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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day?

In recent years, as the guy who “programs” what happens in our weekend gatherings at church, I have received a bit of criticism from some over the absence of Mother’s Day fanfare in our weekend worship gatherings a.k.a. Fusion. It hasn’t been militant criticism—more of the “I wish you guys would” variety.

Usually the criticism (and maybe criticism is too harsh a word) comes with stories of how Mother’s Day used to be in the church they grew up in—where flowers were handed out to the youngest mom, the oldest mom, the most generations represented in church, etc. And, a lot of folks have ideas of how we might celebrate Mothers in a public way.

There are some good reasons why we don’t “celebrate” Mother’s Day in a public way at Westwinds.

It all starts a few years back . . .

I was in California leading worship at Lakeside—the church I spent most of my ministry years in thus far. The ladies were coming in their pretty dresses—mom, daughters, grandmothers—and we were taking Mother’s Day photos of the ladies and using them in our screen presentation.

As I was leading music, I saw a young woman burst into tears in the front row and run out of the building. When we finished the set, I went outside to track her down and I found her.

This young woman and her husband had been trying to have children for years. She wanted nothing more than to be a mother. After multiple miscarriages, they had both recently decided they would not try any longer—the pain of losing a child was too great.

As I listened to her story, I realized how insensitive we had been in the past on Mother’s Day.

I began going down the list in my mind of experiences people were having (the ones I knew about) and my heart sank : : :

  • For the young woman with multiple miscarriages
  • For the family who had just lost their 12 year-old daughter
  • For the young man whose mother had just taken her life
  • For the man who still carries wounds from his Mother beating and berating him
  • For the young family who had been trying to adopt and just had it all fall through
  • For the family who mortgaged their home for fertility drugs and treatments
  • For the woman who hates her mother and cannot find forgiveness
  • For the mother whose children do not speak to her
  • For the grandmother who is not allowed to see her grandkids because of a dumb argument many years ago

The list went on.

I decided that day that Mother’s Day would be handled a bit different for our church. I carried those convictions to Westwinds.

So, no. We don't make a huge deal out of Mother's Day. It isn’t because Mother’s Day is commercial. It isn’t because I am making a stand against Hallmark. It isn’t because I don’t want to take the time in Fusion. It isn't because we don't care about moms.

It is because we do care.

It is because Mother’s Day is just not the same experience across the board.

It’s because mentioning the holiday and celebrating moms deserves a bit more time than a casual mention—because of all the different mom experiences. When we do talk about Mother's Day, we open the floodgates. It only seems fair.

Whatever your experience, wherever you have been . . . I pray this Mothers Day you find peace. I pray God holds you near and comforts you. I pray you find joy. I pray you find love. I pray you find God. I pray you find what you are looking for.


ScottyH said...

could not agree with you more. glad you made this post.

Anonymous said...

For sure - great post dude.

Anonymous said...

Right on. I appreciate the heart behind your decision!

Tim M said...

Word to your mother!

Couldn't resist. Thanks for expounding on this.

Anonymous said...

The most moving part of our whole service this past Sunday was when two mothers (my friends) came down front to pray together. Both of their sons had committed suicide. How does a mother keep breathing after that? I don't know if I could survive it.

It was because of them that I said nothing about Mother's Day this year. I just couldn't. I have six kids of my own and know the blessing I have. But knowing their heartache, I just couldn't make a big deal out of my blessing on such a sad day for them.

Thank you for this post. It's encouraging to me....reminding me that I did the right thing, regardless of what other people thought.

SirMax said...

I was led here by Mark Lee (from Third Day) are on his blog today.

This post made my day. I am that woman that ran out of your church. I have been trying to have a child for 10 years. I have come to terms with it on most days. God has been so unbelievably good to me that I can't complain about one small detail that hasn't seem to work out to my liking. I take all He gives me (thus the name of my blog) and I try not to ask for more. Having said all that, I don't go to baby showers anymore and I don't attend church on Mother's day. It just hurts too much and makes me upset with God and that's NOT how I want to live my life. I took my mom to breakfast this past Mother's Day and we spent a great day together. I enjoyed being a daughter lavishing love on my wonderful mother.

(I am a "mom" to 4 fabulous, sweet and spoiled rotten dogs :) )

I wish more people cared like you do!

Great blog btw...I think I'll have to read this one often!


John said...

I appreciate all your comments on this post. AND, all the direct emails I have received. Wow. This post really hit a soft spot for so many of you. I am praying for you. Thank you for your conversation and transparency.