Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

On Mothers' Day

My secret nemesis was the mother-daughter banquet. For years that was the time I felt most lonely, left out and stripped of identity. It wasn't that I had not acquired the status of "Mother." I had two perfectly healthy, lively boys at home and the pastor-husband to go with. But whenever the women's ministry leader decided to do mother-daughter banquets, I felt like hiding under the nearest pew. Never did I feel my motherless state so acutely. My mother had been killed in a house fire that destroyed our home when I was thirteen. Just the idea of a mother-daughter banquet invited that "I don't belong here" thought that just wouldn't leave and bitter tears wouldn't wash away.

Don't mistake me. I always cheerfully appeared, that smile carefully pasted on my face with no sign of distress. Probably anyone who knows me and reads this will gasp in surprise. As Christian leaders we cover our wounds so well. I never voiced objection to the idea and never proposed alternative plans. I don't think I could have maintained my composure and done so. I arrived with a smile, sometimes delivered the devotion, and left heavy-hearted still smiling, only to cry myself silently to sleep at night. Even my husband was unaware of my pain.

But God never fails us. In the years since, God has blessed me with two daughter-in-laws, both lovely in very different ways. The frosting on the cake was the arrival of my two granddaughters. I seldom feel crushed by the need of a mother these days. God has promoted me to the position of Grandmother, and I'm loving it.

However, I'm much more aware of those hidden burdens women carry, particularly those in ministry. Loneliness is more profound in festive company.


Ballerina Girl said...

It must feel a little better to get those emotions out, right?
I am sorry that you had to go through that in are a brave woman. I am sure you continue to make your Mother proud


PJ said...

It does indeed. And I think there are tons of women running around with equally painful losses who just haven't spoken. I'm not sure about brave. But if it helps someone, I'm out there.

Brenda Leyland said...

Hi, I found your comment over at 2nd Cup Column, and as I could relate to what you said about getting out of your comfort zone and get to writing that book of yours, I thought perhaps I'd find other 'kindred spirit' stuff here.

I notice in your profile you enjoy Paul Billheimer -- me too! I was so blessed when I found his books years ago.

I was intrigued to read your posting about mother-daughter banquets and all that that has meant to you over the years. How many carry such woundedness and we'd never guess it. I am so pleased that you have found that place of healing now. He is faithful!

I too have received lots of inner healing of the heart over the past few years, and like you, it has made me more aware of the many many precious ones who still need to find that place of healing and freedom! Of course we know it's only the Healer, Jesus, who can truly complete the work.

It would seem that you are in a perfect place to be one whom God uses to love into wholeness those who are still wounded and brokenhearted!

Blessings! Brenda

Maggie - Mom of Six said...

I have a love/hate relationship with Mother's Day. My mom and I were best friends. She passed away 15 years ago but on Mother's day, it feels like I just lost her yesterday. But, I am so blessed to have six wonderful children. Like I said "love-hate" that day.

check out my blog and see what I am up to!

ann said...

I'm sorry, PJ. I wish I had better words, my heart goes out to you.

Cora from Hidden Riches said...

It was so good to read your post! I, too, lost my mom early --- I was only 8 years old. And somehow, I always felt out of place at the Mother-Daughter banquets, too. Being in Florida and having so many retirees here, I knew that there were undisclosed feelings out there with the older women who either had no children or were far removed from them. We also had young girls who did not have mothers who would even show up for a thing like this. So. . . . we matched people up. Kinda like mother (or daughter) for a day! It worked wonderfully.

I know about those plastered smiles. And I know how it feels to be handed a rose on Mother's day and wonder what to do with it since I'm NOT a mother and don't have one. But the Lord does give us grace, doesn't He? And we do learn to understand the hearts of others in a new and deeper way!

Thanks for sharing this!


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