This is Mother's Day week, and as I am preparing to speak Sunday morning at Talley's Chapel in Sun, LA on this most special day, many thoughts are swarming my head as I try and follow my heart on what to share with these special people. Seems my heart is overflowing with emotion and tears on so many levels that I had to blog tonight so I could focus!
I have random thoughts floating around and I need to corral them together...
This will be my 7th Mother's Day without Matthew... without one of my boys, without my baby.
I am surrounded by women who are literally doing all that they can to bring a baby safely into the world, women who have kissed their babies goodbye, women who are precious mothers yet have no baby feet running around their home, no messes to clean up, just empty arms and broken hearts and dreams.
I am also very aware of the mothers who are spending day after day nursing sick children, praying today will be the day they get a miracle... I am surrounded by photos of little babies and toddlers with IV's and pic lines... and watch as the mothers and families do what they have to do to survive one more moment clinging to hope.
In my eyes and my heart... NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCE, A MOTHER NEVER GIVES UP HOPE for her children. Hope that tomorrow there will be a cure, a donor, a life line... hope that tomorrow will bring a positive test with 2 little pink lines... hope that tomorrow at 32 weeks, the baby she is carrying is healthy and has a strong heartbeat...hope that tomorrow she will be able to bring her baby home... hope that tomorrow she will be able to look back at yesterday and know she is doing all that she can to protect, cherish, and be the mother that she longs to be... in heaven and on earth.
This last week has been hard on my oldest son Nathan, and my heart bleeds for him knowing that he is hurting. What can I do, as his mom, but pray and hope that tomorrow is better?
Well, as I am doing the above, I am also encouraging him along the way... I do believe that every trial, hardship, and adversity that we face makes us stronger... maybe not today, but it will. It will make us better and more compassionate for someone that we will cross paths with down the road. It is a life lesson that we have to just grab on to and be determined to persevere through until we are on the other side. It is kind of like growing pains... growing pains hurt, they cause us stress and pain... but we are GROWING... and we will grow STRONGER as we take these moments of hardship and apply life lessons to them.
We must never give up. As a mother, of course I want to fix everything, I want to make him okay, make it all better... but I also want him to become a young man that faces adversity with an attitude of gratitude and a heart filled with hope.
And as I am reflecting upon all of these challenging times for Nathan, I am reminded of all of my sweet friends above that I mentioned... the ones clinging to hope for a cure, a heartbeat, two little feet running down the hall... and I am completely grounded and I recognize and acknowledge the hardships and the growing pains they are enduring. And with all of my heart, I hope their prayers are answered right now.
I know there is great pain in our big world, babies are suffering, mama's and daddies hearts are broken, and my heart is so affected by this.
How can one not be?
As a mother, the feeling like I couldn't protect Matthew shattered my heart, and as my boys are growing up, it pains me greatly to know that I cannot protect them from everything and that sweet friends, is very hard to grasp... and is so very difficult. When you lose a child, your mama instinct is to protect, protect, protect any other children you have or protect and preserve the memory of the one in heaven... I am not sure really how to put into words, but I know y'all know what I am talking about.
So, as this week is here and Mother's Day is close, I want to express my sincere gratitude to God for giving me 3 blessings, each one making me a mother in the most special way... I get to mother our biological son, our adopted son, and our son in heaven... and my love for each one is the very same! THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE! And that is a GIFT FROM ABOVE!
I also want to express my deep admiration and love for those mamas rocking their babies in the hospital rooms, with metal cribs, and doctors and nurses in the room every 2 hours, fighting for a cure. I am praying for you all... Your babies are so precious and you are never alone in that hospital room! God sees your tears, your fears and your pain...
And to my friends with empty arms, empty wombs and grave sites to tend to... oh sweet friends, beautiful mothers... Never give up... God sees your pain too! He knows the amount of steps it takes as you walk from your car to the monument where the fresh dirt is fading... He knows the hurt and disappointment of another month with no baby news... He knows the anticipation of the "what ifs" and He has the answers. Have hope... and don't let go.
And finally as I wrap my head around all of you precious people I am thinking of, I know what disappointment is, I know how many steps it takes from my car to my baby's monument, I know the sting of death and the emptiness of joy sucked right out of my heart, and I also know that God took all of that and re-purposed my life, trading our sorrows for joy and our ashes for beauty... in extreme adversity, we became stronger, it wasn't easy and it definitely wasn't an overnight process, but that pain challenged us to choose to live again. I will be totally honest and say my heart hurts so bad on some days, just as bad as it did the day I kissed Matthew goodbye... the day the red dirt covered his little white 'bed.' Yes, that bad.
Nate & I were talking yesterday about life always having seasons of growing pains, life lessons to be learned, and I told him every hardship would mold him to be a stronger young man if he accepted these as challenges and chooses to overcome them. He knows this all to well, he was just 5 years old when he lost his baby brother and almost lost me and I know that changed his life and his perspective. He remembers every detail... and he is the first one to remind me to persevere, have faith and never give up. We talked about all of the sick children and how we wish they were not sick and that they could experience life outside of the hospitals. I believe it is very important to bring awareness to our children that they are blessed to be healthy, and to be in school and to be walking and talking. It always puts 'problems' into perspective when you look around long enough to see the needs of those who are hurting beside you. And compassion fills your heart as the other stuff comes out.
So now, we are in a new place as Nate is beginning to mature and puberty is in effect... and he is taking those experiences and connecting them with things he is going through... bottom line is he is growing up and this is a new hardship for his mama... growing up is harder than I thought. (but I am so grateful he is here with me to grow up and that I am here to watch him grow up)
Mamas cannot always protect (big sigh), but mamas, we can always hope!
And I hope that you all know how very special you are, your babies and children are, whether they are in your heart, your living room, the hospital room, your belly or in heaven... they are precious and loved and wanted and remembered! This Mother's Day and EVERY DAY, I hope you remember that!
With much hope to you all...
PS- I still don't know what I will talk about on Sunday, but sharing this with you all just fired me up a bit, so I think I am on to something! ;)