Happy Mother's Day to all of you wondering how best to celebrate an annual hurricane. I didn't think I'd write about it again this year, but here I am. My question for you is: Does this day of pink roses and hugs feel more like this to you?
Are you strapping yourself to a tree, praying for the flood of disappointment over your infertility to subside?
Do you fear your happiness for the moms who were celebrated at church this morning looked fake to those who know about your three miscarriages?
Does it batter you to watch those women receive a flower, while you sit, terrified you'll never join them? It's holy and right to celebrate motherhood, but do you grit your teeth and shiver as it hits you like a cold north wind?
Do you believe your clock is your enemy?
My loves. I promise you, it will be ok and here's how I know.
I'm 44 years old and I will not have children of my own. It is the single greatest disappointment of my life and it may also be the biggest gift. Here's how I live in that paradox.
1. I'm learning to trust that people can and want to handle the unvarnished truth about me.
For most of my life the controlling narrative has been Be Awesome. Need Nothing. Even as I dragged myself through a disastrous miscarriage, I didn't ask for help. I also scolded myself for being selfish: "Who are you to be so sad, when other people are suffering so much worse. Think about Syria!"
But both of those are bullshit lies. Glennon Melton Doyle who writes the Momastery Blog wrote about saying that exact thing to her therapist, who wisely responded:
"Glennon, how does the fact that someone else is suffering, diminish your pain?"
"It doesn't," she replied and then gave herself permission to live in a yes, and proposition.
It's ok to feel your own suffering. It's also ok to let people you trust into it, and allow them to love you through it. You are not selfish and you are not too much. People will be honored by the faith you put in them. Life is hard for everybody in one way or another, we make it harder by handling it alone.
2. If I had children of my own, I would not have children all over the world.
The first time I walked up the gangway of the Africa Mercy in Pointe Noire, Congo, there were people lined up waiting to see me, asking to get on my calendar. To this day that still surprises me.
I did not cultivate that, I see it as evidence of God as the great recycler. The One who promises to redeem everything that was lost and stolen - like miscarriages and infertility - was doing it on a ship in Africa. That was unexpected.
He took all that pain over not having my own little kids and gave me a bunch of big ones, many of whom trusted me with unprecedented access into their lives. People still do that, and it's such a privilege, especially when I get to be part of God's recycling process in them. If I'd been home with my own kids, I would have never become a mother duck to people doing really hard and heroic work in Africa.
Now, some of you are still fervently praying for a different outcome than mine - one that includes your own baby - so this post is a mixed bag for you.
I'm with you in prayer for a baseball team of babies, but I ask, can you bring the fear of other outcomes to God? Can you lay it down into the arms of Perfect Love?
You know, darkness cannot suffer the light, that's why darkness whispers to you to keep baby fear on the downlow, you know, so you don't "jinx yourself." As previously mentioned, fear is a bullshit artist and love of Jesus will drive it out if you let it.
I didn't always believe God could be trusted with my hope, but I do now. He loves me and you more than we know.
Happy Mother's Day.