Dear pastors on the day before Mother’s Day,
No doubt you’ve just about finished up your sermon by now. Perhaps you are applying the final touches to your message, creating the slides to pass off to your tech team, or figuring out which mothers you’ll have stand to be recognized (oldest mother, newest mother, etc.)
I wonder if you have chosen to highlight a biblical mom . . . Elizabeth, maybe. Or Hannah. Or Moses’s mom. Or the mom of all moms, Mary.
I know there’s a lot of pressure on you this day. Everyone is looking to you to come up with a fresh, encouraging spin on motherhood . . . just as you have had to do every year on this day throughout your career.
We all know that good moms do a lot of thankless work. We know that they self-sacrifice a lot. And as a mom myself, I do get why there is a day set aside for us every year to acknowledge that our role is important.
But might I say this one thing?
Some moms get to be moms, and they are good at it. Other moms get to be moms, and they suck at it. (It’s ok, we can admit that not all mothers are saints.)
Some women would be amazing at motherhood, but their bodies refuse to create a baby for them. Some moms are moms through adoption, but they feel like the worst kind of mom because they are struggling to attach to their child.
Some moms are secret moms. They gave their child away for adoption. Some of them are at peace with this decision. Others were forced to relinquish their kids by family, social pressures, or the state.
Some moms have chosen abortion. They’ll come tomorrow with feelings of guilt and shame. Or maybe feelings of peace about their decision, but they won’t dare open up for fear of what others might say.
Some moms are temporary moms, as they foster the babies of the not-so-saintly moms, and struggle in knowing that the baby they’ve given their heart and soul to will one day never even know they existed.
There are moms who have lost their own mom, and feel completely at a loss for how to honor their dead mother.
Other moms are grieving their dead babies. Some of those women don’t have any living children. They wish they knew the kind of sacrifice and servanthood you speak of. Their only way to parent is to create memorials, or whisper their child’s name at night, or donate time and money to worthy causes in their baby’s name.
Some moms are waiting moms … Waiting for their adoption to finalize, or be matched with an expecting mom. Some moms have their waiting children in other countries, and may have to wait for years before they can wrap their arms around their own.
And then there are the dads…
The ones whose wife is struggling with postpartum depression, and she has retreated from her family as hormones and imbalance hold her captive.
There are the dads whose wife died. They are now playing both mom and dad. Mother’s Day is just on more reminder of what his kids no longer have.
There are dads who have to explain to their kids that mom has chosen to leave, and will not be coming back.
There are single moms, and happy moms, and fulfilled moms, and empty moms, and bereaved moms, and infertile moms, and women who long to be moms, and dads who have to be the moms, all filling the pews of your church tomorrow.
I know you long to give them a fresh word on motherhood … But I hope you know that what they need, what we all need, is the same-old message you give time and time again.
He’s our redeemer, soul-saver, family-keeper, sanity-saver, purpose-giver, and forever-lover.
No matter who fills your church tomorrow …no matter what baggage they are forced to bring … Offer them the hope that comes with a relationship with Jesus.
And the rest, I promise, will fall exactly into place.
Much appreciation for all you do,
A fulfilled, (used-to-be)infertile, bereaved, bio mom, foster mom and adoptive mom who still needs Jesus