This is my first Mother’s Day without a mother. Possibly the same is true for you, and you’ve been thinking about the life principles she taught you and how she influenced your thinking. Maybe you’re like one of my friends who said she sees her mother every time she looks in a mirror. That’s certainly true for me. Sometimes I’m amazed when my actions resemble hers. I wonder how that is possible since I did not live near her after my college days.

Both of my parents were strong Christians and taught my siblingScreen Shot 2019-05-11 at 12.07.21 PM.pngs and me the importance of God’s Word and the church. Both were musicians and gave us an appreciation for music. But my sisters and I agree that Mom gave us a love for cooking, nice clothes, flowers, and books. We miss her and still honor her in our thoughts. But since dementia marred her last few years, we are glad she is in heaven and completely well.

For some of you, this annual day of celebration may be difficult because your mother was abusive, emotionally or physically ill, or simply not a positive role model. You could never seemingly please her or sensed you were more of a burden than a joy. Her negative words instilled a sense of shame and worthlessness. Now as an adult, you find it difficult to think about honoring her. Even joining others to remember their mothers stirs up feelings of anger, guilt, isolation and sadness—feelings of I don’t belong at this celebration.

Although you have been greatly hurt, forgiveness toward your mother is essential. You do not have to pretend she was good or excuse her bad behavior, but for your emotional, mental, and spiritual health, forgiveness is the only way toward wholeness. Dr. Richard Dobbins, a Christian psychologist, said, “The forgiving process is like peeling an onion. The layers come off one at a time and you cry a lot.” This difficult task may take months, even years, but it’s worth the effort.

One widow friend has never had children; another friend’s only child died at birth; and another is experiencing the pain of both widowhood and estrangement from her children. While these precious women celebrate for others, Mother’s Day for them reminds them of unfulfilled dreams, disappointments, and regret. We muScreen Shot 2019-05-11 at 12.04.00 PM.pngst acknowledge that this day does not bring joy for everyone.

Whatever Mother’s Day represents for you—whether you feel honored or neglected, remember that God looks at you as His child, and He has always had a good plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). You are accepted and treasured, not because you are beautiful, wealthy, brilliant, or talented, and not even because you are a mother. You are valued because you are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). You are blessed, chosen, and adopted into His family through the death and resurrection of Christ (Ephesians 1:3-9).

May this Mother’s Day bring you joy in knowing that God loves you and that you are His treasure (I John 3:1a).