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  • Pamela Mattox

When Mother’s Day Hurts


There have been countless years where I needed a Mother’s Day timeout. When the pain and grief in my heart weighed heavier than the joys of the day with my family. There is no sugar-coating it. It’s a hard reality to find yourself in a place like that.


Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re feeling it now.


We are emotional human beings, created by God to love and feel deeply. He also made us complex human beings, able to numb, block or distract ourselves from that which feels bad… which can actually make us feel even worse in the long run. Feeling bad because we can’t cry when something is painful, or muster joy over the seemingly good.


Mother’s Day has a way of exposing the hurting woman’s heart. For some of us, it shines an unwanted spotlight on grief and sorrow. It calls out that which should have been, or could have been, but isn’t.

A loved one’s life cut short.

An empty womb.

Regret over abortion. Challenging child rearing. An aging parent. Broken marriage.

Painful childhood memories.

Estranged relationships.

It’s healthy to grieve the things we wish we had, but don’t, as long as we’re careful not to get stuck in that painful place for the long haul. Staying stuck leads to deep rooted bitterness, versus letting Jesus take the pain, heal the wound and leave the scar.

If Mother’s Day stirs up negative emotions in your heart, like it long did mine, take courage to let your family members know you’re hurting. It’s okay if it’s not your favorite day of the year, even if they work hard to make your day special. It’s not that you don’t appreciate it, but that painful memories or longings are attached to it, and it’s not their fault.

Be honest. This one day of the year you might enjoy a morning by yourself at the beach with Bible and journal in hand talking to Jesus more than the sappy service at church that moves your heart to grieve or feel inadequate all the more.


Christ is no stranger to depth of emotion. He knows firsthand the agonizing pain of loss, the heartache of longing and sorrow, the demand of difficult kids, the ripple effects of sin, and the torture of separation. Jesus also knew the importance of drawing away to a quiet place for the purpose of talking to the Father about the cares and concerns of His heart.


After inviting the thirsty, the broken

and the self-sufficient to sit at His feet, the Father reminds the listeners heart in Isaiah 55 that He prepares a satisfying feast for the one that dares to come close, lean in and listen. Delightful spiritual food that is rich and abundant.


“Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live.” — Isaiah 55:3


Hearing from God, especially in the painful places, helps our soul to thrive again. In my experience, He’s more for Mother’s Day timeouts than all the hoopla if it means drawing closer to Him and hearing His thoughts on those that are weighing us down. Intentional time with Jesus refuels the heart in such a way that it can better endure the rest of the day.

RECLAIM YOUR HEART: If your heart is full of more hurt than happy this Mother’s Day weekend, ask your loved ones to afford you a ‘timeout’. Block off some time to go for a drive, sit at a coffee shop, wiggle your toes in the sand — but be sure to spend it wisely, in a way that helps your heart versus numbing it. Spend it talking to Jesus.


Quiet yourself before the Lord and ask Him to put into words what you’re feeling, and what your heart needs to know about the hurt you’ve been carrying around. With pen in hand and/or ears open wide, give Him undistracted time to speak. It can be helpful to record His timely words — the ones your heart desperately needs to hear — as a precious love letter from the Father.

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