“Choose three words to describe yourself,” I said to her.
She was fifteen and broken, her heart wearing scars and still bleeding out of old wounds. Her world was one I’d never known.
“You don’t know what it’s like,” she once told me. “When you go home, there’s someone there for you. I don’t have that.”
And she was right. She didn’t have that. She was orphaned, shuffling from foster home to foster home, trying to find a place to land. Back when most kids were getting ready to start their first days of kindergarten, this little girl had lost her family as a six-year-old.
Now she was fifteen, and the motherless, fatherless years had worn hard on her soul. That afternoon we sat together with paper cups filled with tea and I waited for her to give three adjectives to her name.
“Kind, sad, and confident,” was what she came up with.
The word she’d sandwiched in the middle of her more optimistic attributes caught my attention. Not because I didn’t know it, but because this was the first time she’d ever said it. She wore sadness daily, let it spill out in any number of disguised ways whether it be anger, or forced humor, or shut-down silence. But that day she told me — she was sad.
“Why sad?” I asked, sticking a toe into that door she’d cracked open.
Her eyes stared unblinking at the table while she fidgeted with her tea cup. “Because I want what I can’t have.”
“What is it you want?” I dug a little deeper.
“My mom,” she said. And nothing more.
Several weeks earlier she and I had been driving along when we passed a flower stand on the roadside that boasted a big red sign: “Flowers for Mom on Mother’s Day!” I remember feeling a catch in my heart as we drove by, and I wondered what those words did to that girl’s heart, who was motherless on Mother’s Day.
She wanted what she couldn’t have. A mother’s love is irreplaceable.
And if I could sit down with this dear, beautiful one today, I’d tell her that it’s okay to break. It’s okay to miss, to cry, to mourn. Because missing someone is part of loving them.
I’d tell her that her mama knew she was precious, that she made one of the best choices she could have ever made by bringing a little girl into the world who’s unlike any other ever to be born.
I’d tell her that even though her mama wasn’t perfect, that even though she’d made some mistakes, her baby girl was no mistake.
I’d tell the motherless one what her heart needs to hear. And while she can’t hear it today from her mama, she can at least hear it from a mama’s heart.
I’d tell her that she’s stunning; that she is cherished by God; that she’s going to grow to be a strong woman of God; that there might be lots of boys in line for her, but it might be a wrestle to find one who’s worthy of her; that she’s going to be an amazing mom one day; that if she ever needs someone to talk to, cry to, laugh with, shop with . . . I’m here.
Who are the motherless ones around you this season who need to hear a mama’s voice? Let’s speak into their hearts and let them feel a mama’s love wrap around their hurt.