Sunday, May 9, 2010

When Mother's Day makes you cry

"Momma said there'd be days like this; there'd be days like this, my momma said ..."  -The Shirelles

I saw two people in church this morning who literally wept. One was Ed! Yes, he and Mark were back in church, and Ed was seated in the front row. So happy to be back in church after a few months away, Ed raised his hands high during every worship song. (Ed and Mark are developmentally-different brothers whose mom/primary caretaker died a few months ago.)

What Ed probably didn't anticipate, though, was a Mother's Day service. There was a funny song about moms. There were candy bars at the doors for moms. And Pastor Carla even delivered a wonderful sermon about the women attending the resurrection, with special words for moms. And as Pastor Chuck got up to pray for our moms, it became too much to bear.

Ed wept. And ever so tenderly, Pastor came down from the podium and wrapped his arms around him. You could hear his muffled sobs through the microphone. Pastor told Ed, very gently, that God will comfort him in his loss. And we all believe that, really we do. But, ouch, ouch, ouch. It's like touching a hot iron. We wait and long for the pain to lessen.

I hugged Ed after the service, but I felt I couldn't offer him much. He needed a room to cry in. In truth, there are ways he is alone in his pain. I pray that God will give Him the strength and grace needed to walk through his grief. I am thankful for his tears--thankful that what he feels so deeply has an outlet.

Another friend cried, too, because of the loss of her mom. And how much she misses her and wishes she were here to celebrate Mother's Day. All of these emotions come flying up to the surface on days like this, and it makes me cringe a bit, grit my teeth a bit, and remind myself it will all be over in 24 hours. Not exactly the feeling you hope for when you enter God's house, but there it is.

It seems everyone feels things more deeply on Mother's Day . . . and Father's Day, for that matter.

Since I long to be a mom myself, it would have been easier to skip church today. (And I have resorted to this option before.) But in a tangible way, I knew I needed my church body today more than ever. Even though I knew I would feel excluded in a way, I didn't want to miss out on my family time. I wanted to stare this Mother's Day thing in the face and be OK with it.

And surprisingly, I mostly am OK. Yes, a kid tried to give me a candy bar until I told him I wasn't a mom. But in my heart I knew the truth: I am an ezer (Genesis 2:18) -- a strong helper, warrior, and rescuer -- and a life-giver. Even though I haven't physically had a child, I give life to people and projects each day. That won't change, no matter what comes.

So, I guess the bottom line is, it's OK to cry today. It's OK to tell your mom how wonderful she is--and my mom definitely fits the bill. But if there's one thing I would like you to take note of, this is it:

I believe that if Jesus were here today, physically standing by me or you, He would affirm all the life-givers (mothers or not) in His presence, and He would be the one to comfort those who hurt. He would be the one wiping away your Mother's Day tears, no matter the reason they were shed. But first, I am willing to bet He would feel your pain and cry with you. And in the end, He will . . .

" . . . take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17b

My heart believes this, owns it even--and I hope, friend, that yours does, too.

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