Around this time each year, I see blog posts about the foolishness of Mother’s Day, about the lack of fairness in it all, about the gloating mothers and the grieving mothers and the women who wish they are mothers. And, I completely get it. I really do. Mother’s Day, in some ways, is a hard day.
I myself sat in a pew shortly after I learned that, once again, the child in my womb no longer had a heartbeat. I occupied my regular seat that morning while the Mother’s Day video played, thinking of little else except when the all-too-familiar bleeding would begin. And wondering what God’s plan was for me, as a woman. As a mother.
And, many of you will sit in a pew or choose to stay home this Mother’s Day, and you will come face to face (as you do every day) with the grief of an empty womb. Or a mother gone to Heaven. Or a child who is in trouble. Or a broken marriage. Or the memory of standing next to your baby’s grave.
Grief is an overwhelming sensation on any day, but on a special day that’s set aside to celebrate motherhood, it can be downright crushing. We feel robbed. We feel angry. We feel helpless and sometimes just plain hopeless.
And, I don’t blame any woman in the world for feeling those feelings. We feel how we feel.
But, please allow me to gently remind us all, friends, that Christianity is not a faith about feelings. No, it is a faith of pure, uncut, unadulterated reality. And, it calls us to something higher than our feelings. The reality is that God is sovereign. The reality is that He knows infinitely more than we do. The reality is that He is good and trustworthy. The reality is that because of Jesus Christ, one day everything in the universe will be set right again. The reality is that there is great hope in Christ.
Grief can sometimes cloud our reliance on these truths, but they remain true just the same. Feelings come and go, but His word is always true, and He never changes.
Now, as Christians we live together in community, and we live out our faith not only toward Christ, but toward each other. We give Him our worship and our obedience and our love, and we give each other loyalty, support, and encouragement. We aren’t called just to love God, but to love each other–the kind of love that says, I rejoice when you rejoice, and I grieve when you grieve.
So, what does this mean for Mother’s Day? It means that, with the strength of Jesus within us, we can turn to our friends and weep with them over their miscarriages. We can grieve with them over the loss of their mothers. We can offer our shoulder when they need to fall apart over the death of a child. We can cry and call out to God on their behalf, and we can acknowledge their pain.
We can also turn to our friends and pinch the chubby cheeks of their newborn babies. We can give them a pat on the back and tell them what an amazing job they’re doing. We can honor our mothers or we can honor the memory of our mothers. We can be genuinely happy about all of the little children scampering around our friends’ feet.
And, we can praise God that He is present through it all.
You see, the problem isn’t that Mother’s Day is an evil thing that Hallmark created in order to make women feel less-than. It’s wonderful to recognize the incredible role that mothers play in the kingdom of God. The problem is that our self-centered culture has taught us that what matters is how we feel.
But, the Bible tells a completely different story.
According to God’s word, what matters is how well we love Christ and how well we love others. Shouting about how unfair things are does nothing for a grieving mother. It does nothing for a woman who is desperate to conceive. It does nothing for a mama struggling to keep her head above water with four little children underfoot. And, it does nothing to build a community of faith that grieves together and rejoices together.
So, don’t let the loud voices out there who are supposedly advocating for hurting women convince you that Mother’s Day is a sham. It’s an opportunity to love like Christ loves. Sacrificially. And it’s a chance to remind ourselves that our feelings are not the be all and end all. In fact, they are very often deceptive and filled with lies that mar the truth. Don’t forget the reality of your situation on Mother’s Day, whatever it may be: God is sovereign. He is good. And, we can trust Him.
Thank you for this. Beautifully said.
Thank you, Susan!
Some good words!
Oh. Amen, amen.
In the last 2 years I’ve stood by friends and family members as they have grieved multiple miscarriages, late term stillbirth, yet another year of hoping to conceive before it’s “too late.” Prior to that I naively had no clue how common these mother (and father) heartbreaks are.
These years of walking with grieved parents hit me just the day after Christmas when we found out our 2nd baby, a girl, has a serious chromosomal disorder that is often fatal just before or after birth. BUT GOD…He has held us through it! Our little one is 31 weeks along, kicking and reminding us that we will now meet her face-to-face, even if her trip to Heaven follows not long after, or if we are a “lucky” family, even if we have a few years and bury her as a child. And while our emotions are so sensitive and raw, our faith is built on much stronger stuff than emotions. Praise our savior for that!
Very well said. Thank you.
Beautiful. I post it on my spanish blog.