If your son or daughter struggles with addiction, mental illness, self-injury, an eating disorder, suicidal thoughts, is incarcerated or has other issues, then Mother’s Day is going to be difficult. It will hurt. A lot.
If this is your journey, then this is for you.
Moms like you don’t look forward to Mother’s Day. I know. I’ve been in that place. It brings increased sadness. Heavier heartache. You’d rather skip the day. You know you probably won’t hear from them, much less get a card.
You won’t see their smiling face greet you with affection, hand-made cards or thoughtful gifts like when they were young. They’re too self-focused and oblivious for such loving gestures now. They may not even know it’s Mother’s Day. They’re clueless.
Where does that leave you? Set up for a lot of hurt and pain, anger and resentment.
For me, on days like Mother’s Day I longed for the past. I’d linger over the special memories from when my daughter was little and wanted to cuddle in my lap. She adored me back then. Can you remember that time?
But those days are over for you. That’s the past and you can’t go back. You’re in a new place on your parenting journey – a place of grief and loss; of shattered dreams; of letting go. A place of change.
Wounds have been inflicted. Repeatedly. Deep disappointment has become the norm.
How did we get here, to this place of not wanting to face Mother’s Day, a day once full of love and fun and laughter?
Can’t we pray it all away? I tried to, but it didn’t work. The hurt hung on like an old band-aid that refused to come off, stubbornly clinging to my skin. It’s hard to let go.
Is there anyone who can make it better? Lessen our pain or alleviate it altogether? My heart hoped so, but I wasn’t sure.
Today I can say, Yes, there IS Someone . . . but it’s not time yet. And so, you wait – with a big unknown looming before you. What will happen next? When will reconciliation come? I don’t know, but until that day, be comforted by this: Your heavenly Father knows. He sees. He understands. He cares. He feels your pain and He is close.
What about today? What can you do right now?
Here are 6 tips that helped my aching heart when Mother’s Day hurt:
1) Lower expectations – this prepares you for less hurt and disappointment if things don’t turn out as you hoped.
2) Change your traditions. Do things differently. Start something new.
3) Make plans to do what you enjoy even if you have to do it by yourself or with a friend.
4) Give yourself permission to feel your feelings. If you need to express sadness, create the space to shed tears. Let them out. Holding it in only hurts you more in the long run.
5) If you’re angry, write your child a letter expressing everything you want to say. Let it rip, then destroy it. Tear it up in a million little pieces or burn it. This helps release anger and might prevent you from saying something you’d regret. Repressing anger can cause depression.
6) Shift your focus. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, focus on what you can be thankful for. And maybe you could you do something for someone else? It’s a natural mood-lifter.
Above all, remember how special and loved you are by God, your heavenly Father. He thinks you’re absolutely amazing. So amazing that He died for you.
If He had a refrigerator your picture would be on it, wrinkles, crooked teeth, gray hair and all! In His eyes you’re perfect in every way. One of a kind. His unique creation. You are the beloved of Christ. How beautiful and precious in His eyes.
This Scripture always comforts me:
“Praise the Lord. . . for great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever” (Psalm 117:2 NIV).
An uplifting book you might like is: My Cup Overflows…with the Comfort of God’s Love by Emilie Barnes.
Dear brokenhearted mom, I want to encourage you by letting you know God has fully restored the relationship with my daughter, Renee. There’s hope for you, too. Hold on. Never give up. You don’t know what tomorrow may bring.
*This photo is from the To Write Love on Her Arms movie premiere in March 2015. The movie is about part of our journey and how God used it in a remarkable way to touch the lives of thousands. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it through Amazon and many other digital movie sources.
Happy Mother’s Day and I pray God blesses you with His peace and comfort.