This is my first mother’s day as a mother. Of course it would be a special day for any new mom. But this day is so much more for me than that… It’s a day of reminder.
I will always remember the day I found out my mom was dying. I had just returned home from a mission’s trip in Honduras. My mom had been in the hospital for an extended period of time again… nothing necessarily abnormal, since she had been battling a rare condition for the past five years that caused her to need urgent care every once in a while. But this time was different. My dad had pulled me outside and into our car… I had never, ever seen him this way before. He sat there crying as I listened. Through tears, he let me know that my mom was growing gravely ill… “we don’t know how much longer she’ll make it.”
I felt like my world had just shattered. It was that moment I knew my life would never be the same.
The following six months, I spent almost every single day at the hospital. I took the subway out to San Francisco in the mornings and sat all day in her room. We would talk, laugh, cry and beg God to miraculously heal her. I watched, as her body slowly grew thinner, sicker, weaker… I spent many nights (including thanksgiving) weeping over her while she slept… on my knees in her hospital room, praying profusely for all of us to somehow be okay.
She passed away a week before Christmas that year. I remember those days feeling heartbroken and totally confused. “God, why did you take my mom while she was still so young? While I was still so young? You took her away from me!”
I still don’t understand why God took my mom when he did. I grapple with the big questions everyone has about God’s role in suffering and why he doesn’t just demolish it all together… I simply do not know.
But amidst my loss, what I have learned is this:
“While our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
I am grateful that while my mom’s outer self was wasting away here on this earth, inwardly she was being renewed everyday. That while I saw her as growing “thinner & weaker”, God was preparing for her a place in heaven, where her body is now perfectly plump… no longer frail & filled with disease. She is totally flawless; fully freed from her pain & suffering. I rejoice that my mom is now dancing with God in heaven, where, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”Revelation 21:4
And now I sit here with my baby boy, seeing how incredibly faithful God has been. To me, to my mother… He is always faithful. He brought us peace when we had none. He brought us comfort amidst our sorrow. Even in death, He gives us life. So what does this mother’s day mean to me? It’s a reminder of two things: that God is with me and God is blessing me.
God is with me. He wept with me in the hospital as I mourned my mother’s death. He wept with me again in the hospital as I held my baby boy for the first time. He was and is always with me.
God is blessing me. He blessed me with an incredible mother who loved and inspired me. He blessed me with an amazing baby boy who will one day be able to call me “mama”. In all realms of motherhood, he is blessing me. What beautiful things to celebrate on such a special day.
“The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the love of a Mother.”
-St. Therese of Lisieux