…To grant those who mourn  in Zion,

Giving them a garland instead of ashes,

The oil of gladness instead of mourning,

The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.

So they will be called  oaks of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

~Isaiah 61:3

Mother’s Day is a wonderful day to celebrate the women in our lives who mean so much, but I know that this can be a painful time for many. I have several friends who have broken relationships with their mothers. Mother’s Day has often been bitter because it reminds them of a strained relationship that just does not seem to heal. It is a festering wound which is broken open by images of smiling moms hugging children. It is the scab picked open by radio stations having callers retell their favorite “mommy and me” stories. The celebration and fanfare is almost enough to make someone gag on the sweetness of it all.

There are those who have lost their mothers.  Reminders are everywhere. On the radio, on television, and every store ad tries to remind you to buy something for the mom you no longer have.

The pain is there for the woman who has always dreamed of having a child and is confronted by well-meaning friends and family who want to know if they have started trying yet. The heartache is there for the woman who has always wanted a family and is already well into her thirties or forties and still single.  The implication that single women are somehow flawed is a constant reality that can be magnified on a day like Mother’s Day. Enough.

God has always had a plan. The storm that seems to come from out of nowhere does  not surprise Him. He is in control. His love is not easily thwarted or cast away.

Regardless of the shame that the world would try to place on women who are single, childless, or on the people who have strained and broken relationships with their mothers, God desires to bring healing and wholeness. He trades his dear child’s ashes for a crown of beauty. He pours out the oil of gladness to anoint the one who has been in mourning. He makes them strong who were once weak – they will stand as oaks of righteousness. And when people ask “how” – it will be because of what the Lord has done.

God is planting something in your life whether or not you see it. You may have many storms to press through, but the sun will soon burst through the darkness.

So, in the meantime, I might have to turn off the radio and television. I might have to avoid the stores for a few days, but I am pretty sure that I will be okay. I am confident that God has not forsaken me. I know that I can still be used to show love to my grandmothers, to my aunts, my sister and sister-in-law, and all of my beautiful mommy friends. Not all is lost. God is still good. I know He is still there.