Motherhood is a gift. Motherhood is hard. Motherhood is a slow process of dying.
Loving another this much demands vulnerability, it guarantees pain. We like to talk about how shiny and wonderful motherhood is; everyone loves a beautiful family photo in a field of wildflowers, the whole family wearing coordinated muted tones and lit by a soft sunset - and truly, motherhood is a treasure.
But let's also be honest - it costs us deeply, even as it is rewarding. To offer your body up to nourish and grow another life in pregnancy and infancy is incredibly taxing. To mother children through the long process of preparing them to leave us is gut-wrenching. To allow yourself to deeply attach to a child as a foster parent is terrifying. To fight through challenges and heartache and attachment and identity struggles as an adoptive parent is lonely and searing. Even to invest deeply in another person, whether officially a "mother" or not, is vulnerable and scary - and we often end up feeling burned.
Loving is dying. It's laying down your own self-interest and dreams and ambitions and preferences and comfort for the good of another. Real love costs.
Moms, maybe today is hard for you. Maybe you're feeling unseen and unappreciated. Maybe you feel like you've been dying a slow death for years, and this day is another day that somehow makes your pain and hurt flare up unbidden.
You are not alone.
Our Savior walked before us, loving by dying. Loving by serving. Loving by lowering Himself, by not demanding what He was entitled to, by laying down His very life to save those who didn't even realize their need for Him.
While we were yet sinners.
One of my favorite names for God in the Scripture is El Roi, the God who Sees. Do you know who gave Him this name? Hagar, Sarai's servant. Hagar, who was used for her womb and sent away. Hagar, pregnant with Abram's child, wandering in the wilderness and unsure of where to go next.
God meets her there, provides for her, sees her. Her response touches my heart every time - "'You are a God of seeing... Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me.'" (Genesis 16:13)
You are not unseen, and as you look after those entrusted to your care, He looks after you.
Motherhood can be hard, and lonely, and taxing. It is a long process of loving by dying. It is holy work, ladies - our Savior knows, He sees, and He led the way. He loved you enough to die for you - and it is a sacred work to follow in His steps.
Happy Mother's Day.