When Mother's Day is Painful

For the last month, we’ve been commercially bombarded with endless reminders that Mother’s Day is fast approaching.
Yes, the holiday is a wonderful celebration of motherhood. Moms who endlessly give and serve their families throughout the year do deserve to be honored and affirmed.
Yet for many, Mother’s Day elicits more pain than joy. But why?
For some, the pain comes because their own mother has died.  Perhaps a person is missing their best friend, chief encourager and prayer warrior. Mother’s Day might also stir up feelings of guilt about words left unsaid or deeds left undone. And now it’s too late for a “do-over.”
For others, the searing pain is caused by the reality that “Mother” is a name they will never be called due to infertility, singleness or the ticking time clock.
And some are hurting because of broken relationships with their own mother or daughter, regrets due to personal failures, or loneliness because children are geographically or emotionally distant.
Lots of very justifiable reasons for pain.
But what does a person do with the pain? How do they get through this holiday? Pull the covers over the head? Numb the pain with alcohol, food or shopping? Cry buckets of tears? Be consumed with bitterness or depression?
Yes, those are all solutions. But none are particularly healthy or helpful.
How, then, do you get through the pain on Mother’s Day?

  1. Acknowledge that you are hurting. Cry out to God and express your pain, disappointment, or regrets. Be honest about your feelings. He can take it.
  2. Don’t wallow. Remember that with God, nothing is wasted. Nothing. Ask God to create something beautiful from your pain. When you’re suffering, it’s hard to believe that. But it’s true. God is the Great Recycler, and He can bring something incredible from anyone’s “trash.”
  3. Find ways to give. “Adopt” an elderly woman who doesn’t have family and visit her regularly. Mentor a teenager or a young mom about life, motherhood or marriage. Volunteer at a Boys and Girls Club, read at a local elementary school, or teach a Sunday School class. There are countless ways to satisfy the maternal needs and desires inherent in every woman. And there are many older women who would love to pour into younger men and women who are missing their mothers.
  4. Be grateful. Take some time to think about the women who have poured into your life. Maybe it’s a mom, grandmother, or aunt. It could be a teacher or a coach.  Maybe your own mother wasn’t the greatest. But, undoubtedly, other women have influenced you. Be thankful. If those women are still alive, please express your gratitude in writing.
  5. Realize that for most women, mixed feelings accompany Mother’s Day. A combination of bitter and sweet. The grief of missing one’s own mother coupled with the joy of having children and grandchildren. Perhaps a wonderful relationship exists with one child, yet there is estrangement from another. No one’s life is perfect or pain free.
  6. Be sensitive to those around you. Realize that others are hurting. Be generous with your kindness and hugs. Be inclusive. Invite a women who is alone to join your family for Mother’s Day. It will mean more than you can imagine.

Motherhood is the most noble of callings. Mothers deserve to be honored and celebrated. And those who have not been blessed to be earthly mothers can provide maternal love and nurture to those desperately in need of that love.

Wherever you are this Mother's Day, may you give and receive love in abundance. And may you realize that your life matters.
With love, gratitude and encouragement this Mother's Day weekend.