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"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15
Mother’s Day is a tricky one for me. Years ago my sister gave me some perspective on Romans 12:15. I was struck by how many times I’ve heard that verse, but never really processed it properly. I looked at rejoicing and weeping as two separate things. To be done on separate occasions. Apart from each other.
But after reading her perspective, I was truly conscious about how rejoicing and weeping can happen together. On the same day. In the same moment. You can be so happy for what you have – what and who you’ve been given – but be so sad for others. You can say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU and in the same breath cry WHY, WHY, WHY?
I feel this. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mommy. But the fearful, worrisome girl in me wondered, “Will I be a good at it?” “Will my children be healthy?” “Will I have difficult pregnancies?” “Will I experience loss?”
And God in his faithfulness gave me wonderful pregnancies, amazing labors and perfect, healthy babies. I am grateful. For as long as I dreamed of what my kids would be like, what they’d look like, what their names would be … I could never have imagined the glorious creations that are Caleb and Kenzie. They fill me up and now that I know them, my heart is consumed with an ever present, gracious love that brings "better" to even the worst of days.
Believe me, I am thankful.
But I also ask why? Why did I get this? Why me? Why some people and not others?
There are many people in my life who find Mother’s Day hard and painful. Some find it unbearable. Friends who have lost their mothers. Friends who struggle with painful or broken relationships with their mothers. Friends who long to be moms, but whose dreams are unfulfilled. Friends who have lost their precious babies.
I mean. This isn’t easy stuff.
In the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, we are bombarded with the signs, the announcements the advertisements that IT IS COMING. Flowers on sale and Hallmark cards galore. The sappy commercials and the alerts that pop up on the computer screen, “Find that perfect gift for Mom.” And I love it. I love being able to celebrate the moms in my life and be celebrated myself.
And I also find it so hard. I find it hard to enjoy and be so happy when I know this day must just feel like salt in the wounds of so many. A horribly unfair day that mocks and taunts and gloats and hurts. I wonder if the joy felt by so many on this day is worth the anguish felt by so many others.
Rejoicing and weeping.
I feel both. And I am reassured of the character of God in asking us to rejoice and weep with others. His character exemplifies what LOVE is. When done correctly, it is an action. It is hugging and praising and appreciating someone. It is accepting the goodness given to you with a grateful heart. It giving the brokenhearted grace and compassion and prayers. It is making people feel valued and cherished and not alone. It’s being genuinely happy and genuinely sad for people. It’s sharing our experiences, joys and sorrows. It’s connecting, relating, standing beside one another. It’s doing what we can do for each other to magnify joy and make the pain in this life a little more bearable.