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Mother's Day - Reinvented

Little girl covering her mother's eyes while presenting her with a bouquet of flowers

What are your plans for Mother's Day? This question, usually simple to answer, may evoke feelings of sadness, grief, and loss for some, particularly this year. How are we supposed to make this day special when celebrations everywhere have been put on pause? Although circumstances demand us to reinvent how we spend our time together (or apart) this Mother's day, we can bask in the lavish gifts that God bestows on his children in every circumstance.

There is no time like a global pandemic to test the veracity of Plato’s famous quote, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” 

Given the social distancing restrictions of COVID-19, we’ve been required to reinvent the workplace, the classroom and fitness studios at breakneck speed. While we are scrambling to keep up with the daily changes in CDC recommendations, our calendars keep marching undeterred toward birthdays, weddings, graduations and springtime holidays. Out of necessity, people are inventing creative ways to mark these special occasions. Drive-by birthday parties are happening daily around the country, and entertainers are hosting online graduations and proms – all in hopes of honoring the special people in their lives and creating a sense of normalcy in troubled times.

Since our children are independently living young adults, no one in my family is missing out on the precious last concerts, dances or graduations. But we are missing out on seeing them – AT ALL. They live 2,000 miles away. I figure that’s going to make it pretty hard for them to throw me a drive-by Mother’s Day celebration. Ironically, we live only five minutes away from my own mother, but I can’t see her either because my parents’ senior living facility has, understandably, restricted all visitors. 

So here I sit, anticipating a Mother’s Day with no physical access to the children who made me a mother OR the mom who raised me as a child. Sigh. (Maybe I should throw myself my own drive-by pity party.) I fully realize this disappointment is miniscule compared to the monumental struggles so many are facing right now like unemployment, dashed wedding dreams, or loss of a loved one. But, honestly, I’m still sad about it.

I’ve found myself asking the Lord to carry this small grief for me every time I notice I’m bracing for the onslaught of social media pictures of sweet children bringing their moms breakfast in bed or of creative, 6-feet-apart generational family gatherings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m genuinely thrilled for all moms, young and old, who will be personally celebrated by their loved ones this weekend. We most certainly need all the good and decent news we can get right now! But I have newfound compassion for those who approach Mother’s Day with a little bit of dread that is all their own. 

Many women desperately long to be mothers but painfully aren’t. Some moms ache for a child now in heaven. Lots of people grow up never knowing a mother’s tender love. Others have already attended their mother’s funeral. For these reasons and more, Mother’s Day can be really hard.

Realizing it would be necessary for me to reinvent my approach to Mother’s Day this year (thanks, Plato), I asked God what to do with my sadness over yet another quarantine loss. He gently assured me that, even though I am physically separated from both my children and my mom right now, I have his loving parental presence with me each day. 

Matthew 28:20 “… surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

It reminded me of times long ago when one of our children would be distressed about something that went wrong at school or a rift with a friend, and I would sit at their bedside listening to them share their pain. I’m not sure I ever had the perfect words to soothe them, but they seemed to calm down just knowing I was right there next to them. Some chaplains call this expression of care, Ministry of Presence, where physical proximity can weigh more than words as we share in each other’s sufferings (2 Cor. 1:7). 

My Perfect Parent, the God of all comfort, has been sitting with me in this newfound pain. Over the course of the last week, He has been gently reminding me of all his tender gifts that await me not just on Mother’s Day, but every day.

  • He is close to me when I’m heartbroken (Ps. 34:18)

  • He comforts me in all my troubles (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

  • He hides me under his wings until disaster passes (Ps. 57:1)

  • He knows what I need before I even ask (Matt. 6:8)

  • He supplies me with all that I need (Phil. 4:19)

  • He gives me good and perfect gifts (James 1:17)

  • He encourages me (2Thes. 2:16-17)

  • He rejoices over me with singing (Zeph. 3:17)

  • He lavishes me with love (1 Jn. 3:1)

  • He loves me forever (Ps. 106:1)

  • Nothing separates me from his love (Rom. 8:39)

Not only does this list summarize the essence of our loving God, but it’s just what this tender heart needs to hear from her heavenly parent. Does it speak to you too? Whether male or female, young or old, happy or sad, alone or surrounded by kids - we are ALL recipients of these good gifts from God. As Kari Jobe reminds us in her song, "The Blessing," he goes before us, beside us, behind us, and all around us in every circumstance. He has an all-access pass to us under quarantine, no restrictions. We are fully His, and He is fully ours. 

So, yes, circumstances demand that I reinvent how I spend my time on Mother’s Day 2020. I will have a Zoom call with my children and an old-fashioned phone call with my mom. Who knows? My husband may even bring the mother of his children breakfast in bed. But I will also make it my new tradition to spend some time alone with God, basking in the lavish gifts that are mine as His child. I invite you to do the same. In honor of my precious mother, I leave you with the same blessing she used to speak over me each night before bed found in Numbers 6:24-26. May you rest well in it. 

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”