Sacrificial Love

I can still remember my first Mother’s Day I spent here. I remember feeling as if a piece of my heart was missing, and I could not bear the pain it filled with me. The regret and shame of not being able to be with my child or my own mother was so overwhelming I felt as if I were drowning.

I knew that in order to survive I was going to have to find a way to take that pain and turn it into something beautiful. After many, many years here I have come to realize that that is what life is about for all of us: finding a way to take the pain in our lives and turn it into something beautiful, something that reflects God’s love for all of us. I have come to know that what the enemy has stolen from us the Lord will restore in such beautiful and mysterious ways. He will give back all that was stolen when you trust and lean into him.

For me this restoration has come in ways I could have never conceived. He has taken those places that were destroyed and filled them with such a beautiful love. He has given me others to share him with and to nurture. To call my own in ways far more profound than anything I have ever experienced. I know that I will always miss what could not be but he has given to me a gift beyond measure. He spoke into my heart, “Love my children as I have loved you.”

Being a mother goes far beyond giving birth to a child. It is a continuous giving of yourself to another human being. It is showering them in nurturing wisdom and love. It is being there in the hard times and comforting in the pain. It is revealing the intricate ways the Lord works in our lives so that they never take for granted the gifts he gives to us each and every day. I hope this Mother’s Day is filled with those very gifts for all mothers. That no matter where they may be, they are able to see the beauty our lives are filled with and share that with others the way Mary so willingly shared her son with us. Let us reflect on her life and her love for all humanity and strive to love as sacrificially as she did, all whom we encounter.


Brittany Holberg is an Oblate of the Sisters of the Morning Star. She is housed on Texas Women’s Death Row.

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