do you remember this picture from Sunday School? I always wanted to be the little blondie in front, or even better, the girl Jesus is holding. she looks so happy. and He is so intent on her alone.
now this precious art brings me comfort. that tenderness in Jesus, that intent concentration, strengthens this mother’s heart.
when we lost our first child, somewhere along the way, a kind person reminded me that Jesus loved children and we could entrust Him with our child, that He would be there when we could not. until we reached heaven ourselves, He could be our babysitter of sorts.
when I miss those we did not know here on earth, this artwork, and others depicting Jesus delighting in children, bring comfort.
Mother’s Day reminds me again of the unspoken pain many bear, of earth’s lost children, now in His care. it reminds me again the variety of unspoken pain, regardless of origin and consequence, we all bear. each of us carries heart-wounds few know about. yet He knows and loves us.
and I am reminded, alongside the vast pain around me, that each person’s journey is their own. mine is not theirs. theirs is not mine. their life lessons are different. where He takes them has its own purpose and growing edge. just as mine has.
we journeyed through childlessness. would I prefer our home have multiple children and the chaos they bring? absolutely! but that is not our path. our lessons are our own. the presence we offers others, the ministry we can extend, is not what we might have chosen. but it has become a gift. when loss is fresh, when the doctors have no answer, when faith is thin, we can sit together. we can pray and cry and encourage. and it is in those moments I am thankful for the path we’ve walked, bumps, bruises, thorns, tears, and all. for here the ashes have turned to beauty.
I was asked once, by a man in that freshly painful place, if, after all the years, we had any children. I knew he wanted me to say “yes” as an encouragement to his situation, that hope-against-hope, if enough prayers are said, if hearts are in the right place, God will wonderously hear and grant the heart’s desire for a child. I remember answering carefully, not to dash the hope he carried, but to remind him that no matter the answer to their prayers, God was still God and He was still worth following and loving and being in relationship with. no matter the answer, it would be worth it all.
we all carry heart-wounds. and Mother’s Day brings many of those to the surface. dashed dreams. broken promises. failed health. so many painful places. we are all the walking wounded. we all need grace. we all need mercy. we all need love. we all need to receive these gifts and to extend them. at the foot of the Cross we were given more than we could ever hope. let us learn to reciprocate and allow Jesus to use our hands and feet as His own, caring for others gently, with a childlike hope and faith.
let Him turn the ashes into a thing of beauty. let Him hold your face in His hands. Let Him send you, when the time is right, to hold another in their painful place, and remind them of His love.