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You’ve heard me talk about the Supper Club, right? This is the two couples Bethany and I eat with at least once a month. We have a group text that has been going on for at least four years. We spend a lot of time together but never really enough.

Anyway, one of our members, Holly Mackle, told us that her and some ladies from our church were shopping around a book/study on Motherhood. We all got excited. And then it happened and they got a publishing deal with our denomination. You can buy it here.

And then about six months ago, Holly called me and asked if they could use my Mother’s Day sermon in the book. In all honesty, I was as excited as if I had gotten the publishing deal! Anyway, I told her they could have it for free and have their way with it. And wouldn’t you know? They improved it. Next week I will post a review of the book but for now, on this Saturday before Mother’s Day, I wanted to give you a new and much improved version of No Condemnation: A Mother’s Day Sermon.

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As an associate pastor at a small church, one day I had a flash of fear.  You see, I thought I was scheduled to preach on the quickly approaching Mother’s Day.  My blood ran cold as I was overcome with the peculiar fear of what to say and how to say it.

Wonder of wonders, it was an error.  I realized I did not have to preach on that day.  But the sermon was already forming, and here it is.

Usually one of three types of sermons is preached on Mother’s Day.  The first one is a celebration of mothers.  You know the one: “Mothers are awesome! God loves mothers! Look at Mary!”  The second tells mothers how to be better mothers.  “Be like Mary or Hannah or…<insert biblical heroine here>.”  Basically: “Happy Mother’s Day…now here is how to succeed at mothering.”  The third sermon we sometimes hear 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.

So, I thought about it.  How would I honor the mothers in the congregation?  My words should be practical.  Encouraging.  And rooted in the heart of God for mothers.  And they shouldn’t be the vacuum-cleaner-as-a-gift kind of honoring. This is not a time for bitter medicine; it’s a time for affirmation.  Here’s the outline:

Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Mothers, if you are in Christ Jesus, you do not have to fear condemnation. You stand in the righteousness of Christ 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 a child with special needs.

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 miscarriage(s).

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 of another’s perfect parenting moment 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 or unmarried 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 is not 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 homemade meals whose ingredients were recently purchased at Whole Foods.

You are not condemned by your need for a vacation. Without 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 don’t have kids when yours erupt into volcanic screams in public places.

Mothers, even though you may feel condemned, if you are in Christ, you are not condemned. This is the real reality.

If you are in Christ, your identity as a sinner before a holy God is replaced with the righteousness of Christ alone. So go forward in freedom, with the unending affection and acceptance of being a daughter perfectly adored with an unwavering love that flows from your Father in Heaven.

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