To All Who Mother Motherless
There are a hundred ways to lose a mother.
Cancer, car accidents, cocaine habits…
Depression, disability, distance…
My mother died when I was twelve. A man crossed the solid yellow lines and crashed her van onto the side of the road. Her loss is as much a part of me as the double helixes of DNA that make me curly headed and fair skinned.
I’m writing to you because I want you to know that you are welcome in this place and you are far from alone in the journey.
I hear it from so many of you and I can see the tears that have trailed your cheeks stained. You carry a heavy weight because your mama couldn’t bare fully the weight of motherhood.
If I could see your soul it would look hollowed out, malnourished in all the motherless places. Years of living motherless can leave you hungry to know the curve of a mothers love, the way it can wrap itself around the bare places of your heart.
Some of you are like me. You lost your mama to circumstance or illness and you wish with all your heart that she could be here, by your side, a phone call away during those midnight feedings.
Others of you have mothers who made the choice to quit when you needed her most.
She walked out and kept walking despite your cries and desperate need. I believe it all aches the same. No loss is more or less and the hurt, regardless of how it happened, can debilitate us. The ache can whisper into our hearts and minds that we are lacking in every way.
Let me cup your face in my hands and look deep in your eyes for a moment because there is something you deeply need to hear. It is something that I have deeply needed to hear.
Your ability to mother the children God has given you has nothing to do with how you were or were not mothered.
I know it feels differently. I know in those moments when the baby is crying, the toddler is wailing, the teen slammed the door (again) and you disagree with your husband it can seem the world is imploding and you’re the one to blame because you weren’t mothered well.
I know sweet sister.
I know that ache and I know the thousands of tears that you’ve cried because you thought you were getting it ALL wrong.
Let me whisper truth into your soul. That is a lie.
God says He has given us everything we need for life and Godliness and that He will supply all your needs according to His riches. He is rich in grace for the motherless among us. He says once you were without hope but now He has given you a hope and future. He has placed you in a family.
You get to be the mama and you get to be a part of God’s rewriting of the story.
Your past? The generations of women in your family that mothered with a limp? Women who struggled along and gave grief when they should have heaped grace? The cycle ends with you.
There is a fire that burns bright for those of us who have lived motherless.
Motherless women have a passion unparalleled to mother well.
I’ve heard it in your voices and seen it through your tears. You will reverse the curse with your life and God’s grace.
I know you feel it. You can be at a loss most of the time about the “how-to’s” of motherhood but you rarely are at a loss about the gravity of your calling.
We are women who celebrate most bravely the big accomplishments and tiny victories of the everyday. We are mama bears who wrestle cubs into bed and read an extra story because we’re utterly convinced it matters.
In Christ, we mother whole even with a hole in our hearts. That’s the beauty of redemption. Redemption doesn’t erase the scars it simply gives them meaning. It gives their story depth so when we recount the tale to our sons and daughters we can share a different ending.
Motherhood begins long before the labor pains. We learn the lay of the land from the women before us but when we hold those precious ones to our chest our story takes on a life of it’s own. Live that story in confident hope God will meet you in the middle and fill in all the gaps and cracks.
And if you’re ever feeling alone in the midnight of motherhood just wave a hand. I’ll be there and together we’ll remember the truth. We are whole in Christ.
Whole to mother fully though our own mothers failed us and whole to risk failure to change the future.
Are you feeling the ache today? Leave your tears and hurts in the comments and we’ll take it to Jesus together.