For some moms, Mother’s Day is an exciting day to be honored and receive some much-needed appreciation. But for many others, it’s a sad and lonely time. Some moms are forgotten by their children. Some children are estranged from their mothers or had a mother who was distant or abusive. For others, their mom has passed away, and the day is mingled with grief. Worse, some mothers have lost their children.
This day can be especially hard for women who are single or unable to have children. In our attempts to honor mothers and motherhood, we sometimes make it seem like being a mom is every woman’s highest purpose or her main reason for existing, making women without children feel second-rate or like failures.
For those who are hurting this Mother’s Day, here is some good news.
First, if Mother’s Day is painful for any reason, God cares for you and even the tenderest love of the world’s greatest mom cannot compare to God’s love for you. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Isa. 49:15). We’re told that there’s nothing stronger than a mother’s love, and a mother’s love is certainly difficult to put into words. But sometimes “even these may forget.” Thankfully, there is something stronger than a mother’s love: God’s love. “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8), and he loves you. “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord cares for me” (Ps. 27:10 CSB).
Second, motherhood is noble, but it is not ultimate. A woman’s highest purpose is to be what God has called her to be, even if that’s single or married without children. “Each has his own gift from God, one person has this gift, another has that” (1 Cor. 7:7). For Christians, Mother’s Day is a reminder of God’s call to “‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise)” (Eph. 6:2; cf. Ex. 20:12). It is also a reminder of the dignity of motherhood, which God honored when he was born of the virgin Mary for us and for our salvation. But motherhood is not ultimate, and it does not determine a woman’s worth.
A woman’s highest purpose is to be what God has called her to be, even if that’s single or married without children.
Third, every woman is called to be a spiritual mother in the church. When the flesh-and-blood family of Jesus was looking for him, Jesus said, “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Mt. 12:50). The Church needs godly women who will care for younger Christians in the family of God as a good mother cares for her newborn child. I don’t think it’s cheesy to remember our spiritual mothers on Mother’s Day or to remind the saints of the nobility of spiritual motherhood. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:2 to treat “older women as mothers.” Consider reaching out to a Christian woman who has helped to raise you in Christ and express your deep gratitude.
Finally, as we gather for worship on Mother’s Day, let’s focus on the Lord Jesus above all. Mother’s Day falls during the Easter Season, a week before Ascension Day, and two weeks before Pentecost Sunday. These holy days are far more important than Mother’s Day which was only founded in the United States in the 1910s. Our focus should still be on the resurrection of Jesus. On Mother’s Day and in the weeks to come, let’s remember what is ultimate: Jesus is Lord.