Three Encouragements for Women on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is two days away, and I wonder how many women are dreading it. On a day set aside to honor the invaluable work only women are able to fulfill, many are left feeling tender and disappointed, wishing we could skip the day altogether and get on with Monday. For women with and without children, Mother’s Day evokes a host of emotions as it exposes dreams, longings, fears, and hurts in an especially poignant way.   

Is the pain of this day redeemable?

The truth is, the role of “mother” is important and worth honoring. The mothers who bore us, raised us, and sacrificed for us should be acknowledged, thanked, and loved. But it is all too easy for us as women to slip into a blinding self-focus on Mother’s Day. For those in the trenches of mothering, the desire to be acknowledged (or just to be given a break, for goodness sake!) can grow too big, leading to anger and frustration when expectations are not met. For those longing for marriage and family, struggling with infertility, grieving the loss of a child or mother, or praying for the return of a wayward child, the hurt may feel insurmountable. Sometimes, this leads to feelings of self-pity or despair.

Is the pain of this day redeemable? For women who are in Christ the Redeemer, we answer with a resounding “Yes!” Here are three truths to help us lift our gaze and live with gospel-shaped hope on Mother’s Day.

Joy and Pain are Realities for All.

On Mother’s Day especially, it’s easy for women to feel alone in their pain and struggles. All of us can easily fall prey to the lie that no one is hurting as deeply as we are, and this makes our own pain feel magnified. But, in a fallen world, pain is a reality that goes hand-in-hand with joy. Every woman, regardless of her circumstances, experiences some mixture of the two, and it isn’t necessary or wise to try to compare levels.

The woman longing to conceive a child sees pictures on social media of smiling mothers with their arms full of (what appear to be) smiling, well-behaved children, and she believes that woman’s life is all joy. But pictures never tell the whole story. The exhausted mother of four, struggling through what feels like monotonous work in the home, sees the childless woman with (what appears to be) a fulfilling career, and she covets the freedom and professional success that woman has. But she too isn’t privy to the the whole story.

Pain is real for all, but for those in Christ, we know it isn’t the end of our story. “Weeping may tarry for the night but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5). The gospel gives us hope on Mother’s Day by reminding us that. . .

Motherhood is Bigger Than Us.

Whether a woman has biological children or not, she must remember that God’s purposes for motherhood are bigger than her. While children certainly bring joy (and pain), they are blessings to steward for a purpose greater than a mother’s personal happiness. God created mothers and motherhood so that his image and glory might be multiplied across the face of the earth (Genesis 1:28). And when his image was marred by sin, God allowed motherhood to continue so that he might send a Redeemer, both human and divine, to bring salvation to the world: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

“Mother” is a role, not an identity. As Christian women, we are made in the image of God and created anew in Christ Jesus for the purpose of good works. Christ is our defining identity (Ephesians 2:10). For some, the good works prepared for us by God include raising up physical children in our homes. For all of us, these good works include raising up spiritual children (disciples) within the local church. When we remember that motherhood is bigger than us, we can rejoice on Mother’s Day in spite of our circumstances. We can shift our gaze upward, giving thanks to God for using a mother to bring the Savior of mankind into this world.

Christ Redeems All Things.

Around this time last year, I drove past a church sign that said, “Join us Sunday as we celebrate mothers!” I cringed inwardly as I imagined  this might cause hurting women to shy away. While the Church may honor mothers, we celebrate so much more!  We celebrate a risen Christ, who is redeeming every ounce of pain his children experience both for his glory and our good. We celebrate a Savior who is making all things new. No woman should avoid this celebration on Mother’s Day Sunday. 

One way Christ has already redeemed the pain of motherhood is by expanding its definition and purpose. In her book (A)Typical Woman, Abigail Dodds says, “You may have been denied biological children, but there is no childlessness in the new covenant. You have been given children beyond counting in Christ to love, nurture, and disciple, as Paul and Jesus did.” In Christ, motherhood goes far beyond bearing and raising biological children.

Although this truth doesn’t negate all the pain women feel regarding issues of motherhood, we have the blessed promise that God is working our pain for good as he uses it to make us like Christ (Romans 8:28-29). And we have the sure hope that this pain is not forever. A day is coming when tears, death, mourning, crying, and pain will be no more (Revelation 21:4).

So, on Sunday let’s take time to honor our own mothers, both those who raised us and those who have discipled us in the faith. Let’s lift our gaze from ourselves to Christ, worshiping him and trusting him to carry us through our pain and redeem all our unmet expectations and longings. And let’s bless the Lord for the gift of motherhood and his good purposes in it. He alone is worthy!


Mother’s Day Weekend 2014

Mother’s Day weekend was really special this year. My entire family came for a visit—a rare and welcomed treat.IMG_1511 I got to spend Mother’s Day with my mom and my boys. IMG_1571 {And just because the outtakes are comical and tell the real story….here you go!}IMG_1523 IMG_1525 IMG_1527IMG_1531 John Wicks was dedicated to the Lord on Mother’s Day. In other words, Adam and I made a commitment before our church family to model for our son what it means to fear the Lord by loving Him with all our heart, soul, and might. Before our church, we promised to diligently teach John Wicks the character and ways of God as we go about our daily living–as we sit, walk, lie down and rise (Deuteronomy 6). We promised to hold up the free gift of the Gospel to our son and exhort him to respond in repentance and faith. We know only God can change our son’s heart. It is God alone who saves. But it is we who teach and tell and walk by faith before his little eyes. We pray that God will draw John Wicks to himself at a young age…all to the praise of His glorious grace!IMG_1575 JW had a bad cold virus and slept through the entire dedication. Bless it. IMG_1538 Afterward, a church member needed to make a family picture of us for senior scrapbooks, so we had the perfect opportunity to document the morning with our families. IMG_1549 IMG_1573 Adam’s sweet parents drove six hours for the dedication. We were thrilled to have them. IMG_1558How blessed I am to be a mom. My two boys are precious and undeserved gifts from the Father. During this season, mothering is non-stop. It’s hard. It’s exhausting. It requires all of me. It requires me to constantly look to Jesus for extra measures of grace, strength, patience, and joy. Luke is endearing, smart, loving, creative, funny, talkative, loud, rebellious, {often} destructive, and challenging. John Wicks is cuter than cute, tough as nails, more curious than George, physically strong, strong-willed, and passionate for food. Both boys bring so much joy and adventure to my life. I’m so thankful to get to spend my days caring for them, kissing them, teaching them, playing with them, reading to them, and seeking to point them to the goodness and greatness of our God.

Each Mother’s Day, I am acutely aware that many women are experiencing more pain than joy. I am also aware that some of my future Mother’s Days could hold greater levels of pain than joy. The curse of “pain in child-bearing” comes in so many forms and includes so much more than simply the physical pain of birthing a baby: infertility, miscarriage, stillborn babies, sick children, death of children, wayward children, lost children, and more. On Mother’s Day, I hurt for those experiencing pain, and I pray that God would ease the pain of so many I know and offer rich joy and comfort in the knowledge of Him. More than that, I pray and KNOW that God will use all things, even the painful things, for good in the lives of those who know Him. He will use every form of “pain in childbearing” to make us more like His Son Jesus and to prepare us for “an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor 4:17). Amen. 

Mother’s Day

These were the only pictures we managed on Mother’s Day {post church and monsoon rains, with messy car in full view}.

Squinty eyes 🙂

We had a very low-key, relaxing day. I took a {fabulous} 2 hour nap, and we had a good family dinner at Bonefish Grill. So thankful to be “Mama” to my favorite Mr. Boy!


When Mama gets ready for the day, she is perfectly put-together and fashionable. No hair is left unsprayed. Her purse always matches her outfit, and she is accessorized to a “T.” I love exploring the treasure trove that is her closet.

Don’t let her lovely appearance fool you, though. My Mama is a worker—a grinder, some might say. Whether she’s ironing school uniforms, cooking dinner, filling prescriptions in Nicaragua, or working {a paying job} outside the home, she knows how to work hard and get it done.

My Mama knows how to make a house feel like a home. I remember how weird {and messy} the house felt after school on those days when she hadn’t been home. She had a way of always making the house feel pretty and tidy and warm. She decorates for every season, and she makes our house look absolutely magical at Christmas time.

Mama makes birthdays a big deal. She’s the best gift-giver. Every gift is chosen with careful thought and consideration. She still fills our stockings at Christmas and mails us “happies” for different occasions even though we’re grownups.

Mama knows what it means to sacrifice for your kids. She made the choice to leave a lucrative career in order to stay home and raise three babies. She knows what it’s like to sometimes feel lonely and to wonder if your life has any real purpose when all you seem to do is fold laundry, wash dishes, and wipe heinies.

Mama knows what it’s like to lose sleep for your children—sleep lost because of late night feedings and late night conversations with God. She knows what it means to be on your knees for your kids, begging God to protect them from the lies of the enemy and keep them walking in truth. My Mama is a prayer warrior.

Mama has been there for us during all the exciting times. She’s attended school plays and pageants, as well as numerous performances in her living room and on her front porch. She’s cheered at countless football, baseball, and softball games. She’s clapped proudly at numerous award’s ceremonies. She’s been shopping for too many prom dresses to count. She’s put together a wedding that would never have happened without her.

More importantly, Mama’s been there for us in all the hard times too. During those years of high school when I made body image my god and developed extremely unhealthy eating patterns, Mama was there. She fervently counseled me in the truth for months, reminding me that, in Christ, I had power over the lies of the enemy. She played a pivotal role in my finding freedom. When my little brother found himself in a hospital bed for weeks on end, wondering if God was about to call him home, Mama was right beside him. She cared for him when he wasn’t getting the best hospital care. She trusted that God was in control even in the face of possibly losing a child. When I struggled with the “baby blues” after L was born, Mama drove 8 hours to stay with me and cook for me and help me adjust to life as a new mom. She didn’t think twice about it.

My Mama understands that being a good mom isn’t always glamorous, and it’s definitely not easy. Being a good mom means being in the trenches with your kids–weeping for them, praying for them, and guiding them in the truth as they come face to face with the troubles of this broken world. Being a good mom means being a nurse, a teacher, and counselor too.

Mama’s still guiding us and fighting for us on her knees, even though we’re all out of the house.

My Mama is the real deal. She knows her Christ, and her life’s work has been to point her children to Him. And, therein, lies great purpose. Changing dirty diapers, cheering at softball games, making math practice tests, and folding clean laundry are all significant  pieces of that great life work. Because pointing children to Jesus doesn’t just happen in formal conversations, with Bibles open, around the kitchen table. It happens in the mundane workings of the day-to-day. And it happens in the trenches.

So, thank you, Mama. Those words fall so short, but I can’t say them enough. Thank you. I understand the depth of your love and sacrifice in a whole new way this year, and I am forever grateful.

Mama and me–circa 1986