A Moment on Mother’s Day


mothersday2

Today, Mothers Day, I celebrate my Mother and the Mother of my children. I thank them for who they are, what they have done for me and for my girls, what the brought and bring out from me. I celebrate because deep down I recognize the immense holiness that comes from this definition.

In search of the right words of thanks, along with the need to determine how to package this moment for the church I serve, I stumbled on this video.

This video tugs at the heart strings, because it reminds us that even if this is their moment on the surface Mom’s are not perfect, even if they hover somewhere close in the eyes of their kids. That baggage we bring to motherhood – and fatherhood– is so easily revealed in the simple words of our children, and in this video, I found that reminder.

From a church perspective, Mother’s Day is one of the hardest things to do right.   It’s probably only second to Father’s Day in degree of sensitivity required; ‘cuz life ain’t perfect. As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s far from perfect. Sometimes its imperfections are heartbreaking.

The truth is that none of us have the Hallmark Card kind of life, and true motherhood and fatherhood doesn’t look like what Madison Avenue would have us believe.   We reside somewhere else. For many, mother’s day reminds us of that strange citizenship, or that less than perfect reality.

So, how do we celebrate the good, and acknowledge the not so good?

Certainly, some of those who find a place in church on Mother’s Day morning, have or had Moms that were near perfect in many – perhaps most – ways. Others had Mom’s that fell short.   Sometimes they fell short in colossal ways. Some might miss their moms with a very real ache, and others might have chips in their hearts because of the profound mistakes their mom’s made. It’s a painful reality that for every June and Ward Cleaver there is a Mommy and Daddy Dearest, and a much larger number of those that fall somewhere in-between.

With that in mind, I often remind myself to be cautious from the pulpit and to travel carefully through the joy and pain of Mothers Day.   Many church leaders are outspoken in their advice that we skip it entirely. Me, I argue the opposite.    At least at Asbury Church, we need to celebrate the fantastic and awe inspiring mothers among us, as well as remember those whose journey was harder.

We – as a church – need to recognize those who have children, and those who, either by fate or choice, do not. We need to recognize those in our community who chose to become mothers and couldn’t, those that chose and did, and those who chose not to be.   We need to recognize that for each of them, they all come carrying different bags.

As we recognize this reality, we begin to realize that Mother’s Day can be something bigger and holier than enshrining the white washed, Madison Avenue version. We can be reminded that Mother’s Day is more than your possession of biological offspring. We can remember something else.

I pray for the time that this day becomes one to remind us that there are those among us, mothers and stepmothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and friends, who have been like mothers to us.    Who wrap us in love, grace, and hope and as a result change our worlds.   As a church, we should – we need to – celebrate the fact that through their love, wisdom and guidance, we have been shown strength, courage, and Grace. These countless women have become the models for a new – and maybe even – holier generation.

Today, is a day were we, through the examples of the women around us, stop and become intentional about what is meant by God the Mother.   Scripture is clear that there is an aspect of God that is best seen through the example of the strong woman and mother.   Jesus told his followers that he wanted to gather the children of Jerusalem in the same way a mother hen gathers her chicks. The Hebrew Bible tells of a God who declares that “as a mother comforts her child, so God will comfort you”

God the Mother is just as Biblical and just as truthful as God the Father.

So, as the rest of the world celebrates the Hallmark mom and countless people outside these doors long for that dream or regret what they missed, I want to be different. I want to celebrate my Mom, and my wife, and I want to celebrate more.

Inside Asbury Church though, during the passing of the peace, we will be intentional. We will take a moment to celebrate a different truth and a different reality

As we at Asbury celebrate Christ’s peace, and pass it along to each other, we will stop and take the time to celebrate the women in our lives who remind us of that through their strength, resilience, beauty, sacrifice, and love, we don’t have to ever go through this journey alone.   We will celebrate the women among us who show us what and who God is.

As we start our service, the youth will be giving a carnation to all the women in this place – ALL of them – as a thank you and a reminder; a reminder of the gift they possess and the window they can open; a window upon a Mother God who can provide a peace that changes everything.

Yet, before a single flower is handed out, it will start with a prayer. I will share the following prayer, born out of a poem by Amy Young:


Lord, today we grieve, mourn, remember and celebrate.  

  • To those in our community who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with them.
  • To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with them.
  • To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we walk with them.
  • To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with them.
  • To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with them.. 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 them.
  • To those who have warm and close relationships with their children – we celebrate with them.
  • To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with their children – we sit with them.
  • To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with them.
  • To those who experienced abuse at the hands of their mother – we acknowledge their experience
  • To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having them in our midst
  • To those who have aborted children – we remember them on this day
  • To those who are single and long to be married and mothering their own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way they longed for it to be
  • To those who step-parent – we walk with them on these complex paths
  • To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with them.
  • To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with them.
  • To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend them for their selflessness and remember how they hold that child in your heart
  • And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with them.

Lord, This Mother’s Day, we ask you for the Grace to walk with all those we mentioned.   Remind us that Mothering is not for the faint of heart and that we have real warriors in our midst. Help us to sense you in them.   Let this wish and this hope be our Mother’s Day prayer. In your most heavenly, wonderful, and motherly name we pray, Amen.

Stacey, Mom, and all the wonderful women I cross paths with each day,  Happy Mother’s Day.

( The Pic used at the start of the post is by Frederic Poiro, and used by CCL, Flickr.com -Amy Young’s blog can be found online at messymid.com)

A Poem for Mother’s Day


(Mother’s Day, May 8th 2011)

The following poem has been circulating on the Internet for ages.   The author is said to be one of a half dozen different people.   In the end, it speaks to the unconditional love of motherhood in a simple and beautiful way:

The Writing on the Wall

A weary mother returned from the store,

Lugging groceries through the kitchen door.

Awaiting her arrival was her eight-year-old son,

Eager to relate what his younger brother had done.

“While I was out playing and Dad was on a call,

T.J. took his crayons and wrote on the wall!

It’s on the new paper you just hung in the den.

I told him you’d be mad at having to do it again.”

She let out a moan and furrowed her brow.

“Where is your little brother right now?”

She emptied her arms and with a purposeful stride,

She marched to his closet where he had gone to hide.

She called his full name as she entered his room.

He trembled with fear–he knew that meant doom!

For the next ten minutes, she ranted and raved

About the expensive wallpaper and how she had saved.

Lamenting all the work it would take to repair,

She condemned his actions and total lack of care.

The more she scolded, the madder she got,

Then stomped from his room, totally distraught!

She headed for the den to confirm her fears.

When she saw the wall, her eyes flooded with tears.

The message she read pierced her soul with a dart.

It said, “I love Mommy,” surrounded by a heart.

Well, the wallpaper remained, just as she found it,

With an empty picture frame hung to surround it.

A reminder to her, and indeed to all,

Take time to read the handwriting on the wall.

 

Truth be told, the poem is kind of corny.   Yet, as I read it I find myself sure of one thing:   Stacey would’ve framed that picture too… and she would have done it without screaming.

To all, Happy Mother’s Day,…and to Stacey:  

As a mom there is none that even remotely comes close, and in all you do for our girls,…you constantly remind me of the type of father I long to be.

 Annie, Sophie, and I are incredibly blessed.   

 All our love,

The three of us.

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