Mother's Day is the third largest retail holiday in the U.S., according to the National Retail Federation. About $21.2 billion was spent in 2015. In churches, it’s a high attendance day as many mothers ask for one gift – that her family worships together. It’s a day to celebrate. To honor. And yet, it’s also a difficult day for many. This Mother’s Day weekend, we walk with all in this piece from an anonymous author:

For mothers

To those who gave birth this year to their first child — we celebrate with you.

To those who lost a child this year — we mourn with you.

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains — we appreciate you.

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away — we mourn with you.

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment — we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make things harder.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms — we need you.

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children — we celebrate with you.

To those who have disappointment, heartache and distance with your children — we sit with you.

To those who lost their mothers this year — we grieve with you.

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your mother — we acknowledge your experience.

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood — we are better for having you in our midst.

To those who have aborted children — we remember them and you on this day.

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children — we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for.

To those who stepparent — we walk with you on these complex paths.

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be — we grieve with you.

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year — we grieve and rejoice with you.

To those who placed children for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart.

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising — we anticipate with you.

McNeal is associate pastor for member care and connections at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. Contact her at christine@stjohnsbloomington.org.