It was a Tuesday morning, two weeks before Mother’s Day. I parked my car outside my doctor’s office and prayed a quick prayer: “God, please help this baby to be healthy.” I walked in expectant, excited, and a little nervous. It was only a few minutes later as I lay on the table with the screen in front of me that I saw my baby for the first time. This very small baby with a heart that wasn’t beating. The silence in the room was deafening. My heart immediately started racing and I looked at the ultrasound tech as the expression on her face told me what I already knew. “I’m so sorry,” she said. My body froze, fear washed over me, and I knew then I was facing yet another story of motherhood that I didn’t want to face.

I went home later that day to my two small children who had no idea what Mommy had faced that day. The innocent joy on their faces and excitement to see me brought a lift to my heavy heart. I was immediately brought back into the reality of my world and the incredible gift these long-awaited healthy children were to me. For the days and weeks following that Tuesday morning, joy and sorrow were held hand in hand as I held my children a little closer while at the same time, aching for the child in my womb.

Joy and Sorrow in Scripture 

All throughout the Bible, there are stories of the sufferings, longings, hopes, and joys of God’s people through different circumstances of motherhood. The places where they also held joy and sorrow hand in hand. There are the stories of Sarah who became a mother past child-bearing age and was overcome with laughter by the story that was written for her (Gen. 21:1-7); of Naomi, who lost both her sons and her husband, and then in the midst of her grief made the hard decision to love her daughter-in-law from a different people group. She walked in faith as she loved Ruth as her own and watched the Lord’s tangible faithfulness in building her family in a way far different than she could ever have dreamed (Ruth 1, 4).

The story of Hannah tells us she cried out for many years for the Lord to open her womb and promised that if He did, she would give that child back to Him. When her prayer was answered and Samuel entered the world, her heart overflowed with joy and gladness. Yet, she held her hands open to the Lord and surrendered her young child to the temple to serve the Lord (I Sam. 1).

Then, there was Mary, who was told she would be expecting a child while still a young virgin. Her surprise and submission to the Lord’s plan (Luke 1:26-38) and the overflowing joy on the night Jesus was born (Luke 2:19-20) are there for us to read and observe. We also see the incredible sorrow she must have felt as she watched Him be crucified, not yet understanding the full plan that her son would fulfill (John 19:25-27).

In all these stories, there was longing, expectancy, joy, and sorrow. Yet, we see throughout the pages of God’s Word many opportunities for the mothers (and those who longed to be mothers) to walk in faith, release their plans, and ultimately surrender their children to the Lord.

My own journey of motherhood has been different than what I would have dreamed of or expected. God’s plan was for me to marry much older than I desired, to struggle with infertility for several years, to miscarry two children, and to be the mother of two incredibly beautiful and healthy children at a much older age than many around me. Joy and the sorrow have both flowed deeply through the twists and turns of my story, and yet I believe and trust that God wrote it for a beautiful purpose.

The Lord Fulfills His Purpose

Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.” An older, godly woman at church shared this passage with me several years ago after her husband had recently abandoned her and turned her children against her. In a season of deep sorrow, fighting to believe the Lord was good and that He had a plan for her life, she experienced the deep joy of the Lord as she walked through unimaginable sorrow. Even in her own grief, she challenged me to cling to God’s Word in my own story, trusting Him even when life’s circumstances were not what I would choose. When I left the doctor’s office that Tuesday morning, I thought of this verse not only for my own life, but for my unborn child. The Lord writes our stories. He ordains our steps. He fulfills His purpose for us as His love endures in our lives for ever and ever. One year after that day, I still grieve the child that isn’t here and his sibling who is in heaven with him, and yet my heart has grown in the depths of God’s love for me and His purposes for my life.

As we approach Mother’s Day, we may all experience different emotions. It may be a day of complete joy and thankfulness, a day that brings up deep longing or sorrow, or a mixture of both. Whatever your story, the Lord sees you this Mother’s Day! Wherever you are, cling to the truth that the Lord has ordained your steps, He has a calling for you, and He is with you. I often read the stories of mothers in Scripture to remind myself of God’s faithfulness in all the twists and turns of life. He was faithful to Sarah, Hannah, Naomi, Mary, and many others, and He will be faithful to both you and me this Mother’s Day.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Bethany Belue

Bethany Belue is on staff with CDM serving in various roles within Children’s Ministry. Before coming on staff at CDM, she served as the Children’s Director at Redeemer PCA in New York City and Oak Mountain PCA in Birmingham, AL. She currently lives in Mobile, AL with her husband, Dustin, who is the assistant pastor at Grace Community Church PCA.  In addition to  discipling her own children, Patterson and Neely, she enjoys serving on the women’s ministry team at church and discipling younger women and children.  Her passion is to help others walk with Jesus all of their days and prayerfully be used to grow and deepen the kingdom the God.