Mother’s Day is often an emotional roller coaster for women, the swoops and turns determined by life season and situation. There is the month-long climb towards high expectations–courtesy of Hallmark and Publix commercials—followed by the stomach-lurching drop into reality–courtesy of McDonald’s, busy schedules, missed reminders—and life.

There isn’t a woman I know whose family resembles the ones in those commercials—though we often wish they did. The reality is often a jumbled mess of laughter and tears, of happy days and heartbreaking ones.

This day will find some women grieving–the loss of a child, or the ache of never having children at all. Many with grown children flounder in the grief of wayward children and the silence of empty houses. Moms in the middle of the parenting years, juggling a crazy-busy household, still battle a nagging sense that they haven’t done enough, haven’t done it right. Grandmothers worry that they have failed somewhere down the line.

No matter what season of life you’re in, or what title you wear, please know this:

If your heart is breaking this Mother’s day, consider yourself hugged, hard. You are loved and valued and valuable. And you are not alone.

If you are climbing the never-ending mountain of laundry today, remember that the dust bunnies will still be there—even after the children are grown and gone.

And for every woman battling the monster called expectations, here, take this sword. Chop that rascal to bits, stomp on him and then go live in freedom.

We are all different. Different personalities, different gifts, different seasons, and different dreams. Uniquely designed by the Great Creator.

No matter what title society or family has—or has not–placed on you, the most important one is this: Deeply loved. God made us and He loves us, deeply.

While you’re hanging onto the roller coaster this Mother’s Day, reach out with your other hand and hug another woman–be she older, younger, friend, stranger, or family member. Whisper in her ear that she is exactly right and okay the way she is, the way she was created to be. Tell her how important she is.

Denmark_Connie Mann

A churchyard in Copenhagen, Denmark

To all the mothers–and wonderful mentors–God has put into my life, thank you for the love, lessons and laughter. You make riding the coaster a lot more fun!