How God Brings Hope to Hopeless Mothers

This coming Sunday, May 12th, mothers in America will be celebrated and honored. According to Hallmark, 113 million Mother’s Day cards are sent annually. Perhaps some moms will receive homemade gifts, flowers, breakfast in bed, phone calls, or time shared with family over a meal. What a delight!

For some, though, Mother’s Day includes the pain of loss, disappointment, and even depression. I know a few families whose children have “broken up” with their parents in recent years, which is an ongoing, searing grief as holidays pass without a word.

For some mothers who have lost a child or who have struggled with infertility, Mother’s Day is fueled by the pain of what is missing–the empty seat at the table, the unsent flowers, the nameless sadness. For others, the empty seat at the table this year is their Mother’s, and her absence will be palpably felt.

One potential aspect in motherhood that is not often talked about is depression. Biblical counselor, speaker and author Christine Chappell vulnerably shares the story of her mental health diagnosis and the respite of hope she found in Jesus the book, Midnight Mercies: Walking with God Through Depression in Motherhood.

From hopelessness to hope, she artfully depicts familiar characters from the Bible with a fresh perspective of their heartfelt suffering met with God’s merciful response. She hopes to add the Savior’s voice to the inner dialogue of mothers. In one particularly poignant section, Chappell writes:

“…God tailors his care to individuals and their particular experiences. The way he helped Moses was much different from how he helped Elijah. He wanted Gideon to ‘Go!’ but the bleeding woman to ‘come.’ And although he comforted Mary and Martha in their grief, he confronted Job in his. Yet he didn’t misunderstand or mishandle any–he helped them all to take a step through the darkness (2 Cor. 1:3-4)”, (p. 79-80).

She asks, “Do God’s Midnight Mercies seem to be for everyone but you?” (p. 71). And to that question she asks readers to remind themselves, “When I feel lonely and left without, I will remember that misery has temporarily skewed my perception of reality, that I cannot see the whole story from where I stand, and that I do not serve a graceless, compassionless, or merciless God” (p. 72).

For me, God’s mercy became more precious in 2010 when I was diagnosed with a rare and pervasive cancer. We started a site on Caring Bridge entitled, “Clouds of Mercy” based off of William Cowper’s hymn, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” The third verse of the hymn says, “Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.”

We asked the Lord to prolong my life long enough to see my youngest daughter, Ruth, (who was ten at the time) graduate from high school. I wrote in my journal, “anything else will be icing on the cake.”

This week I will cheer heartily and gratefully as she walks across the stage at Regent University to receive her Law Degree! That is a lot of icing on the cake!! I have experienced deep midnight mercies from the Lord! And I pray you will, too.

To learn more about these mercies for yourself, join us this week when you listen to Haven Today as David Wollen interviews Christine Chappell about her journey on a path of darkness and hopelessness that led to God’s merciful help as he traveled with her.

No matter how dark the night, God’s mercy can sustain you. How is the Lord showing you mercy today?

About the Author

Kate Sunday has been a pastor’s wife and women’s Bible study leader in the western suburbs of Chicago for over thirty years. Her husband, David, is a teaching pastor at New Covenant Bible Church and President of WordPartners. She has three adult children (two are married and her youngest is getting married this month) and one sweet granddaughter. Kate is currently a student at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, working on a Master of Arts in Ministry and Leadership.

Midnight Mercies: Walking with God through Depression in Motherhood

Are you a mother who feels stuck in depression?

You’re not the only Christian woman who knows what this darkness is like. When feelings of hopelessness, weariness, sadness, anger, anxiety, shame, and loneliness feel impossible to bear, it can seem like God is nowhere to be found. But there’s more to the story than you can presently perceive.

Biblical counselor Christine Chappell has walked these dark paths herself―and she wants to help mothers see God’s heart for you more clearly as you endure sorrow and pain. As Christine recounts her own midnight journey through depression and explores stories of desperate sufferers who experienced God’s mercy in the Scriptures, she shows how God meets us in our despair and helps us toward his light―one step at a time.

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