In honor of Mother's Day, May 13, we asked bloggers to share their thoughts on motherhood -- and the importance of caring for children who have experienced the loss of a parent.
Starting today and going through Mother's Day, we will feature a different blogger each day to remind us to appreciate mothers and care for those who are hurting. Our first post comes from Joy Bennett, who traveled to Bolivia with World Vision on our blogger trip last August.
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Mother's Day hurts for so many. Children, grown and growing, agonize over mothers who left or abused or stood by while others abused them. Women long to be a mother with a hunger that will not be satisfied. Others miss mothers who left this life too soon. Some are mothers in all but name, overlooked and under-appreciated.
This is the dark side of special days -- the pain of those left out of the flowers and chocolate and accolades.
In recognition of the loss so many feel on Mother's Day, what if we reached out to another who carries that pain? What if we take their hand and looked deep into their eyes and say, "I see you, and I recognize your pain. I care, and I want you to know that you are not less because you lack a mother. You are not less because you lack children.”
Look around you. I dare say it won’t take but a moment to identify and encourage a motherless child or a childless woman or an overlooked stepmother or foster mother in your family, church, or neighborhood.
Would you consider a humble suggestion? Would you be willing to go one step further this Mother’s Day? Would you pray and think about helping a child who has lost a parent, like 14-month-old Rachael?
Rachael’s mother drowned in a Kenyan river when Rachael was just 5 months old. This precious baby girl was still nursing.
Pauline Nakadeli, 55, cares for her malnourished granddaughter, Rachael, who is just 14 months old. (Photo: Abby Metty/World Vision)
Not only did she lose the most important person in her life, Rachael lost her life-sustaining breast milk. She is now one of 10 children and grandchildren in the care of her grandmother, Pauline. They are in desperate need.
In fact, World Vision has identified Rachael as severely malnourished. They provide her with packets of Plumpy’Nut™ for now. (Plumpy’Nut is a fortified food aid product that looks and tastes like peanut butter. When administered regularly, Plumpy’nut can help acutely malnourished children recover in a matter of weeks.) But Pauline worries about what will happen when the food aid stops. She can barely feed the rest of her family.
In many parts of the world, the death of a mother is an almost-guaranteed death sentence for her surviving children. I can’t imagine mourning the loss of my mother at the same time I found myself in such desperate need. We cannot replace anyone’s mother, but we can rescue motherless and orphaned children from starvation and fates worse than death.
Will you prayerfully consider a special Mother’s Day gift to a child who has lost a parent this year?
Consider sponsoring a child who has lost a parent. Sponsorship will help provide clean water, nutritious food, education, healthcare, and more -- providing a source of stability and hope in the midst of desperate circumstances. You will also have the opportunity to develop a personal, lasting relationship with your sponsored child through cards and letters.
Joy blogs regularly about issues of life, faith, and grief. Check out her blog at www.joyinthisjourney.com.