Originally posted on May 4th 2016, updated and revised
I have sat through 35 years of Mother’s Day sermons. I have sat next to barren friends with tears in their eyes, I have sat next to content single women who serve in the children’s ministry, I have sat holding a friends child so that she could worship freely, and I have sat alone and lonely.
Motherhood has always alluded me, as an adult single, never married Christ follower, Mother’s day has just been another Sunday I call my mom. My Sunday routine is the same, go to church, go get coffee, go home, call my mom- nothing is different- except on this Sunday Moms are recognized, women who have bore children are exalted.
I have often felt that my child-free life screams from the pew on this day. As the women around me are gifted with a rose or some other flower, I sat happily in my childlessness but sad that mothering is being viewed so narrowly in the church. I am not a mom, but I do love kids. I am grateful for a church that gives all women flowers on this day. It was not to belittle the sacrifice of being a mom, but to be inclusive of those who may want to mother, but because of circumstance, singleness, infertility, timing, can not. Motherhood should not be viewed as purely biological.
I once read that there are two types of moms: the ones who are mothers by circumstance and those who are called to mothering. Either type can actually have children, but neither have to want them. There are single, barren, married, and waiting women who are called to mothering – they staff our nurseries, they hold babies, they mentor young people, they help in homework clubs, they take in orphans and they fill our mission fields. They love nurturing and caring for children. There are others who love their own kids and have no desire to deal with other people’s kids; but they are gifted and called to other things.
So Pastors and guest speakers, as you prepare your sermons for Mother’s Day, be inclusive of those that mother yet have no children. Be gracious in the language around the “sanctifying” act of childbirth; God uses many things to sanctify His children. Celebrate the women of your congregation, what they contribute, and the mothering spirit many of them bring to the sanctuary. And maybe ask a mom to fill your pulpit.