Why I Won’t Be Asking Mother’s to Stand in Church This Mother’s Day

12086328-mothers-day-coupon-codes-2013Mother’s Day is this Sunday and in church we will celebrate Moms as rightly we should.  It’s an amazing and ingenious thing how God created the institution of the family- a father and mother bringing their own respective personalities, temperaments, and gifts to bear on the raising of their children.  Being a mother is a high calling and one that comes with great responsibilities as well as blessings.

That said, I have always felt a bit uneasy with how our church, along with countless other churches, recognize Moms on Mother’s Day- we have them stand.  Again, nothing wrong in the slightest with recognizing Moms and honoring their impact in our lives, but in the last few years I’ve been wondering asking Moms to stand.

Why?  Because having Moms stand on Mother’s Day can be a painful experience for a number of women in the congregation.  I think of the women my wife and I have come to know the last few years who struggle with infertility and desperately want to have children, but have none.  Jamy and I were blessed to have two biological children, but then we were unable to have more children even though we wanted more.  I have often wondered how difficult it would be for us if we never were able to have kids.

God, in turn, put us on the path of adoption, which has been an indescribable blessing.  But then again, we have become acquainted with people whose adoptions fell through.  That is an unbelievably painful experience. What about the woman in the congregation who is unable to have children and attempts at adoption have failed?  How does she feel when the mothers stand on Mother’s Day?

So, you may ask, why have you kept asking the mothers to stand on Mother’s Day if this is the way you feel?  I guess because of tradition.  We’ve always done it that way before (which is generally a terrible reason to do something).  Today I read a blog post that a number of women in our church have posted to their walls on Facebook which finally made me realize we need to do things differently this year in our church on Mother’s Day.  I will not be asking the Moms to stand.  We will celebrate motherhood and dedicate babies this Sunday.  But we will avoid placing women (and their husbands) in an awkward and even painful situation.  I never want people who are hurting to be hurt further at church.  I want church to be a place that brings comfort, support, empathy, and presence of the Lord and others that brings encouragement.

I encourage you to take a moment and read the blog post I mentioned.  Find it here: An Open Letter to Pastors from a Non-Mom

This Mother’s Day let’s be sensitive to those for whom Mother’s Day may be a very difficult day.

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3 Responses to “Why I Won’t Be Asking Mother’s to Stand in Church This Mother’s Day”

  1. I really, really appreciate this post, and unfortunately, it hits close to home. I am particularly dreading Mother’s Day this year. In February, when I found out I was pregnant, I was looking forward to this Sunday when I would be able to look down and feel our growing baby and celebrate Mother’s Day in a new way. But in April, when we found out our baby no longer had a heartbeat, and I had to undergo a D&C, Mother’s Day then became something I was certainly not looking forward to. If I wasn’t on staff at my church, I would have half a mind to just not go at all, even though our church does not make mothers stand, either.

    I know that I am a mom to that little baby who is now in heaven, and I praise God that I was able to experience a life growing inside me, and I wait expectantly to see how he will use this tragedy to further his kingdom. However, Sunday will be a painful reminder for me of what I no longer have, and so I very much appreciate the thoughtfulness and care through which you are handling this holiday.

    Certainly mothers should be celebrated, but we must always remember that there are those who are hurting amongst us. May we always act in a way that honors mothers, and honors those who are still hoping and praying for that precious gift.

    Thank you for not letting tradition override your conviction.

    ~Kathryn

  2. I can understand your concern for the feelings of women who have or are struggling with motherhood. But if you are going to wave recognizing mothers by standing, shouldn’t you also do away with baby dedication? That is just, if not more, painful for those women isn’t it?

    • I see your point Mike. It’s a tough issue. Mother’s Day can be a painful day, but it’s still a day where we celebrate Moms. Many mothers want to dedicate their children on Mother’s Day. It’s difficult to deprive them of that. Yes, baby dedication can be hurtful for women wanting to be mothers, but that doesn’t single them out and isolate them in the way that having all mothers stand tends to do.