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There’s a beauty to this day in the month of May, where we stop and celebrate the mothers who gave us life, gave us their days, who gave us their best so we could become our best. 

I’ve written on this before, but I’ll write about it again. It’s worth repeating year after year. Similar words, same story.

I own a collection of scribbled cards from the kids who call me mom. They’re tucked into a drawer, saved year after year. Hazy memories of Mother’s Day of my childhood recall the same excitement of trying to surprise my mom with handwritten cards, a fresh flower corsage to wear to church, and maybe even a homemade breakfast. She was never surprised, but always acted as though our efforts were unnoticed until the moment of the big reveal.

I’m thankful for a mom who taught me motherhood well. She displayed the sacrificial kind of motherhood that puts the needs of little people first, while allowing your own desires to take second place. Motherhood births within you a new you that wasn’t there before little eyes turned your way, feeling the safety of a mom before a little voice can even form the word “mommy.” 

May celebrates mothers. 

There’s a boy who lives in our home. He’s seven and brings us more joy than we ever imagined. He’s “special” in all the right ways. He loves hard, loves people and has never met someone he couldn’t turn into a friend. He’s lived here for almost two years, a “foster child” that we almost wouldn’t know how to do life without. He’s special needs, but we never imagined we would need his type of special to get us through some of the hardest months of our lives. His laughter is contagious and his innocence a gift.

We have fostered him the only way we know how – a little wild and entirely loved. Fostering means “encouraging or promoting the development of something typically regarded as good.” We have fostered within our boy who is not our boy the best parts of us. We have laughed at his antics and loved and lived. And somehow fallen in love with a little soul who was unknown to us for the first six years of his life. But one who will always hold a place in our hearts. 

It’s a crazy kind of love that looks into the eyes of a little one who isn’t yours, but with a heart that aches for him as though he belongs to this family of ours. Could someone please tell my heart what my head knows? This “ours but not ours” is the hardest kind of love, and fostering good things is not hard, but the unknown places of this kind of love feel fraught with fears. 

There’s thousands of mothers all over this country who on this Mother’s Day wear the title of “foster.” These mothers who welcome into their home the children whose lives were wrecked by abuse or neglect. We are a collective group of mothers who are taking broken pieces of beautiful lives and piece by piece putting together what will one day be beauty where once was only broken. 

May celebrates mothers.

Can I tiptoe into an area of motherhood no one talks about? There are mothers who dreamed of motherhood, but had it yanked away because of their own choices, their own neglect, their own abuse. These mothers ache, too. 

The moms on the other side of fostering, the ones who have had children taken away, are wrecked with their own grief. It’s easy to cast blame and judgment when maybe some love would be appreciated in deeper ways than we can imagine.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it this way, “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” 

Our society silently screams for us to notice the ones who were unnoticed and are repeating the lifestyles and patterns of those who came before them. Choices have turned into character traits and have landed so many in places they never dreamed. 

When you’re continually confronted with broken people whose brokenness has affected others, it’s hard to feel compassion.

“Can I love these women who have not shown love to the ones they should have loved the most?”

The collateral damage of drugs and violence is sending piercing shards into the hearts of the children exposed to harder lives than most can imagine. 

If May is for mothers, may it be with a mother’s heart that we wrap our arms and lives around our own families and the hearts and lives of others who are so different than us, but yet so much the same. One soul rescued from a lifestyle gives way to so many who will follow that one person. So we love the children of the moms who didn’t live out motherhood as they should. And in a much harder step, we love the moms who have lost children. We allow their shattered hearts to pierce our own, and we promise nothing more than love. But love is always a mother’s best gift to give. So we open wide our mothering hearts to a world so in need of more love. May this Mother’s Day and month of May change all our hearts into something bigger than ourselves.