A woman walks into the church. It is Mother’s Day and the church is handing out flowers. But before a woman gets a flower, she is asked, “Are you a Mother?” if the answer is “No” the woman is informed that the flowers are for Mothers ONLY. She turns around and walks away.
What the church forgot
Many women who attend your church on Mother’s Day are not moms. The reasons for that pain are many: they may have lost a child; they may be unmarried and with little prospects of a future marriage. They may be infertile and may not have had enough money for adoption or fertility treatments. They may have prayed for children for years, but for some reason the answer received was “no.” The reasons are many, but the pain felt daily by many of these women is deepened significantly on Mother’s Day. Often this pain is intensified by unintentionally unthinking and unkind actions of churches on Mother’s Day.
Not meaning to be mean doesn’t make it less unkind
Of course you don’t mean to be mean, but consider: in some churches only Moms are clapped for, receive a free brunch, are acknowledged as significant or given other public affirmations. It is obvious and on display if a woman is not a mother. If a woman has spent many private hours crying over her inability to have children, imagine her feelings at that time.
These reminders are not meant as a suggestion not to honor mothers, but honor can be done sensitively and with the feelings of the childless women in mind. One way to do this might be to focus briefly on the joy of physical children but then to shift into a challenge for spiritual parenting that all can be part of. You cannot take away the pain of childlessness, but that pain can be transformed into a vision for ministry. [Read more...]