Choosing Hope in the Heartache

It happened on a Wednesday night in May. Our women's ministry team was helping out with a dinner for our church's single moms ministry. The May dinner was a special one because it was a chance to celebrate these deserving moms for Mother's Day.

One of the moms (who I hadn't met before) was leaving at the same time I was, so I made sure to tell her I hoped she would have a happy Mother's Day.

Her very kind and cheerful response: "Happy Mother's Day to you too!"

I eeked out a smile as I ran out the door, swallowing the lump in my throat and thinking to myself, "My baby is in Heaven."

And then I cried the entire 25-minute drive home. And then I cried telling my husband the story. And then I kept crying while I prepped my stuff for work for the next day. And then I cried some more while reading a chapter of the book "I'll Hold You in Heaven." And I didn't stop crying until I fell asleep.

I guess Mother's Day is going to be rough.

But this is the part of the story where I have a choice to make. I can choose to wallow in self pity (not the same as grieving, to be sure), or I can choose hope. I can choose gratitude. I can choose to celebrate all of the ways that God has been good and faithful to me through all of the mothers in my life. At present, I have my own amazing momma, my wonderful mother-in-law, two phenomenal grandmothers and an incredible great-grandma. They are more than deserving of celebration.

The same choice is true in any tough season. There are always reasons to give thanks.

My husband spent Friday night in the ER with chest pains.
It was pleurisy and not a heart attack.
Thanks be to God.

Mother's Day is hard for us mommas of babies gone too soon.
As believers, we'll hold them in Heaven.
Thanks be to God.

My arms are empty and my heart grieves.
Friends and family are covering me in grace, love and prayer.
Thanks be to God.

Seasons of waiting are hard.
Friendships bloom through mutual understanding.
Thanks be to God.

And the best of all: 
We were once drowning in sin.
Jesus came and washed us white.

"But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin."
1 John 1:7 (NIV)
Thanks be to God.

It is okay to grieve. It's okay to cry. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to not understand why.

In our seasons of waiting and sadness and unknowns, may we believe that God is good and may we choose to give thanks that we don't mourn without hope. May we praise Him in the storm, even when when our emotions don't feel like it, because even when we don't understand, He is worthy.

"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NIV)

This Mother's Day, may us grieving mommas and mommas in waiting choose thankfulness for the mothers in our lives and hope for our own futures in Christ.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."
Hebrews 6:19a (NIV)

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