The Real Problem with Mother’s Day
Around this time each year, I see blog posts about the foolishness of Mother’s Day, about the lack of fairness in it all, about the gloating mothers and the grieving mothers and the women who wish they are mothers. And, I completely get it. I really do. Mother’s Day, in some ways, is a hard day.I sat in a pew shortly after I learned that, once again, the child in my womb no longer had a heartbeat. I occupied my regular seat that morning while the Mother’s Day video played, thinking of little else except when the all-too-familiar bleeding would begin. And wondering what God’s plan was for me, as a woman. As a mother.
And, many of you will sit in a pew or choose to stay home this Mother’s Day, and you will come face to face (as you do every day) with the grief of an empty womb. Or a mother gone to Heaven. Or a child who is in trouble. Or a broken marriage. Or the memory of standing next to your baby’s grave. Grief is an overwhelming sensation on any day, but on a special day that’s set aside to celebrate motherhood, it can be downright crushing. We feel robbed. We feel angry. We feel helpless and sometimes just plain hopeless.And I don’t blame any woman in the world for feeling those feelings. We feel how we feel.
But please allow me to gently remind us all, friends, that Christianity is not a faith about feelings. No, it is a faith of pure, uncut, unadulterated reality. And, it calls us to something higher than our feelings. The reality is that God is sovereign. The reality is that He knows infinitely more than we do. The reality is that He is good and trustworthy. The reality is that because of Jesus Christ, one day everything in the universe will be set right again. The reality is that there is great hope in Christ. Grief can sometimes cloud our reliance on these truths, but they remain true just the same. Feelings come and go, but His word is always true, and He never changes.
Now, as Christians, we live together in community, and we live out our faith not only toward Christ but toward each other. We give Him our worship and our obedience and our love, and we give each other loyalty, support, and encouragement. We aren’t called just to love God, but to love each other–the kind of love that says, I rejoice when you rejoice, and I grieve when you grieve.
So, what does this mean for Mother’s Day? It means that, with the strength of Jesus within us, we can turn to our friends and weep with them over their miscarriages. We can grieve with them over the loss of their mothers. We can offer our shoulder when they need to fall apart over the death of a child. We can cry and call out to God on their behalf, and we can acknowledge their pain.We can also turn to our friends and pinch the chubby cheeks of their newborn babies. We can give them a pat on the back and tell them what an amazing job they’re doing. We can honor our mothers, or we can honor the memory of our mothers. We can be genuinely happy about all of the little children scampering around our friends’ feet. And we can praise God that He is present through it all.
You see, the problem isn’t that Mother’s Day is an evil thing that Hallmark created to make women feel less-than. It’s wonderful to recognize the incredible role that mothers play in the kingdom of God. The problem is that our self-centered culture has taught us that what matters is how we feel. But the Bible tells a completely different story.
According to God’s word, what matters is how well we love Christ and how well we love others. Shouting about how unfair things are does nothing for a grieving mother. It does nothing for a woman who is desperate to conceive. It does nothing for a mama struggling to keep her head above water with four little children underfoot. And, it does nothing to build a community of faith that grieves together and rejoices together.
So don’t let the loud voices out there who are supposedly advocating for hurting women convince you that Mother’s Day is a sham. It’s an opportunity to love as Christ loves. Sacrificially. And it’s a chance to remind ourselves that our feelings are not the be all and end all. They are very often deceptive and filled with lies that mar the truth. Don’t forget the reality of your situation on Mother’s Day, whatever it may be: God is sovereign. He is good. And, we can trust Him.