When Mother’s Day Hurts

I kind of dread Mother’s Day. In fact, a few years ago, I was at Cowboy Church for Mother’s Day Sunday feeling pretty normal, until they asked the moms to stand so they could hand them a flower. I started crying so hard I made my own nose bleed and was in the bathroom for an hour.

See, right now Sam and I should have a seven year-old and we don’t.

It’s a long, horrible story that legions of women share, but don’t often talk about. We just cry about it on the way home from church. I’m 41 now, and I decided a while ago to either get ok with not having babies or go insane, so I got ok with it – 364 days a year. On this day though, I kind of have to gut it out.

It helps that I have a wonderful mom of my own to celebrate and two step kids. Even though Tyler, Emily and I converged when they were 17 and 19 and I was 32, Emily sends me a Mother’s Day card every year. She knows the story. She stands in the gap. She’s kind of amazing.


Emily Left. Tyler Right. Best. Wedding. Ever.

So my loves, all you non-moms or trying-to-be-moms, it’s ok to be a little tender on Mother’s Day, but here’s something to remember whether or not your life ever includes the things you think you can’t live without:

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Jeremiah 29:11

That scripture finally dropped from my head to my heart at Mercy Ships last fall. So this morning when the Pastor asked the moms to stand up, I stood, not just because of Emily’s card but because of Africa Mercy crew members KJ and Mary too.

KJ running a tight ship.

KJ running a tight ship.

Mary doing the same.

Mary doing the same.

Last fall, the three of us were sitting on the grass outside our classroom. We’d been asked to pray for each other and wait to hear from the Lord on each others’ behalf. If you have a hard time swallowing that, you’re not alone. Right away, Mary said the idea of expecting God to speak was hard for her, but she opened up her heart anyway and we prayed.

Then KJ, whom I didn’t know very well at the time, said this to me: “I don’t know what this means, but I feel the Lord saying, ‘You are a mother to many.'”

KJ had no idea what a direct hit that was, but guess who did? Mary. She and I had talked about mothers and babies and loss earlier that day.

See how cool God is? On the face of it, he was just speaking to me, when in fact, he was speaking to Mary too about something completely different, but just as important – Faith. It’s startling and delightful when He does it like that, and this is the God we serve.

So this morning I stood in church and counted all the “children” God has put in my life, people who are groping their way toward the light just like I am. Sometimes when I speak at churches or events, people will approach me afterward and tell me their story or just thank me for telling mine. Most often, they are women young enough to be my daughters. So I count them as such and think, my God, who am I that you let me do this?

But I’ve already decided, I want to spend the rest of my life seeing people for who they are becoming, not who they currently are; encouraging them with the truth that they are beloved and precious in the eyes of God.

And that to me feels pretty motherly.


16 thoughts on “When Mother’s Day Hurts

  1. What if the definition of “mother” isn’t etched in stone? What if mothering has less to do with biology and more to do with partnering with God in His plan— Kingdom destiny for those individuals that He purposely brings into our lives? What if it has no age limitations? No ethnic boundaries? No socio-economic restrictions? No religious constrictions? What if it is an eternal process?

    What would happen if all us females would “mother” on a grander scale? Extend love, tenderness and encouragement to those outside our immediate family. Live an authentic and transparent life. Sharing our experiences, disappointments, joys and hopes. Perhaps next year on Mother’s Day we’d all be astounded by how much bigger our family has grown.

    Happy Mother’s Day Erin!

  2. Beautifully written, friend, and I know achingly lived. Isaiah 54:1 comes to mind as I read your words. You have a beautiful mother’s heart, and bless many by being you 🙂

  3. Happy Mother’s Day my friend. . . just because we haven’t become Mothers in the traditional sense, we, you and I, are Mothers to the children of the World.  I wouldn’t get 13 M. D. Cards each year and you wouldn’t get to travel the world ministering and nurturing all those precious babies.  Glad you are standing up and being counted. Love you my friend, Sharon

    Have an Extraordinary Day, Sharon Sutis | Voluntary Benefits Specialist for Aflac Tel: 810.220.2256 | Fax: 810.220.5757 | Cell: 586-212-0287 sharon_sutis@us.aflac.com Aflac was named one of the Most Ethical Companies In The World – 2009 

    >________________________________ > From: Going to the Sea >To: s_sutis@sbcglobal.net >Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2014 6:03 PM >Subject: [New post] When Mother’s Day Hurts > > WordPress.com >Erin Kirk posted: “I kind of dread Mother’s Day. In fact, a few years ago, I was at Cowboy Church for Mother’s Day Sunday feeling pretty normal, until they asked the moms to stand so they could hand them a flower. I started crying so hard I made my own nose bleed and was in” >

  4. Beautiful post! Being a “mother” comes in many ways! And sometimes being a biological mother comes at a great cost! So thankful for God’s grace to accept whatever “hand we’re dealt.”

  5. Happy (belated) Mother’s Day, Erin! I thought of you often yesterday and wanted to send you a Mother’s Day greeting, but wasn’t sure how it would be received. Now your blog confirms to me that you know what so many others know…you have the genuine heart of a mom, and you ARE a mom! I would even suggest you are the best kind of mom…one who chooses to “mother/nurture”, not just one who happens to have given birth to physical children. There are physical moms out there that know less about true mothering than you do. So…Happy Mother’s Day! You are such a blessing to so many – and especially to me!

  6. Pingback: Christmas Crying – A List of Probable Causes. | Going to the Sea

  7. Pingback: A Story on Mother’s Day | Going to the Sea

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