When Mother's Day is Hard

by Vickey Banks

Mother’s Day is an emotional minefield.

No other holiday evokes such polarizing emotions. From the soaring elation of first time moms to the sinking heartbreak of women who have had to bury their child or been unable to birth one. Exhausted Moms are sarcastically grateful that someone has finally seemed to notice their endless efforts (even if for just one day), while other women fully embrace the joy of celebrating the Mom who raised them well.

Does this day find you enjoying a sense of purpose and overwhelming gratitude for the blessings of being loved and loving? Or are you plagued with regret, grief, hurts and fear? Maybe you’re like me and intensely experience several of these conflicting feelings at the same time. Like I said, minefield.

Here’s the thing about Mother’s Day...if you are a woman, it’s an in-your-face holiday. Unavoidable. Signs, sales, ads, sermons, articles and celebrations advertising the holiday are everywhere, and not just for the day, but for weeks leading up to it. This holiday not only challenges how we feel about our circumstances, but even how we feel about ourselves as a woman.

Years ago, I took a counseling class at Scope Ministries where they talked about the 3 Ms of Emotions (also found in their Be Transformed training material). Here’s what I found helpful:

  • Emotions are Messengers: The product of our thoughts and beliefs, emotions powerfully influence how we respond. Like the oil light on the dashboard of the car, they warn us when we need to address something. If Mother’s Day finds you overwhelmingly sad, hurt, jealous, angry...these are warning lights to address through Scripture and possibly the aid of counseling, or they will cause real damage.

  • Emotions can be messy (no surprise there):  It’s when we allow them to control our lives that emotions become dangerous. For example, turning to the wrong people and behaviors to numb our pain, making it impossible to positively work through our feelings.

  • Emotions are Manageable:  When we faithfully take our messy emotions to God, looking at the messages behind them and the behaviors they influence, this is where our thoughts and beliefs can be renewed and then to positively impact our emotions. Perfect examples are Mary and Martha when their brother died after Jesus chose not to intervene. Separately, they both ran to Him and expressed their honest emotions. Martha’s next response was to verbally express that although she was brutally disappointed in what Jesus allowed, she still believed in the truth of who He was. And Mary, well she just fell at His feet and cried. The secret I learned from them was to run to vs from God with all my messy feelings, remind myself of who He is and what He says, and stay at His feet when life is just too much.

    However this holiday finds you feeling, please let the truth of who God says you are seep deep into your soul. Here are some linked verses to meditate on:

So yes, let’s thank God for all the mothers and others in our lives—the women who birthed, chose and who listen, encourage, nurture, correct, challenge, befriend, cheer, enjoy and positively influence us. Let’s hang on to every good memory we have of them and allow Him to bring true healing to those who hurt.

This is one minefield we can manage.

Did you know more phone calls are made on Mother's Day than any other day of the year. What woman in your life would appreciate an encouraging call from you this year?

Vickey Banks