Love: no child to receive; no mother to give
Mother’s Day is tomorrow.
One of the ways we experience God’s love is through the women in our lives who have loved us unconditionally; supported us with prayer and presence; encouraged us to strive to be more than we believe we can be; who have reminded us who we are and whose we are when we have strayed; and empowered us to go out into the world fearless. These are the women we call Mother.
Some of whom gave birth to us and others are the women God brought into our lives that we might receive his unconditional love through them. It is good and proper to thank God for the gift of these women.
In congregations across the nation, that is exactly what will happen. There will be a special emphasis on the women of the church, particularly the mothers.
This year, in the churches in Newtown, Conn., there will be mothers facing Mother’s Day without their children for the first time. They are not the only ones for whom this day may be difficult. There are children without mothers and mothers without children. There are children who have known only abuse from their mothers and mothers who have been abused by their children. There are women who long for motherhood but it has been denied.
It is both a day of great joy and deep grief.
In my own life, this day has been both. My first time as a mother celebrating Mother’s Day was so long ago. I still have gifts made by my boys, one in particular I still wear now and then.
It has also been a day of sadness for me. The first Mother’s Day after my younger son died caught me unexpectedly. I struggled with being present to those around me celebrating as I was captured by the pain of my loss. In the midst of a worshipping community that knew my story, God brought me comfort through their love and support.
Then came the Mother’s Day when my mother was no longer with me. I grieved my loss and the lost opportunities to truly know the remarkable woman who was my mother. As I share her story with others, our story as mother and daughter continues to be healed and redeemed by God.
This Sunday, be attentive to those with whom you worship. As we celebrate and lift up the qualities of a perfect mother, some may not feel like celebrating.
Seek out those who might be struggling with this day. You may not find them in the pews, the day may be that difficult for them.
Those hurting on this holiday need your ears to hear their story and your heart to break with theirs. In those moments of unconditional listening with an open heart you provide the space and opportunity for God to bring healing in the life of the one who shares their story.
God may be calling you to be his witness of unconditional love this Mother’s Day. Share his love.