What Makes me Cringe on Mother's Day
"I am so grateful God trusted me enough to let me be a mother..."
This phrase is the reason why I wince and cringe on Mother's Day. I overhear it at church, sometimes even from the pulpit, I overhear it at the park or mall. We tend to be grateful every day for our lives; that someone bore us, brought us to this earth, even at a subconscious level. Those of us who are raising children are deeply grateful for the honor of being called Mama.
But what I think about on Mother's Day is that millions of women around the world do not get to raise their children because of death, poverty, or because they wish to conceive and cannot. And all I can think about are the well intentioned women in the Mom Club who are grateful to have this sacred, wonderfully difficult and joyful role in their family and society, but somehow believe God has trusted them enough to do so.
If God bestowed motherhood based on levels of trust, I am fairly certain he would not start by removing children from loving parents' homes or prohibiting loving couples from conceiving. I think he would start these days by delaying ovulation in women until, oh, let's be generous for the sake of the argument, age 18. Or perhaps he would start with making sure women who were addicted to illicit drugs or were sociopaths destined to harm their children could not conceive. Doesn't this sound ridiculous?
God doesn't systematically deny prison inmates, drug addicts, teenagers, or in other words, women who might be considered untrustworthy on paper - children. He doesn't dole out children to those who deserve them or because he trusts we mothers more than our baby-less sisters. This means: I did not live my life more worthy than any woman out there who has been unable to bear or keep her children. Motherhood is generally not a merit-based system. Our adopted kids' mothers are no less in the sight of God than I.
Our biology and what happens to us just is what it is. Yes, I believe God can heal hurts, fix things in our bodies that previously could not be fixed. I believe in miracles. There are a few lovely women in the Bible who desperately wanted children, and had to wait a looooong time for them. I see them as good women who wanted to be mothers, and it so happened that God wanted them to be in his own time. It wasn't that they finally "earned it." It was what it was. I believe he planned it for them, but not because they were untrustworthy until the point they conceived.
I believe I am blessed to be a mother. I am terrible at it sometimes. I am humbled that I am raising four children (with two more on the way) and that I am accountable to God, the children themselves, society and for some of them, their first mothers in the way I teach them and love them. I am glad that the children I have to raise are mine and I do feel God's hand in who is here and the timing they came. There is no doubt in my mind that that God doesn't let everything fall to chance. I believe he cares deeply about how families come together. I am not trying to imply otherwise. I guess what I am saying is that on this Mother's Day, like the past several, I will honor my mother, and the mothers that would be, that aren't. The mothers who's arms are aching for someone not there.
I honor them tomorrow. Because I get "mother's day" every day. And I don't deserve it any more than anyone else.
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