“Her children rise up and call her blessed…” Proverbs 31:28
“Whenever I held my newborn baby in my arms, I used to think that what I said and did to him could have an influence not only on him but on all whom he met, not only for a day or a month or a year, but for all eternity — a very challenging and exciting thought for a mother.” Rose Kennedy
Mother. What a complex picture that short two syllable word is able to paint. Both a noun and a verb, it’s a longing, a calling, a privilege, an honor, a blessing, a duty, and a lifelong walking out and responsibility. It is able to create myriad emotions in both the speaker and the hearer of the word.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Several months ago, a precious friend of mine shared a tender, heartfelt message she had written. Whether simply an emotional outlet or a deeper, more complex expression of her grief, it immediately flooded me with so many conflicting emotions as I read it. I have her permission to share it. Meg lost her mom at an early age to a devastating battle with Alzheimer’s disease. On what would have been her mother’s 64th birthday, she wrote these pained yet poignant words:
“Some days I just can’t encapsulate my emotions in words. I just love her. I miss her. I want her back. I still have questions. She needs to teach me more stuff. I don’t feel equipped to be a mom without being able to call her and talk through it. I need her. I know…I am selfish. She’s whole and happy and fulfilled…I sure do miss her. Today hurts.” (Meg Luttrell)
My heart hurt for her. I couldn’t begin to explain the burden and the heaviness that washed over me when I first read that. Even now, I expect the responses are as varied and personal as the number of eyes reading these words. Although very painful, what a tremendous tribute! What a beautiful picture of love, motherhood, and relationship Meg penned from the depths of her loss and hurt: a relationship that embodied love and need and nurture as God must have intended it; even though the time was limited, cut short by sickness and human frailty.
If you are a mother, you’re probably accustomed to wearing many hats: cook, coach, teacher, nurse, chauffeur, counselor, confidante, role-model, and so many others. Maybe you’ve never thought of yourself as being like the apostle Paul: a missionary to teach the gospel and share the love of Christ and to equip the saints, no matter how small the saints may be. 🙂 Then again, maybe you have, and it seems overwhelming at times. It’s a high and holy calling. It really is a privilege. Some days, in the busyness of life, you wonder if you make a difference. Does all this really matter? The lists, laundry, the wiping, the cleaning, the carpooling, the waiting, the repeating… It all matters.
Love, miss, want, teach, equip… Those were a few of the words Meg used. Perhaps your mother modeled that well and did effectively love, teach, and equip you with all the tools and abilities to love and learn and do and receive. Maybe she was beautifully representative of Jesus and you have been gifted with the faith and capacity to love God, others, and yourself and to see beauty and value in life and relationships. If so, rejoice! Be thankful. Know that you were loved and blessed. Even if she is no longer with you and you feel the pain of loss, her fingerprints still show on all you touch and teach and love.
But… we live in a fallen world and have strayed so far away from God’s original design. Maybe your mother didn’t or wasn’t able to love, to teach, or to effectively equip you to love, relate, and receive well. Maybe there is pain caused by sin, separation, poor choices..intentional or unintentional. It still hurts. Maybe, like Paul, there is a thorn of hurt that has wedged itself into your side and you still wince and feel the pain of emotional or physical injury..or lack and loss. If so, grieve. Just as we grieve the loss of love, support, and companionship through death, we may need to grieve the lack, as well as the loss. When God said He would be father to the fatherless, many are quick to embrace it. Do we limit him? Can he not be like a mother to the motherless? What about Zeph 3:17 when He rejoices over you with singing? Like a lullaby? Nurturing? Comforting? Consider the encouraging words of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 61:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”
From grief, mourning, and despair to comfort, joy, and restoration.
Rejoice in your great blessings. Grieve the losses and allow God to heal and restore, then believe. Believe, not only that the body of Christ is perfectly equipped to step in and provide for your needs, but that you are also part of that body and you are called to be his hands, his feet, his heart. Believe that God has a purpose in the pain of losing, the pain of not having, or the strain of imperfect, contentious relationships. Not that He authored the loss or the struggle, but that He sees and is able to create beauty from the ashes of a fallen world. Believe that you have been crafted and gifted with a mother’s heart. If you have children, you have experienced it first-hand. If you don’t have children, consider your other relationships. Have you ever had a shoulder to cry on? Been a shoulder to cry on? Had another woman ask for advice, need direction, just want a cup of coffee and a few words of wisdom or encouragement? Prayed for a friend? Been concerned for a friend’s well-being? Just sat quietly, no words needed, and been present? That is a mother’s heart and you have been gifted. Believe that you are that vessel, that tool, that platform, that word of encouragement, bit of sustaining manna, drink of water, or light in the darkness that God will use to bring light, life, and hope to someone else.
Thank you, Meg, for sharing your hurt and your heart. Even in that, your mother’s legacy continues. ❤
Words are important. The work of your hands and your heart is important and leaves an indelible imprint on the lives of others. I encourage you to consider your work, consider your words, consider your sphere of influence. Consider that the Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon you and He has anointed you to proclaim the good news, to assist the brokenhearted, to provide light and relief, and to comfort. You will be called oaks of righteousness and a planting of the Lord. Believe it. What’s the quirky old cliché: Bloom where you’re planted.
8 thoughts on “A Mother’s Heart: Rejoice, Grieve, Believe”
so good! you have been all of these things to me. it’s encouraging to read a simple cup of coffee can be the hands and feet. meg’s honest words reflect the ache this world leaves… the longing for home… heaven is waiting… but, not yet. not yet. 🙂
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Oh Deb! Meg’s words made me tear up. Thank you to you and Meg both for allowing me to peer into her soul. It won’t be long, we’ll all be reunited with our loved ones who’ve gone to heaven before us…but it still hurts. Beautifully written piece.
Oh, and thanks so much for visiting my blog earlier today. I’m always curious, how did you find me?
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If I tried again, I probably couldn’t find you. I’m new on here and was checking out some other blogs. I think I noticed one of your comments. I was playing hopscotch this morning and just jumping around. 🙂
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Well, if for whatever reason you decide to hop back over, my address is http://www.marshasmusings.com. This particular blog is not on WP. I guess that’s why my name doesn’t link over to my blog. 😦 Thursday I’m starting a new link-up called Thankful Thursday. You’re more than welcome to hop over and join in. I’ll be introducing it on Wednesday. Have a blessed week.
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Thanks! I’ll check it out 🙂
What a beautiful article! Your words certainly resonated with me. Grief is as much a part of life as breathing. I have two beautiful adult daughters, and a wonderful grandson. At this point in time my mother is still living, but my mom, mother-in-law and myself have had to walk with grief daily as my youngest (the mother of my grandson), has been influenced by childhood assault and the ripple affect of poor choices stemming from that. We pray and trust and hope that God will one day bring her back into His safe and comfortable fold, but our lives are all about His bigger picture and our ultimate job is to trust! Thank you for sharing. – Amy
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If we would only lay it all at the feet of God…
Love this! We all can be nurturing, protective, and encouraging to those around us.