Thursday, 15 March 2012

Mothers day is hard

I am preaching at the main service on Sunday; possibly the most difficult sermon of the year to get right, it's Mothering Sunday.

If you're preaching on mothers day and wondering what's so hard then this post is definitely for you, please read it.  Below you'll read my experience of mothers day and how it felt along the way.

I do not and have not had an easy relationship with my mother, it's something that has caused me great pain.  Mothers Day services have always left me feeling bereft of the mothering I longed for.  I could not emphasise with unconditional love or enduring support or depthless love or any of the fluffy sentiments; they were not right.  I was left feeling sad so I avoided mothers day services.

I then spent years waiting to become pregnant and more waiting to hold a baby in my arms.  Those years were sheer torture on mothers day.  I wasn't a mother, might never be a mother, was not given a daffodil posy.  I was reminded of my failure to become a mother and felt abandoned by God and the church.  I started to avoid church on mothers day.

This is only the seventh year that mothers day has been a happy day.  A day when I look at Rachel and am reminded of my role in her life and the calling to this by God.  I can feel the joy. Yet it is still tinged with pain, regrets and memories.

I still feel unmothered.
I still feel the grief of babies lost.
I still know the pain of mothers day.

I am not alone in having these experiences.  I guarantee there'll be people in your congregation who have the same or have others which make the day hard for them.

The challenge on mothers day is to celebrate mothering whilst also caring for those who suffer and need support for where mothering holds pain.


commentfromalayminister said...

Thank you, Emma. This is an extremely important point that needs making every Mothering Sunday. It's why I always call it Mothering Sunday, never Mothers Day.

It is about mothering not biological mothers, and anyone can have the gift of 'mothering', single or married, straight or gay, biological or adoptive mother, r childless, male or female. Hopefully, we have all received mothering from someone, even if not from our biological mother.

I was lucky. My Mum was the strong centre of our family, and kept us together through difficult times.

I have your problem on Father's Day. I give thanks for the gift of 'fathering' we see in God, as well as for my own fallible, tortured father.

Chris said...

Thank you for sharing this, Emma. It is so often forgotten, and such a difficult balance to strike.

I hope this year it is a positive day for you. It strikes me that you are just the right person to be preaching, costly as it will be for you.

Every blessing