Mother’s Day is one of those times of the year, where I never really quite know what to say to people. When I was younger, I would cheerfully wish every mother I knew a “Happy Mother’s Day,” fully expecting to join the ranks of mothers in a few years. Now, having known people whose hearts shatter every Mother’s Day, who skip church the second Sunday of every May, who know nothing but pain in relation to a day celebrating what they don’t have or what’s been snatched from them; now, I’m much less…well, blithe about it.
My own mom came to visit me in April and stayed for a week. Ever since my sister died in 2004, my mom has been the Mother’s Day church-skipper, despite being married to a pastor. Her visit, along with my little sister’s first pregnancy and the abundance of new babies and adoptions this past year in our church – it’s all got me to thinking about motherhood and Mother’s Day.
Each year, I know more people who have babies; but I also know more who want them so desperately that they can’t even talk about it. I know more people who have great mothers; but I also know more whose mothers have passed away. I know more people who get pregnant; but I also know more people who have lost children after getting pregnant. The combination of those things makes me approach Mother’s Day with more sensitivity and maturity – neither blithely or bitterly, but somewhere in between. I’m not perfect but I think I get it more right each year.
As a single woman who wants kids someday (translation: now), it’s good for me to get outside myself and celebrate motherhood, for several reasons:
- I have a mother. And a grandmother. And other mom-like figures in my life. Acknowledging and celebrating the impact they’ve had on my life is a good thing.
- My mom is still alive and healthy. Each year that passes, each friend who loses a parent reminds me not to take that for granted.
- I want the mothers in my life to be celebrated; I want them to revel in their motherhood. If that means dying to myself in order to celebrate them, then so be it. In dying to myself, I get to know Jesus better.
Ultimately, that last reason is why I can celebrate Mother’s Day even though my own motherhood is nowhere to be seen. Jesus, the very Son of God, came as a human to be born of a woman, so that He could die at the hands of sinners, so that I would never have to be separated from God.
- Jesus knows what it’s like to have something, and then have it taken away; He lived in heaven, and then He chose to give that up for 33 years to live on earth.
- Jesus knows what it’s like to want something and not have it; He was single and childless, ultimately dying in a way that He wished He could avoid.
- Jesus knows what it’s like to congratulate and celebrate people who have what He doesn’t; He went to weddings and raised dead children back to life and lived homeless.
- Jesus knows what it’s like to die to one’s own preferences in order to show love to someone else; He literally, physically died to show that He loved me.
When I wish someone a “Happy Mother’s Day,” genuinely wanting them to enjoy the good gifts God has given them (their children), I am becoming more like Jesus. I am getting to know Him better. That’s the hidden – but oh-so-obvious – blessing of being single and childless on Mother’s Day.
So Happy Mother’s Day to the moms. May you know Jesus better; may next Mother’s Day find you loving Him more than you do this year. May that be true for all of us.