Over the last couple of years I have had to learn how to hold both grief and gratitude – sometimes both equally at the same time, most times with one outweighing the other. I am slowly learning that these things are not mutually exclusive.

This Mother’s Day and all of the rest to come I will be carrying the grief of the loss of my mom. I am expecting it to feel heavy and awful. But I will also be carrying gratefulness for the incredible sacrifices she made and the love she gave over the 23 years of my life as my mom that shaped who I am today.

I will be grieving the fact that my mom is no longer here with me, but I will be grateful for the other motherly voices in my life that still are.

I will be grieving so many other places where motherhood causes pain and feels overlooked and unseen- miscarriage, infertility, abandonment, burnout, brokenness – but I will be grateful for the God who sees and knows and provides in these places.

I am grateful for all of the mothers – both physical and spiritual – who are laboring on in love and doing the best they know how to. What an absolute gift to have in this world.

Tomorrow will be the first Mother’s Day I’m experiencing without the presence of my mom, and it hurts that that is part of my story. But remember back in January when I said how much more I was choosing to see signs of God’s love in my life after the worst loss I had ever experienced? Here are some of those signs of His life and care and beauty: flowers handpicked and planted in our front yard by my mom years ago, still blooming and bringing forth new life in this season just in time for Mother’s Day. What a sweet reminder that even in my grief and pain and sorrow, God is making all things new.