Mother’s Day always makes me think of pearls.
And I can’t see a pearl and not think of struggle.
Maybe yesterday was the best day ever…or maybe it was a painful reminder of what you don’t have.
I’ve had both kinds.
Years ago, my husband gave me a beautiful strand of pearls during a hard season of life. It was a lavish gift for a sweatpants-wearing mom who hadn’t left the house in weeks. Our third baby was born premature and spent the first months of life tethered to an apnea monitor.
There was a new job, a new baby, a new set of challenges, a new season to navigate. And it all made me feel very old.
The day he brought the wrapped pearls home was the first day we attempted to get me out of the house. I laughed at the gift because they seemed so inappropriate for my dirty hair and weary body. But my sweet husband was determined to celebrate the new things in our lives, even though some of them were hard.
He carefully fastened the lustrous strand around my neck and I traded my wrinkled t-shirt for a dressy top. We loaded up baby and her siblings, medical gear and diaper bag and drove the 2 short miles to our favorite restaurant.
Within a few minutes of sitting down, the waiter accidentally dumped the pitcher of sweet tea into my new diaper bag just as a terrible stomach bug was beginning in my preschool son. I carried him to the bathroom where he got very sick. I propped open the door and tried to wave down a waiter to grab my husband who was busy mopping up tea, jiggling a fussy baby and regretting the whole idea.
We left the restaurant before we even ordered — a sad, soggy, stinky mess. We had a puker in the car and a fragile newborn. It was the car ride of nightmares.
I laughed and cried in my pearls the two miles back home.
Every time I see those pearls hanging in my jewelry box or around my neck, I remember that night. The irony of the pearls and the puke weren’t lost on me.
But then I remembered how pearls are formed.
Pearls are created in oysters due to an irritant, usually a grain of sand.
Struggle is a part of living, but when we know we are producing something good, it helps us through it.
Pearls are the outcome of struggle. They are rare and priceless, unique and treasured. They are a product of irritation and are created as defense against something that is hard, something that doesn’t belong.
A pearl is a product of suffering. It is a healed wound.
And it takes perseverance and grit to produce anything.
Life is filled with struggle. But it’s not wasted hardship and trials. Our struggle is irritating and annoying, sometimes it’s heartbreaking and horrible, but it’s producing something good within us.
We can’t enjoy a pearl inside an oyster without a great price being paid. Oysters must die to give up their priceless creation, something precious we treasure.
There are thousands and thousands of women around the globe who are living a living hell. Their problems don’t end with soiled diaper bags and stomach bugs, they are struggling to survive.
Women are the most oppressed people group in the world.
And the freedom we enjoy–to worship, to make choices, to have options, are a gift easily taken for granted.
We want to take a moment to remind women around the globe they aren’t forgotten. We want every woman to know–in every corner of the world–that she is priceless.
Tomorrow, Mercy House is hosting She is Priceless, our very first Giving Day. We are partnering with 4 other non-profit organizations who are working to empower women. Just like a pearl, we believe every woman is unique, treasured and priceless.
So, put your pearls on, girl, and thank God in the midst of your struggle. And help us remember priceless women around the world.
We are asking you to put on pearl earrings, bracelet, or necklace, take a selfie and share on social media, use #putonyourpearls and help us raise money for thousands of oppressed and impoverished women around the globe.
You are priceless.
So is she.