What I Would Preach on Mother’s Day

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”

Isaiah 40:1-2 NIV (1984)

Chuck showed me this verse right before I spoke one day. He knew my heart was breaking and full of shame. The speaker right before me had just spent the last ten minutes condemning women for having abortions. She did this broad sweeping character assassination of “those kinds of women.”  I had not planned to share my testimony that day, but you can bet that I did. This verse washed off my shame. Again. As I read it out loud the Lord surged in my spirit and whispered that He had given me beauty for ashes, and a double portion instead of shame. (Is. 61)  I needed the reminder that when God looked at me, He no longer saw a murderer but a Jesus-washed daughter.

The Lord brought this verse back up again this morning. Why? It speaks to a woman’s heart. I don’t know about you, but I think Mother’s Day is hard on women. For lots of reasons.

What women need on Mother’s Day is real comfort. We don’t need more mother-martyr sap and Hallmark pats on the backs about “where would the world be without a Mother’s Love.” If that were true, the world should be in a better state. It’s not our love the world needs. It’s God’s love we need and rely on.

I mean, thank you for the attempted affirmation. But what mothers need is comfort, from God and from others. We need to know that someone sees us and understands there are many different kinds of mothers in many different emotional places, rejoicing and mourning.


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When Life and Death Collide

Within a week there have been two infant deaths in my world. One unsaved woman delivered a still born at eight months. Another woman, a strong believer, was carrying triplets, and one baby died. In the process, all three babies were delivered by C-section. The two surviving babies are in critical condition.

And often the first question is, “How could something like this happen?”  More piercing questions sound like, “How could GOD let something like this happen?”

Really gut-wrenching, honest questions sound like, “How can this be good in any way?”

If we are not careful, these are the horrible moments when we throw around spiritual band-aids because we don’t know what to say:

“At least you have another child.”
“At least you didn’t have to fill-in-the-blank…”
“God must be teaching you something…”
“God works all things together…”

If we are not careful, because we are so uncomfortable with pain, agony, and despair, we will make all manner of attempts to fix, tidy, gloss over, and cover the gaping hole in those broken hearts.

And if we are not careful, we will miss the aroma of Christ. I told my friend who is truly broken-hearted over our friend’s loss, “God is good, and He is here.” He is right here. In the middle of this mystery. And misery. He knows exactly how it feels to lose a child.

The Bible says to mourn with those who mourn. And to trust that God is doing the same.  I remember delivering Judah when we found out he had died at 16 weeks. He was so small, he fit in our hand. To some it seemed odd because he was so little. But he was our son, is our son.

Sure we got a gamut of responses — the gossip, the “glad it didn’t happen to me”, the “you can always have another baby”, even the God comments that cut like knives rather than soothe like a balm. But the sweetest gifts I received during that time were friends and family who would simply weep with us. That’s all. It hurt and that was okay.

The help and healing came from those who had nothing to offer but their tears. These precious few didn’t come to my bedside needing me to make them feel better, needing me to explain anything or defend God. They just came to journey with me and pray for me, when I was too weak to pray myself.  My friend Nan says, “When you grieve together the love goes deeper still.”

Oddly enough, yesterday, the same day we heard about the death of the triplet, my sweet friend Amanda gave birth to her baby boy. And so we live. Life and death side by side. And somehow we are comforted because we stake our whole existence on one belief: God is good and He is here.