Come Monday morning, restaurants will recoup from their most lucrative day of the year. Florists will sweep away the wilted and bruised blooms that weren’t pretty enough to get picked. Drugstores will clear away the pastel riot of picked-over Mother’s Day cards.
For some women, this Mother’s Day post-mortem can’t come quickly enough. As the parent of a child with autism, I may never hear a spontaneous “I love you, Mom!” because disability has hampered communication. For other mothers, their arms ache from the void left by a child no longer alive to embrace or a child who’s emotionally impaired or simply estranged from them.
Still others pull double duty as both mother and father because of deployment, divorce, or death. There’s no supportive spouse around to prompt the children into charming displays of appreciation, no one to fête and pamper mom as “queen of the day.” Even “normal mothers” struggle with feeling inadequate. (Deep down, we suspect we’re not good enough to warrant special treatment anyway.)
As residents of a broken planet, these women represent a diverse yet silent majority. We occupy a conflicted space, a shared identity in the sisterhood of otherness. However, for those of us who feel undone by the various losses of motherhood, we take comfort in a God who grieves with us and for us. Scripture gives us vivid pictures of how God understands the brokenhearted parent:
In Genesis 1, the Father of the universe prepared paradise for his children. His return on investment? A mere three chapters in, those children betrayed him. By Noah’s account, God’s heart was filled with pain, and he regretted having them at all (Gen. ...1
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