“Will the mother stand who has eight or more children? The oldest mom…” Our pastor, along with thousands of others around the US, addressed the moms in the congregation. Not a big deal? Maybe not to you….

Thursday before Mother’s Day I attended a program where one of our first-grade grandchildren would be participating. As the little ones–so gorgeously dressed–took turns at the microphone with their tribute to their mother (“I love my mom because…. she gives me cookies; … she reads to me… she plays games with me…), my heart broke for the little ones who were making up things to say. Don’t tell me out of a group of 30 or so kids, all had their moms–I won’t believe you. I couldn’t help wondering how many were living in homes where a step-mom resided, who really didn’t like this child of another woman. For a moment I went back to a time in another century when I was responsible for my children enduring a Mother’s Day program without their mother, because I was too backslidden to be a mom. Gasp only if you have never wandered from the path of righteousness–and oh, by the way, don’t doubt for a second but that I would give my life had I never sinned, for I would–but I did. But where I am today is at the foot of the Cross, with its “Grace, grace, marvelous grace.”

As the program continued, I wondered how many were being raised by Grandma… or in a foster home… or had lost their mom to illness and death.

I couldn’t help but reflect on the moms who were sitting there thinking of a baby lost in the womb. One mom in our church has lost ten–can you even imagine the grief? I can’t. Having lost one, I can’t even begin to sympathize. How does one stand up when the pastor calls a number? What if you’ve lost three, as a good friend has, but hasn’t had a baby yet? Does that make her not a mom?

I even thought of all the women who were sitting in the audience who have had abortions; sure, there are some who go on about their lives and never give the baby a thought–but how many do you know personally? Have they ever told you that it hasn’t hurt them? I’ll believe it when they sit before me.

For now, it’s over. Another year before we have to agonize over whether to stand and count the three that we had that we lost in a custody battle, or the three that we raised afterward. Don’t get me wrong: it’s great to honor moms. But somehow the ones who should be honored may be the ones who raised their children to be loving, hard-working adults, when there was no father in the home; the ones who raised their child to remember a picture of a soldier who gave his life that our country could be free; the ones who celebrate a Mother’s Day because they’ve given up having a career that would have given them financial freedom, instead of a one-income home where food is sometimes pancakes for supper, but everyone is happy and grateful for each other–those and more need to be honored. Not how many times you’ve gotten pregnant, nor how long you’ve lived on this earth.

No, next year won’t change. It will be the same categories in all the same churches, the restaurants will be full, and many moms will not receive a card. But maybe each of us could do something special for at least one mom we know who will be alone with her children, doing her best. That would make two people have a wonderful Mother’s Day: You and Her.

Father, You have called out the best in Mothers, and given us guidelines to have life, and have it abundantly. Forgive us when we stray, when we are impatient, unloving, and place ourselves before those we love. Help us to remember that in serving others, we serve You. Bring this all to our minds next year, so that we can learn from the lessons of yesterdays. Thank You for grace, Lord. We love You.

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