About the Author

Holley Gerth is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, counselor, and life coach. Her newest release is The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You. She's also wife to Mark, Mom to Lovelle, and Nana to Eula and Clem.

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  1. Such a beautiful perspective, Holley.
    You are definitely a Mother of Life through your words… they encourage me daily!
    You are a miracle too!
    Smiling back,
    ~Manda

  2. My friend is the best mother I know. She has no children of her own but she taught and loved children for 30 years at the local high school. She is no doubt a mother to them all. I have 5 children and I’m grateful for all the women who have mothered them for me when I was not there. They are who I celebrate on Mother’s Day. You are a mother indeed and I believe that what we don’t get in this life we will receive in the next life. In the eternities you will have the opportunity to raise the child that you lost in this life.

  3. I love that Eve was called the mother of all living before she ever birthed a child. She was already a mother. Mothering was, I believe, part of her nature, deep down inside, quite independant from the reality of the children that would come.
    Every woman who nurtures and cares and lifts and encourages is a mother. Mothering is part of their nature. I’ve sorrowed with dear friends who struggled, like you, with infertility (or lack of a husband). They are some of those who are most worthy of the title, and claim it best through their daily walk.
    Lovely post. Thought provoking ideas. I love (In)Courage!

  4. Thank you so much for posting this! I am not a mother either in the physical sense but I have helped my husband see that there is good in the world and to show him what real love is. We take care of each other and love each other and I feel that this post hits home for me. I got teary-eyed.

  5. Our first baby entered heaven after only a few hours of life. A Christian physician spoke the kindest words, “You may wonder why the Lord had you conceive, if he didn’t intend for your child to live. But, the Lord just wanted one more soul to praise him for all eternity.” So…your wee little one is up there with mine just starting their hallelujah’s before we can join the chorus! I’d welcome a visit to my new site, if you have a moment. Any and all suggestions will be happily received! graciousinteriors.blogspot.com

  6. Choked up on that one, Holly. I share the pain of loss. I have a mother’s necklace that is sadly missing two charms – one because I chose to abort as a teen (pre-Jesus) and the other because God chose to take the baby home to be with Him even after I saw his little heartbeat. I miss both of them and I sometimes wince when people ask me how many children I have. Your heart is never too full for a child when you love being a mother.
    I can’t wait to see your arms filled.
    Your heart is already mothering a multitude of other hearts. Let Him minister to yours as well. (((hugs)))

  7. I am a mother and God had the plan for me to be a mother.
    I love my children whom are physical,but grown and I lost one child in a miscarriage but I know God needed him to be an angel.
    I got teary eyed when I read this and I thought of an angel. And I am really blessed.
    I can no longer have children but God smiled on me. He blessed me with two beautiful daughters and the thought of Eve being the mother of all living beings I thought and ponder for a while and said I have a blessed redeemer who knew I could pass the test, this to brought tears to eyes as I see my daughters becoming moms too.

  8. This is the first time it has dawned on me that Mother’s Day could be a difficult holiday for people – other than those who have lost their mom. I feel sad at how naive I’ve been. I had a molar pregnancy between my 1st & 2nd children, but because I had a healthy child already I didn’t think of grief on Mother’s Day that year.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful word, Holley, and for enlightening me. Praying for you and others who are dealing with loss and pain associated with that day.

  9. At times I too, wonder “Am I a mother?”, one in heaven and never conceived any more, not married, yet(!) But yes I have given life by speaking an encouraging word, I took a hand and formed hope out of the air, I made beauty where there was none… through God’s grace I was able to impact a soul and they live today because of the nurturing from me… They feel strength and encouragement to “live” because God saw fit to use me… What a marvelous gift from God to shape and nurture another human being… To save a “soul” from destruction… Thank you Lord, for using me mightily and the best is yet to come…

  10. What a powerful post, Holley. Thank you for sharing your insight and having the courage to be so vulnerable about the pain you and so many others have suffered through the loss of a child and infertility. Like so many women commenting today, I couldn’t help but tear up and become completely choked up when reading your beautifully written words. We are ALL mothers…daughters of Eve. I have never thought about it that way before, but certainly will from now on. For so many years I winced when Mothers with physical children asked me how many children I had and I had to reply none. It didn’t seem fair as I helped my Mother raise my late sister’s three children–just the two of us, side by side, loving and mothering these orphaned children. After a while, when my marriage and the Air Force required moves away from my mother and the children, I changed my response to that same question, saying instead, “I have three children though they are not biologically mine.” Now I think of all of the metaphorical “children” so many Mothers–as you have so aptly defined us–have truly born, raised, and loved to maturity. Thank you. Also, on a miraculous note and with even more tears, as I write this post I am pregnant with twins. My husband and I are still in disbelief over the way in which God has blessed us through IVF treatment. We understand we are not out of the woods yet and we have 6 more months to go (Lord willing) before we meet our little ones, but I now know that when we get the joy of holding them in our arms I will have countless Mothers to thank for helping encourage me, giving me hope, and helping me beautify the world in which we live–and I will pass this appreciation and understanding on to my physical children too. May God bless each of you, my sisters of Eve, Mothers of the world.

  11. Holley, I have two sweet babies in heaven, and if I had never had any more, I would still think of myself as a mother… I know God has many blessings in store for you!!
    You are a blessing to me!!
    (((((Holley))))

  12. Holley,
    Be blessed today,as you have helped me to have the words to say to my daughter. Her father and I give her away in marriage this very day. I MUST GO! BTW…I recently took first and second place at an art show…causing hope for “Bsst in Show” to become a reality!…. I posted about this during the Story of My Life series…You are being used!

  13. Just remembering you, sweet Holley, as your words were so special and your heart is so big. I, Like Ms. Cheryl, have not (yet) been married, but consider foreign adoption to become a Mom if this is God’s will. I know God is working me to begin foreign missions work, so…who knows. I hope that anyone unable to conceive, if their life allows for is, to considering adopting from the USA or a Foreign Country. Also, there are so many children in the Foster Care system in the USA. That is another great way to become a Mom! I’ll be praying for all of you ladies. Have a blessed weekend…Love, Linda

  14. Holley, don’t just celebrate us. Celebrate you. Celebrate that God has given you joy in the midst of your sorrow. Lots of mothers out there can not celebrate anything in life because they are so broken over the loss of their child. That you are able to lift your eyes from the pain of your own heart and see hope is a rare gift indeed. Celebrate the promises God has given you.

  15. Dear Holley,
    Next Sunday, I will be celebrating you, too! You are such a blessing! I never considered myself a mother and, yes, Mother’s Day always kind of hurt — especially last year, without my Mom. Your words have helped and encouraged me so much. I’ll be downloading your resource, too.
    Thank you! and Blessings!

  16. Holly thank you for sharing this timely, encouraging and enlightening word. What a wonderful initiater of life you are thru the words God gives you and your willingness to be transparent in your journey. You are a sweet gift from God, a precious friend though we have never met. You are a blessing!
    I too have a baby in heaven and find great hope that I will have an eternity to spend with them and am comforted to know that although I miss them now, they have had the great joy of living all of their days in the presence of The Lord!
    Love, Tina

  17. Holley, what a beautiful perspective! How many women have stories like ours, only God knows. I was unable to get pregnant and went through so much infertility testing as well as my husband! Then, one day in the Dr.’s office lying on the table, I looked up at my husband in tears and said, “I can’t do this anymore” and we walked away and never looked back. As time passed, the Lord opened a door that was unlooked for and the biggest blessing in the world was bestowed upon us. A baby boy 10 months old, from another country, in the most unusual way. We were on our way and excited. I held him while still in the home of his birth family, who were incredible and we have it all on video. To this day I have yet to comprehend all the Lord did for the 3 of us to bring us together from another part of the world. We could only stay 3 weeks the first time and had to fly home, leaving him behind until it was all finalized. Little did we know, it wouldn’t be until his second birthday! Oh how we prayed and interceeded. Those are my internal stretch marks. Girlfriends would always laugh and say, “well, at least you don’t have stretch marks!” My only response was, “Oh yes I do, they’re ALL internal.” My son and I have the same shaped birthmark on the same leg. His is on the inside of the leg and mine is on the outside. That’s a big God! He looks so much like my husband it’s incredible. With all the similarities the one thing that made me feel like a mom, came some time later. My son was about 4 yrs. old and he came to me and said, “Mama, I wish I could have been born in your belly!” I cannot tell you how I held back the flood of tears I felt welling up in me, but God. I scooped him up in my arms, looked at him with a big smile and gave him a big hug and said, “son, I wish you would have been born in my belly too, but God had a better idea than that for you and I. He birthed you in my heart. You can never come out of my heart, you will always be in my heart and nothing can ever change that.” He smiled a big smile and said, “yea, I’m always there!” kissed me and skipped away and then the tears came. I thanked God for the son He so graciously gave to us and the blessing he was and continues to be, now at 15. I knew at that moment just how big God was and what it means to be a mom. I can still tear up to this day, looking at him and realize that no matter how He does it, it’s all good and each day is special, joyful, stretching, birthing something and nurturing life. I am so thankful for all He hath done. My mom once said to me, “You couldn’t have done any better had you done it yourself.” She was right. It was God’s perfect plan for us and the 3 of us know how awesome He is, how blessed we are. I’m a mom. God Bless you Holley.

  18. Thank you Holley, for the way you see us and pray for us . . .and take care of us. 🙂 And thank you for the special resources too. In the past, Mother’s Day has been tough for me even though I have two daughters. Jesus is helping with that, and so have you! God bless! deb

  19. Nothing replaces the gift and privilege of being a mother, from giving birth to helping them grow to seeing them marry and raise children of their own. It is truly a blessing! Many who are mothers don’t realize this. I’m not a mother yet, either. This is accentuated by the ritual in church of having all the mothers stand and get applause and praise. I’m seeking Him and trusting His timing, knowing His plan is best. Mother’s Day can be a little sad as I miss my mother and grandmother who have passed away, although I will celebrate their contribution to my life, to our family and to the community. As women, we are all “mothers” in one way or another, for that is how we were designed. It was wonderful to hear how God revealed to you one of the many ways He is using you. It seems to me when I read His response that there is more to it….. Thanks for your prayers and for sharing your heart. I will pray for you also!

  20. Holly, I’m glad a few people told about adoption we have 5 children born in the womb and 5 children born in our heart. There is no difference, I would say try
    adoption, I prayed for years for each child and all are wonderfull. I will pray for you aand your husband. Betty

  21. Dearest Holley..
    Thank you for your precious heart! God works through you to bless me, inspire me, challenge me, every day.
    I think you are an incredible mother! I think of all the women you are a mother to…through your writing, through your encouraging words to us, you touch our hearts with your love, you bring the beauty and wonder of Jesus to our awareness, you bring new life to our days as the Lord speaks to you to share your joys and sorrows. You have thousands of spiritual children! I will be celebrating with you and for you on Mothers Day as well, we will rejoice, rejoice together!
    Thank you, and the Lord bless you abundantly!

  22. Holly, you and others here have written beautiful words and heartfelt sentiments. And I humbly offer a differnt perspective. Yes, I believe we are all called to be life-giving and we fulfill that call in different ways God has set forth for us — women and men, girls and boys– throughout our lives. But that doesn’t make me a mother. I will never be a mother. It breaks my heart to know that, and I’ve known it for years. But it is a fact. Caring for others, nurturing their dreams and hopes, being a loving daughter and sister and friend– none of that makes me a mother. It makes me a Daughter of God, and a woman who tries to live my individual vocation to share the life that has been given to me. But I really do not find it helpful when people tell me “oh, well, you’re a mother too. We all are.” (Yours is not the first time I’ve heard it.) And, like Linda, I find it peculiar that churches call out people for special blessings and applause (mothers, fathers, whatever) and on secular holidays to boot. There are SO many other ways to approach that without causing the deep pain that these “separate” blessings cause– for women and for men. I see it in their eyes and in their tears. It does not serve God’s purposes, I think it serves the people in the church who want the congratulations and applause.
    I am humbled by those who ARE mothers, and who bear that vocation with dignity and grace. To say that I am a “mother” diminishes what mothers are and do– what God has called them to — and diminishes me as well. I might just as well say that I am a father because I do things that have fatherly traits. Or that my husband is a mother because he is creative and nurturing.
    I pray no one takes these words as unkindness. I simply wish to offer my own perspective, in charity and peace.

  23. Just for a different perspective, Mother’s Day is a day I struggle with greatly as well. I know how incredibly blessed I am to be given the gift of my children, and I hurt for and pray with those of you who are struggling with infertility–I really, really do. Mother’s Day is one of the hardest days of the year for me though because I lost my Mom to cancer five years ago and that day is painful reminder of all that I still wish I had in my life.
    It has been for me these last few years a day that I celebrate being a Mother, yes. But I get caught up in the sad at some point during the day inevitably, so I also spend time praying for those who haven’t been able to have children, for those who have lost children through miscarriage or death later on, for those who long for a family but remain single, for those who have lost their mothers, for those who are estranged from their mothers. I suppose all holidays can be in some ways painful for everyone, but as I especially get this one, I make it a point to pray. It gives some purpose to my sadness on that day at least.
    All of that said, I love your point here Holley, that as women we are ALL mothers. We all give birth to life in this world through the beauty and gifts we bring. Sometimes that manifests itself when we bring a child into the world, but it is not the only way that we ARE mothers all.

  24. Holley, your comments reminded me of a chapter in the book “Captivating” by John & Stasi Eldredge that discusses this topic. “All women are not mothers, but all women are called to mother. To mother is to nurture, to train, to educate, to rear” and they feel that by doing so, we partner with Christ in the mission of bringing forth life. They also state that all women are called to give birth, whether it be books, art, ministries, other creative expressions, etc. The statement that meant the most to me in this chapter, however, was this: “A woman is not less of a woman because she is not a wife or has not physically borne a child.” As an unmarried woman who will never be able to experience the miracle of a child growing and moving inside of me, I appreciated finally seeing someone make that statement, instead of all the times I’ve read how a woman’s highest calling and greatest worth is to be a wife and mother. Well, God doesn’t give that to everyone, and I wish churches could understand that. I agree with the others who have expressed how it hurts to have to stay seated while the mothers stand and receive recognition, but it hurts even more to be treated as though I am somehow defective just because I don’t belong to the “marriage and mommy” club. I am so thankful that my sweet Jesus sees my heart. “He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) Pretty wonderful,isn’t it, to have the King of all creation passionately pursuing us with His love and desiring an intimate relationship with us, and He doesn’t care whether or not we have a husband and children. He says “I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands…” (Isaiah 49:15-16)

  25. You are our mother, Holley…I know…not what you expected. You nurture me in ways my own mother never did…couldn’t…had not learned to love herself. What a beauty she was, but a perfectionist has a difficult time loving. I know because I’ve had to learn to let that trait go with everything I do. Loving is more creative and it frees more light into a hurting world. Thanks for all the nurturing we gather from your pen each day. God bless! 😀

  26. Holly, Thank you for your wonderful words. If I won this set of dishes I would give them to Beulah. She is not my mom but she is the mother of my heart. It was her prayers and the light of Christ I saw in her that made me want to know Jesus.My own mother left me and my siblings when I was only three years old. My Beulah is such a blessing to me and everyone she meets. Thank you.

  27. You are so right Holly!
    Being a “mother” takes on so many different views and directions bigger than we can even imagine.
    There are perhaps natural born children, but how about the many lives of other children that God allows us to touch! In many ways touching lives in any capacity is not only a gift to others but the bigger gift is to us!
    I think of each person God has used to touch my life; as a friend, or encourager, perhaps someone I met along the way. There has been a great purpose in each of those times, I am thankful each person I have encountered, on the road of life!
    Thank you for sharing your heart- Continue in what He has called you too!

  28. He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord! Psalm 113:9
    You never know how you will be called to mother, but your story is not over yet.

  29. I am a lover of babies and life. Always have been. Your words there, Holley, made my heart smile and weep at the same time. ((hugs))

  30. I am a mom of adult kids, but have also grieved the loss of multiple miscarriages and a stillbirth. one never quite ‘gets better’ from that. We savor life, yes. I also know the pain of having an adult child in the grips of mental health ailments that leave her terrified of her family, siblings and parents. It’s been years since she could converse comfortably with us. Nothing prepares a person for having ones own offspring be terrified of your presence. It is heart-wrenching. My only means of coping is to invest in the lives of those young people who need and can accept my love. But, even so, Mother’s Day is deeply painful.

  31. Holley – Like may others who have commented, I never thought about Mother’s Day as a difficult holiday. Your post enlightened me and gave me context to the seemingly innocent question of children. Having suffered through severe postpartum depression in which I contemplated ending my life, I find that a stranger’s innocent question of whether or not my husband and I will have more kids is as unknowing as mine to women who have no children. When I ask, “Do you want kids?” it must hurt. You are a gifted writer and I am so glad you shared. Blessings to you.
    p.s. – have fun in Seattle. Definitely check out Pike Place and the fish market. So fun!

  32. My sweet friend Holley: Sitting here and crying over your realization and my own memories of all those years of my own empty arms wondering why – over and over again. Dreading baby showers and feeling guilty for not celebrating more with others when they had their babies.
    Then at 35 and again at 42 my sweet miracle baby girls were born – both so worth waiting for and so part of God’s plan. God’s timing allow my being a mother to women I was working with who were far younger than me – not always married to the fathers of their children – but pregnant at the same time that I was. Their own mothers had been too young when they had them to fully mother them. I was there now in my maturity to hold their hands and talk them through their fears and stress the importance of these babies, and in making good choices for the babies’ futures. My message would not have been heard had we all not shared our rapidly growing bellies.
    God knew those young women needed a Mom while they were becoming mothers themselves and why my babies needed to wait. (I know that now, but I can still remember all the whys I prayed.)
    I will forever be grateful for the women who shared their own infertility stories with me and who prayed for me. I am now praying for other women as they deal with their infertility and just as importantly am there to listen and to cry with them.
    God bless you for all the times your words have mothered my heart and held my hand and made me hear God speaking through them. I am grateful you are in my life.
    Love you girl –

  33. Oh, such a sweet post.
    I know a few ladies who will be having a hard time this Mother’s day – for various reasons. I’ve been praying about how I can serve them and comfort them and encourage them. Thank you for this post. It puts a whole new spin on Mother’s day for me – and them. While that day can still be a source of pain for many – your words bring in some hope.
    Blessings to you,
    Kate

  34. Holley thanks for this message as you know I have a child in heaven and I know God is using me in so many ways as a ‘mother’ to others. I pray one God will bless us with our children. I know though I will serve him whatever happens. In the uk we had mothers day in march and it is so hard it takes all my strength to stay in the service. Thankfully my mum was by me this year. Holley you are a mother to us all the way you care, I pray that God will bless u with a child

  35. I always thought I’d live the life of a mother, too. When I was little I always told people I would have 9 children, because I could never imagine there being too many [I’m the youngest of 6, so it didn’t seem impossible]. My illness made life, dating, marriage, motherhood, non-existent for me… but I love the way God gave me the chance to mother anyway. To my 10 nieces and nephews. My 5 godchildren. My friends kids who call me and make me videos of the big events I can’t get out to go to. They know I’m always here, because I never leave. I get to be their steady… their guarantee. He surprises us with His alternate definitions, doesn’t He?

  36. Thank you Holley for your wonderful perspective. I always find Mother’s Day a challenge; embracing it with my 3 beautiful daughters & husband and yet grieving for the loss of my own mom as well as the pain those close to me feel due to losses as well. This became more apparent when 5 years ago my daughter, who as a teenager found herself pregnant, and for the best life of her child chose adoption. I think each day she (and often times I) weep for the loss of this child but know God is watching over him and he is living a very full life with 2 wonderful parents and adopted sibling. We hope that he will always know he is loved by 2 great families. One thing that I have discovered is the difficulty of finding cards and gifts that address these situations. In your writing you mentioned greeting cards for “difficult Mothers Day” can you share with me where I might be able to find such items? Thank you for sharing your journey and encouragement for all. Blessings!

  37. I guess my bottom line question is, How can I help my 40 year old Sister, who lost her first child 2 years ago and still cries him like it happened yesterday?( she is not trying to get pregnat anymore).
    Thanks to all of you for opening your heart to the rest of us.
    GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND ALL OF YOU!!!
    I pray that His peace comforts your heart in this special date! Thanks again.

  38. Your post touched my heart and reminded me of the 9 years of that feeling of sadness and loss every Mother’s Day at church while struggling with infertility. The most difficult was the year I still had two foster children who I had hoped would be ours forever but were returning to their birth grandmother the following week after Mother’s Day. At church I fought back the tears (or not) and wondered how, why, now what… etc. A few short months after, God blessed us with a baby boy through the foster care system, only 8 days old who we picked up from the hospital (practically unheard of in foster care). 18 months later God blessed us with an infant baby girl. We finalized the adoption of our boy late 2008 and soon will finalize our baby girl’s adoption. It was a LONG labor, but these smart, funny, loving, wonderful children have filled my mothering heart in ways unimaginable. This mother’s day I will celebrate our losses, embrace our blessings and pray for those who are experiencing the same.

  39. My husband and I have not been able to have children. He doesn’t want to adopt. Your post brought a lot of comfort to my heart and mind. Above all, my comfort lies in the TRUTH that God loves me, is in control of my life, and that, yes, He can use and does use me to bring life to others’ lives – including that of my husband, sister, nephews, etc. Thanks for sharing!

  40. Thanks so much for posting this. I can’t even explain right now what these words do for my heart.
    I’m so behind in blog reading so I was tempted to just clear my reader out and start over. I’m so glad I didn’t. I would have missed this. Thanks!

  41. I know a few ladies who will be having a hard time this Mother’s day – for various reasons. I’ve been praying about how I can serve them and comfort them and encourage them. Thank you for this post. It puts a whole new spin on Mother’s day for me – and them. While that day can still be a source of pain for many – your words bring in some hope.
    Blessings to you,

  42. I can serve them and comfort them and encourage them. Thank you for this post. It puts a whole new spin on Mother’s day for me – and them. While that day can still be a source of pain for many – your