Every Mother’s Day in church we can expect to hear a sermon extolling the praises of motherhood—probably the most popular Scripture used that day is Prov. 31:10-31. But how many of us listen to that passage about a woman who does it allgrows her own crops, weaves her own cloth, makes her family’s clothes, sells her handiwork, buys property, cooks for her family, takes care of the poor and speaks with wisdom—and squirm in our seats at the expectations it puts on us?

You may look at your children sitting beside you—dried tears on his face from the tantrum he had this morning, tangled hair because she refused to let you brush it, wrinkled clothes from sitting in the dryer for two days, crumbs on their shirts from the chocolate cookies they had for breakfast because you were running late—and feel like a failure.

Others may listen to those verses and wonder where they were when God was passing out mothers. Maybe your mother didn’t know how to love, or was unable to show it. Maybe you never knew your mother, or you lost her too soon.

Then there are those who wish more than anything to be mothers. Your heart aches because you were never able to have children. Perhaps you’ve experienced the anticipation of pregnancy but also the pain of miscarriage, or the joys of motherhood but the unfathomable grief of losing a child.

Other women feel another kind of ache, having given up a child for adoption, having had an abortion, or having wanted a family but the right man never came along. Some women avoid going to church on Mother’s Day altogether.

One of the best Mother’s Day messages I’ve heard was given by Just Between Us columnist and author Elizabeth Murphy. She admitted that she doesn’t love Mother’s Day because it’s fraught with difficult emotions, so she chose to reframe it. Rather than celebrate for one day of the year, she looks for “Mother’s Day moments” throughout the year. Even if you’re not a mom, she said, you can look for tender moments to treasure in your heart for a lifetime.

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