This piece was authored by a minister from Sydney, Australia and sent to his church members ahead of Mother's Day 2020. He has generously given us his permission to reshare the text of it here. We hope you are encouraged by this faithful reminder of what ultimately matters in and for God's family on Mother’s Day weekend.
If there ever was a day when life proves its messiness, it is Mother’s Day.
It’s a day on which we rightly celebrate and give thanks for our mums with shiny, happy photos and delightful statements that express our love and affection. I love my mum and I will call her this Sunday and express my love for her and she will gush and say thanks and it will be lovely. She is precious to me.
But Mother’s Day is also a day when we want to acknowledge the brokenness of the world and the great complexity and sadness this day evokes for some. Sadly, this pain is often doubled when church or culture are heard to say that “the greatest role in life for a woman is that of a mother”.
Such an inference doubles up the pain felt by single people who wanted children; parents who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth or the death of a child; people waiting in pain for the adoption process, or those who have given up their children or had an abortion; foster parents and step-parents who have children who are not theirs and who despise them; and mums with distant or estranged children they would love to hear from more than anything else. Life is a mess and pretending it is not does no one any good.
No woman in our church should hear the message that their value as a person hinges on motherhood. And to imply that not only causes pain but is untrue.
Consider Luke 11:27-28:
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
The greatest role of a woman is not to be a mum. Not even the mum of Jesus! The greatest role of a woman (and in fact of any person) is to hear the word of God and to obey it; and then perhaps to enable others to do the same.
So this Mother’s Day I don’t want to pour cold water on the whole thing, but I do want it known that our church embraces the complexity — and I want us to look around and see (as best we can right now) that we’re not a house full of shiny happy families.
Christians are people who acknowledge the brokenness in the world rather than ignoring it. Christians are people who are devoted to one another in love no matter who the 'one another' is or how different or broken they are compared to you. We have to learn to live in the messiness and embrace the joy and the sadness at the same time.
As Romans 12:15 says we “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn”. If Mother’s Day brings you joy I hope and pray the people of our church rejoice with you. If Mother’s Day leaves you in tears I hope and pray the people of our church embrace you in the pain. I hope and pray for everything in between too. I hope and pray we are able to rejoice and mourn with each other today and every day.
Sound complex? It is! Welcome to life in the church!
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