The first Mother's Day I celebrated after my husband decided that there was no option for us but divorce was the hardest day of my life. I felt a deep loss because I was separated from my children by hundreds of miles.
I went to fellowship with my church as usual, but did not celebrate, because I was too full of grief. I ended up leaving the service early, going to my tiny duplex and eating my homemade ravioli and marinara sauce to assuage my emotional pain.
Mother's and Father's Day, as we celebrate them every year, leave out those men and women who were not able to have children. They grieve this loss every day of their life, but especially on Mother's and Father's Day.
What about men and women who lost a child during pregnancy or maybe even at birth; or those people who chose abortion or adoption in a moment of crisis and are now full of grief, remorse and guilt?
There are people who came to Christ after a period of suffering through jail time, addiction, mental illness or estrangement from their mate; and now it is too late for them to bear children.
Other individuals lost their beloved mother or father through death, and many lost them way too early in life. Some have a parent drifting away from them through Alzheimer's, dementia, cancer or some other debilitating disease.
They are forced to put on happy faces during the hardest day of the year for them. Their grief is invisible to the rest of us, but it is eating them alive as the rest of us celebrate our children and our role as mother and father.
Then there is that percentage of people who suffered cruel treatment at the hand of a parent who was debilitated by health and psychological issues. Insecurity and the loss of their basic human needs, which were never met, affect every moment of their life.
These beloved persons suffered mental, emotional and physical abuse, deprivation, humiliation, degradation and belittlement as children and are still crippled today with physical, emotional and mental handicaps.
Many of us come to Christ and receive His healing, hiding our self with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-4). Some of us teach our self how to parent our self with nurturing, cherishing and constant care; and to come to God for His nurturing care (1 Peter 5:7).
Some of them suffer alone, because we no longer allow our self to get to know one another in churches. We smile at each other when we enter and leave the one hour service on Sunday morning, but we do not know one another's heartaches and trials.
Father God, help us to get to know one another in the church; so that we can support each other, especially those men and women who suffer silently with deep wounds that may still be raw and infected, or that created a gaping chasm in their life.
Remind us that as a church, we can make holidays less of a challenge and more of a blessing by celebrating all people, not just with those who actually bore children and have healthy and nurturing parents, but also by sharing in the loss and grief of every person in our congregation all through the year.
Thought for the Day:
Our church can have ministries that do more than celebrate or help spouses and parents, but that also minister to all men and women regardless of their marital or parental status. We can learn each other's stories of loss, grief and suffering; and support one another each day of the year.