Mother's Day can be touchy in church work. Like other days our culture sets aside to commemorate something or someone special, people bring their own history and expectations into the room.
There is always the potential to fail.
There is always the danger to cause unintentional pain.
I have been in churches where the pastor cheered on the oldest mom; the mom with the most kids; the mom with the newest baby.
I have watched ushers separate women as they enter the sanctuary like sheep and goats; "Are you a mom? Here's your carnation! Not a mom? Have a nice day..."
Most vividly, I recall a service that included strong, intense condemnation of abortion. I don't recall what was said; I was out in the foyer with a fussy baby. It was there that I watched a woman leave, devastated. Grief-stricken. Broken.
Her abortion was not forgotten. Her healing wasn't helped by the condemning words of a pastor who yelled above the people in the room, screaming at the issue. Her church dealt her a devastating, painful blow that day. I wonder if she ever went back.
Planning this year's Mother's Day service, I approached the day with care. I have kids. I have friends who do not. I have my mom still with me. I have friends who do not. One of the most special women in my history lost her son and daughter-in-law in a automobile accident just a two weeks ago.
How does Mother's Day feel for her this year?
There is no "one-size-fits-all" way to have church on a day like this. Because we are worshiping with one another, and we are connected, and some of us are in great pain. We cannot ignore that in our efforts to pursue some sort of Hallmark-generated reality.
We found an incredible piece of writing, from a blogger named Amy who lives in Beijing and writes at The Messy Middle. Amy is not a mom. She shared her heart with a poignant essay that we felt spoke life into the reality of Mother's Day for all women.
It made for a beautiful day. I'm grateful for Amy's words.
Find Amy's original piece here; read her blog here.
To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you.
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you.
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you.
To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you.
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you.
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you.
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you.
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you.
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience.
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst.
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you.
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you.
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
- Amy, The Messy Middle