When Mother's Day is Hard

Originally published Sunday, 09 May 2021.

Mother’s Day. A beautiful concept. A day of honoring mothers, grandmothers, aunts, mother-figures, mother-in-laws, and mentors who have shaped mothering in your own life. A day to honor those who have gone before you. A day to recognize the gift of motherhood.  I’m so thankful to the the one who started Mother’s Day – whoever you are.  Thank you for recognizing the significance and importance of motherhood. Thank you for recognizing that we, as mothers, should have a day to be honored.

But Mother’s Day is not without its challenges, so today I write to the mother who is hurting.  I write to the mother who finds Mother’s Day to be a pretty hard day, to the mother who has had some good Mother’s Days, but today, for whatever reason, you are finding it hard to trudge through.

Mother’s Day isn’t always boxes of chocolates, balloons, roses, and spa gift certificates.  It isn’t always welcomed with the fanfare that the commercials portray.  There are mothers who grieve the loss of babies and yearn for ones they may never carry.  There are mothers who grieve the complicated relationship they have with a wayward young adult child or teen.  There are mothers who grieve the loss of their own mothers or the mothers they never had.  There are mothers who didn’t wake up to breakfast in bed, because they are parenting alone and there was no one to spearhead such an effort.  There are mothers grieving the loss of a marriage and the husband who once facilitated a special day from the kids.

Today, to the hurting mom, I sit with you in your pain.  Sure, I’ve had many fantastic Mother’s Days, but I’ve also had many that weren’t.  There were Mother’s Days when I was greeted with breakfast in bed and some when I was greeted with two siblings fighting over who’s turn it was to wash dishes.  There were days when I was greeted with handmade cards and sweet hugs and days when Mother’s Day was all but forgotten.  And today mom, I want to acknowledge for you, if you are hurting, that others have gone before you and been there, too. And even in the hard Mother’s Days, when I didn’t feel as joyous or celebrated, as I might have hoped, I learned some things I wanted to share with you today.

  1. God is always working.  He is working in the details of our lives, even when we see no evidence around us. He is working when we are hurting and sad and overwhelmed and bitter. He is working a perfect plan, when difficulties have loomed and the road has been harder than it should have been. He is weaving a story, that only He can.  He is always orchestrating beauty for ashes with seeds planted just beneath the surface of a grieving hurt – that will one day sprout and grow.
  2. There is always purpose in the pain.  The pain of loss of a loved one or hope of what could one day be has purpose. The pain of complicated relationships with children or the loss of a marriage that hurt so deep has purpose.  God is the ultimate restorer. He will restore all the locusts once ate. He will give beauty for ashes. He will use your darkest days as hope for another. He will give the pain of your yesteryear a purpose that will bless you, your children, and theirs.  There will be a time – many times – when you will be able to say to others, “Come and see. The Lord is surely good.”  There will be holidays, maybe even more Mother’s Days when you grieve alone.  But there is one day coming a time when you will laugh and dance on that very holiday….and there will be something far more special about that laughter, because you have experienced the painful days.
  3. There is always joy in the morning.  To everything there is a season… (Ecclesiastes 3:1). There is definitely the mourning season, when tears abound. But there is likewise joy in the morning. There is hope in the morning. There is peace in the morning. There is restoration in the morning. There is renewed perspective in the morning. There is refreshing in the morning.  Hold on, momma, for joy is surely on its way.


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  4. I have a choice in my response.  Sure, there have been Mother’s Days (and Christmases and Thanksgivings and more) that were hard.  There were days, when I was dealt the raw end of the deal. There were days, when it didn’t quite seem fair.  But I, like you, had a choice.  It’s the same choice I have every moment of every day of every season. It’s the choice the stay in the disappointment and pain, or the choice to choose gratitude for what I do have.  Yes, there are many who grieve today and Mom, make no mistake, I hurt with you and for you. Your journey may not have been fair.  You may have gotten the lion’s share of hardships and difficulties.  But our God is good and He does good. Our God is a provider who will see us through. Our God has held our hand, when we couldn’t even see Him there. Our God continues to show up and part Red Seas for us, when we don’t even give Him credit. We can choose to rejoice today, even if our pain.

Today, despite your pain, your loss, your hardship, and your grief, God is working things out on your behalf. He is providing breath and plans for your future. He is restoring good health and financial provision. He is making crooked paths straight and setting feet on solid ground. He is calling back our sons & daughters from the furthest corners of the earth, restoring families, opening wombs, and giving beautiful stories from hard places.


Jennifer Maggio 2020 Headshot

Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker, whose personal journey through homelessness, abuse, and multiple teen pregnancies is leaving audiences around the globe riveted. At 19, Maggio was pregnant for the fourth time, living in government housing on food stamps and welfare. She shares with great openness her pain, mistakes, and journey to find hope in Christ. She ultimately became an 11-time Circle of Excellence winner in Corporate America. While a vocal advocate for abstinence, and sustaining today’s marriages,  Maggio recognizes that single parenthood exists and is passionate about seeing these parents thrive. She left her corporate successes behind to launch a global initiative to see single moms living a life of total freedom from financial failures, parenting woes, and emotional issues.  Her passion is contagious and her story has been used to inspire thousands around the globe. For more info, visit her website at jennifermaggio.com.

Jennifer Maggio is a mom to three, wife to Jeff, and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is author to four books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in America by Dr. John Maxwell in 2017 and 2015 and has appeared in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Family Talk Radio with Dr. James Dobson, Joni and Friends, and many others.