All I ever wanted in life was to be a mother. I thought it would bring me a life full of sweetness.
When I was told as young woman that I would never bear children, I had no idea that God had a plan to give them to me through marriage, infertility treatment, adoption, and foster care.
Like many women of our time, sitting in church, I heard the call to the orphan. Thousands of women worldwide have answered this call. Some of us traveled to other nations to adopt or accepted foster children from our own communities. Others received stepchildren or children of struggling relatives.
Each of us stepped forward in faith to become the second mother to a needy child. And we embraced the sweetness of these precious blessings.
But I wasn’t prepared for the suffering that would come along with the sweetness. I didn’t know that being a mother involved suffering, especially when raising a family created through brokenness: broken families, broken children, broken hearts.
I struggled to heal my children and absorb their pain and sorrow. But then the suffering swallowed me. And I thought I was alone in it.
I thought this suffering was the result of my failure as a mother. I let shame drive me into isolation. I drowned my sorrows in wine (not the communion kind!) and I stopped seeking God. I sank deep into the pit of despair.
In that deep place of darkness, I forgot the whole reason I chose this life in the first place: the call of God. And I overlooked that the same truth that applies to my children is also true for me: children need to heal in families, and mothers need to heal in community.
Thankfully, Jesus was there with me in the bottom of the pit, and he gave me the courage to climb out. He reminded me that his story was also full of suffering. Jesus whispered that he had not left me, and I just needed to reach for his outstretched hand.
As I slowly climbed to the surface and began reading my Bible again, I discovered that Scripture is full of stories of like mine! These Scriptures reminded me that God can use even me to write a redemption story. My suffering won’t be wasted. I can rest in the sweetness and the suffering together.
And I soon discovered that second mothers everywhere were experiencing the same journey, and I could find strength by walking the road with them.
Out of my deep need for community, a beautiful connection with second mothers worldwide has been born. God didn’t waste our suffering. As he always does, he used it to birth a new thing.
Today, we are launching that new thing, and we are full of joy.
If you are at the bottom of the pit this Mother’s Day, don’t give up! Jesus is right there with you. Reach for his outstretched hand.
Come along and journey with us!