This past weekend was Mother’s Day. I’ve been in church services where the whole day is about Mom. Flowers are passed out, moms and grandmothers are told to stand and be honored. The message is about the awesomeness of mom and songs are sung to the glory of Mom. It can get pretty ridiculous as it seems to put motherhood on the pedestal with the Trinity.
I have a friend who doesn’t go to church on Mother’s Day because of this. It’s too painful. She was never able to have children. Her relationship with her mother ended when she left her abusive family at age 10. In her words, “Mother’s Day was the annual reminder of how jacked up my life was.” She hated her own mom, she wasn’t a mom. She had no use for Mother’s Day.
I had another friend who avoided Mother’s Day in her younger years for other reasons. She had kids and was an incredible mother but Mother’s Day was a reminder of the one she aborted as a teenager. I have another friend that has lost a child during childbirth. The church is the last place she wants to be on Mother’s Day.
I feel the tension every year as Mother’s Day approaches. Many people (me included) have incredibly positive “Mom Stories.” Examples of sacrifice, unconditional love, and patience abound with Mom. Many women find great joy and purpose in their identity as being a godly mom. They understand how far-reaching their influence is with their children.
So what is a church supposed to do on Mother’s Day?
I am not in a position to tell any church what they should do on Mother’s Day. The best I can do is communicate what we do and why we do it that way.
We try to walk in that tension. We will show a little video that celebrates moms. We will also acknowledge that the day isn’t a great day for everyone. Here’s what I said yesterday after the video: (At least, what I remember of it.)
Today we celebrate moms but I think it’s important to recognize that today isn’t the best of days for all women. For some, it’s a reminder of pains that run deep. Maybe they weren’t able to have children. Maybe their mom was abusive and distant. Maybe there is the pain of an abortion or the loss of a child. Here’s what I’d like for you to hear this morning if Mother’s Day is a day of pain for you. One day, in the blink of an eye, when we see Jesus – He will make all things right. All things. He will wipe away every tear. He will heal hurts completely. Those scabs will be gone. One day. And it’s because of this hope that even on a day like Mother’s Day, we can laugh and smile and hope.”
Then I prayed.
Of course, this happens every Sunday. People show up at different places in their story. It could be a high point or a low point. They could be ready to worship, ready to end it all. Some come looking for affirmation, others come looking for answers. Either way, it’s a wise team that tries to at the least have something for them to hold onto.
So for all our mothers and grandmothers – Happy Mother’s Day. You are an inspiration. You are being used by God to change the world, one life at a time.
For all of those who have scars that still hurt on this day – you are not alone. God is near to those crushed in spirit and brokenhearted. May you experience His nearness today.