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Be Present: A Mother's Day Memoir

For some women, Mother's Day isn't always a cheerful day.  While many are relishing gifts and time spent with their own children and mothers, others have a silent sorrow accompanying them to their church services and family gatherings.  Some are struggling with infertility, missing children they have lost, experiencing tension with their mother, or grieving their mother's death.  

I have experienced several of these sorrows, infertility for many years and now the loss of my mom.  As an only child with a complicated family story, the journey through each of these difficulties has been especially lonely and challenging.  However, in each of these seasons of life, there was a lesson to be learned.  The most important take away has been to 'be present'.  Whether your experience this Mother's Day weekend is a mountain top enjoying hugs and smiles or a valley marked with tears and heartache, I challenge you to be present.  Don't seek to rush into the next season.  God has lessons to be learned in every moment, gifts to be received, and memories to be made.

In looking back on my three and a half years of infertility I remember the most difficult times for me were when I was in worship services at church.  I would see all the mommas holding their babies and yearning for my turn.  I remember singing the lyrics of  Blessed be Your Name by Matt Redman with tears streaming down my face:

Blessed be Your name

When the sun's shining down on me

When the world's 'all as it should be'

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name

On the road marked with suffering

Though there's pain in the offering

Blessed be Your name

Photo above:  Making a memory box with my mom while in hospice care with all her brooches collected over the years

Likewise in recent days holding a fresh grief of the passing of my mother, I will find myself tearing up when important moments with my children happen and I can't call her up to tell her about it.  Driving alone in my car is the most difficult because that is when we would always talk.  The pain is raw and real, and though I could crank up some upbeat music or phone a cheerful friend, I choose to be present and acknowledge the pain.  You see, being present even in the pain can be a gift.  Tears bring healing just as rain on parched soil makes the grass grow.  

In the final months of my mom's life, my family made every effort to be present with her.  There were a lot of sacrifices made to be with her often.  Plans were changed, activities were missed, my kids didn't get the home cooked dinners they were used to and frankly our lives were a bit of a mess.  But my husband and kids understood that this was a 'season' in which we were called to 'be present'.  I will never regret one moment spent by her bedside and I wish I could have had more. 

This Mother's Day, my sorrow is paired with the joy that comes from a longing fulfilled in the gifts of my three children.  This morning as my husband cranked up a silly upbeat song and my kids sang along gleefully I started crying again, and this time they were happy tears.  My mom's life lives on through these three. 

Most mothers will tell you when asked that the greatest gift their child could give them for Mother's Day would be their time.  Honor yours with that this weekend.  Fancy gifts and cards aren't necessary, they just want YOU.  If you find yourself grieving, just let the tears flow.  They are a gift and this season shall pass.  Be on the lookout for the joy that will start springing up from the sorrow.  

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