She handed it to me, a folded piece of grace in a brightly-colored envelope. My first-ever Mother’s Day card.
But that card didn’t arrive when you might expect — say, on that first Mother’s Day after Noah was born. No… it was the year before. It was the Mother’s Day after I miscarried our first child. And she knew. Harriet knew. Harriet, a member of my congregation and a participant in my weekly Bible study, knew what that day would be like for me. She knew what kind of crucible Mother’s Day could be for a mother with no child to embrace. She knew I’d be suffering inwardly while smiling outwardly. And so, on that Sunday morning, she handed me my first-ever Mother’s Day card, with the kindest, most gracious handwritten message inside.
Since that day — that day of sadness and grace — I’ve been mindful of the complexity of Mother’s Day. I’ve been mindful of how the church can harm and help in the midst of that complexity. You see, Mother’s Day, like motherhood itself, is no simple business. For some of you, Mother’s Day is a time of celebration and connection and joy. For others, it’s a day of regret, sadness, or grief. As a pastor, I feel like it’s my sacred responsibility to name those realities — all of those realities — as we gather for worship. And so, it has been my habit each year to share these words with my congregations, words adapted from writings by blogger Amy Young:
- To those who welcomed a new child into their lives this year—we celebrate with you.
- To those who lost a child this year: we mourn with you.
- To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains: we appreciate you.
- To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, unrealized adoptions, or running away: we mourn with you.
- To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment: we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
- To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms: we need you.
- To those who have warm and close relationships with your children: we celebrate with you.
- To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children: we sit with you.
- To those who remember mothers in heaven: we grieve with you.
- To those who experienced abuse or neglect at the hands of your own mother: we acknowledge your pain.
- To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood: we are better for having you in our midst.
- To those who step-parent: we journey with you on these complicated and beautiful paths.
- To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year: we grieve and rejoice with you.
- To those who have placed children for adoption: we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart.
- To those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising: we anticipate with you.
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst.
We remember you.
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
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- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/