The following is one from a post that dates back to 2011. I was worried about having to preach on Mother’s Day so I thought long and hard about what I would say. Of all my posts this may be my favorite post. I get emails from moms all the time letting me know how much they needed to hear this. I wrote it because I know my own wife well enough to know what she needs to hear often. I wrote it as a pastor who was also a husband and father.
As much as I love it, I have decided to add to it and edit it a little in hopes it will continue to encourage moms.
Usually one of three types of sermons is preached on Mother’s Day. The first is one in celebration of Mother’s. You know, “Mothers are awesome! God loves Mothers! Look at Mary!” The second one tells Mother’s how to be better Mothers. “Be like Mary or Hannah or…” “Happy Mother’s Day…now here is how to be awesome as a mother.” The third sermon we sometimes hear on Mother’s Day is one that has nothing to do with Mothers. To be honest this is the one I usually prefer. Honor the Mothers…wait – all the women in the congregation and then preach on whatever you would have preached on if it were not Mother’s Day.
I have never had to preach on Mother’s Day. But I’ve asked the question, “What would I preach?” I would not want to preach either of the first two kinds of Mother’s Day sermons above but I would want to try and preach one of encouragement to Mothers.
So, I’ve thought about it. It should be “practical.” Encouragaing. And rooted in the heart of God for Mothers. And it shouldn’t be the vacuum-cleaner-as-a-gift kind of sermon. This is not a time for bitter medicine. So, after thinking, the following is what I came up with:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Thesis: Mother’s, if you are in Christ Jesus, you ought to have no fear of condemnation. You stand in righteousness and are loved by God as his daughter because of Christ’s work on your behalf on the cross.
Mothers, even though you may feel you are…
You are not condemned by your messy home.
You are not condemned by your lack of desire to homeschool.
You are not condemned by your personal sins.
You are not condemned by the difficulty of caring for your special needs child, a difficulty which wounds down deep.
You are not condemned by the knowledge of how easy it is for you to love one child more than another.
You are not condemned by your miscarriages.
You are not condemned by your lack of desire to have more kids.
You are not condemned because you have no desire to adopt.
You are not condemned – even though you feel it – when you read over and over about other’s perfect parenting moments on facebook.
You are not condemned by your inability to cook.
You are not condemned because your kids are not ‘normal’.
You are not condemned because you are divorced and doing it alone.
You are not condemned by your desire to be alone, away from the kids, for a time every. single. day.
You are not condemned by your body, which may not be what it once was.
You are not condemned by your repeated failures as a mother.
You are not condemned by your rebellious children.
You are not condemned by the frustration of having to scrape mac and cheese off the kitchen floor. Again.
You are not condemned by all the fears and tears which flirt with insanity and take you to the precipice of despair.
You are not condemned by not being able to throw the birthday party of the year for your kids.
You are not condemned for not feeding your kids meals that did not come from Whole Foods.
You are not condemned by your need for a vacation. Away from the kids.
You are not condemned because you cannot take your kids on exciting vacations.
You are not condemned for not living up to the standards of your Mother or Mother-in-law.
You are not condemned by the stares of those who have no kids when yours erupt into volcanic screams in public places.
Mother’s, even though you may feel condemned, if you are in Christ, you are not condemned. This is the real reality.
You are not condemned, because if you are in Christ, your identity as a sinner before a holy God…your righteousness is Christ alone. Therefore, enjoy the unending love and affection and acceptance of being a daughter perfectly loved with an unwavering love that flows from your Father in Heaven.
And to all those who are not mothers…
Do nothing as Pastors, Husbands, Sons, Daughters, Mothers, Fathers, Mother-in-Laws, Father-in-Laws, friends, acquaintances and advice givers to diminish this reality. Nothing.