A Curse Upon Carnations

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Let's bring a little tender awareness to church with us this Mother's Day.

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Being a back-row church girl, I have seen some Mother's Day pain close up. Loving, faithful, kind, determined, praying women. Through the years: one had struggled with infertility for almost a decade and was still childless. Another was single at 30-something and had always dreamed of raising a big family. One woman’s son had taken his own life a few years back. One had a son in rehab — again, and another had just been deserted by her husband of 20 years and wasn’t sure where the next rent check was coming from.

I have sat trembling in my seat and held hands and shared tears with these women as all the "mothers" were asked to stand as 100’s of pink carnations were distributed. I was stumped for words because the wounds were beyond the reach of any words. I did not stand and leave a teary woman next to me in her seat. Oh my gosh, it tore at my heart. I wanted to stomp those stinking carnations into the ground. And yes, I know the kind deacons meant well.

Here's something to ponder: if God made a man and a woman in His own image, it means that the woman, Eve, the mother of all mothers had within her unique qualities of God Himself. We think of motherhood as being a specific biological occurrence, but I wonder if it is a far bigger umbrella. What if all daughters of Eve went through our lives bringing near-divine nurture, tenderness, protection, and mercy to the people (all the people) brought into our paths? Maybe we are all mothers.

I have 2 beautiful aunties who have not had children of their own, but in my mind they have always been mothers to me, real mothers —  pouring wisdom, kindness, truth, and love into my growing heart. I had coaches, Young Life and youth group leaders, small group leaders, Bible teachers, and neighbors who have all mothered me. And, boy, I have needed a team of them!

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My heart is filled with gratitude for all of my mothers, with a special spot for the dear one who raised me and another special spot for my mother-in-law, Jerry, who adopted me as her own.

I hope we all have compassion and awareness next Sunday, sensitive to both the joy and the brokenness of women around us. May we remind each other that we are all called to be godly, grace-giving mothers to the world, no matter the specifics of our biological circumstances or history.  I would urge churches across the nation to consider abandoning this cruel nonsense of pink carnations for only those who meet the biological or legal criteria. Really, people!

Love you, mommas. You know who you are. I thought about listing you, but lists are too risky — you know I'd leave someone out on accident.

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