‘Happy Mother’s Day!’ the greeting cards tell us! And in many ways the sentiment is right. A day to celebrate all that mothers do – what could be the problem with that?
I prefer the phrase ‘Mothering Sunday’. This more traditional reference seems to encompass more of what it is to be a mother. A day when, in years gone by, people returned to their ‘mother church’ and spent time with their family.
‘Mothering Sunday’ also gives space for a wider range of emotions that this day often evokes. Whilst I hope you have a ‘happy Mother’s Day’, I am all too aware that things may not be that straightforward. Maybe you’re a parent who’s finding this calling really difficult right now. Maybe you’re someone who is both hopeful and desperate in your waiting. Maybe you miss your own mother or have a challenging relationship with her. Maybe your children are far away, walking away, taken away. Maybe you said goodbye to your child before you even got to say hello.
And yet in all these things we have a heavenly Father who knows and understands our personal journey, because he himself is a parent. He gave away his own Son, Jesus Christ, so that we can be his adoptive children. This God who we can choose to know is unchanging and unending, no matter what your Mother’s Day looks like. His word remains, and he loves us, no matter how this day makes you feel.
Perhaps one of the reasons the ‘happy Mother’s Day’ sentiment can be challenging to so many of us, is that is puts mothers in the place of God. We can never live up to the expectations of the greetings card world, that we can be all things to all people. As we take the time this morning to appreciate the women in our church, let us all the more celebrate the creator God who, longs to do his perfect mothering of us.
Let this be our truth this Mothering Sunday: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). That knowledge can truly make for a happy Mother’s Day.
Written for my sons, Levi and Finn, with the prayer that they will grow up to know this great truth. And also, for my daughter Imogen, who is already at home with Jesus. She sees face to face, what we see in part – the wholeness of God’s parenting love. (1 Corinthians 13:12)