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Sunday, 4 March 2018

Why you will find me in church this Mother's Day


Mother’s Day is approaching. For some people it is a time full of joy and celebration, for others, however, it can be a horrendous time full of sorrow and pain. I fall into the second category. For the past few years, as we have been ttc it has got harder and harder. 

For a while, as a single woman Mother’s Day was tough as it reminded me of a future I wasn’t sure that I would have. Then when I met Paul I suddenly became step-mother to three teenage girls and it brought a whole new dimension. Mother’s Day at church was filled with conflicted loyalty for the girls and a reminder that I wasn’t a real mum! I remember one year, one of the girls going to get me the obligatory ‘Mother’s Day gift’ whilst another having stern words with her that I shouldn’t receive a gift as I wasn’t really her mum and that their mum was at home expecting a gift. The whole while I felt terribly guilty that I had put everyone in such a position, happy that I was seen in some way as a mum and sad that the children felt so conflicted in their appreciation of me. 

As we have journeyed through infertility, Mother’s Day has got tougher till eventually I stopped going to church altogether on that Sunday – and that’s pretty rough considering I’m the minister! However over the past year God has really been working on my heart and this year not only will I be sitting (somewhat vulnerably) at church but I will also be preaching! 

In my walk through infertility I spent a lot of time cutting myself off from those around me who were celebrating motherhood, it just seemed to highlight my hurt and failures, but last year God changed my heart and encouraged me to consider Romans 12:15 ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.’ I was pretty good at mourning with others but struggled to rejoice when people received what I so desired. 



On my trip to Israel last year God showed me how I was missing out on so many blessings by having my focus on the wrong thing. I remember standing on the Sea of Galilee as the worship song ‘it is well’ played and sensing that God had so many blessings to lavish on me, I just had to reach out and take a hold. This started a real journey of transformation in my life. 

A few weeks ago as the cards started appearing in shop I got that familiar knot in my stomach as I felt feelings of failure, insignificance and grief. As I considered what Mother’s Day in church might look like for me I felt God challenge me. He reminded me of what his church should look like. Colossians 3:15 (the passion translation) says: 

‘Let you heart always be guided by the peace of the anointed on, who called you to peace as part of his one body. And always be thankful.’

As the body of Christ – his church – we are called to be peace. What a beautiful thing it would be if his church brought peace to those who struggle with Mother’s Day. If instead of opening wounds of hurt, grief and trauma, the church poured a healing balm upon them and gave them space to lament in order to find the perfect peace that only God can give. 

God reminded me that when the widow offered the last of her food to Elijah, God provided abundantly more and triggered a miracle that brought glory to him. By attending church and trying to provide a place of safety for those who find Mother’s Day hard it may seem like giving a little offering to God, as sacrificial as it may be for me. But I know that It will be seen and honoured by God, it will reach out to others like me and who knows what miracles may happen! 

Last year I attended a beautiful service at Liverpool Cathedral called Mothers Day Runaways, designed for people like me who find Mother’s Day tough. The people involved practised this lesson of offering a place of peace for those in turmoil and it was a beautiful thing. God moved so powerfully and as I look to the service this year as my time to lament and grieve, I know God will minister to each person there. 



This year I look to Mother’s Day in a different way. I still feel sad for what could have been, and the longing for the day when I will celebrate being mum, but this year I brought myself a beautiful Mother’s Day gift so I won’t feel forgotten and I have vowed to try and spread peace on a day that for some people is filled with fear, and I can truly say in this situation ‘it is well with my soul.’ 


My beautiful necklace from The knotted Nest on Etsy.


Today if you are looking to Mother’s Day with dread, I see you, I know it so well and I understand. I would love to pray for you so feel free to drop me a message and I pray that this will be your experience:

“Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super abundance until you radiate with hope.” Romans 5:13 





5 comments:

  1. Alice, this is such a great post about Mother’s Day with those that it’s such a hard day for. I too, have been among the crowd of avoiding church on this day. This year, through my ministry, I’m hosting an event called Moms in Waiting brunch on mother’s day weekend (in the US in May). This event is designed to give encouragement for those still waiting to become moms. I’m really excited about this event. I even have some women from my old support group that are now moms coming to share their testimonies. Thanks for sharing this perspective.

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  2. Thank you.
    At my church, in addition to the preaching and other aspects the children give out bunches of daffodils to all the women.
    No children on my own, but I have been able to contribute to many other children (and others) both as a midwife for a short time, as a lecturer, local elected councillor and individually.
    So I gladly accept the daffodils and enjoy them.

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  3. Thank you.
    At my church, in addition to the preaching and other aspects, they usually give out bunches of daffodils to all the women.
    True, I have never had children. But I have contributed to very many children and older people). I worked as a midwife for a few years, related to children in children and young people's work in the UK, USA, Canada, Singapore and Japan. Then as a lecturer and local elected councillor related individually and to groups. ...
    So, yes, I choose to emjoy the day.

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  4. The challenge can be, you don't know what you're going to get in church. There's been the full range in my ecperience: I've been asked in advance by the preacher not to go, and I have found a real celebration of all who pour something of themselves into children.
    Now, I feel free *not* to go after feeling a sense of obligation. It's one Sunday. I can nurture myself in other ways.

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