“Happy Mother’s Day, dear sister.”
Does it seem cruel to say such a thing?
Does it sound as though I am insensitive to your loss?
I will be the first to admit that the words don’t come out very comfortably. But I pray that you will trust that I have no desire to belittle your pain or to to make light of your current grief. I don’t wish to add to the painful reminders of your loss that so easily characterize this holiday.
But I want to say it to you, sweet sister.
I want you to know that you are worth celebrating this Mother’s Day—That your desire for motherhood, that your willingness to open your womb to new life, and that your current mourning is worth recognizing.
You are worth recognizing because you are a mother.
What is a mother anyway? Why do we, as a society, set aside a special day to lift up the women in our lives who have children? Is it the mere ability to reproduce that is worth celebrating? If we are focusing on the ability to reproduce, it is God whom we should be celebrating, not mothers, for only he can give life where there was once nothing.
No, it is not the ability to produce offspring that we celebrate on Mother’s Day, but rather it is the daily sacrifice that mothers surrender themselves to as they endeavor to love their children well. This is the trait which characterizes a good mother and this is what we celebrate.
Sacrifice. Could a word mean more to you, dear sister, in your current grief?
You have been asked to sacrifice your body, your desires, and your precious child all within the small timeframe of days, weeks, or a few months.
Yes, you have tasted of the sacrifice that is motherhood.
Like other mothers, you felt the powerful and overwhelming joy of motherhood as you took in that glorious pregnancy test that indicated the developing life within your womb; or you saw your baby’s tiny, miraculous form on a grainy black and white computer monitor; or perhaps you were even blessed to feel his or her tiny kicks!
And then, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, you were forced to experience the powerful and overwhelming grief that flows from your child being torn from your womb all-too soon. The fear that every mother faces-each and every day of their children’s lives-came true for you. You have been separated from your child and motherhood has forever been altered in your eyes.
Yes, you know sacrifice.
And so, I would like to recognize your sacrifice today. I want you to know that there is a sisterhood of mothers all over the world who have felt the pain that comes when your opportunity to mother a child is confined to weeks.
I have felt your pain.
I know what it is like to look longingly at the mothers around you who hold their children close, who have the privilege of wiping runny noses, of changing poopy diapers, of dealing with temper tantrums in Target, or of putting their children back in their beds for the gazillionth time each night.
I know what it is like to long for your child.
To want to gain back what you once had.
To envy those who have it.
It is crushing.
But I wonder, dear sister, in your darkness, would you allow me to direct your gaze toward the light? Would you allow me to pull your broken and battered heart to the cross of the Healer? He too has been crushed by the grief of this world; he too is acquainted with the pain of sacrifice.
He is the Lord, and he is your only hope.
He is the one who can turn your sorrow into rejoicing this Mother’s Day. Because he turned all your sorrows into rejoicing when he died a bloody death for you on a cross.
You see dear sister, ever since Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the garden of Eden, humanity has had a problem—the problem of sin. It was Eve’s problem, it was your grandmother’s problem, your mother’s problem, and it is your problem too. Every single human to walk this earth (except One) has been plagued by the problem of sin.
The Bible tells us that this sin nature that we’ve inherited from Adam and Eve carries spiritual as well as physical consequences. Spiritually, it separates us from God and makes us worthy of eternal condemnation, and physically, it bring’s death and decay—sometimes, as it has for you and me, it brings tragedies like miscarriage.
This horrid disease that each of us carries within us as members of the human race affects every part of our lives now, and destines us to damnation in the next. It has lead to your sorrow now, dear sister, and would have lead to even greater sorrow in the future.
No sweeter words have ever been uttered, dear sister. We were lost in our sins, but God sent his Son, in the form of a baby, to rescue us.
One of my favorite passages from the Bible is found in the first chapter of Matthew—the first chapter of the New Testament. It is an angel, speaking to Joseph in a dream, assuring him of Jesus’ miraculous, virgin conception within Mary's womb. In this dream the angel tells him, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 ESV). And that is just what he did, dear sister, through the greatest sacrifice that has ever been made.
Jesus—the eternal Son of God—came into this broken and sorrowful world, took on the weak and vulnerable flesh of humanity, faithfully obeyed his heavenly Father in everything so that he was without sin, and then was put to death on a disgusting cross between two criminals. On that cross, he received the full wrath of God for sin. He received the punishment we deserve, so that we would never have to.
He received your punishment, so that you would never have to.
But that's not all. Jesus didn't stay dead. Three days later, he rose from the grave, proving that he had conquered sin and death, and giving us a glorious hope for our eternal future with him in Heaven.
He rose, so that you too would rise.
And now we eagerly await the glorious day when the Bible says, “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” for in that day, Jesus himself will “wipe away every tear from our eyes” (Revelation 21:4).
The One who sacrificed it all for you will personally comfort you and welcome you into the eternal home he has prepared for you—the home he has already welcomed your dear child into. In this profound truth their is joy and in this future hope their is peace for the soul of every woman who has miscarried.
Do you see, dear sister? Mother's Day is for you too because you've experienced the sacrifice that characterizes motherhood, but it is only in experiencing the sacrifice of Jesus on your behalf, that you can truly have a happy Mother's Day. And that is what I pray for you. For it is only through setting your gaze upon the Savior and the glorious future he has secured for you, that you can endure the profound sorrows that plague this world.
I pray that this Mother’s Day would be a happy one for you, not because you have "risen above the pain" or have "gotten over it" or have somehow forgotten the loss of your child, but because Jesus has truly become your joy for today and your hope for tomorrow.
If you have experienced miscarriage and would like to learn more about how the gospel of Jesus can help you to heal, I'd love to have the opportunity to continue ministering to your broken heart through my book, Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb.