The Beauty and Pain of Mother’s Day

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This Sunday is Mother’s Day–an entire day set aside to acknowledge the irreplaceable role of “mother” and the invaluable work of “mothering” in its various forms. It is a day to honor and thank those who have given themselves to that essential, albeit challenging, work of mothering both in our own lives and in the lives of others. In His great wisdom, God chose daughters of Eve, the “mother of all living”, to bear and nurture life in fulfillment of His great purposes in the world. Thus, “mothers” and those who “mother” are essential to both the existence and sustenance of life itself. Mother’s Day is beautiful.

But Mother’s Day is also painful. From the time humanity fell into sin until now, women have experienced  deep pain in childbearing and all related issues. For women waiting and longing to mother children not yet received, there is pain. For women grieving children who have died before them, there is pain. For women watching children walk a path of suffering or a path of foolishness and destruction, there is pain. For women struggling under the hard work of mothering difficult children in difficult seasons, there is pain. For women grieving their own sins and inadequacies in mothering, there is pain. For women who don’t long for children of their own or fit the typical mold of “mother” but are seeking to discover how God has equipped them to nurture life in His world, there may be feelings of loneliness, estrangement, or pain. On Mother’s Day, the pain in childbearing is especially raw and real for so many women.

Every day, but especially on Mother’s Day, women must keep the gospel in view. God created women in His image with the capacity to bear and nurture life. All women, even those who are not mothers of biological or adopted children, are created to “mother”. . . to nurture God-given life in some sense. But because of sin, our world is terribly broken. Motherhood is broken. Things are not as they should be. Women struggle with their identity. Wombs are barren. Children die. Mothers grieve. Mothers cry. Mothers sin. Mothers fail. Mothers feel lost and unsure. Mothers feel lonely. Motherhood is hard.

But GOD….

How glorious to discover that God hasn’t left us alone in the struggles and hardships of our womanhood. The good news of the gospel is that our God redeems brokenness through His son Jesus Christ. “In him we have redemption through his [Christ’s] blood, the forgiveness of our tresspasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us in all wisdom and spiritual insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

God is redeeming a people for himself through the work of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross in order that He might one day reconcile a sin-corrupted world back to himself. Wrongs made right. Brokenness healed. Beauty in the place of ashes. All things new. For every woman who is turning away from sin and looking to Jesus as the only way to be healed and made right with God, there is hope for the brokenness of motherhood and womanhood in general. This is the good news that overcomes deep pain. And for the woman who is in Christ, there is assurance that God does not waste any pain that comes through childbearing, or any pain at all for that matter. Even the bitter pain itself has a role in God’s story of redemption and reconciliation as he uses it to refine His children, to make them strong and beautiful, to make them more like Christ. Romans 8:28 tells us that God is using all things (even pain) to work for the believer’s ultimate good in conforming us to the image of His Son.

So, on this Mother’s Day, let’s acknowledge both the beauty and the pain. Let’s highly esteem the work of mothering and give thanks to those who “mother”. Let’s honor and praise the precious mothers who birthed and raised us, but let’s also broaden our view of motherhood to see all the women around us who nurture life in various ways every day: grandmothers, spiritual mothers in the faith, teachers, caretakers of children, physicians, and many others. These women have much to give and our lives are richer because of them. On this Mother’s Day, let’s also be sensitive to the countless women who are struggling with “pain in childbearing” in all its various forms. So many women struggle to see the beauty in this day because the depth of their pain is so overwhelming. Hug a friend. Say a prayer. Send a text that acknowledges the hurt. Encourage the weary.  Above all, let’s hope in the good news of the gospel this Mother’s Day and hold it out to others. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the redeemer, the healer, the true giver and sustainer of life, and the one takes deep pain and turns it into glorious beauty.

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