Mother’s Day For The Motherless


As Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t help but think of some of my friends that will not be celebrating it the way they might have imagined they would.

For so many, Mother’s Day may feel more like a day full of heartbreak than one worth celebrating.

I remember the feelings of extreme loss that came with this day, and wanting nothing more than for it to be over.

Even now, after crossing Mother’s Day off the calendar 16 different times without my mom here, I still feel the sting of it.

As I walk past the aisle of overly decorated Mother’s Day cards, the pastel assortment of multicolor roses and the boxes of Russell Stover chocolates – the reminder tends to hit each year that I will never again need to surprise my mom with a gift on her day.

I don’t imagine that feeling of loss will ever truly go away, and honestly, I’m ok with that – because while my memories of her may come with some sadness, they also bring great joy.


A friend of mine recently sent me a beautiful post written for Mother’s Day last year.

This post is specifically for motherless daughters like myself.

It’s a reminder that although we may feel the pain of our loss time and time again, God is there to comfort us.

The post is written on Lysa Terkeurst ‘s blog by her friend Lisa-Jo.

I hope you’ll find it as moving as I did.



My mom used to dance in the mornings.

A happy, shameless jig in her PJs right out there in the driveway as my dad drove us off to school. She’d dance and wave and grin and I could feel the love well up from my toes to my nose. It spilled out of me – this being someone’s daughter. Loved. Cherished. Celebrated.

She’s been dead now 21 years to the day since I turned 18.

Time passes and with it go the birthdays, love stories, anniversaries, new babies, first steps, preschool orientations, international moves, new jobs, hair color changes. And each milestone is a mile more in the road that we don’t walk together.

I am the motherless daughter.

And three continents and three kids later I have grown up into the motherless mother.

Of two sons. And a daughter.

Everything I can’t remember about my mother I see reflected in my daughter’s eyes. I am terrified by how much I love her. How does a mother bear it? The good-bye. Twenty years. Twenty years. It hurts to type it.

Twenty years ago I sat in a pew and sang the last words my mother left for us:

“Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
‘It is well, it is well, with my soul.’”

One week after I’d turned eighteen. I’m thirty-nine today. And I’m still singing it, Mom. I’m singing it still, and I still believe every hard, awful word to be true. That we can sing though the heavens crash open and the world comes pouring down around us. We can raise our eyes and our voices to the hills, where our help comes from, and sing. Even when all that comes out is a whisper.

“Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
‘It is well, it is well, with my soul.’”

So many of us make the journey to motherhood without a mom. Whether she’s absent because she chose to leave or because she was emotionally unavailable or because she died like mine did, we all have to make sense of what that means for our own mothering.

I am the motherless mother.

If you are too, can I take your hand?

Can I stroke the hair back from your forehead and just be here with you? Can I whisper, “I know” and let you cry if you need to? Can I just sit a while beside you as you shout the hard questions?

I believe God can take it.

I believe He invites it.

…the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26.

Go ahead and groan child. Let the part of you that never got to grow up with a mom, never got to bear down with her as you bore down in labor, never got to introduce her to your own babies — let that part of you weep if she needs to. You are beautiful and loved and not a single tear falls to the ground uncherished by the Father God who holds us both.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
~Psalm 56:8

You are your mother’s daughter, created in your Father God’s image. And nothing can break that.

We’re in this together. Every step of the way. And you are braver than you know, for all the ways you mother.


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