In Ocala, next to a church that my parents sometimes attend, there is a small and lovely wooded area. It’s the type of woods that have you daydreaming that any minute Edward and Bella might emerge, kissing and scaling trees. At least that’s what I was daydreaming about while hiding from my family and my grief on Mother’s Day 2014. I didn’t intend to hide. I didn’t intend to wail on the floor in the church bathroom, or to run from my seat with so much resentment welled up inside me that I almost puked – but all of that had occurred in the last ten minutes or so, and here I was alone in the woods, in my dress.
And why wasn’t I thinking of my own mother? Wasn’t it her day? Hadn’t I just abandoned her in the church when I was supposed to be celebrating her – that she was alive and healthy in front of me? Wasn’t that enough to just be happy? When church let out, after my sweet husband found me and brought me to the car, my mom was more worried about me than upset that I had left. I shouldn’t have been surprised, she’s always put her kids before herself, she’s an incredible example of Jesus and I’ve always admired that about her.
But I still felt extremely selfish to have caused a scene. I was embarrassed and feeling guilty for feeling so sad.
So, there you go: Grief, resentment, embarrassment, guilt, sadness. All because this cute little church played a heartwarming video on how wonderful it is to be a mom.
For so many women, Mother’s Day can be the hardest day of the year. This day can feel like a giant yellow highlighter featuring your most intimate losses. Maybe you’ve been trying to get pregnant and it’s just not happening, maybe you’ve lost a child, maybe you’ve lost your mother or grandmother, or maybe you’re longing to have a partner in life in hopes to one day start a family… whatever it is, I want to tell you today: It’s okay to not be okay.
If I could, I would run after that sad girl in the woods and hold her while she cried. I would tell her that in just two short years she would become a mama through the miracle of adoption, and that her son would be the sweetest, kindest, funniest, and most loving child she could ever dream up. I would tell her that if she can just hang on, all this suffering would not be for nothing, she would help other women feel like they weren’t alone in this battle, but more than anything, I wish I could tell her that it’s okay to not be okay.
I can’t go back in time and tell her these things, so if you are in a sad place today, please hear me as I tell you:
It’s okay to run out of church, wail on the bathroom floor, and hide in the woods. It’s okay to curse social media, binge Friends on Netflix, close all the curtains and sleep all day. It’s okay to buy that extra pretty romper on Amazon even though you don’t need another extra pretty romper. It’s okay to feel guilty for not doing more for your friends who are mothers (whom you love but envy so much that it makes you angry). It’s okay to scream into your pillow. It’s okay to not explain yourself again to your mom (although you should call her). It’s okay to eat that entire bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos and finish it off with a glass of red wine. It’s okay to not understand and it’s okay to be angry with God. He gets it, and He will sit with you in it, all of it, even your anger.
Do whatever you need today to get through, and even though you may feel alone in your grief, please know you are never alone. God didn’t need me to stay in that church on Mother’s Day 2014 to speak into my heart – God met me in the woods, and He will meet you wherever you are today, too.
One last thing I would tell that girl hiding in the woods if I could: Remember that Bible verse you read each day? The one about the joy that is coming? That promise you have posted on FaceBook, pinned to your Pinterest board, and circled in your heart? It’s true. On the other side of this great pain is greater joy… hold on dear girl for it’s about to get really good.