For as long as I can remember, Mother’s Day service at the church I grew up in always looked the same. The pastor would ask the moms in the room to stand up. They would, and everyone would clap. Then he would proceed to figure out which mom had the most kids by asking women to sit down if they had less than X number of children. By process of elimination, our congregation would celebrate the mother of the most children and she would be presented with a beautiful floral arrangement. Then the same process would occur to figure out which mom was the oldest AND which mom was the youngest, and both would receive a flower to take home and set as a center piece for Sunday dinner.
We were in the business of celebrating moms.
From an early age I knew that to be celebrated as a woman I needed to have children.
And I don’t say that in a prideful way.
I’m not fishing for applause, nor do I intend to have an “everyone come see how good I look!” attitude.
Simply put, I knew my value in the church and society would increase as soon as I had a kid.
So imagine 17-year-old Kayla mapping her life out.
Married by 22, 23 at the latest.
First child by 25, cause ya know…let’s be married for at least a couple of years before we have kids.
Be done growing my brood by 32.
And here I am.
The dreams I had for myself 12 years ago left unfulfilled.
And I’m not the only one. I know many people who have had to mourn the loss of the dreams they had for themselves. Whether focused on marriage, career, being a parent…whatever it may be. We all have things that we desire that have not come to pass.
And it’s okay to mourn those things.
It’s okay to feel deep sorrow for something you’ve never had.
To feel a sense of loss and sadness over something that was never yours to begin with is okay. In fact, I think it’s natural.
Especially when we’ve believed the lie that the thing we’re mourning is somehow attached to our value.
And yes, it is a lie. Straight from the mouth of the enemy.
It’s a lie for anyone, anywhere, in any context to tell you (or even show you by their reaction, or lack of) that your value is tied to an.y.thing other than Jesus.
If you find yourself with people – or in a community – that try to tell you that you can’t be fully who you are because you don’t have a husband/child/higher paying job/boots with the fur, you lovingly tell them to shut the H up.*
Be with people who, along with the Holy Spirit, help redeem the lies that have been spoken into your life.
A BIG PRAISE & AMEN for the way God has softened the ground of my heart and given me so many people who speak truth over my life. And not only speak it, but by their actions are in the process of redeeming so much of what has been broken over the years.
- 2 weeks after their child is born and we’re in a crowded room say, “Here, take him while I go do something…” And let me snuggle their little one for what feels like an eternity.
- trust me enough to stay overnight with their kids so they can go on a marriage retreat.
- are honest with me when I ask them what it’s like to raise three boys and how they teach their kids to live off their own faith and not mom & dad’s.
- invite me into their lives by sharing the joyous news of a new baby and remind me that they want me to be a part of their kid’s life.
- let me sit on the floor of their nursery while they put their baby to sleep.
- tell me that they feel safe and comfortable when I hold their daughter and, as I walk up, basically throw her at me because their arms need a break.
- affirm the voice that I have with their kids and trust that I love their children and want to point them to Jesus.
- when I ask them about their lives, they don’t just talk about their kids. They talk about themselves. Because that’s what I’ve asked about. And we can share life as people whose identities are rooted in Jesus, not the other labels that we carry.
You see, I’ve mourned “natural” motherhood for myself up to this point in my life. But I don’t really have to mourn all of what motherhood is because I have people in my life that value me. Kayla. They see me and love me and affirm who God has made me to be. They call me to good and ask me to do the same of them, and their kids.
For all the non-mom’s out there today, or any day really, know that it’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to mourn that which you do not have. But also know that it’s okay to fight for community that not only allows, but asks, for you to live out the way God has made you as woman. Whatever that might look like.
And know that if we were to be in a church together and the pastor asked all the mom’s to stand up, I would clap for them, but then I would stand up and shout, “All women, rise!” and I would throw out candy because that’s usually better than flowers anyways 🙂
*but seriously, do it lovingly, not with anger or bitterness or trying to beat them at their own game. and if you need to take a beat, call me, then chat with them about it, feel free!