MOTHER'S DAY SERIES. HONEST THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS OF HOPE FOR THE NON-MOMMAS DURING THIS DREADED HOLIDAY. HAPPY (OR NOT SO HAPPY) MOTHER'S DAY.
Mother’s Day is almost here, again. Many will celebrate and rightly so. If anyone knows what a gift motherhood is, it’s us. We long for mommyhood. Our stories look different, but our heartaches are a lot the same. Pain tucked under the cover of bravery. But today, bravery just may give way. Some have wanted a baby for months… or years... and are worried that they won’t or have been told that they can’t. Maybe the excitement of getting your first Mother’s Day card on behalf of your growing belly came to a devastating end. Real life. Real pain. You're not alone. I’m thinking of you especially on this day. I’ve been there. As your emotions attempt to consume, let me set your mind on our Rugged Hope.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to have 4 kids. I have longed for and expected mommyhood. I had a timeline in my head, knowing that God’s plan may be a little different than mine (but obviously not too much); and I thought I was okay with that until staring infertility and miscarriage in the face, watching months turn into years. Until losing our sweet miracle baby, Emmett, just as I entered the 2nd trimester. Until my plans were broken and my hope was shaken.
I felt confused, forgotten, alone, unloved and mad. All of these big emotions from a girl who claims to not be super emotional. It was a rollercoaster, and I felt out of control (especially after my miscarriage and postpartum hormones set in).
So, I embraced wrestling with God because it was literally all I could do.
I hope you know He is big enough for that. One thing I absolutely love about my God is that He looks at our hearts. We don’t have to pretend to have it all together. He rebukes the Pharisees, saying “...you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanliness” (Matt 23:27)
Doesn’t this set you free!? Pure, raw, wonderful freedom.There is no act that can please God apart from a genuine heart that is His.
So, wrestle if you need to wrestle, My Friend. He says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:29)
I knew I needed God’s provision during this season. My heart longed for a baby more than anything. I would literally feel my fists clenching sometimes, holding tight to what I thought was best and right. In His grace, He continued to pry them open. I started praying with my hands open, showing practical dependence and openness to Him... and I asked for His provision. Then, I read this:
When [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
Peter was a fisherman... like, that was his thing. And he had failed at the one thing he was supposed to be good at. I’m sure he hung his head in confusion upon returning to the shore. If you ask me, poor Peter deserved a few fish for all his hard work that night! Then, Jesus tells Peter to go back out into the deep water. I imagine Peter was filled with doubt, exhaustion and frustration. “…We’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. BUT because you say so, I will let down the nets.” He obeyed. Just when all hope was gone, and Jesus provided... abundantly.
Precious Ones. You, who have struggled and toiled in the deep of infertility and miscarriage. You, who wonder why your nets are still without fish... There is hope that your nets will be filled abundantly. God isn’t finished writing your story, and we can never presume to know how or when He will provide. Maybe today you just need to hear that He cares and He sees your empty net. He cares. He has compassion on you as He sees you staring in hope at your empty net.
Here is what caught my attention above all else, though… your net doesn’t have to be full to experience redemption and restoration. Read the second part of verse 11.
“...So they pulled their boats up on shore, LEFT EVERYTHING and followed him.”
I’m sorry, what? Jesus performed a miracle for them... and they left it behind!? And, not just the fish, but EVERYTHING! They walked away from everything because they realized that WHAT they had wanted paled in comparison to WHO they wanted.
See, secure hope isn’t found in overflowing nets. Hope is found in the person of Jesus. And our nets, whether full or empty are all worth casting at the feet of Jesus. Peter learned that abundant life is found in the Giver, not the gift.
Friends, THIS IS OUR HOPE. We have access to Jesus. Our hope is that in our struggle we come to know the Giver more fully than we knew Him before. John 1:16 says “for of his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” I found Him true to His Word. I found Him compassionate. I found Him tender… and gracious… and sustaining… and faithful… and good. I knew all these things, but never had I known them more fully than in the valley when He walked with me.
This is the beauty of knowing Him in suffering. We find that He truly knows us. And we begin to see that He really does have beautiful things in store for us as we watch Him turn our ashes to beauty. When our hope is torn, He binds it up thicker and stronger and truer. Point of Grace puts it perfectly...“Heal the wound, Lord, but leave the scar”. Genuine Hope is one that is rugged and scared. My Hope, it’s Jesus.
May peace and love wash over your weary soul, today, Sweet One. Your Hope is secure.
Psalm 31:24 “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you that hope in the Lord.”
*Thanks to our writer Amanda Nicholson for sharing her story and her beautiful insight into this passage. An East Texas native who is married to TJ and who is on full-time staff with Pine Cove Christian Camps. They are busy living the camp life year-round and raising their 2 blessings, Adley Jo (4mo) and Jace (4).