Happy Mother’s Day!
Did you know that Mother’s Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson established the second Sunday in May as “Mother’s Day?”* Fellow mommas, that means we’ve been officially celebrated for over 100 years.
But in God’s eyes, we’re created in His image and we’ve been celebrated since the moment of creation! Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:13-14.
I’m celebrating twenty-eight years as a mom, and it continues to be the best job God ever gave me. Despite the passage of time, the long sleepless nights of nurturing my little girl through chronic ear infections are instantly recalled when I visit with a new momma struggling with lack of sleep. My husband may debate me, arguing that memory burns brightly because our kitchen was destroyed by fire when I fell asleep with breakfast cooking on the stove, after another all-nighter nurturing our eight-month old little girl through the pain of yet another ear infection. But I don’t think so.
You see, like you, I instantaneously feel and recall the piercing pain through my heart every single time my little girl experienced hurt or disappointment. Hurt and disappointments that I couldn’t, and shouldn’t change, because I recognized she would learn from those hurts and grow into a stronger woman as a result. Nevertheless, those times pierced my heart with a gnawing, deep, aching pain.
Like when she looked up at me with those big brown eyes filled with tears asking, “Momma, what about swimming and softball this summer?” when a fall on the playground during the last weeks of school resulted in the orthopedic doctor’s diagnosis of a broken wrist requiring a cast.
Like the answered phone calls with her words inaudible as she choked back tears of a breakup with a boyfriend. Or the tears of rejection as she dreamed of playing college volleyball and received another message of no.
Or the ravaging, uncontrollable tears of grief and heartbreaking loss when she learned of each of her beloved grandfathers’ deaths.
No matter our age and length of time identified as a mom, we empathize and bond with all moms in all seasons. Why? Because as mommas we will all walk through difficult, challenging, heart-wrenching, soul-questioning times with our children. Some of us are new on this journey of motherhood, and some of us have experienced more than we ever thought possible. But all of us are connected by that boundless, infinite, unfathomable love when we stepped into the lifetime role of momma.
Whether you’re the momma to an infant or toddler battling chronic ear infections like my little girl, or the shoulder to lean on as your daughter cries through a breakup, or the momma that picks up the phone and dials the phone number knowing the tears to come when you share the heartbreaking news, I pray you find strength in those overwhelming moments to remember the promise God whispers in your ear, “You, my daughter, are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
I always love the irony of God and the way He leads me, in the stillness of our time together, to revelation and contemplation. In researching the history of Mother’s Day, I discovered that our official holiday has its roots in a Christian festival called “Mothering Sunday.” Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, the festival was a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church” for a special service. Over time that tradition shifted to a more secular holiday.*
But wait, there’s more irony. The official U.S. holiday arose as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis following her mother’s death. In the pre-civil war years, Anna’s mother had first organized “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to teach women how to properly care for children. Later her mother worked to reconcile the deep division within our country after the Civil War by organizing “Mother’s Friendship Day” where mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers. To this day, moms still work as mediators and it’s one of our most important roles as we mediate and mentor our way through sibling disputes, family matters, and so much more. Following her mother’s death, Anna conceived Mother’s Day to honor the sacrifices made by mothers for their children.
Anna’s efforts were successful, and we’ve had an official holiday celebrating moms for 105 years now. But the greatest irony? Anna became disgruntled with the commercialization of Mother’s Day and spent most of her wealth fighting its commercialization. She died in 1948 disowning the very holiday she was instrumental in creating.*
The irony found in the history of Mother’s Day causes me to question:
As moms, shouldn’t we return to our faith in Jesus Christ as we celebrate this holiday?
Yes, we do sacrifice for our families and children. But Jesus gave the greatest sacrifice of all.
Shouldn’t this holiday stir us to celebrate the very foundation of our identity?
Yes, we do wear many hats as moms—providers, nurturers, educators, carpool drivers, caretakers, counselors, recruiters, and cheerleaders, but all those roles are founded on our one true identity.
We are daughters of the King.
If we lose sight of that truth, we cannot faithfully fulfill the roles we’re called to play in the lives of our children. The psalmist David recognizes our vital role as the cornerstone of our family in Psalm 144:12 as he prays for “daughters like corner pillars, cut for the building of a palace.”
The apostle Paul reminds that we are daughters of the King in 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 reciting God’s promises:
I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters.
This Mother’s Day let’s celebrate the glorious role of motherhood, but let’s also take a cue from the irony found in the history of this holiday. Let’s turn from the commercialization and secularization of Mother’s Day and return to the cornerstone of our faith celebrating our true identity in Christ.
Hug your mom, your daughter, your sister, your best friend. Squeeze each one of them just a little tighter and whisper in her ear, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Then link arms together in the bond of motherhood, celebrate, and shout for all to hear, “We are daughters of the King!”
Hugs & God’s blessings,
Beautifully written Monica!