Do you have the answer of where I should stand?
I stand in a gorgeous yet treacherous land
A ground full of roses but also quick sand
Split between, “I’m ok”, but also not
In a place where lessons are still taught
I’ve dreamt an infant suckling at my breast
But I’ve also seen a hurt child’s unrest
Will you permit me to shed a tear or two
will you understand I’m both yellow and blue
I sit on the outside but I stand here too
Your box is to constrictive, through and through
Will the child I love
Be as a plant or seed?
Either way, it’s sure I’ll bleed
But I rest in the Lord, let Him lead
He has answered even if I have not seen
That today I can shine, with His light gleam
It’s been 4 years now that Mother’s Day has begun to change rather drastically for me. On one side I long for it to go back to being, plainly and simply, a day to celebrate my mom but on the other hand I wouldn’t trade the complexity it’s gained over the years. The meaning of Mother’s Day now has been enriched and deepened and as hard as it may be, I am grateful for it. I had heard so often how Mother’s Day is a difficult time for many. I had heard, but now I understand. There are so many complexities to consider…
In 2017 my maternal grandma was in the hospital on Mother’s Day. I remember being heartbroken seeing her not as herself, seeing her tired and without energy or enthusiasm for the gift I had brought her, she passed a few weeks later. The following year, 2018 I couldn’t help but wonder how much my mom must be missing her mom to celebrate with. In 2019 Melody, our foster daughter, was in our care and for the first time I wrestled with the question if I should expect to be celebrated this day. Finally this year, we have no child in our care and have not been successful in conceiving, so I find myself flooded with feelings and questions of where I fit on this day.
What is the requirement to be bestowed with the title— Mom? Most people will acknowledge that it is not just about conception and birth, but what about the permanency of a child in one’s home? It is surely not it either as babies become toddlers who then become kids, then teens and finally adults who leave home. It is not affected by death either, as most would be quick to still acknowledge women who have lost children, through death, as mothers. A miscarriage may be debated amongst some, depending on the individual’s view of when life begins. Some may say she never got a chance to be a mother, others may say she was indeed a mother solely because she loved that life within her, no matter how small it was. It also cannot be the dependency of a human to another human, again given that kids grow up and become independent adults.
Is it then the love, care, and investment in a human’s soul? Is it possible that someone like a teacher or a neighbor could actually be mom to a child whose parent is not investing anything in their life? Is it possible that even I can still be celebrated as a mother even though I have loved (and still love!) a child I didn’t bare? Even if that child is no longer in my home? Can I still be called mother even though this child I have loved is in the loving arms of her mother?
Mother, a word densely packed with thousands of connotations. It is a dividing road that will dramatically determine what life looks like depending on which path you find yourself on. It is a key factor in which women look at themselves and others look at them.
Mother is something that cannot be undone, it is an experience that once it happens it is forever a part of you. The event of conception cannot be erased, the event of birth cannot be erased, the event of adoption cannot be erased, the event of loving a child cannot be erased.
Mother is soul imprinting.
Something that connects Melody’s mom and I is that we have both had to let go of the same child, and neither of us by choice. However this letting go enabled God to work in our lives: first, by teaching us how to give up ourselves, and second, by teaching us that our children really are HIS children. She had to lose herself by giving up her time and resources in order to regain her child. By accepting this same child in my home I also had to lose myself, sacrificing time and resources in order to care for her… in order that I may let her go again.
Through the whirlwind of emotions that have continually flogged me this week, I hear God’s voice that comforts me and tells me that He understands what letting go feels like. He understands perfectly as a Father. He experienced the ultimate “letting go”, the ultimate sacrifice that no human could ever make. He had to let go of His child so that the purpose of His child’s life could be fulfilled. He knew Jesus had to die on the cross in order to have victory over death and to enable all who believe in Him to receive His very life. If God did not, in a sense, “let go” of Jesus, Jesus’ purpose would not have been fulfilled and there would be no hope for humanity. The crazy thing is though, that when God let go of Jesus He also supernaturally and simultaneously sacrificed Himself. He has shown me a glimpse of His sacrifice as a parent. I loved Melody, I still do, and something tells me that I always will. But He asked me to let her go, to allow her to be where she was meant to be, to allow Him to fulfill the purpose for her life. Her purpose, which is not forever next to me.
Although Christ’s sacrifice was perfect, incomparable with anything we could ever do, all parents continually experience a form of this self sacrifice for their child. While some may literally give up their life to save their child from a tragedy, most parents will have to make other kinds of sacrifices like careers, dreams, hobbies, time, privacy, or certain goals. All parents will also eventually reach a place where they will need to learn to let go of their child. They will reach a place where they will realize that their child really isn’t their child but God’s child. While you may not literally have your child removed from your care, you may have to learn to let them go through marriage, college, careers, death, miscarriage, or by allowing them to experience the consequences of their own choices. I had to let go through reunification. Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, it doesn’t mean the cessation of love, it doesn’t mean pushing them away. It means acknowledging that the life of your child is not in your hands and the purpose of their life is not to be with you forever, it’s to be with God forever. God gave up His son so that in the end His son could sit at His right side forever- we must give up our children so that they may also be there with Him… and along this journey we will find that we too are meant to be forever by the side of our Father as we ourselves are children that had to be let go unto Him. This ultimate purpose of humanity, to forever be by the side of our Creator is in a way also a guarantee that we will forever be with our children.
A mother is one who continually practices sacrifice, both of herself and of her child by acknowledging that ultimately God is in control.
A mother loves enough to let go.