I grew up with a stereotypical experience of Mother’s Day. My parents have been married for over 40 years, and both my grandmothers were still alive into my early adult years. For a long time, I was naive, never comprehending how Mother’s Day could be a hard day for anyone.
However, in my early 20s, life shattered this stereotype, as I recognized how many of my friends hated Mother’s Day with some avoiding it entirely. I listened to their stories and noticed their absence on Mother’s Day at church.
When I became a lead pastor several years ago, I decided to set a tone for our services which named this pain, while not downplaying the joy this day represents. Inspired by multiple authors and poets, I assembled a blessing which I’ve read at the beginning of my Mother's Day sermon each year.
The Wide Experience of Mother’s Day: A Blessing
For those of you who are celebrating your mom today, we rejoice in the blessing of the gift you’ve been given.
For those of you who are feeling the love of your children, we join you in thanking God for these treasures - big and small.
For those of you who are missing and grieving mom who has died, we grieve with you and honor the memory of your mom.
For those of you who are mourning a child who died - either in utero or too soon in life - we stand with you in your grief today.
For those of you who are spending your first Mother’s Day after your mom’s death, your pain is not forgotten, and your mom is not either.
For those of you who are hurting because of the pain of parenting, we pray God gives you new mercies for this new day.
For those of you who have been wounded because of abuse by your mom, what happened to you was wrong, and we acknowledge that not every mom is a source of joy or life.
For those of you who are longing to be a mom but unable to make that dream reality, we pray today you are encouraged and included. May God sustain you while you wait.
For those of you who are struggling through the challenge of step-parenting, adoption or foster parenting, we cheer for you as you embrace a heroic adventure. May you find strength to love those children in Jesus’ name.
For those of you who are torn because of a strained relationship with mom, there's space for you here too as you process all of your emotions. We are so grateful Jesus meets us where we are today, not where we wish we were.
For those of you who are mothering and parenting those who are not your children, we give thanks for your love and generosity. You are making an eternal difference.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Space for All
All too often, Mother’s Day services only speak to those who are celebrating, not to those grieving or somewhere in the middle.
There should be space for all this Mother’s Day. While this year may be a celebration, another year may be filled with grief and pain. In creating space for all, there’s no need to prioritize one experience of Mother’s Day over another.
So, if Mother’s Day is a source of joy, then celebrate it well. Pull out all the stops and lavish love on the important women in your life.
But if Mother’s Day is a source of pain, please know that your struggle is seen and known. You are not alone.
The Gift of Presence
One of the best gifts we can give someone else is the gift of presence. We remember those people who showed up for our graduation, wedding, or surprise party. We also remember those who came to the funeral of a family member or the hospital after a horrible accident. Like the friends of Job, it means so much for people to just show up and be with us, especially during pain.
In his words to the church at Rome recorded in Romans 12:15, the Apostle Paul encouraged the believers to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
While there are no verses directly addressing Mother’s Day in the Bible, I think this one is a good option. As we rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, we honor God and leverage this cultural holiday for profound spiritual blessings.
At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus made a final promise to His disciples, which applies to believers today as well. He said, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Even as we are present with one another, Jesus promises to be with us on this Mother’s Day - in our celebration and in our pain.
Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone this Mother’s Day. May you be aware of and enter in His presence today!
Scott Savage is a pastor and a writer. He leads Cornerstone Church in Prescott, Arizona. Scott is married to Dani and they are the parents of three “little savages.” He is the creator of the Free to Forgive course and you can read more of his writing at .