“Who is the oldest mom here this morning?”
That was the question that got things kicked off at the Mother’s Day service. The speaker found the oldest mother through a process of elimination. Every mom had to stand up. Then, the mothers under the age of 60 had to sit down. Next, the ones under the age of 70. This kept going until one woman was left standing. She was 165 years old. Or maybe it was 83. I can’t remember.
There were more questions.
“Who has the most kids?”
“And what about the youngest mother here this morning?”
I was just a kid but even I could see the potential for disaster in that particular question.
In reality, each of those questions came with their own measure of pain. While men carried roses to the woman with the most kids, there was a family grieving the loss of their mother. As people clapped for the youngest mother, there was a woman twice her age who quietly wondered if she would ever have kids.
One of my mentors told me once to remember that there is a broken heart on every pew. When he told me that, I knew what he was talking about. I thought back to that Mother’s Day service from my childhood. Once I finally became a pastor, I had an even better grasp of the broken hearts of which he spoke. Most of them belong to women who, whether because of infertility or the loss of a child, find Mother’s Day to be the most difficult day of the year.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. While we celebrate our wives and mothers, we need to remember the broken hearts in our pews who would give almost anything just to be called mom.
Being a parent is a wonderful privilege. That’s easy to forget. Sometimes a shot or two of perspective can help us.
Before you fall all to pieces when your kid wakes you up in the middle of the night because she can’t find her blanket, think about those broken hearts who don’t get that experience.
Before you post something on Facebook about how much “parenting can suck sometimes,” think about the people reading your status updates who would love to know firsthand what exactly it is you’re talking about.
This isn’t a guilt trip. Mother’s Day should be a celebration. If you still have a mom, hug her and take her out to lunch. If you have more kids than anyone in the church, you got started young or you’re the oldest mom in the church, enjoy those blessings.
But just don’t forget about the hurting hearts on your pew.
Don’t forget the ones who will stay home this Sunday because the whole routine is more than they can handle.
Most of all, don’t forget about the Son who knit us all together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139) and who will one day come back to wipe away every tear (Revelation 21).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)