Arriving at church on a cool Sunday morning in May, I hesitantly walked through the doors knowing it was Mother’s Day and the entire service would revolve around honoring mothers and motherhood.
In recent years this day has become very difficult for me as I am getting older, have never married and I am not a mother. In addition, I continue to grieve the loss of my mother who passed away many years ago. However, I wanted to attend the church service because I genuinely wanted to celebrate my friends who were mothers and to be around my church family.
Before the pastor started his sermon, he asked all the women in attendance who were mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers to stand. As the rest of the congregation applauded I looked around and noticed I was one of very few adult women who did not stand.
My heart ached as I fought back the tears thinking about my mom and feeling like an outcast, wondering if I would ever have the chance to have my own child.
Each year, millions of dollars are spent on Mother’s Day cards, flowers, gifts and special meals. As a result, for several weeks leading up to this special day, I am confronted with a multitude advertisements in stores, on TV and social media and even in church, all of which serve as glaring reminders of what I am missing and what I long to be.
As painful as Mother’s Day can be, it also presents an opportunity for me to open my eyes to see the many blessings that God has given me such as how He brought several women in my life over the years who have served as surrogate mothers and mentors.
In addition, although I have not physically bore my own children, I still have the opportunity to love and nurture the people around me, by discipling many young women each year as they grow in their relationship with Christ, babysit for my friend’s children so they can have night out, and make meals for families in need.
Though my life may look different then most women my age, I still have hope knowing God has neither left me nor forsaken me. He desires for me to invite Him into my grief and sorrow by bringing my questions, sadness and even anger to Him so He can shower me with His love and bring healing to my heart.
Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest of your souls.”
If Mother’s Day is hard for you:
- Spend some extended time with the Lord. Bring all of your emotions, your sadness, frustration and even your anger, to him, being real about how you feel.
- If your mom has passed away or your relationship with your mom is difficult, spend time thinking through the older women who have influenced you over the years. Send an encouraging note to them expressing how they have impacted your life.
- If you have not yet been a mother, think through people you have been able to nurture. Pray and thank God they are in your life. Call one of them to see how they are doing.
If you know someone who has a hard time on Mother's Day:
- At church, hug a woman who you know is not yet a mother, has a difficult relationship with their mother, or whose mother has passed away because the service is probably difficult for them to be at.
- If appropriate, invite a single woman or couple who have not had children to your family brunch or gathering. They may say “no” but will appreciate the gesture.
- Send a note to a woman who is not a mother but who has influenced your life and let them know how they have impacted you.