Last week my eight-year-old foster daughter came bouncing through the back door. She had that look on her face that could only mean she was bursting at the seams to tell me something exciting. Anxious to hear what she had to say, I stopped what I was doing. “We planted bulbs at school today,” she proudly reported. “Mine is white. It’s for you, for Mother’s Day!”

I don’t think she fully understood the impact of those innocent words, as she had no idea how long I had ached to hear them. Thirteen years! Thirteen years of skipping church, pretending the holiday really didn’t mean much to me. And now, here I was, standing in my kitchen with a little girl who couldn’t possibility know what she just did. I turned quickly to wipe away my tears, gave her a big hug, and out the door she went just as fast as she came in.

Her words stuck with me all through the night. At times, my heart leaped out of my chest at the excitement of receiving my first Mother’s Day gift. Other times, my heart ached for her that she wouldn’t be with her mom this year. In between those feelings, I felt guilty and “un-worthy” of celebrating Mother’s Day. The range of emotions tore through me all night long.

Three months ago my husband and I became foster parents. We went from just the two of us to a family of four in a little over 24 hours. Parenthood came, but not the way we expected it. It came as we went to pick up “our girls”– we knew this was where God wanted us. The previous fall, we made the difficult decision to stop all infertility treatment and pursue foster parenting. It was through prayer and faith in God that we were able to walk away from treatment and start fostering. The first night we put the girls to bed, my husband and I thanked God for giving us this opportunity, and for allowing us to minister to these precious children.

We are positive that God closed my womb because He needed Mike and I to care for these children. For years I hung to God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord. Plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.” God knew and had spent the last 13 years preparing me for just this. My trials over the past 13 years have blessed and strengthened me. Not only has God fulfilled His promise to me, but He has used my struggles to bless and strengthen men and women who are also dealing with similar issues. I may not understand or like traveling down this road of infertility, but I know that if God was faithful to fulfill His promises to me, He will be faithful to others as well.

A mere three months after being placed with the girls, I was torn with emotion about how I would celebrate my first Mother’s day. My infertility was still real to me and I ached for all my sisters in Christ that would be empty-armed on Sunday. I hurt for Catarina, my foster daughter who was torn from her mom, not by her choice, but by poor choices her mom made. And yet, there was a part of me that couldn’t wait to finally be able to acknowledge that yes, I am a mom.

As I have trusted in God in the past, I once again turn to Him as I await Mother’s Day. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). I can trust that God will use this Mother’s Day experience to strengthen me. I pray that he will also use my struggle to bless me and the many others who came after me.

So as Mother’s Day approaches, I will await my white flower that was planted just for me. I will say a prayer of peace and hope for all my sisters in Christ still awaiting their first Mother’s Day, and I will say a special prayer for Catarina that she will someday understand what a special gift she gave me with those simple words, “It’s for you, for Mother’s Day.”

May God bless you all, as He has so blessed me.