Faith,  Guatemala

For Those Not Standing

Tomorrow we celebrate Mother’s Day. Many of us, filled with gratitude, honor the love, sacrifices and prayers of our moms. For many others this day brings grief, longing and inescapable reminder of what they do not have. I think about my friends who have lost their moms far too early, others who have faced miscarriages if they were able to get pregnant at all and those who have painful memories of a mom who was not there for them.

We rejoice with those who rejoice. And we mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15)

For those whose hearts rip as their newsfeeds fill with pictures of Mother’s Day bouquets and gifts. For those who stay seated at church as everyone who is a mother is asked to stand and be honored. For those seeking to honor the mothers around them even while the salt grinds into their hopes deferred.

I mourn with you.

I also mourn with the mothers living in the largest slum in Guatemala. Mothers who watch their children being abused and are helpless to stop it. Who leave their children alone from early until late to earn enough for one meal a day. Mothers who pray earnestly for their child to beat the statistics of gang violence dominating the slum they have no way of escaping. Mothers who want a better life for their children without access to make that possible.

While visiting La Limonada, we met many mothers. Pictured here is Ana (I briefly told her story here), one whose intensity of both pain and love for her children was staggering. She was desperate to see her daughter go to high school but unable to afford it. Her dream was to see her finish the vocational track and have the chance at a good job as a bank teller. Through the scholars program, her mother’s heart has been given the gift of this possibility. Her daughter will attend school if generous sponsors continue to provide the funding.

I mourn the difficulty of life for Ana and her children. And I rejoice in the Mother’s Day gift she has this year in the education of her daughter. As I honor my own incredible mom (and second moms) this weekend, I honor the incredible mother Ana is.

I rejoice with all who have reason tomorrow to celebrate. And I mourn with all who have reason to weep.



Tim and I were invited to join a Bloggers Team to visit the community of La Limonada with Lemonade International. We spent April 15-17th in the community. I blogged:

Committed to the most vulnerable around the world.


  • April

    Thank you so much for this post Katie, it touched my heart in ways you cannot imagine. Last August, I was told that my chances of ever having a child were extremely slim, and that was a very hard blow to take. This past year God has taken me through much of the mourning process that goes with that kind of news. Most people are quick to offer other solutions…I’ve heard all too often “well you can always adopt”. While I do believe adoption is a wonderful thing and might be the route I end up taking, those words do not heal the hole that comes from knowing I will probably never get to experience the miracle of feeling a life growing inside of me. I pray that those who are mothers, remember to give thanks regularly for this blessing, because it is not a blessing that is given to all. Infertility is a hard pill to swallow and requires going through a grieving process many do not understand. Thank you for you kindness and compassion in addressing this in your blog post today. In His Love, April

    • katienhoiland

      Thanks for sharing your story April and your kind words. I don’t know what you’ve experienced, but I have known the pain of not being allowed to enter into other grief. It was amazing to me when I realized God not only accepts our lamenting but prescribed it in worship services through the Psalms! I pray we can be the deep community to others who long for someone to enter into both grief and joys with them. And having experienced the tender mercies of Jesus, seek to extend it to the least of these. Thanks for commenting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.