She turned 16 today. I thought I would be okay. And I was. Until she texted thirteen photos of her beautiful celebrating self. I run water in the tub so nobody will hear me wail.
It never dulls. That mama-ache for what never was. “She’s just lovely, Sis. I am sorry for all your pain.” I read my sister’s text through the tears. She knows my heart. She’s already heard me cry this week. A mother weeping for a wayward son. I love hard.
I bet you do, too. It’s in our DNA. We can’t forget our children. No matter how many birthdays come and go, the heart remembers. No matter how much we numb with busyness, or Starbucks or shopping or worse ~ we remember. They are engraved on our hearts. Scars that never heal.
Jesus tasted that ache. He understands.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; …”
Isaiah 49:15-16 NIV
None of my kids came from my womb. One of them was never even mine, and the other two were already flapping their teenage wings to fly when they landed in our family. Motherhood is the most beautiful, haunting, aching experience I’ve never had. I’m a paper mom with a birth-mother soul.
My kids have stories I know nothing about. I wasn’t there when they learned to walk. Never heard them cry at night. Couldn’t comfort them when the pain was too much and the food too little. I don’t know when the nightmares started or how they got their scars.
It’s those scars that get me every time. Tonight when I enlarged baby girl’s birthday photos on my phone, I noticed a scar just under her right kneecap. I wonder what happened? I wish I had been there to kiss it all better.
That’s when my dam broke and the wailing just could not be drowned by the water flowing into our tub.
I’m jealous. Jealous of the mamma who got to love her and comfort her and watch her grow up for all these years. Jealous of the girlfriend I watched kiss my son’s scarred arm the other day just like I’ve longed to do forever, yet I’m always kept at arm’s length. Jealous of the ones to whom they say, “I love you” after a brief introduction and a few texts on a smartphone when I’ve prayed and waited for years to hear those words that never seem to come. Jealous of the mothers who get to actually be called mom instead of “hey” or “you” or “Juliet.” Yeah. I’m jealous.
I talked to God about it earlier today. I don’t want it to get out of hand. He told me He understands.
“For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy…” 2 Corinthians 11:2
He wants the absolute best for His children. He longs to be called, “Father” and told that we love Him. He aches to kiss and heal our scars and be trusted with our deepest fears. Instead, we keep Him at arm’s length and numb our pain with food and porn and prescription drugs. He longs for the intimacy that brings healing and the relationship that will restore our joy and make every other relationship fall into place, but we chase after other lovers and push Him to the back burner or use Him to get what we want without ever taking time to thank Him for what we have.
This motherhood thing… It’s taught me a lot about God. I never knew how deep the Father’s love for us. Tonight I’m letting Him kiss my scars.
Powerful! Real. Thought provoking. Thank you for sharing so profoundly. My heart hurts with yours.
Thank you, Emra.
Juliet your precious words, from such a beautiful heart, as I wipe the flowing tears from my face, pray for you..and take a moment to pray for all the ladies who ache to become a mother. Love you so much!
Thank you for your tears of empathy and prayers. The Father knows our hearts.
Dear Juliet, Sending you hugs, kisses and “I love you’s”. I am a paper Mom to one and a birth Mom to another. Love is the same! I get it! The love of our Heavenly Father is greater still!
Hugs, kisses and “I love you’s” received. Thank you very much.
Thank you so much for your kind words.
Am I hearing correctly, you have contact with your daughter. How awesome! I am sorry that it still hurts. Whenever the past and memories seek to overwhelm me, I am reminded of Corrie ten Boom’s sister encouraging words, “there is no pit, that He isn’t deeper still.” You have encouraged me to give my scars to the Lord. He is the great Physician that doesn’t practice medicine, He heals. He has promised, “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
It sounds like you’re own your way. I will be praying for you.
Thank you so very much for these words of truth and encouragement.
Juliet, I hear your longing…but instantly it brings to me emotions I hear you speak about in your sons…. one that grew up having those desires and never got it fulfilled by a parent. Oh, how this influences one’s God view. The desire never goes away, but the fear of another rejection stays, shapes one’s personal interactions. Scared to say those words you long for, because it was never said or acted out towards the child. On the surface a mask hides, but below that surface the storm rages, the desire never fades. How will one ever know that similar emotions exist in the “son”, unless one of the two will be persistent and relentless in outreach….. but it is so unfamiliar to the one who has never been given a good God view…. If only we could hear with the deep seeing eyes…and there are so few that can, and even less that is willing, to exchange the worn out shoes and coat of the “son”……
Hello Gideon – Thank you for sharing your heart. I continue to persist in loving, although right now I have no contact with my son at all. I’m sorry for your suffering and appreciative of your encouragement to never give up. Our Father pursues us always. He also respects our boundaries when we choose other paths. I’m trying to be like Him. Love cannot be forced. It’s so hard sometimes to know what to do.
I loved it. almost made me cry too. thankful for your insight into the love of God and praying for that fulfillment for you. Love and blessings. You guys are in my prayers. BTW, you may have to wait a long time but one day, they will have families and children and may gain some insight into the beautiful and great and sacrificing blessing you guys have been to them.
Thank you, Linda. It’s true…one day!
Something that always encourages and gives me peace is this thought “They are God’s twice over – by creation and redemption” He is Father to the fatherless…They are in capable loving caring hands!
This is so very true. Thank you for the reminder.