Mother's Day is bittersweet.
For some women it is filled with flowers, cards, gifts, and breakfast in bed. Their children shower them with hugs and kisses, and their husbands remind them that they are valued and adored.
Other women enjoy a tea, luncheon, or shopping spree with their mothers, making wonderful memories as they talk and laugh together.
This day is wonderful for both ... a day they look forward to with delight and anticipation as they wonder what their husbands and children have in store for them, and find creative ways to honor their own moms.
But for some, Mother's Day is filled with absolute dread.
The woman who buried her beloved mother and no longer has a reason to shop for the perfect gift or write thoughtful sentiments in a lovely card.
The woman who is estranged from her daughter and knows she will not be receiving a phone call, a card, or any acknowledgement at all.
The woman who longs to be pregnant, but her arms remain empty.
The woman who surrendered her baby for adoption and wonders if he will ever know her.
The woman who had a nursery designed, and clothes lovingly folded, but lost her baby through miscarriage.
The woman who buried her living child after an unexpected accident.
While others revel in the attention of their spouses and children on this day, these are the women who are forgotten ... ignored ... overlooked ... and grieving in a way that breaks their hearts into pieces so small that only the Lord can put them back together.
We need to be careful.
We need to pay attention to the women who surround us.
We need to think before we speak.
Seek to understand.
And ask the Lord for wisdom and grace to know how to love one another on this day.
Just because a woman is not holding a baby does not mean she is not a mother.
Just because a woman appears happy doesn't mean she is not trying desperately to hold it together when all she wants to do is run from the room and weep in secret.
Just because a woman is surrounded by her children, it does not mean they have a relationship that is mutually enjoyable and loving.
Just because we have our mothers with us, it does not mean that every woman around us will have the privilege of honoring the mother she loved for decades.
Mother's Day is a good day. A fun, lovely, heart-warming, joyful day.
Mother's Day is an incredibly difficult, lonely, and devastating day.
And the worst part is - the women who feel the latter will usually not tell us. They suffer in silence wishing that someone, anyone, would notice the ache in their eyes and reach out to show affection and grace. To say, "I know your heart is breaking today as you remember your sweet baby and wish you could hold her again, and I want you to know that I remember ... you ARE a mother. And today is your day!"
It is not wrong or sinful to enjoy the attentions of our husbands and children. Children are a gift from the Lord, and we need to give Him glory and praise for allowing us to experience the joy of motherhood.
But in our joy we cannot forget our sisters that wish this day would end before it even starts.
We cannot forget their pain.
The ache that tears at them until they feel like their hearts will burst, and they will never recover.
Pray for her.
Ask about her mother.
Remind her that she is not forgotten.
Her baby is not forgotten.
Her child is still a beautiful memory in your heart and your mind.
Ask her how she is ... what she needs ... how you can be a better friend.
Let her talk about the baby she miscarried or the child she buried.
Let her show you her mother's heart - even though you cannot see her child.
And love her.
Scripture is clear ... "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn."
Even on Mother's Day.