Originally published Tuesday, 10 May 2016.
For two weeks I contemplated a Mother’s Day post. I desperately wanted to write something encouraging mothers to continue seeking Christ for their children. I needed to convey they can climb mountains steeper than the steepest on record. I think I felt stirred to say this because there’s a lot of writers out there trying to pound the following thought in our heads: We can do hard things. Yes, of course we can, but in all honesty, we don’t really have a choice, do we? We are often forced to face challenges we never thought possible. When I was newly married, I remember hearing sad stories about events that rocked the worlds of other people, but I never thought that level of suffering would ever touch my life. Until it did…
Paul and I have been through some tough stuff and we live to tell the story. That’s how I know there’s a God, by the way. There’s no way to endure the kind of grief capable of hollowing out the entire heart without Jesus. No one can change my mind. Jesus saves and He’s skilled at healing the hardest of hurts.
The reason Mother’s Day posts are always difficult for me to write is because when I was practically a baby myself, my husband and I welcomed our first baby, a healthy son. After that, we endured five miscarriages and stillborn baby girl. Obviously, my heart is bent towards women who suffer miscarriage and stillbirth. It’s not only the death of a baby, it’s the death of dreams and hopes for the future. It’s hard. However, Mother’s Day travels a course that covers quite a massive expanse of the heart. I have to be honest and say that even though I know what it is to suffer loss, and years of secondary infertility in between, because of the word secondary, I don’t fit in the traditional category of infertility. There are lots of women out there waiting to become a mother for the first time, and even though I know more than I like about loss, I really don’t understand their pain.
Many of you who read my blog are Jesus loving women who serve tirelessly, love wholly, and give more than you have to help others. Yeah, God sees it. And because I know we’re on the front lines of ministry together, let me pass on something I’ve learned throughout the years… One of the first lessons we all need to comprehend as we begin ministering out of past grief is that it’s okay not to understand someone else’s pain. And, guess what? it’s even more important to admit it. That’s when the real ministry begins. Pretending we can identify won’t get us anywhere. Some of the wisest words to ever leave our lips are, “I don’t know; I don’t understand.”
Some of the wisest words to ever leave our lips are, “I don’t know; I don’t understand.” (Tweet that.)
Here’s the good news: God does know; He does understand.
The Bible tells us God is love. He actually is love. Crazy, right? And because God is love and we love Him, that means our willingness and obedience to minister to hurting hearts is enough for His love to bridge the gap between what we don’t understand and what someone else is living through.
For many, Mother’s Day isn’t all brunch and beautiful sentiments. Instead, it’s sorrow and suffering. Friend, if that’s you, then I’m sorry and if your pain comes from a place I cannot identify with, then I want to tell you this: I don’t know and I don’t understand, but God does and He wants to heal you. And if you’re wondering how and when? Again, I don’t know. But you have to believe. You have to. Really.
I don’t know if sharing this might help or not, but the other day I was talking with my oldest son, who is now twenty-three, and all I could think about during our conversation is that He’s my unsung miracle. We tout the twins as our miracles because of the fifteen years of pain that produced the story of their lives, but my oldest son lived in a womb that ended up to be anything but a safe place. After he was born, the babies conceived there didn’t stand a chance. My body rejected them. My oldest son is a true miracle.
What does this have to do with you? Well, regardless of the specifics of your battle and the emptiness you might be facing, I believe there is a miracle living and breathing around you that you don’t even recognize as such. We are often so focused on what we need that we forget to give thanks for what we have and would never want to live without.
Every care we have is being cared for by our Creator. Let us give thanks.
Yes, we can do hard things; we can climb the steepest mountains, but only because He gives us the strength to do so. There’s no other choice. We cannot give up; we have to fight. And we will. So whether you’re enduing something hard or ministering to someone who is, it’s okay not to have the answers. It’s okay not to understand, because we serve the One who does.
And sometimes, it’s okay for an encourager not to have words for her readers on Mother’s Day. Some of you are hurting, and I didn’t know. I just didn’t know what to say…
I love you,