Mother's Day is like a multicolored lollipop ... only instead of colors swirled together, it's emotions.
Mother’s Day can bring a lot of joy.
To new moms, first-time moms, moms whose children are succeeding and accomplishing goals, moms with healthy babies, women whose own moms are loving, understanding, and supportive.
Mother’s Day can bring a lot of pain.
To women who can’t conceive, women who’ve miscarried, women with sick babies, women who’ve lost children, women who’ve had abortions, women whose children are prodigals, women whose own moms were not shining examples of motherhood, women in grief.
I am among those for whom Mother’s Day is a glad day. But I have experienced losses of various kinds and had to deal with grief.
One of the worst kinds of grief is disenfranchised grief, when people grieve “without the benefit of social support or others’ recognition of their struggle.” *
The Bible tells us to honor our parents. The honor is due them for their position if not for their behavior.
But the Bible doesn’t mandate a special day for churches to make a big deal about the happy moms and new babies in their midst. And definitely not at the expense of those who already woke up on Mother’s Day with heavy hearts.
And I'm guessing that many of those heavy-hearted women stayed away from church today.
Because churches often recognize moms or dedicate babies on Mother’s Day. I’m not sure why. Yes, we are to honor one another (Romans 12:9, 13:7), and moms deserve honor and encouragement, and those babies can make for an entertaining morning.
But if the observance doesn’t also acknowledge the real hurt of moms who grieve and women who long to be moms but are not … then those who struggle find their grief disenfranchised by those who should be the first to love.
So this is a plea for all of us to be aware.
And maybe you know a woman for whom coming to church on Mother’s Day was a struggle, or a woman who stayed away. Maybe you can speak a simple word of acknowledgement, or write a note, or give a hug.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:14).* The quote is from counselor Cheryl Savageau in the chapter on grief in Parents of Missionaries (IVP).