Mother's Day

Mother's Day.

It is such a sweet day for me this year.  My daughter is playing next me to me and I am deliriously happy.  My husband has the day off- a rarity over here- and we are spending the whole day together.  I have a dress he thoughtfully picked out for me, a steaming hot vanilla latte from Starbucks he surprised me with, and I'm looking at a vase of beautiful flowers he brought home.  All feels right in my world today.

And yet.

The first two Mother's Days of our marriage I thought of them with an excited hopefulness.  We were doing the newlywed thing and even though I wanted right then to get pregnant I was fine with waiting. We had school to get through.  But I always thought- if it just happened I'd be so happy.

The next two I had a strong longing growing in my heart and a frustration with our circumstances that made waiting harder than I wanted it to be.  I was ready to be a mommy.

The next one I was freshly & unexpectedly pregnant with my very first baby.  We were in the middle of moving and had no pregnancy coverage under my insurance plan.  I was ridiculously happy but also very stressed.  Taylor bought me pink tulips for my first Mother's Day and I spent the rest of the day packing up our home above the flower shop while he worked the night shift at the hotel.

The next one I was pregnant with Eliana.  I was depressed and hormonal and happy and fearful and every emotion under the sun.

I thought then of my first baby and of the baby inside of me.  We sang Blessed Be the Name of the Lord at church that day and I wept because He certainly had given & taken away.  I knew it well.  Even though I was close to my 3rd trimester I still had no guarantee I would meet my baby.  I knew what could happen.  How quickly things could change.

So I remember holding my belly, feeling life within in, and just thinking- we'll see.  We'll see if I get to hold you.  I was guarded and fragile beyond belief.  I was guilty for being sad because I was pregnant after all.  I was getting what I wanted.  When so many women miscarrying over & over again I only had to do it once so far.  When so many women struggle to even get pregnant ever I was close to the finish line of a fairly healthy pregnancy.

But you cannot reason with fear.

Mother's Day is a complicated bag for most of us.  It's a great day because a lot of us have amazing mothers that are definitely worth celebrating.  Taylor & I have incredible mothers.  We have incredible grandmothers.  My big sister is an incredible mother.  I have incredible girlfriends who are amazing & hard working mothers.  Bust out the pink!  Make those lunch reservations!

It is a GREAT day.

And yet it's complicated.  There's broken homes.  Mothers who scream and hit and leave when it gets too hard.  There is abortion.  And miscarriages.  And stillborn babies that haunt a mother's mind.  There's health problems and infertility and teenagers that get pregnant just by looking at one other.  The madness.  There's mothers in graves and not at our dinner tables.  There's cancer and alzheimers.

My life and arms are very full right now.
But life is very fragile and I know that very well.
I have no idea what next year will look like.

I am a person that celebrates deeply.
I am a person that grieves deeply.

I'm finding that today holds a little of both.

I cannot think of being a mother without thinking of my whole story.  The joys & the sorrows.  The story that God wrote out for me.  That involves me entering Prentice Women's Hospital twice pregnant- only once leaving with a baby in my arms.

I wept the first time as I told the nurses I was supposed to leave here with a baby in my arms this December.
But all I was leaving with was a scarred body and heart in June.
You will honey.  One day you will.

I told my husband I was supposed to leave in a wheel chair with a little baby on my chest.  You were going to be holding flowers and balloons.  
I know babe.  I know.

People will say really stupid things to a women who they know is going through a miscarriage.

You are lucky you weren't further along.

You can try again soon.
You think I can even think about going through this again?

It happens so often.
So that makes it less hurtful?

At least you know you can get pregnant.
I don't even know what to say to you.

God has a perfect plan and that didn't involve you having this baby.
I think maybe you should just go stand somewhere out of arms reach.  Yes.  Quickly.  

I believe life begins at conception.  100%, and we can argue till we are blue in the face but you will never ever convince me otherwise.  I believe when a woman sees a positive pregnancy test she becomes a mother in her heart and mind.  She can try to rationalize that it's not real yet, but it's real.  And she knows it deep down.  Her world alters and shifts the minute the line turns positive.   Everything changes.  And then when everything doesn't because she miscarries- it changes again.  But it doesn't go back.  Because it, she, can never go back.

Wherever you find yourself this mother's day as a woman I am praying you find comfort and peace.  I am praying God showers you with His grace in 100 different ways today.  I am praying if your heart is soft that the news of the gospel makes it rejoice and so thankful.  I am praying that if your heart is hard that the news of the gospel makes you broken and full and beyond amazed.

God knows suffering more intimately than any of us ever will.  He sent His one and only Son to be crucified on our behalf.  The behalf of those who hated Him.  He laid down His life for His enemies & by doing so He made them sons & daughters.  Whoever believes in Him- calls upon His name as Lord & Savior- they will be saved- will have everlasting life.  By trusting in Jesus to restore your broken relationship with God and to give you eternal life you gain so much more than a ticket into heaven.  It's so much deeper.  It is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.  It's not about religious code.  It's not about being different just to be different.  It's not about being judgmental.  It's about redemption.  Peace.  Love.  Forgiveness from sins.

Jesus is to a weeping mother, a longing woman, a laughing mother, a grieving daughter--- everything.  He makes everything different.
He makes everything new.
He is enough for the pain.
And He is enough for the joy.

There was a month when we didn't know if our first baby was going to live or die.  A month where I prayed with every breath for a miracle.  That their heartbeat would be strong on the next ultrasound.  That it would be there.  That they would have grown.  We had four dark ultrasounds.  Four quiet doctors.  Four weeks of not knowing.

That time is frozen in my mind.  I bought peonies on a daily basis almost because they were the only thing that could snap my mind into a place of remembering God was good.  I was struggling with everything.  I was numb and so weak.  I was scared and so strong.  I was crazy and calm.

Peonies, and fresh lilacs remind me of that baby.  Kerry Jobe's I know You are For Me played 100 times a day in my apartment.  My mom's egg salad was all I ate.  I walked to Bridgeport Coffee House daily to relax my mind and I cannot do or see or smell or think of any of these things or 100 others without longing for my baby in my arms.  Maybe one day I'll meet him or her in heaven.  And I'll tell them over and over and over again how much I have missed them all this time.  How Christmastime will always bring memories of baby socks unworn & how deeply I loved them from day one.

Happy Mother's Day you guys.
If you grieve today I feel so deeply for you.
If you rejoice today I feel so deeply for you.
But more importantly- Jesus grieves and rejoices with you.
He is our great High Priest.
Our ever present help in time of need.