A Prayer for Mothering Sunday
I’ve had a complicated relationship with the second Sunday in May.
For most of my life it was a day to celebrate my own mom, who is everything I hope to be in a mother and the kind of mother I wish everyone had. But when I began to know others who received deep emotional wounds from their mothers, the day of celebration was tinged with the sadness of their pain. Over the years, I’ve grieved with friends whose children have died, and I’ve heard the crying of mothers whose children won’t talk to them anymore.
And then came the years of my own miscarriages, and the painful question of whether I’d ever get to be a mom. In that season, I learned about the great sadness of so many women who long to be included on the second Sunday in May.
After the birth of my son four years ago, my own relationship with the day has changed; but so has my concept of “mothering.” Since becoming a mom, I’ve recognized how much of what I did before giving birth, and so much of what I’ve witnessed and received from other women, qualifies as “mothering.” It seems to me that this work of mothering has much more to do with the way women nurture and care for life – whether or not they have children who call them mom.
Mothering is good, holy, hard work.
It is worthy of celebration in all of its beautiful, exhausting, messy forms, and with all its myriad of stages and emotions.
So I invite you to join me in re-imagining the second Sunday in May as Mothering Sunday: A day to recognize and celebrate the work of mothering done by women, work which originates in God, our Good Mother herself.
For many, the second Sunday in May will always be difficult, no matter what we call it. But I offer this prayer for all of us in the hopes that whether we come to this day grieving, disappointed, hopeful, joyful, exhausted, or all of the above – we will find what we need in the arms of our Good Mother.
A Prayer for Mothering Sunday
All-powerful and all-vulnerable God, we thank you for the gift of life,
and for the many ways you nurture us, teach us, and feed us.
On this day when we celebrate the work of mothering,
we acknowledge that you are the one who began this good work,
and you are the one who fully embodies what it means to mother.
Because when we rejoice in the fulfillment and gratitude
that comes in creating and nurturing life –
we join in your joy.
And when we feed, clothe, and discipline;
when we kiss knees and give hugs;
when cry with or cheer on those in our care –
we engage in your work.
When we feel the ache of empty arms
and the desire to love a face we’ve not yet seen –
we join you in your own longing to create, to love, and to hold.
When we experience the heaviness of a broken heart,
the terrible grief of miscarriage or our child’s death,
the fear for a child who’s lost,
or the deep sadness of an estranged relationship –
you sit and cry with us, for you know this pain too.
When we remember with fondness the touch, the care,
the voice of our mothers –
we give thanks for them, and recognize your love through them.
And when the memories of our mothers bring pain, sorrow,
disappointment, or grief –
we turn to you, the only truly Good Mother,
to provide the comfort and direction they could not give us.
As we think of the moms we know –
the single moms,
the foster moms,
the brand new moms,
the mom who cares for her children, grandchildren,
and her own parents at the same time,
the nearly two-thousands moms in Oklahoma who are separated
from their children today through incarceration,
and the many moms who care for their children under stress of
joblessness, domestic violence, homelessness, or addiction –
We pray that you would supply them the energy, grace, hope and patience
for the good and hard work they do.
As we think of those who have mothered us –
moms, aunts, and grandmothers;
but also teachers, mentors,
Sunday School teachers, counselors,
pastors, and friends –
We ask that you would bless these women
for their faithful care of us and so many others.
Thank you, God, for calling women to join your work of Mothering!
We ask for your grace and guidance to mother well in our homes,
our classrooms and offices, our neighborhood playgrounds,
and as a part of this church.
We want to point the way to you, so that those in our care may know and trust you.
May the love they receive from us pave the way toward you,
and open their hearts to receive perfect love from you,
our Good Mother.
We offer this prayer in the name and spirit of Christ.