The Problem with Mother’s Day

Posted on May 11, 2013 · Posted in Culture, Worldview

Everyone has a mother. That much is obvious. The problem comes when Mother’s Day becomes a one-size-fits-all event. Just as everyone has a mother, it is equally true that everyone has a different life-experience regarding having a mother, being a mother or not being a mother.

Many are blown away by the faithful sacrifice of their moms. Sadly, many are also devastated by the way their mothers have treated them. There are women who are thrilled with the joy of being a mother. There are others who are not. There are still others who long to be mothers but are not. There are mothers who are deeply appreciated and also, just as deeply despised. There are those who continue to enjoy the embrace of their mother’s company but there are others who have only a collection of memories to cling to.

Motherhood brings out the best and the worst of the human spirit. Just as there are mothers who have sacrificed everything for their children, there are also those who have sacrificed only for themselves.

The modern attempt to have one day that captures everything about being a mother misses the mark. Thus Mother’s Day is a day of great enjoyment, profound sadness, painful memories, or even indifference, all rolled into one. This is the problem of Mother’s Day.

Where does all of this leave us? How did something as profound and wonderful as motherhood become a fractured mosaic that runs the gamut of human emotion?

Quite simply, God has been left out of the mosaic. Motherhood is God’s idea, his design. Women, like men, were created in the image of God. All that is special about women, including the capacity to be a mother, is due to God’s unique creation. Even women who are not physically able to bear children can become wonderful mothers. As I Corinthians teaches, women who, in God’s providence, are single can also demonstrate the specialness of being a woman. They were made that way too.

So, if we are to celebrate mothers we must first celebrate God’s creation of women. Women are special because God has made them that way. Yes, there are good and bad women, just as there are good and bad mothers. Celebrating God’s design and purpose for women addresses all of the problems caused by focusing exclusively on mothers for a day. Redemption, purpose and healing is found in trusting God and his loving care.

The blessing of mothers is a gift given to us by God. However, we must not forget that the blessing comes in the context of the creation of women. When God and his purpose for women are rejected, either by women or by men, tragic consequences result. Men and women were created by God to work together to bring significance to his name. Women and men are noble because of who they were made to be. But, like Adam and Eve, every human since the fall has not been satisfied with God’s provision.

Mother’s Day is a mixture of emotions. Being a mother is one special feature of God’s design for being a woman. This special design is something we can all celebrate. The path for healing and blessing for all is found in Jesus Christ, the Lord of Creation.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.