Hello Again

I have sorely neglected this blog.  It’s been nearly a year since my last post.   I am amazed that I’m still getting any traffic at all, but still several people visit this humble little site everyday.

I am doing well.  Things have not changed for  me circumstantially, but it’s okay.  God still has me on a journey and is still teaching me many things along the way.  I read a quote in a devotional this week that said, “If God brings it to me it must be for my good.”  Reminds me of a verse I have used as my life verse in the last several years.  “And we know that God works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to this purpose.”  (Romans 8:28).   Not not all things are good, but He works all things for the good even our own screw ups!

Let’s just face it…. some things are just bad.  Don’t I know!  You can sugar-coat things all day long and/or live in denial, but some things just down right stink.  STILL, I remember that Bible verse and the above quote from Streams in the Desert.  

I don’t know what the future holds, and that’s as it should be.  I’m hoping for a period of stable times, devoted love, and not facing a life crisis daily.  But on days I don’t feel like I can go on God always gives me the ability to make it through that day, and then the next one and the next one.  They key is leaning on Him for everything, and I have to remind myself of that daily.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and while that day doesn’t carry as much emotional weight as it used to for me there is a bit of melancholy associated with it.  I acknowledge it, feel it, shed a few tears if I must, and then I move on with my day.  I don’t allow myself to feel isolated by these types of holidays anymore.  This particular holiday is not for me, but I won’t allow that fact to cripple me emotionally anymore and make me feel “less than”.  There is a difference in acknowledgement of one’s emotions (it’s not good to repress either) and letting them cripple you.  This applies to all situations we face.

So to all of you non-moms out there you are not alone, and just because one Hallmark holiday doesn’t apply to you doesn’t mean you are worthless.  You are EXACTLY who and where God wants you to be.  And if He brought it, it IS for your good even if it doesn’t feel particularly lovely.

Hugs and Prayers my Friends!


The Social Network of Understanding–Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day.  A day universally dreaded by the infertile and/or permanently childless.   Probably the most repeated themes of  infertility/childless blogs today will be concerning the relative insensitivity towards childless women on this day, and rightly so, because so few in the fertile world understand the weight the childless woman feels on this day.   It feels like the pain of a thousand childless holidays pooled into one day complete with a neon pointer sign over our head that says, “Not a mother.  Not in the club.  Somehow less of a woman.”

But, there are more and more people out there who “get it” now.    Maybe it’s due to the voice we’ve found in recent years via blogs and social networking, but I also think there are just some great people out there who have a wonderful ability to sympathize with those of us who have suffered child loss or the death of  the dream of having children.

I’ve witnessed four heartening things via Facebook this week.  One of my “friends” who is a mother posted how a check-out person wished her a happy Mother’s Day this weekend.  She mused on Facebook whether you should automatically wish a woman a happy Mother’s Day because she might not be a mother or it might be a sensitive subject to her.  It started a big conversation, and while there were some who thought it was ridiculous that she would raise such a question most people understood that wishing someone a happy Mother’s Day might be an emotional grenade to some. Maybe they couldn’t be a mother.  Maybe their child died, or maybe their mother has died and they still miss her terribly.  etc. etc.

Let me disclaimer here that I have always appreciated people wishing me a happy Mother’s Day.  I’ve always taken it in the spirit it was offered and been thankful to the person giving it.  I used to say, “Oh, I’m not a mother”, but it always created a sense of awkwardness and dampened the spirit of goodwill leaving people searching for the right words to say.  That’s hard for people to do with a stranger on the spur of the moment.  So, I always say a polite “thank you”, give a warm smile,  and go on my way.  Even though there is a split second of pain I always feel genuinely thankful for the wishes.   Let’s face it,  in these times when you get a friendly greeting from anyone it’s a rare and beautiful thing and restores your faith that some people still care about other people rather than just themselves.  So, I fall on the side of saying it’s okay to wish any woman a happy Mother’s Day.  I personally don’t do it unless I know the woman is a mother, but I don’t begrudge others who say it to strangers.  We’re all adults, and we should be able to take it in the spirit in which it is given.

The other three  heartwarming things I experienced on Facebook today were from three of my friends (all mothers) who took their time to write on my wall directly.  I was feeling a little melancholy this morning because #1)  My vacation is coming to an end, and #2) it was Mother’s Day.    I’ve learned over the years to not put myself through the torture of Mother’s Day at church if I’m not 100% on top my game.  I knew this year was not going to be a good one as I’ve struggled a bit as of late, and my parents stayed over at my house last night (we had carpooled on vacation together).   So, as I read all the Mother’s Day related posts this morning on Facebook (this year featuring a trend of all the mothers posting the names, birthdates, and birth weights of all their children *groan*)  I came across something written directly on my wall:

From my friend Jenell:  “to you I want to say you are loved.”
What a perfect greeting.  No mention of my childlessness (not necessary) just a small statement fraught with understanding and love to me.  A perfect thing to say.

A few hours later another post on written on my wall:

From my friend Kathy:  “thinking of you today Vicki…hoping that you know that you are loved and that there are so many children you have influenced (my kids in VBS)…and I know that you are a wonderful aunt….and of course you’re a great mommie to your kitty’s…LOVE YOU and keep smiling that wonderful smile of yours!!!!!!!”

Oh my, my heart was overflowing.  This friend had several miscarriages over several years before she was able to have two healthy children.  She’s about 8 years older than me, and when I was a teenager in a small church family I remember witnessing her dark days, especially how Mother’s Day would reduce her to tears.  She’s a veteran, bu has never forgotten how it feels, and she’s always had a kind word for me in my situation.

A few minutes later…

From my friend Teresa:    YEAH! What Kathy said! ♥ you Vicki!!

Her children were in a Sunday School class I taught in the nineties.  They’re adults now, and she’s always quick to tell me the influence I had in their lives.    She also wrote a beautiful note on Facebook “to all the mothers who never gave birth.”   She never struggled to have children, but she gets it, and that she went out of her way today to acknowledge the childless woman makes me well up with grateful tears.

Oh, and I’ve had several mentions from the sisterhood of CNBC, and it sure goes a long way to making us all feel less alone.  They are my sisters in more ways than one.

Honestly, I don’t sit around hoping that my friends will remember me on this day, but it is so wonderful when they do.  For all the bad press Facebook  gets it has honestly helped me foster so many new relationships especially with other childless women all over the world that I would’ve never had a chance to foster due to time and distance.  It’s created a such a valuable sense of community for me that I wouldn’t have had if not for Facebook, and other social forums.    It has also helped me reconnect with some friends I had in other chapters of my life.  Yes, social networking can be used in unhealthy ways, but it can be used in very healthy ways to bring community to our doorstep we wouldn’t have otherwise.  Social networking when done right can be a ministry to others, especially folks who feel isolated in their life situations.  Today has reminded me to be sensitive to what others are going through and offer them support on the days they need it most.  A simple kind word said at the right time can literally change a day of depression into a day of heartwarming  joy.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone with the heart of a mother!

Mother’s Day

No, it isn’t the easiest day for me.  In the past it has been almost unbearable, but as the years have rolled by I’ve learned to cope with this day.  I allow myself to feel the melancholy that inevitably comes with this day to a limited extent, but in turn I also count my blessings.

Some people minimize the holiday by justifying that it was a holiday brought forth by the greeting card companies to generate more sales.  They’re probably right, but in America it’s a big deal.  I mean, where would we be without our mothers?

I know some folks lost their mothers early in life.  Some folks had a mother who for whatever reason…either by choice or not…couldn’t be  good mother.  While this day is supposed to be a joyous celebration of the wonderfulness of motherhood I can only imagine the pain it brings to those whose mothers were the opposite of a June Cleaver type of mother.  There are people whose birth mother chose adoption.  Even if that person ended up in a wonderful home he or she probably always wonders on this day “what if?” and where their birth mother is today.  I also think of thousands of children in foster care.

There are also the many out there who have lost their mothers.  I cannot imagine what that must be like as my mom is still with me.  My mom’s mother died at age 57 of a brain tumor.  The illness had been quite unexpected as she was a very vibrant, healthy woman up until that point.  The effects of the tumor, the surgery to remove it, and of a subsequent stroke were quite devastating.  For 18 months she lingered in a very debilitated state until God finally took her home to be with Him.   My mother misses her to this day, and every year on Mother’s Day I see her shed a few (or many) tears.

My dad lost his mother in 2007 after about a 3-year period of declining health due to a blood disorder.  My dad is the stoic sort, but since his mother has passed I can tell it has affected him greatly.  I’ve seen him shed tears intermittently in the last couple of years…most recently while watching the movie Marley and Me.  I can’t remember ever seeing my dad cry at all before his mother passed with the exception of my wedding day when I could see a little mist in his eyes when he walked into the bride’s room and saw me moments before he gave me away.

Then there are us who have never been able to have children.  Even if we are new or old to this condition we always feel a little…or a lot…out of place on this day.  This yearly reminder of what we cannot be is a mile marker we’d like to bypass, but the truth is we cannot.  We can only do what we can do to make this day a little more bearable.  I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself this day.  If I feel like attending church I do, but if I don’t, I don’t.  I believe God is near to the heart of  the childless woman.  The story of Hannah is a great example that God felt it necessary to include the plight of a childless woman in the Bible (and don’t forget Sarah and Abraham).

So, I take it easy on myself on this day.  If I feel like crying I do, but I try not to wallow.  I do something nice for myself, and try to remember that:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

No matter what situation you find yourself in on this Mother’s Day try to concentrate on that!

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