I wrote this letter a couple years ago to honor Mother's Day, and all the different waves of emotions that this day evokes in us. For some of us, Mother's Day is hard. For some of us, it's complicated. For a few of us, it's full of complete joy. This letter is for all of us, today. Wherever you are or however you're feeling this weekend, I hope this letter encourages your heart.
Dear Tired Mom:
I see you, and you are beautiful. Yes, BEAUTIFUL, even with no makeup, no shower, and wearing your stained T-shirt and yoga pants. I see you feeling buried alive under the mountains of laundry and piles of dirty dishes. I see you working hard from sunup ’til sundown, with little or nothing to show for it. I see you on call all through the night, chasing away monsters, comforting, washing soiled sheets, feeding, changing—doing pretty much everything except sleeping. I see you getting up early to pack lunches and drive your kids to ALL THE THINGS. I see you navigating new challenges every day in the changing seasons of your kids’ lives.
I want you to know that when you feel invisible, God sees you. When you feel unappreciated, God is celebrating you. He is so proud of you. When you’re tempted to beat yourself up over your mistakes, give them to Jesus-He defines you, not your mistakes. And when it feels like you can’t make it another day, take deep breaths and run to Jesus. He will carry you. God never grows weary and he will impart to you his strength. He is enough. He can make you brave when you’re scared to death, and he can fill you up when you’re empty. Without him we won’t make it, but with him we can do all things-even cleaning up puke all night and then chasing a toddler all day on 2 hours of sleep.
Solidarity, momma. We’re in it together.
Dear Mom of adult kids:
I see you, and you are so beautiful. The kind of beautiful that only comes with years of wisdom and sacrificial, tireless love. I see you experiencing the bittersweet moments of missing your kids and yet watching in wonder as they take flight. I see you feeling a little lonely, like little pieces of your heart are walking around out in the world somewhere. I see you almost getting the chance for rest after years of sleepless nights, only to find you now can’t sleep because your body and mind won’t allow it. It’s a cruel irony.
I see you watching your grown children experience heartbreak in their adult life, and feeling your own heart breaking wide open right along with them. I see you still taking care of everyone. I see you caring for grandchildren you love so much it makes your heart explode. I see you having to watch your kids make their own mistakes, and then staying by their side, sometimes even bearing the consequences. I see you still selflessly laying down your own desires for those of your loved ones.
The sacrifices of motherhood don’t decrease with time. I want you to know that we’re all thankful for you. When you feel you’ve been poured out to empty, take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus experienced this too. When you feel forgotten, know that every sacrifice you’ve ever made is applauded in Heaven. God sees. God rewards. And we are all in awe of you.
Dear Grieving Mom:
I see you. I see the loss that makes Mother’s Day one of the hardest days for you. I see your tears. I see the pain as you watch many with seemingly blissful lives celebrate all around you.
I want you to know it’s ok to grieve. God grieves with you. He feels the full weight of your loss, and you are not alone. I will not give you easy answers that only worsen the sting, but I will tell you that Jesus is well acquainted with suffering. Maybe no one in your life understands how you feel, but Jesus does. Pour out your heart to him, sweet momma. God is close to the brokenhearted, and I pray you feel his presence today and every day.
Dear Mom with unfulfilled hopes:
I see you. I see your longing for children to love. I see your arms that ache for the baby that’s not in them. I see your heart breaking as you watch other moms mothering and taking it for granted. I see your grief and your angst, and that nagging feeling that your life is incomplete.
I’ll be honest, I don’t have answers for you—some things are mysteries to all of us. But I want you to know that God sees your longing. You are not forgotten. Your life matters, no matter what. And if your hope is in God, it is not misplaced. Even when it feels that no one understands, take comfort in knowing Jesus does. He experienced the pain, the brokenness, and the incompleteness of this life here on earth, and your pain is breaking his heart.
When you feel so tender and raw that you can’t seem to face your life, run to him. He is enough. When the storm in your heart feels overwhelming, run to the Prince of Peace, the one who can calm every storm.
Dear Mommas of all ages, parenting styles, numbers of kids, and shoe sizes:
Our kids are watching us. And the thing they need most from us, oddly enough, is not for us to be great mothers. Of course they need mothers, but they need us, first of all, to be followers of Jesus. Jesus is first, and before we are moms, we are first and foremost God’s children. Our kids need us to walk in who we are as God’s kids--totally imperfectly and totally dependent on him.
They need to see us mess up, and then humbly ask for forgiveness. They need to see us put God first in everything, and make our lives all about him. They need to see us leaning on each other and caring for one another, so they learn how to be the body of Christ. They need to see us celebrating one another, and walking arm in arm instead of in competition. And they need us, first and foremost, to point the way to Jesus.
Don’t let the world, the internet, or even the church convince you that anything is more important than this. We are children of God first. We need Jesus, and we need each other. And let’s be honest, a little chocolate never hurt anything either. So when you’re having an awful day, pull out this letter and your hidden stash--don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about--and remind yourself of what is true. You are beautiful, you are enough, and most importantly, you are a child of God.
In it together, sisters!