To All The Ruined Mothers

“I’m ruined, Shelli.”

One petal falls.

DSC_3014 (3)I can’t bear to hear her utter those words. I cover my ears and eyes. “La, la, la …” I love her so.

When did this point arrive? When did the words “ostomy,” “colostomy,” “colectomy” think they could enter their little world? Her son is only 10. He’s endured more over the last couple of months than most adults could bear. But he’s past the stage of hugs, and high-fives have taken their place. Yet I know that little boy inside that big boy yearns to reach his arms up, be taken up, and rocked, swaying back and forth, until all things are made better. Until the pain is all gone. Until the bed of tears runs dry.

“I can’t smile anymore, Shelli.”

Another petal loosens.

DSC_3016 (3)I can’t begin to imagine what it took, the struggle within her mother-heart, to give her consent … her consent to release something so important to her son. To let go. To say goodbye.

What can I say? What can I do? How do we help when one petal after another seems to slip away? One thing after another. Nothing is easy. What else can go wrong? Mothers so want good for our kids–a pleasant, perfect, pain-free, prosperous life.

What are you thinking, Mother? That this is your fault? That you could have prevented this? That you did something to cause this? That you didn’t do enough? Or that you simply want your child’s life the way it used to be?

“We are having a very difficult time finding an ostomy bag that is a good fit … and we’ve tried several,” she wearily says.

One more petal breaks free and drifts to the ground.

DSC_3021 (3)What if … you’re not ruined? What if you were ruined before, and you just didn’t realize it? Maybe what we thought was good was the ruination. Because the tissue was so damaged it was about to fall apart. “One more day, and it would have been a different story,” reported the doctor. One more day, and instead of arranging ostomy bags, they could have been arranging …

What do you know, Shelli? When have you felt ruined, Shelli? When you found out you couldn’t have children, your heart’s desire since childhood? When you found out you were doomed to be different. When all your hopes and dreams disintegrated. When your future didn’t look bright and pretty anymore. When everything was stripped away, and all that remained was a barren stem. When all you could do was look up, reach up.

Mother scans over his irritated skin surrounding the leaky bag, tears surfacing in her eyes. Only God knows the amount of tears she’s cried.

Another petal falls.

DSC_3024 (3)But what if when we love God so much, when we’ve given Him our hearts, we change? What if God is making a new thing? What if that’s exactly what He intended? What if the goal is to have the only thing remaining of you be Him, the lifeblood, the foundation that keeps us standing. We hold so tightly to the color of “the way things should be.”

If I could have given birth, I would have wanted to birth my daughters. My adopted daughters. My children. I wouldn’t select any other. No one could take their places.

Because what if God knows exactly what He is doing?

“It breaks my heart when I look at your bag,” Mother says to her son. 

The last petal breaks free. 

DSC_3031 (3)If we reach our arms up, do we think God would lift us up? Would He set us on new, different ground? Safe ground. Good ground. What if that new ground is our testimony? The testimony that makes us beautiful, colorful, whole. New. Healed.

“Well, it makes me happy every time I look at it,” he says, “because it saved my life.” 

DSC_3008 (3)And maybe that’s it. Maybe the stripping away is salvation. Maybe the ruination is our salvation. Maybe it’s God’s method of rescue, His method to rescue others. The old tissue is so damaged, wilting, it cannot remain. It must fall away. Because the truth is … that 10-year-old lifted his arms to his Savior over a year ago, and he’s been rocking with Jesus ever since. He’s waltzing in to his brand new testimony, and in his humorous and warrior-like attitude, he calls that bag “Frances.”

Mothers, why shouldn’t we see something new?

DSC_3037 (4)

Happy Mother’s Day, beautiful friends, especially to those who are hurting!

And prayers for a special Mother’s Day for my loved one. She’s so much stronger than she knows. She’s my person and a wonderful mother. She’s so loved. ♥

13 thoughts on “To All The Ruined Mothers

  1. Just read your past two posts, Shelli. Congratulations for the one, prayers for your friend and child for the last one.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    From your blogging friend, Mitzy Bricker

    Blue Rock Horses Frederick County, Virginia

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stacey


    I believe this is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever written. It touched me in my core. Maybe because I know “your person” and have cried out to God for her….or maybe because I just needed to be reminded of this truth. Thank you Shelli. I sure do love you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love you so much, Stacey. Seeing your name makes me smile all over. Linda and I have always had a special bond, like you and me. You lift me up continually. Thank you for always supporting me in everything. I love you. ❤


  3. Beautiful, beautiful, dear Shelli. Your pictures, your words, your message. I’ll be pondering: Maybe the ruination is our salvation.
    Yes. I choose to trust the place He’s placed us.
    Mother’s Day blessings, sweet friend ~ Wendy Mac

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie M

    Precious cousin, Shelli,

    I don’t think it could have been written or put any better. You have such a beautiful way with words, and your message. The heartfelt expressions. I absolutely love this. I truly love the way you used “their” words verbatim. I’ve heard my precious aunt say all of this, as well. It breaks my heart into pieces to see her suffering the way she has been.

    I love their family and truly have carried their burdens on my own shoulders through the past few months. It hurts my heart so. I do see God in all of it. Landon has been such a trooper through it all. His view of life and his trials is so positive and such a testimony to so many. It’s pretty amazing, to say the very least.

    God is good. Our trials are our testimonies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Julie. It feels like our families have endured so much over the last few years. When it comes down to the fact that all you know is that you can trust God … ❤ We'll keep praying for that baby. I'm so broken that he's back in the hospital. I love you.


  5. Shirlee Abbott

    As mothers, we want our children to be pain free and happy. Our heavenly Father loves our children more than we do (hard to believe, but true!), and he wants them to be spiritually strong and wise. Thank you, Shelli, for painting the difference so clearly. God’s work in you has made you strong and wise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shirlee, I don’t feel very strong or wise. It’s so hard. But I just faced a same problem I dealt with about a year and a half ago … last time, I nearly fell apart. This time, I didn’t. But I think seeing all that my little cousin has endured reminds me not to moan and groan. If he can survive all that … ❤


  6. Phyllis

    I know your heart and have prayed for this person. Shelli keep up the Lord’s work. May His peace and healing continue to be seen and heard through you and your writing. I love you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phyllis, thank you so much. I love you, too. He’s home again after another trip to the hospital. We are rejoicing and praying for continued healing. He still has that smile on his face, no matter what he’s endured. He’s just amazing. And … he loves God. ❤


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