Yesterday our pastor worked through the first chapter of 1 Samuel, and looked at the life of Hanna. I have loved this passage for years, drawing a sense of comfort and insight into living without children in a culture that is fertile and blessed with children. In my child bearing years i often agonized that bearing a child was not happening. As i grew older and was no longer capable of bearing children there was a deep sense of loss, a grieving process put into motion that was hanging thick on my soul for the better part of my 40s. So mothers day always approaches with a deep sigh, and a prayer that the lord keep me from retracing those well worn paths of thought about not having children. I thought i was so over the idea, and had accepted that aspect of the life the Lord planned for me. But it hit, like stepping into the street oblivious to the bus that was driving 35 miles per hour right at me. Wham…. today is the day to honor mothers, and their invaluable place in family, their role of nurturers, keepers of the home fires, educators of children, molders of the precious little lives they have given birth to. And there i was again…. omg. where did that piece of my thoughts come from? I thought I had packed away those ideas of infertility, of childlessness, and of the fact that mom would not be one of my names. I thought i packed them deep into a crevice of my brain, and held a funeral for the grieving over childlessness. But there it was… face to face, looming at me from seeminly nowhere.
It was the hanna story… i identified with her so often, but her story ended with giving birth to samuel, of dedicating him to the lord, of surrendering him to the care of Eli in the temple. She had her child, she exhibited strong spiritual courage, she prayed and recklessly abandoned any selfishness in her request for a child. she would never have samuel near as she grew older… his work was in the temple, becoming a man of god.
She had a son, and thus joined the exclusive club of women who have given birth. Mothers day was her day… she could celebrate, receive flowers, have someone cook her breakfast in bed…. and perhaps as she got old she had a son that would check in on her, love her unconditionally, take care of her.
So i would lie to you if i told you that i sluffed this off, and moved on. Truth was i was in a tailspin yesterday. I dont have a mom to love on this earth… she has been in heaven for 19 years now. And it felt empty. No big mothers day celebration. No special meal, no special hand made card, no…. just another day in our household.
Though we have never heard the pitter patter of little feet, or experienced crayon drawings on the drywall, or attended parent teacher conferences, or cheered for a sports team my kid played on, we have accepted our place. And i am thankful that we have gotten old enough that people no longer ask if we have kids.
Mothers, bless you for being role models, nurses, cooks, housekeepers, laundry experts, sports experts, cheerleaders, counselors, and for all the many things you are that is unspoken, selfless, and nurturing. Blessings to you and may you know your role is a privelege as well as a blessing.
So mothers day came again, and here we are working through one of my favorite characters of the old testament… a woman who loves God more than anything else, accepts that she can bring her pains, her struggles, her deepest needs to him and he will resolve all. And