Gratitude Day 268
Fri., May 10, 2019
Proverbs 31:28-29 – Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
I’m not a mother. And this time of year, I become very acutely aware of this.
While other women my age are being taken out for brunch or receive beautiful baskets of hanging flowers, I’m trying to not feel like the third wheel in any setting. I just want to slink away quietly into the shadows where no one can see how uncomfortable I feel.
It’s not anyone’s fault that I feel this way. These are my feelings, my struggle, my uncomfortableness with whether I do or do not fit into Mother’s Day celebrations and remembrances.
As we remember our moms and honor other women who have been a part of our lives, I’m confident there are lots of women who just want to pull a blanket over the head and stay under the covers until Monday when the world moves on from Mother’s Day. Women whose stories may be very different from mine … but also acutely aware that there’s a day once a year when they aren’t quite sure what their spot in this world is.
Women who have tried and tried for a baby … with no success.
Women who’ve lost a child … and yearn to see their precious baby (no matter what their age when they died) once again.
Women who miss their mom and would love to have just one more meaningful or pointless conversation with them.
Women who feel disappointed with the results of their parenting skills and only wish their child would be in a better spot.
Women who know they won’t be able to birth a baby and wonder what they did wrong to deserve this sentence.
Women who chose not to have children and feel like they have to defend this decision.
Women who feel abandoned by their mother and they wonder why their mom chose not to be fully a part of their lives.
Women who lost their mother at a young age and struggle with why this happened.
Women whose mother was not emotionally or mentally able to cope with life and may not have been available to their child.
And a whole bunch of other women whose stories should be on this list and aren’t.
When I meet someone for the first time, a common question is, “How many children do you have?” It’s a normal question. One that should be easy to answer, right? My usual answer states that Hubby Rick has children and we have grandchildren. Awhile back, I was at an event and was introduced as the stepmom to one of Rick’s children. When this happens, I always feel a little cautious. Rick’s children have a mother … and it’s not me. His kids were young adults when Rick and I were married. They have never lived with us. My role just always feels a blurry. Once again, I’m confident that I’m not the only woman who feels this way.
Yes, I have been involved in lots and lots of children’s lives. Thankfully, Rick and I have had lots of quality time, including sleepovers, with our nieces and nephews, our grandchildren and sometimes even other little people that we have been entrusted with. I love playing games or cards with them, baking brownies or cupcakes, reading books together, watching a movie, going on a hike or a bike ride. I treasure these moments as some of the most special ones in my life.
But these moments don’t qualify me as a Mom. More than once, I’ve been in a store with some of our grandchildren and been mistakenly identified as the kid’s mom. Usually, one of the kids pipes up and says something like, “She’s not our Mom. She’s our grandma.” Then, there is the shift of eyes from the kids, to me, back to the kids … and they simply walk away. And we move on as well.
For those of you who are mothers: please celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend. Celebrate well. I hold no ill feelings towards you. I pray that you have a wonderful weekend with those who mean so much for you.
I share these words simply to bring to light that there are women who just feel a bit out-of-place on Mother’s Day. I simply ask that you extend them a little Mother’s Day grace. Acknowledge that this day maybe one that is uncomfortable for them. They may not be unsure of their spot or role. They may be sad and disappointed. And it’s OK.
When I served as a pastor and it was Mother’s Day, we would usually have a flower to give to the women who were present. I carefully chose the words I said, wanting to honor all women. I reminded folks that Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to honor and remember any woman who has been an important role model or person in your life. Lots of women can influence us and impact us. Why not honor all of these women today?
The last half of Proverbs 31 is entitled, “The Wife of Noble Character.” It’s an extremely comprehensive list of how a woman could and should life her life. The list is daunting. While reading it, you may wonder to yourself, “There is no one who can fulfill all of the things on this list.” And you would be right.
Yet, we can aspire to embody many things on this list. Whether we are a Mom or not. Whether we are a wife or not. Whether we would be considered a person of noble character or not. This isn’t a checklist for who is “good” and who is “bad” in God’s kingdom. This list doesn’t determine who is “in” and who is “out.” It’s a list intended to be an encouragement. Something to aspire to. A way to encourage us to give our all to God’s kingdom.
In the end, there’s only one thing that is needed. And this would be grace. I pray we all experience a little Mother’s Day grace this weekend. May we see this as the way we should live our lives every day, not just on a special occasion.
For God’s unlimited amount of grace, I am grateful.
Holy God – thank you for unending amounts of grace in our daily lives. May we extend this same grace to anyone who needs a little more space and understanding these days. Amen.
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