This Sunday is Mother’s Day. I know you know that. It’s kind of a big deal, and it’s been on your calendar all year.
Moms are going to fill your pews this Sunday wearing pretty dresses. Some will have been served breakfast in bed. Some will have received bouquets of flowers, roses or buttercups, already that morning. Some will be looking forward to children coming home that day to take them out for lunch. Some will be anticipating phone calls, hugs, kisses, crayon portraits, and homemade cards.
But, Mother’s Day isn’t always that pretty.
There will be women sitting before you this Sunday who are aching to become mothers. Some of those women are struggling to make it through each day as they have yet to conceive or endure painful infertility treatment. Some of those women are single and long to be married and wonder if they will ever have the joy of being a mother.
There will be some women sitting before you this Sunday who are mothers but not parents, women who have placed children in other families to be raised by other mothers. They may not look or feel like mothers; they may struggle to define who they are.
There will be some women sitting before you this Sunday who were mothers for a short time and didn’t consider themselves that at all, women who ended their pregnancies and motherhood through an abortion and now wonder what life would have been like had they made another choice and chosen life for their child.
There will be some women sitting before you this Sunday who are broken mothers, mothers whose relationships with their children are strained at best, mothers who haven’t spoken to their grown children in months or even years, mothers whose children are in rehab or prison or who knows where.
There will be some mothers sitting before you this Sunday who are divorced from their children’s father and who are tired, so very tired, whose little ones may not even know it’s Mother’s Day at all.
There will be people sitting before you this Sunday who have lost their mothers and people who still have their mothers but have been hurt by them.
And, all those people? They’ve had Mother’s Day on their calendars all year too. But, they aren’t coming to church dressed in their prettiest clothes ready to stand to be recognized. Instead, they wonder if they should come at all. Some are ashamed. Some are resentful. Some are full of grief. Some are angry at the mothers around them, you for pointing them out, and God Himself. Some are simply sad and have already put tissues in their purses in anticipation of the day. Some feel numb.
The ones coming to church in their best with smiles on their faces really don’t need to stand for recognition or be publicly thanked. They’ll get all that elsewhere. It’s the others who need you this Sunday. Speak for them.
To the women who are celebrating this Mother’s Day as mothers for the first time, know that we celebrate with you.
To the women who serve day in and day out to little ones, cleaning noses and bottoms and sippy cups and car seats, know that we applaud you and support you.
To the women who work outside the home to provide for their families, know that we honor you for all that you carry.
To the women who have been celebrated by their families already today or will be later today, know that we take joy in that with you.
To the women who are not yet mothers and who long to be, whose hearts are heavy with that desire today, know that we walk with you through whatever God calls you to today and for the days to come.
To the women who wonder what life would be like if they were mothering now the child who could have been theirs, know that we want to hold your hand and encourage you.
To the women who are separated relationally with painful distance between you and your children, know that we hurt with you and pray for reconciliation and trust for you that there is hope for that.
To the women who are mothers here who haven’t had the recognition from their children and feel forgotten, know that we remember you.
To those who have been hurt by their mothers in some way, who find this day a painful reminder of that hurt, know that we acknowledge your pain and want to come alongside you and offer hope for restoration.
To those who are watching their mothers grow older and change or who are grieving the loss of their mothers, know that we grieve with you and pray for comfort for you.
As significant as all that is, as much as we want to honor you today, know that He wants to bless and honor you more. Wherever you are, whatever you are facing, wherever your heart is this day, He’s right there with you—right now—and wants you to know Him deeper however you view Mother’s Day.
It’s a big day. It’s your challenge…and your privilege…to communicate God’s love to everyone in your church this Sunday as is your call every Sunday. As you do that with passion and cross-shaped compassion, I trust that He will speak the words they need to hear.
Kelly founded The Sparrow Fund along with her husband Mark in 2011. She works alongside Mark in his full-time purposeful work in China and works part time as a therapist at the Attachment & Bonding Center of PA, Kelly has a particular interest in (a) encouraging parents who are struggling to attach with their children, (b) helping parents walk with their children in understanding their own stories, (c) helping couples continue to pursue each other and grow together while they parent their children as a team, and (d) training and supporting orphanage staff in China to build relationships with children and each other. Kelly and Mark have been married since 1998 and have 3 biological children and 1 daughter who was adopted as a toddler from China in 2010. You can learn more about their journey on Kelly’s blog.