This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. I am so blessed to have an incredible mother. I have watched her endure through hardship. I have seen her fiercely protect those that she loves and I have learned how to be a compassionate person because of her example. I have always found in her a comfort and friend. I am also blessed with an incredible Mother-in-Law. She has accepted me as one of her own children and loved me unconditionally. Her tenacious spirit and faith has inspired me and I know I can count on her. These two women deserve to be celebrated this Sunday and every day of the year!
So why does the thought of Mother’s day usually make me cry? Why do I get a knot in my stomach when I think about it? Because I’m not a mother.
1 in 8 women are affected by infertility. 1 in 8. Women who have a desire to be a mother and walk out the most difficult and rewarding journey there is, but can’t. These women hurt. These women cry. These women blame themselves and think they have done something to deserve their heartache. These women hide their feelings and put on a happy face at baby showers, friend’s children’s birthday parties, church events, family gatherings and more. They listen patiently when friends go on and on about their pregnancies and the trials and joys of parenthood. They endure the looks and comments insinuating, “you’ll understand someday” or “If you had kids, then you’d know what it’s like.” They feel the pain of each year that passes without a child and Mother’s Day is a very obvious reminder that yet again, they are not a mother.
My story isn’t typical, but I consider myself a 1 in 8. The past few Mother’s Days have been challenging for me. I want to celebrate the women in my life who are mothers. I have so many friends who are incredible mothers or mothers to be. This is their day! It’s just incredibly hard to be reminded yet again that you don’t belong to this amazing club and I have spent Mother’s day in tears before. I have put on a brave face at church and then fallen apart at home. I have felt the pain and longing and defeat and I know that I am not alone.
However, this Mother’s Day I desire something different. This Mother’s Day I will not be crying in the corner. I will choose to stand in hope that I will be a mother some day. I will make room for the blessings that I believe the Lord has in store for me. They may not play out the way I originally thought they would, but I believe the Lord is faithful and my joy and fulfillment can be found in Him, not in a status of mother.
A few years ago, dear friends of mine were in a multiple year wait for the adoption of their three beautiful children from Columbia. They had endured much hardship in the adoption process. They knew they were called to this road, but had met so much frustration and hurt along the way. At Christmas, they could have been defeated and hurt by another holiday without their children. But instead, they hung three small stockings on their mantle. They didn’t know who their children were yet. They didn’t know their names. But they made space in their lives for them. They prepared their hearts for the day those little stockings could have names printed on them. They sat in expectation of what the Lord could do instead of defeat by what hadn’t happened yet. And they have inspired me to do the same.
It reminds me of a story we learned about a few weeks ago in the kid’s ministry at church. We learned about Bartimaeus, a blind beggar who waited by the roadside for Jesus to pass. He wore a cloak that represented his status to the world. The cloak told passersby that he was a beggar. That he could not work because of his ailment.
“Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road.47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.”50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.” ~Mark 10:46-52
Do you see? He threw his cloak aside before Jesus had healed him. His faith was so great that he knew his status was going to change before it actually did.
The pain of infertility and waiting on a child is real, tangible even. But the joy set before those of us that suffer is even greater. I don’t know what my future holds. I don't know when I will be a mother. I don't know how many more Mother’s Days I will experience without a child in my arms. But I believe that the Lord has great things in store for me. I believe that right now, he is calling me to make room in my life for the children that will come. So this Mother’s day I will not cry in my room. My face will not be downcast. I will choose to have joy and anticipate my change in status!
I will not bear the cloak of barren or sick or cancer patient. I will throw it aside and find joy in the blessings to come. I will celebrate the amazing mothers in my life and try to learn from them as much as I can about motherhood because I believe it is in my future. I will bear the title of future mother and worship my Savior on Sunday through any feelings that may come up.
Whatever it is you are waiting for in your life, whatever cloak you bear that oppresses you and steals your joy, I encourage you to throw it off and step into a life of expectation. And if you are like me and you fall into the 1 in 8, please reach out to me. Please contact me. I would love to walk with you and pray with you and worship with you in the midst of your wait. We are not meant to walk alone. Let’s throw off our cloaks and anticipate what the Lord will do!