Sunday, May 8th, 2011

When Mothers Day isn’t a celebration

(Update: I have added to the lists below as God has brought more of you to mind during the day. And I hope you will read Julie’s blog which I added later.)

God knows, Mothers Day is the hardest day in the year for some of you.

Large bouquets of white roses are at the front of our church. If you were with us this weekend, one of those roses would have been for you.

Your sadness may be related to your mother:

  • Your mother is not alive.
  • Life with your mother was too difficult to celebrate.
  • Your mother wasn’t part of your life.
  • You can celebrate with your mother because she lives too far away.
  • Your mother is ill or suffering dementia.

It may be grief related to your own mothering:

  • You have longed for children but have never been able to be pregnant.
  • You have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth and never had even one sweet moment of looking into your baby’s eyes.
  • After that loss, you fear it might happen again.
  • You laid your baby down to sleep one afternoon or evening, and your little one never woke again.
  • After losing that child, you feel fear when you look at your other children or think of having another.
  • You were so close to adopting the child you already loved from a distance, and then the plans fell through.
  • Your child–whether a child or adult–lost the battle to a disease, or died accidentally, or was murdered, or took his or her own life.
  • Your child was placed for adoption and has another mother now.(If this is you, I hope you will read Julie’s blessing and thanks to you.)
  • You  grieve over a pregnancy you chose to end.
  • Your child is alienated from you.
  • You’ve always dreamed you’d be married by now, with children, and that hasn’t happened.
  • Your child has a disability that doesn’t permit you ever to hear “I love you” from him or her. (If this is true, I hope you will be comforted today by John Knight’s post about his wife and son)

God knows. That wasn’t a throw-away phrase I used at the beginning. God does know. He knows your fear, grief, anger, anxiety, love–the welter of emotions today that you hardly know how to name. He knows that even though you may be mostly composed most days, this day stirs it all up.

I pray that your church and others close to you will be Christ’s hands and heart for you today.

Even if other people aren’t aware or sensitive, I pray for you today that you can feel deeply the com-passion (together-suffering) of Jesus who bears our griefs and carries our sorrows.

  • Leave a Comment (37)  

37 Responses to “When Mothers Day isn’t a celebration”

  1. Thank you for this, Noel. Tears filled my eyes with every sentence. I am remembering back to the days of infertility and how this day would sting in more ways than I can number.

    Thank you for your compassion and your insight into the hurting soul.

    Love you.

    • The white roses at Bethlehem have meant so much to me, over more than three years of infertility and especially this year after a miscarriage. It helps to know the church is not blind to pain.

  2. Thank you Noel. We have two healthy college age children that we thank God for daily. However it was not until after 13 years of infertility, the loss of our first baby girl, Caroline who lived only 16 days, then later the 3 more miscarriages. I have never forgotten those feelings that I had those days when we celebrated Mother’s Day day. On this day, I still pray for and remember those who may be going through the same thing.

    • Love the name Caroline, Lynn.
      This post of Noel’s truly touches me deeply. I sat by a young mother with a special needs child today at church. These mothers are heroines and my God bless them richly this day and always. The Church belongs to such as these.
      Or the Kingdom does. :) Be a woman of nurture for all the Body! Isaiah 40:11

  3. Mothers deserved bouquets of roses when they live or not with us.

  4. thank you for posting this…so grateful for the compassion of Christ and his church…

  5. Violeta Huncal

    Perhaps is not it the day of the mothers a pagan celebration?? Please orientate me in the matter .. what is what he claims God in moaner 7? Is not holiday this that him hacian to the queen of the sky?? I ask them these doubts could clarify BENEDICTIONS

  6. Noel,

    I live in tornado-ravaged AL. I had just been addressing these scriptures God gave this morning…Luke 13, 1-20, in r/t parakaleo relationships and I Peter, that speaks of the “true grace” of God; also God had taken me to Isaiah 20 this a.m., when I “happened” to see this. Your kind-hearted, compassionate words of healing, cups of cold water, remind me of the overflow of Isaiah 20.

    much love to you, dear woman :-)

  7. Tsveti Marcheva

    Great! Thank you very much for this words! God bless you!

  8. In the UK, they celebrate Mothering Sunday (not Mother’s Day). It is a wonderful reminder that we, as Christian women, have a responsibility to “mother” younger women (according to Titus 2). This is a day of celebrating the gospel as we disciple others. What a privilege to be a woman!

  9. OH, I love the name Felicity. And, I just read John Knight’s blog. THANK YOU! Love to all the ones who will rise up and will hear, “Blessed are you,”. . .for your faithfulness in showing love to the “unlovely” ones. (ALL OF US.)

    Thank you, Teana

    Prayers for you our sisters in AL

  10. Thanks Noel..I appreciate your words…

  11. That was absolutely beautiful. Thank you for your heart.

  12. Kathleen McCready

    This is very beautifully put. My mother is no longer alive. She did the best she could. I posted a picture of my older sister for Mother’s Day on facebook. Most of my memories are of her, rather than my mothers care, but I do have some memories. God supplies!

  13. Thank you for this. Unfortunately, my relationship with my mother is too difficult to celebrate, and my husband and I are on year number 6 of infertility. I dread Mother’s Day every year and always feel ignored and forgotten. Thank you for remembering someone like me.

  14. Thank you for your words. My church handed out flowers to all the mothers and the pastor said a prayer for mothers. But my heart has been hurting all day. From a terribly broken relationship with my own mother to not being able to have my own children … Mother’s Day is incredibly sad and lonely. Yet God knows. Thank you for the gentle reminder that He is carrying my sorrows.

  15. […] Noel Piper- When Mother’s Day Isn’t a Celebration […]

  16. Thank you so much, Noel.

  17. Thanks Noel for this! One of the number one reasons my husband and I love Bethlehem is that you and your husband continually point us to Christ. This day is hard, as we wait on the Lord’s timing to bring us little ones if He ever sees fit, but it’s filled with hope and joy as we see through new eyes the blessings of mothers, real or spiritual, and the ways I’ve been able to “mother” other little ones along the way.

    Wishing you a very blessed mother’s day!

  18. Thank you…I have lost 2 babies since 2008 and we have since adopted 2 boys who are such an incredible blessing to us. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

    [side note: We used several of your ideas from Treasuring God in our Traditions for Easter this year. Our 3 and 6 year old boys loved the tomb and the stories we acted out each night with props from around the house. Will we be able to purchase your advent calendar that you mention in the book? When I called desiringgod they said they didn’t know when any would be made again….just curious]

  19. I’m a father but feel drawn to post a thank you as well. My daughter is a wonderful mother (30yrs old). She adopted a boy and girl from Haiti over 6 years ago. She went through a very lengthy adoption process through Haiti but eventually was able to bring home the two of them on her daughter’s first birthday. They are 6 weeks apart in age. She has always wanted to have a child, through birth, of her own. After her first husband passed on some terrible disease of which doctors recommended that she have a hysterectomy, she and her new husband decided not to and to try to have a child of their own. With fertility help and after two heart breaking miscarriages, they conceived and have delivered a beautiful boy who is 4 months old. An additional note, her daughter who is almost 7 years old, has a severe case of RAD disorder and is living in a special home away from my daughter and her family presently, and her son who is also almost 7 has a sensory disorder which is requiring a lot of love and care to work with. She is truly a wonderful mother who deserves to hear “I love you mommy” ! I hope she will soon. Thank you for your Mother’s Day post. God Bless all of you and know that God is with you always.

  20. I am a son. mom passed on about 12 years ago. A devout Christian. An excellent example of kindness, compassion and humility. She was a widow since her 35th birthday (we were teens at the time) but she did an excellent job in raising us up. Sadly, I haven’t always lived up to her expectations and I know that if she were around today she would frown at a few of the choices I have made over the last decade.exactly how she would react i don’t know, but I am certain that her prayers for us – the ones uttered in secret, behind closed doors and often with tears streming down her cheeks – are being answered today. God is that faithful. Mothers pray for your children. Perhaps you cannot go into the future with them, but your prayers will…

  21. We have a small church, knowing that for some Mother’s Day is painful and some would feel the day was not for them. I had wanted them all to know they were appreciated, and they, as women play a vital and needed role in the church family and the greater family of God. I wanted them all to feel special, and realize, that mothers come in many forms not always through the biological process of bearing a child. I recall in my own life many mothers: mentors, encouragers, teachers, older pastor/elders wives… And I think of those in positions today of foster mom, adoptive mom, mentor, discipler, those who are “mom” to our international students and students away from home, SS teachers, nursery workers, nurturer, encourager, life skills coach, teacher… So each woman, young and old, received a rose, homemade bookmark, a couple chocolates and a note of encouragement delivered personally by our older SS class. It is wonderful that our mothering skills and desires can be fulfilled in many avenues and is not limited to just those in our household (and these are all vital and important). I realize it does not take away the pain of empty arms, or from unfilled desires in the area of marriage, but it does express God’s heart for all and the opportunities He provides to be a mother to the motherless if one can open their heart and widen their tent to the multitude of boys and girls, men and women who long to be “mothered”, loved and cared for. I am thankful for the blessing of children in my life, but I am also thankful for those who call me mom, not by biology, but by the doors the Lord has opened in our lives. Kids from Turkey, Korea, Serbia, China, Egypt and even the US. And I look forward to who will come through that door in the future. I thank the Lord that He has allowed me the privilege of mothering, may He use me to make a difference.

  22. i forwarded this to my sister-in-law who lost her only son a year ago. she was on my heart all day yesterday and she has taught me so much about motherhood- to be grateful and savor each moment and to complain less. also i posted about my dear son’s birthmom as she was on my heart all day as well- soli deo gloria… from haley in florida :-)

  23. This article is a great reminder to be thankful for what we do have and for each day.

  24. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I too have a deep pain in my heart for not being a mother. In God’s infinite wisdom He has not given me such a blessing but I trust His wisdom and plans for my life. This does not make it any easier but I know that He is in control. Thanks for remembering those of us forgotten for not being (and probably never) be able to have a child of our own.

  25. thanks for your words

  26. Thanks Noel for remembering those of us who aren’t mothers because we haven’t been blessed with husbands. It is hard when I see all of my friends married with children but haven’t even had a date for 9 years.
    Your message helped me on a day when I was feeling very rejected.
    On another note, are you coming to Brisbane with John later this year?
    Thanks again, Selina.

  27. Thank you, Noel. The white roses on Mother’s Day are such a blessing, even simply a blessing of acknowledgement. Thank you.

  28. Thank you for your kind and wise words. My Mom died last year, I live far from my sisters, and my youngest daughter has a yet undiagnosed genetic syndrome with symptoms of overall delay. I long to hear her speak words, I long to speak face to face with my sisters, and I long to see my Mom again. All this longing…it’s draining! It felt so good to have a good cry after reading your post but I especially treasure your prayer: I pray for you today that you can feel deeply the com-passion (together-suffering) of Jesus who bears our griefs and carries our sorrows!

  29. Noel, thank you so much for posting this. As a woman struggling with infertility and past miscarriage, mother’s day is one of the hardest days of the year. I actually considered not going to church, on Sunday for fear of being reminded yet again (i went, and I was reminded…). I think the hardest part for me is learning how to glorify God through my pain in these circumstances. He is constantly reminding me that He alone is my portion. Anyway, all that is to say thank you for using your platform to be sensitive in this way. It has blessed me immensely.

  30. I’m coming upon this late – Mother’s Day has already passed this year – and yet tears fill my eyes. You are literally the first person who has ever acknowledged those of us for whom “life with your mother was too difficult to celebrate”.

    Today I am a mom myself, and Mother’s Day drips with sweetness thanks to my doting husband and my 4 blessings, but a hint of bitterness lingers as I think about my relationship with my own mother. Forgiveness is a choice. In my brokenness, I admit I sometimes struggle to choose it.

  31. […] thinking about what to write this Mother’s Day, I ran across this excellent blog post from last year. It pretty much says it all…some of us celebrate this day, some of us grieve. […]

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