Conquering Mother’s Day

Dear Gigi,
Mother’s Day is approaching and other mothers are celebrating the day with love and affection from their family.  I struggle because that is not my situation, at the present.

My mother took her life when I was seventeen, a senior in high school.  I had love and support from my father and my aunts throughout my life.  I still struggle everyday with the loss of my mother, and my father and only sister passed in my 30’s, leaving me, basically alone.

In my early 20’s, I married a man and raised his daughter and we had two beautiful boys.  The marriage was not a happy one and I stayed in the relationship for 18 years. He isolated me from my family and was verbally abusive, a narcissist and psychopath.  It was a very lonely life but I stayed in the relationship for the children in hopes that after they were old enough, that I would leave and all would be well.  When my boys were 13 and 17, I couldn’t take the abuse any longer.  I left him and we divorced. My husband was able to manipulate the situation and turned my two boys against me.  I haven’t had much of any contact with my boys for 9 years now. 

Every day I struggle with the fact and guilt that I left my children even though I knew I had to for my own mental health and well-being. 

I know I have God’s love but it still feels I am alone.  I’m left with just surviving this life by myself, living each day the best I can and to be as happy as I can be. On the inside I feel broken.

My only wish is that on Mother’s Day that I would receive a message of love from my sons.  It is my wish, every year, but it never happens. 

Do you have any words of advice?

My goodness, you have suffered a lot of loss in your life. I’m holding you close in prayer, especially as we rapidly approach Mother’s Day on Sunday, a painful day for you and many other women in similar situations.

I fear you are setting yourself up for yet another disappointment.  If your sons have not communicated with you on Mother’s Day to this point, there is no reason to believe that this year will be any different.  I’m sorry to say it, but right now, I don’t see anything but added pain unless you choose to look at this Mother’s Day through new eyes. You mentioned aunts who supported you through those difficult years.  Are any still living? Could you devote your attention on Mother’s Day to them, as an expression of appreciation for their role in your life? I find that the best way to forestall or recover from disappointment is to serve others. Make a plan, whether it includes your aunts or a good friend – plan to do something (a hike? plant flowers? deliver donuts to the fire station?), and if Covid-19 will allow it, spend the day with other people.

In order to find peace regarding your sons, you first need to forgive yourself.  You say that you had to leave for your own well-being, but you still struggle with daily guilt.  Even if this was somehow your fault, punishing yourself daily is not helpful in any way.  When we can’t forgive ourselves, it’s like saying that somehow the death of Christ was not enough for the payment of our sin. When we trust in Christ we stand completely forgiven before him. He is sufficient in every way. As you abide in him (John 15), he will bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) in you. And as you lean into him every day, he will fill that lonely gap in your heart. It’s not enough to know that you have God’s love. He wants your heart. All of it.

I’ve shared a verse at the bottom of this post.  A friend of mine lost her husband after a lengthy and complicated illness.  She clung to this verse for dear life, and found everything she needed in her relationship with God.  She came to the conclusion that she didn’t need a husband, because God was her all.  Interestingly, she did ultimately find another man, and with her healed perspective, this new relationship is so much more healthy.

For you, I pray that God will bring you to the point where you can completely rest in him, no matter what the future holds, whether it includes another man or not. God wants you to be complete in Christ, not suffering from feelings of inadequacy and guilt, but free and whole and at peace.  Nothing less. No buts.

Finally, I pray that your community of faith will provide the support you need — a place where you can be yourself, and be loved, even to the depths of your broken places.  Having need of support does not make you less, it affirms you are human (just like the rest of us). In addition, remember who you are. Click here for a list of powerful declarations that will, as you soak them in, draw you closer to the only one who can bring complete fulfillment.


The Lord All-Powerful, the Holy God of Israel, rules all the earth.
He is your Creator and husband, and he will rescue you. — Isaiah 54:5 (CEV)

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