Monday, May 6, 2013

Hopeful Mother's Day

Mother's Day. A day to celebrate mothers. But how exactly do you define a mother?

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In a church service, Mother's Day usually includes a special "Standing of the Mothers Ceremony." It's not normally called such a prestigious title, but for some women, that's exactly how it feels. Sometimes small gifts or roses are given to those who stand. The picture above shows a church crowd on Mother's Day, where the mothers were asked to stand. I don't know why some men are also standing...but notice that there are some women who are still seated.

This very special day can be very complicated. Is a mother strictly a woman who has born a child? What about adoptive moms? What about women who bore a child that died in its infancy? What about a woman who had a stillbirth? Miscarriage? Pregnant? Infertile? What about single women who desperately long to get married and have children?

This public event at church - that I'm sure has very good intentions to honor mothers - at the same time dishonors and isolates women in these complicated classifications. To stand or not to stand, that really is the question.

I long to be a mother, but it's not the appointed time for me yet. But my heart already acts like a mother's heart. My heart is already so full of love for my children, and I haven't even met them yet. Does that mean I'm "worthy" of standing? I have five furry children...does that count? Have I earned my mother's badge?

I love that there's a special day to celebrate mothers, I just wish that we could honor mothers without isolating non-mothers. This blog post addresses this issue very well.

So what to do, what to do?

Moms Already
You are so blessed. Psalm 127:3 says, "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward." Please be considerate of other women around you who may be deeply hurting on this day. Don't be afraid to reach out to those women and encourage them, pray for them, and love them. And please think twice before you utter a complaint about being tired, frustrated, spit up on, etc. Learn to better appreciate the blessings you have been given. You are richly blessed, so have a heart of joy and thankfulness.

Wanna Be Moms
This day will be hard for you. Brace yourself, it comes every year. You should decide for yourself how you will handle this day. We personally choose to skip church on this day, because our church congregation still does the Standing of the Mothers Ceremony. And there is nothing more awkward and painful for me than sitting in a room full of women who have the honor of standing, where all I long to do is have the credentials necessary to stand. I literally have dreams about being in a room full of pregnant women/mothers. It's isolating and painful, so I choose to avoid this day to protect my heart.

But don't let this day be a day of darkness for you. You may not have a physical (human) child yet, but you will one day. Each new day you wake up, you are one day closer to meeting your child. So stay strong in the Lord. Worship Him for His goodness. His plan is perfect and beautiful. Pray for strength, comfort, and peace to wait patiently for His plan to unfold. Treasure this time with your husband, and celebrate the day as a day of Hopeful Mother's Day.

Church Body, Pastors, and Congregation
Know that the church body is composed of sinners. This means that the black and white mother/non-mother descriptors are a thing of the past. So let's just celebrate and honor the mothers we know personally, rather than having a formal Standing of the Mothers Ceremony. Mothers should be honored, but not in the way that is done in many churches today. So reach out to the mothers you know and tell them how much you appreciate them. Encourage and uplift them. And also be aware of the more complicated situations, like adoptive, infertile, and former parents. There is much suffering in the church body, and we should all seek to uplift and love on those who suffer. Let compassion be your motto.

Happy Hopeful Mother's Day!!

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