A different take on Mother's Day

I have no children.

While I have been a youth leader, a nanny, a teacher, an aunt and a big sister to friends' siblings, I have no children of my own.

Often one of the symptoms of Celiac Disease is infertility. While it resolves in most, it didn't for me. Maybe I should be thankful, grateful- because I have therefore not passed on this genetic disease to another generation. I've saved a child from sickness and mockery, of hurt and frustration.

But even after being married for 10 years, some reason it's harder this year. Actually, I know why it's harder this year. There's a lot of stress going on in our lives- in our family, in our jobs, in our community, in our church. My nerves are so close to the surface that you might snag them as you simply walk past me. Some days I consider it a small victory not blowing up at everyone all around me because I just can't take one more thing.

We've talked about adoption before, but in all honesty, I think that involves so many deep conversations and burdens that we can't even face it anymore. Maybe we could have a few years ago, a few years younger, a little less chaos. Maybe before each passing school year of added responsibilities on my husband as a teacher.

In church today, I projector stopped working right before service. They couldn't figure out why. The worship minister explained during service what has happening and apologized that they couldn't show the lengthy Mother's Day video they hap planned.

In that small moment, I thanked God for a busted projector.

Truly, it was all I could do during our pre-service choir rehearsal to not cry out loud, to turn into a blubbering idiot. Never mind that I wanted to turn and run out the door as soon as our handbell piece was over, as I knew what was waiting for me at every door- carnations for every woman in the church. Something in me convinced me to stay, but I did find an inconspicuous way to leave when church was over.

(And having someone tell me Happy Mother's Day because I have a dog and I care for him didn't help wither. It's not the same.)

Why do we address Mother's Day in church at all? Is it a directive from God? Or is it because it's a secular holiday anticipated and desired by the congregation? When this day is painful for some, whether it be that they are childless, have lost a mother, or have a mother who chooses to be distant from then, why does the church do this? The church is so often alluded to as a hospital for the sick and hurting. I just wonder if we are honoring "tradition" without seeing how it affects those who are seeking sanctuary.

I don't understand Mother's Day anyway sometimes. Our mothers deserve much more than one day, more than a nice lunch or a new piece of jewelry. They need our support and encouragement everyday. They need to know everyday that they are appreciated, as the day-to-day monotony of repeating our selves and praying we are dong things right begins to weigh on our shoulders. And for those older mothers whose children are distant, they deserve an intentional phone call often, in our thoughts frequently, instead of just relegated to a "here's a nice flower, enjoy your day."

So honor the important women in your life everyday. Your mothers, your aunts, your friends and sisters. Not because they gave birth to a child, but because they choose to be an intentional part of your life and care. for you. Because they encourage you to be the best you can be. Because they tend to your hurts, both emotional and physical.

May you have a blessed day today, whether you are a woman, a man, a transgendered person...simply because you are made in the image of the Most High God, who thought you so valuable that he sent His one and only Son to die for your shortcomings so that you may have a personal relationship with Him daily.