Later this week I plan to write a couple articles celebrating Mother’s Day. More accurately, I plan to write about the ways women can glorify God through motherhood. As our culture shames women who stay at home to nurture their children, such ladies need encouragement and reassurance that they please the Lord by their devotion to their children.
Ain’t nothing wrong with that!
At the same time, Christians can get so wrapped up in extolling motherhood that we forget the ladies who feel acute pain on the second Sunday of May each year. Often, those hurting women avoid attending church services that week. Hearing sermons about the joys of raising godly children or the importance of honoring mothers who may not be all that virtuous can sting. Mother’s Day has barbs that lacerate even the most devout heart.
The scenarios vary in intensity. For instance, I never had the opportunity to bear a child, and my disability would have made doing so unwise. In addition, my mom died almost six years ago followed by my mother-in-law’s death nearly four years ago. Not much motivation for me to celebrate.
I’ve had friends who suffered serious abuse from their mothers. They remember the slaps across the face, the vicious words and the prolonged silent treatments. Honoring their mothers comes with tremendous difficulty. Therefore sermons exhorting them to give their moms honor seem cruel. They have very little desire to celebrate.
Other women remember mothers who died before they finished growing up. They walked across graduation stages without seeing their moms applauding. Their mothers couldn’t help them plan their weddings or support them through long pregnancies. When women lose their mothers so early, it’s hard to celebrate.
And then there are the infertile women. Each month the blood spots on their panties disappoint them. One more egg that will never become a baby. Or the pregnancy that ends in another miscarriage or stillbirth. And the pain when people say all the stupid things that don’t provide a modicum of comfort.
Finally, the women who outlive children or see rebellious children walk away from the Lord have trouble celebrating Mother’s Day. Both groups had cherished dreams for their children. Both groups have been robbed. For them, Mother’s Day is no celebration.
Scripture demands that Christians treat everyone who suffers by weeping with them (Romans 12:15). If our joy causes us to behave with insensitivity towards sisters in Christ, we may need to examine our hearts a little. Is our celebration causing them to stumble (Romans 14:15)?
Admittedly, this year most churches will be closed on May 10, offering some relief to women who struggle with Mother’s Day. But this excused absence may not totally ease their heartache.
I plead with those of you who happily celebrate Mother’s Day with your moms and children to be mindful of your sisters in Christ who feel pain. By all means, enjoy your celebrations! Praise God for how wonderfully He has blessed you. But remember to weep with your sisters who weep.