It’s hard being a mom. In loving a child, we open ourselves to heartache. How many mothers have rejoiced over pregnancy, only to be devastated by miscarriage? How many have dreamed of celebrating milestones, before learning of life-altering developmental delays? Our hearts tighten with joy at the sound of our baby’s first giggles and then drop in weariness during toddler tantrums and teenage rebellion.
If our kids walk away from the Lord, we feel it. If our kids are diagnosed or distraught or excluded or hurt, we feel it. The pain our kids experience rarely stops with them—it often scars our own hearts too. As moms, we share in their suffering.
We’re all going to experience hard days and heavy seasons, and we’re going to long for comfort. But we can’t find lasting comfort in the right parenting book, the right doctor, the right diagnoses, or the right plan. We also can’t place our hope in changed circumstances, because even if God answered everything we pray for, there will eventually be a new reason for sorrow.
But thanks be to God, whether in small trials or monumental ones, he has more than enough comfort to give.
God Comforts Us with Himself
When my adopted daughter was still living in India, my heart ached incessantly. I struggled with fear about all the unknowns and ways she might be suffering. I grieved that I wasn’t there to make her laugh, wipe her tears, or sing her to sleep. It was a hard and long wait to bring her home.
What comforted me most wasn’t holding onto empty promises for easy circumstances. Though I prayed she’d be safe and loved, I had no guarantees to cling to. What held me those days was remembering that even though I didn’t know what hardships she was experiencing, I did know the God who was with her. Even if she had medical issues we weren’t aware of, God knit her into being with intention and care. Even if we were delayed in bringing her home, God never left her alone.
When love for our children brings suffering, we can’t find comfort in empty platitudes or promises God never made. The only unshakeable, everlasting, always true hope we have is in who God is.
No matter what comes our kids’ way—and no matter what comes our way as their mothers—God will be faithful to sustain his people. He is never surprised by our sorrow or unmoved by our tears. He is as sovereign as he is gentle. And he—more than anyone—understands the needs of our hearts. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
God Comforts Us with His Word
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a stifler of grief. I want to jam it down, tie it up like a hostage in my heart, and put on a brave face. I’m fine. Everything is fine. I don’t want to engage my fears, sorrows, regrets, or pain. But when we stifle ourselves in this way, we miss out on the abundant comfort found in God’s Word.
If our greatest comfort in life is knowing God, the surest way to find it is through his Word, because that’s where he reveals himself. By abiding in Scripture, we are reminded of the God who saw Hagar in her distress and provided for her. We are reminded of the Syrophoenician woman’s faith-filled cries and the Savior who answered her. We behold the God who replenishes the weary and comforts the afflicted.
From Genesis to Revelation, we get a bird’s-eye view, watching God’s glorious story of redemption unfold, assuring us that our sorrows here don’t get the final word. God heals the hurting and restores the repentant.
He is making all things—all things—new. We can entrust our children and our circumstances to him.
Scripture also combats the many lies we’re tempted to believe. When our child is newly diagnosed or we discover hidden sin and it feels like the world is spinning out of control, we might be tempted to think that this is a departure from God’s plan. But Scripture reminds us that God is not surprised. He still reigns.
When we’re the target of our child’s sin and are tempted to feel embittered, Scripture reminds us of the Father who understands the pain of rebellion and still chooses to welcome prodigals home. When we’re past our breaking point—unable to handle another day at a doctor’s appointment or in a principal’s office—Scripture reminds us that his grace is sufficient for our weakness.
God Comforts Us through His People
Our enemy loves to isolate us, especially when we’re sad and vulnerable. When it seems like nobody understands what we’re going through, we may be tempted to withdraw.
But sisters, we need each other. We need others to help bear our burdens, because we can’t shoulder them alone (Galatians 6:2)! God has created us for community, and some of the sweetest comfort we’ll ever receive will come from our brothers and sisters in Christ. Even if they can’t identify with the particular situations we’re in, they’ve gone through their own hardships and can comfort us with the comfort they’ve received (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
God has ordained Christian fellowship as a conduit of his care. We need the physical presence of those who weep with us. We need the prayers of those who intercede for us. And since suffering skews our vision, we need fellowship with those who will gently remind us of truth when we’re struggling to believe it ourselves.
Whatever grief you’re facing, know that his grace is more.
If you’re weary of weakness and hesitant to seek your Father’s comfort yet again, know that he welcomes you. God never tires of extending mercy to us in Christ. We can go to him, again and again, and trust him to provide the comfort we crave.
Author’s note: This article was first published at Risen Motherhood