Guess what? I was blessed by Mother's Day this year.
(No, I'm not pregnant.)
I went to church with the usual expectations: All the moms will be asked to stand, everyone will clap a lot, I will sit and feel a knot in my stomach and a desire to sink into the floor.
During the singing time at the beginning of our church meeting, I tried to prepare my heart. We sang songs with a focus on the spread of God’s kingdom and glory, asking him to “use us as You want, whatever the test.” That reminded me that my trials are about something bigger than myself. In ways I can’t always see, he is using the troubles in my life to spread the gospel. As we sang, God brought to my mind these words from 2 Cor. 4:
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
What a precious reminder that while I am afflicted, perplexed and struck down by infertility, I am not crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed. Not even on Mother's Day. I was encouraged to think of that moment of sitting down while mothers were honored as a small way of dying to self and sharing in Christ’s sufferings, and as a way to show the life of Christ in me by sitting in peace rather than in shame or self-pity.
But God still had more encouragement in store for me.
Our church is in the middle of a series on Proverbs, and that morning we skipped ahead to Proverbs 31. Tab (our senior pastor) shared some words of praise for various moms in our church that their husbands had sent in at his request. But then he highlighted three single ladies (one with a teenager, one with grown children, and one who has never married or had kids) and how they have been fruitful women. My heart lifted to know that those of us ladies who are in the demographic minority among the women in church were remembered and honored. Then, at the end of his message, Tab asked ALL the ladies – young, old, single, married, moms or not – to stand and be honored and prayed for. I started crying happy tears. For the first time in five years, rather than battling for faith during the entire Sunday morning of Mother’s Day and feeling isolated by the lack of children that I so desire, I experienced a Mother’s Day at church where I felt uplifted and encouraged and joyful.
I'm so grateful for such a tangible reminder of God's favor for me, secured to me by his Son!
For another, better post on Mother's Day, please read Molly Piper's "Do you want to die this Mother's Day?" If you've lost a child or experienced infertility, you'll identify and be spurred on. If you haven't experienced either of those things, it will help you understand a little bit more of what goes on in the hearts of your friends who have.