Friday, May 12, 2017

Reflection - Mother’s Day

Source Website: http://timewarpwife.com/open-letter-pastors-non-mom-speaks-mothers-day/
By Amy Young, 09 May 2014 - An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day)


There are women who don't go to church on Mother's Day because it is too hurtful.
PHOTO: There are women who don't go to church on Mother's Day because it is too hurtful. She had been married, had numerous miscarriages, divorced and was beyond child bearing years. It was like salt in mostly healed wounds to go to church on that day.
It's miserable to not fit in, especially at church. You don’t really fit with the singles, an eclectic group that spans many decades. And you don’t fit with the married groups either, even though you once did. You don't fit with the happy little families, all coming together to celebrate holidays and special events as a "complete" family. [2]
Picture posted by Hilary White on 29 March 2017
Article from popsugar.com

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https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/64/8c/e0/648ce01ebaf4981986af3438594b0346.jpg
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/501025527271396702/



I've asked Amy Young to share her "Open Letter to Pastors," with us. I came across this article a few years ago and it really spoke to my heart. I hope it serves to encourage you as it does me. Link to original here.

Dear Pastor,
Tone can be tricky in writing. Picture me popping my head in your office door, smiling and asking if we could talk for five minutes. I’m sipping on my diet coke as I sit down.

You know that I’m not one to shy away from speaking my mind, part of the reason you love me (mostly!), so I’m guessing that internally you brace yourself wondering what might be next.

I set my can down and this is what I’d say.



Honor mothers without alienating others.
PHOTO: Honor mothers without alienating others. Women should feel welcomed, appreciated, seen, and needed during the gathering in church with Christ.
Painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - Work Interrupted (1891)
Picture posted in Wikimedia Commons

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-2qaNLELIUG8/WRXEtbCC4FI/AAAAAAAAm3Q/fNVc7HUJHzApIYIWt8jiyrOYvEPhw4bEgCLcB/s1600/William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_%25281825-1905%2529_-_Work_Interrupted_%25281891%2529.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a6/William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_%281825-1905%29_-_Work_Interrupted_%281891%29.jpg
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_Work_Interrupted_(1891).jpg



1. Hurtful going to church on Mother's Day for some women
A few years ago I sat across from a woman who told me she doesn't go to church on Mother's Day because it is too hurtful.  I'm not a mother, but I had never seen the day as hurtful. She had been married, had numerous miscarriages, divorced and was beyond child bearing years. It was like salt in mostly healed wounds to go to church on that day. This made me sad, but I understood.

Fast forward several years to Mother's Day.  A pastor asked all mothers to stand. On my immediate right, my mother stood and on my immediate left, a dear friend stood. I, a woman in her late 30s, sat. I don’t know how others saw me, but I felt dehumanized, gutted as a woman. Real women stood, empty shells sat. I do not normally feel this way. I do not like feeling this way. I want no woman to ever feel this way in church again.

Last year a friend from the States happened to visit on Mother's Day and again the pastor (a different one) asked all mothers to stand. As a mother, she stood and I whispered to her, "I can't take it, I’m standing." She knows I'm not a mother yet she understood my standing / lie.

Here's the thing, I believe we can honor mothers without alienating others. I want women to feel welcome, appreciated, seen, and needed here in our little neck of the body of Christ.

Do away with the standing. You mean well, but it's just awkward. Does the woman who had a miscarriage stand? Does the mom whose children ran away stand? Does the single woman who is pregnant stand? A.w.k.w.a.r.d.



Acknowledge the wide continuum of mothering
PHOTO: Acknowledge the wide continuum of mothering
Not every woman is able to form a family successfully and naturally.
Happy family parents together, celebrating their little baby on the sea at sunset, summer time. Birth, mother, father concepts.
Photo by Photocreo (depositphotos)
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qFGPQiPhkqU/WRXEtQdev-I/AAAAAAAAm3Y/V3mO_o4vNXU_XSzfjQpEudnl5VB110LygCLcB/s1600/depositphotos_42274459-stock-photo-parents-celebrating-their-little-child-1.png
https://st.depositphotos.com/1004061/4227/i/950/depositphotos_42274459-stock-photo-parents-celebrating-their-little-child.jpg
https://it.depositphotos.com/42274459/stock-photo-parents-celebrating-their-little-child.html


2.  Acknowledge the wide continuum of mothering.

  • To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
  • To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
  • To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
  • To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
  • To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don"t mean to make this harder than it is.
  • To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
  • To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
  • To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you
  • To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
  • To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience
  • To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
  • To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
  • To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
  • To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you
  • To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
  • To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart
  • And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you
  • This Mother's Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.

Commend mothering for the ways it reflects the Imago Dei (Image of God)
PHOTO: Commend mothering for the ways it reflects the Imago Dei (Image of God)
Bringing forth new life, nurturing those on her path, and living with the tension of providing both freedom and a safety net.
Painting by Émile Munier (2 June 1840 – 29 June 1895), a French academic artist and student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau - "Mother and child, Paris" (1892)
Picture posted in famous mother and child paintings

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8FrM3BNj2AQ/WRXEs8gPn_I/AAAAAAAAm3M/oJcvRziXM0g5lpxTSgDNAssYukLQDHo3QCLcB/s1600/201206162255398961-513051.jpg
http://image.hnol.net/c/2012-06/16/22/201206162255398961-513051.jpg
http://ktmc.info/famous-mother-and-child-paintings



3. Commend mothering for the ways it reflects the Imago Dei (Image of God) by bringing forth new life, nurturing those on her path, and living with the tension of providing both freedom and a safety net.
I know I might be an unusual one to be speaking about Mother's Day; but maybe that's why so many talk to me about mothering, I've got the parts, just not the goods.  Thanks for listening and for continuing to mother us in a shepherding way. Even though I'm a bit nervous to come on Sunday, I will be here. But if you make us stand, I might just walk out =).

Warmly and in your corner,
Amy

By Amy Young, 09 May 2014 - An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day)


Marriage is not superior; nor is singleness.
PHOTO: Marriage is not superior; nor is singleness. And Christian truth and love beckon us to remember this. There’s a danger in putting forth the idea that singleness is the sole ideal, just as there is danger in saying the same of marriage. Whether single or married, we are one family and equally valued members of one body in Christ. Parallel to the differing spiritual gifts God has given us for the good of the Body (1 Corinthians 12:21-27), each person is also a gift God gives to every other person. We all belong. And we need each other. [3]
Posted by Mark L. Bailey on 13 March 2015

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http://dtsi.s3.amazonaws.com/magazine/5c875e8e-39ef-4fc8-b748-e2d55d6a0cb9-1280x720.jpg
http://www.dts.edu/read/no-pendulum-zone-bailey/



Dear Lord, We pray that everybody attending church on Mother's Day will not be hurt irregardless of their marriage status, circumstances, or condition of their family. Help us to remember that 'we are the body of Christ, and each one of us is a part of it. There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.' (1 Corinthians 12:21-27). Through Lord Jesus christ we pray, Amen!
PHOTO: "Dear Lord, We pray that everybody attending church on Mother's Day will not be hurt irregardless of their marriage status, circumstances, or condition of their family. Help us to remember that 'we are the body of Christ, and each one of us is a part of it. There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.' (1 Corinthians 12:21-27). Through Lord Jesus christ we pray, Amen!"
Picture posted by Denise George, Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist on 11 May 2017 [4]
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http://www.thealabamabaptist.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/page-5-1-e1494425510787.jpg
http://www.thealabamabaptist.org/be-sensitive-to-those-experiencing-grief-sadness-this-mothers-day/




Reference
[1] Amy Young, An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother's Day), posted on 09 May 2014, http://timewarpwife.com/open-letter-pastors-non-mom-speaks-mothers-day/
Amy Young is readjusting to messy middle of life in the US after more than twenty years in China and the recent death of her dad. When she first moved to China she knew three Chinese words: hello, thank you and watermelon. Often the only words really needed in life. She is known to jump in without all the facts and blogs regularly at
messymiddle.com and tweets as @amyinbj and is the most unbeautiful pinner  has ever seen (but she's having fun!).

[2] Dena Johnson, Dena's Devos, 3 Beautiful Truths Every Divorced Christian Needs to Know, posted on 13 March 2015, http://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/3-beautiful-truths-every-divorced-christian-needs-to-know.html

[3] Mark L. Bailey, No-Pendulum Zone, posted on 08 May 2015, http://www.dts.edu/read/no-pendulum-zone-bailey/

[4] Denise George, Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist, Be sensitive to those experiencing grief, sadness this Mother’s Day, posted on 11 May 2017, http://www.thealabamabaptist.org/be-sensitive-to-those-experiencing-grief-sadness-this-mothers-day/

Links
here - http://www.messymiddle.com/an-open-letter-to-pastors-a-non-mom-speaks-about-mothers-day/

messymiddle.com - http://www.messymiddle.com/

@amyinbj - https://twitter.com/amyinbj

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