls who mother other people’s children

To the women whose quest for perfection exhausts and depletes them

To the mamas who yell and scold too often; who praise and teach too little

To those who navigate motherhood without a healthy example before them

To the tireless and tired ones with children who will always need them and never become independent

To the women with angel babies

To the lost souls in a dark hole who can’t get out of bed, and who are racked with pain, with guilt, with fear.

I honor you today with a prayer for…

Grace.

Peace.

Love.

Hope.

May your minds be at ease, your bodies find rest and your spirits be comforted by the One who IS peace.

Happy Un-Mother’s Day!

 

To My Friend Who Had An Abortion

I remember the day you told me. The shame and anguish in your voice. The tears that flowed like a storm surge after a hurricane – unrelenting and washing over you in wave after wave of grief. Your body convulsed and your wailing pierced the air. How helpless and inept I felt in the face of such sorrow.

I think of you often these days. I’m reminded of you every time I see a post meant to heap even more shame and guilt. How is your heart holding up under the weight of it all?

We never talked of it again, you and I. I’m sorry that the only thing I offered you was a weak hug and a few tears. I long to go back and hold your face between my hands. Remind you how much you are loved and how deeply you are forgiven. I regret not praying with you. I regret not weeping with you. I regret not mourning with you or acknowledging the depths of your loss, your pain, your heartache, your shame.

If, by some twist of fate, you happen to read this, please know God’s love for you is greater than the storm surge of your grief. His forgiveness is deeper than the pit of your shame. His blood has washed away the stain of your scarlet letter.

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Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Is. 1:18)

I pray that your life is surrounded by grace; that your heart is immersed in love. I beg you – lay down the stones you cast at yourself. Pry open your hands and let them tumble, one by one at the Savior’s feet. Stand up and acknowledge your scars and use them to bring healing to others.

I haven’t forgotten you, dear friend. I’m thinking of you tonight and I’m reminding you of God’s grace.

You are not your past. You are a precious child of God – loved and redeemed and whole.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion.

Psalm 103:1-4

Why Am I So Lonely? Seven Steps to Friendship

I’m lonely.

I hear this so often from women these days, especially on social media. When I hear this, it tugs at my heart and reminds me of long, dry periods of my life where I felt the same. Times when I was hungry for friendship and meaningful connections with other women but struggled to find it.

I admit it, even now there are times that I feel disconnected and lonely but it is nothing compared to my early years of motherhood when I craved a female connection that I could not seem to find.

Over the years I have learned a thing or two about friendship and while I am certainly no expert on the topic, I long to see all women enjoying the rich benefits that true friends can bring.  

Here is a list of Seven Steps I’ve found that help open the doors to lasting and meaningful friendships.

  1. Be intentional in your quest for friendship.

This is key! If you want friends, make it a priority to find them and carve out time to spend with them. I know how busy you are. I get it. But anything worth having, is worth your time.  So, get off Instagram, forget the housecleaning and call or text a could-be friend. Yes, I just gave you permission to have a dirty  house. You’re welcome.

I know. It’s hard to reach out. You risk rejection. But DO it anyway! You may have to throw the line out several times before you get a bite but you can do hard things!

Join a book club or an art class. Start using that gym membership. Get out there in the world where other women hang out!

 

  1. Lend someone a listening ear or a helping hand.

There was a time when I was so wrapped up in my own head, listening to my own fears and worries, that I didn’t really take the time to listen to those around me. I was so focused on myself and my own troubles that I wouldn’t have noticed a potential friend if she came up to me and hit me over the head!

This step goes hand-in-hand with Step #1. When we are intentional, when we truly listen, we hear other women and the cry of their heart for the same type of meaningful relationships that we crave.  Once we hear it, we can respond with an open hand of friendship instead of a clenched fist of self-pity.

Perhaps there’s someone who needs a lift to work. Maybe you know someone that could use a meal or help painting the baby’s room. An act of kindness is a beautiful friendship starter.

 

  1. Be friendly.

For crying out loud – SMILE! Let people know you want to be friends.  Not in a clingy, stalker-ish way but casually, as you encounter them in your day-to-day life.  Take the time to talk to people you encounter throughout the day.

And puh-leeze do not be that girl.  You know the one.  She’s whiny, complaining, critical, gossipy.  I know we all have our moments but girlfriend, if that is your MO, trust me…  nobody’s got time for that!

 

  1. Look for friends in unexpected places.

Maybe you’re a mom, ‘stuck’ at home with a couple of toddlers.  Maybe you’re a single business woman, devoted to your career or growing a business.  Maybe you’re retired and the kids have left home.

Who says your friends have to match you or be in the same stage of life?  Yes, there is definitely something to be gained by having friends who are walking through the same stuff – there’s a certain camaraderie that brings, but sometimes hanging out with other women with the same issues is an invitation to a pity party. All of that commiserating may leave you feeling depleted instead of filled. 

Some of my most cherished friendships are with young girls and moms. We both contribute to the friendship, just in different ways.

 

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other, gold.

 

  1. Appreciate what you already have.

Ow!  This is something I have definitely neglected to do.  I’ve looked for friends when they’ve been there all along!  Sometimes we’re so busy looking for something that we miss what we already have. It’s easy to take the familiar for granted. Is there someone already in your life who you need to invest time with? Perhaps even someone in your family who you’ve never really cultivated as a friend. Take a look around and be grateful for what you have.

 

  1. Get out of your comfort zone.

Do any of your friends or acquaintances have different beliefs than you?  If not, why not? Do you agree with them on every topic from politics to religion to parenting methods?

This might be the scariest way to find friends but it can be so rewarding! The next time you encounter a woman with a different point of view, consider spicing things up and adding to your circle of friends with someone who will challenge your status quo. Don’t be frightened. That liberal lady or homeschooling parent won’t bite!  (Caveat – if they do, drop ’em like a hot potato!)

I love the fact that so many of my friends have disparate opinions. Sometimes our differences can encourage healthy debate but more often than not, we find we have more in common than we originally thought.

 

  1. Pray for friendship.

If your spirit has been wounded by someone you once considered a friend (oh my, how that hurts!)

If you have been friendly and open, appreciative and willing, but still feel friendless.

If you are terrified of taking that first step and being rejected.

If you just don’t know where to begin.

Pray.  

Ask your heavenly Father to heal those broken places, give you the courage to take the next step and find those friends you so desperately need.

And, if you’re in the neighborhood and looking for someone to share a coffee and conversation (and perhaps, a slice of cake), give me a call!