"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

10 May 2013

The Grass is Always Greener

I've been a bit taken aback in these couple weeks leading up to Mother's Day at the absolute negativity surrounding what should be a day of celebration. When did Mother's Day become an opportunity for political statements, for polarization, for "us" versus "them"? I found myself growing increasingly frustrated as the days went by and blog posts and videos circulated virally (as they have a tendency to do in this age of instant information sharing) promoting churches abandoning Mother's Day services to preserve the feelings of those without children, and some of us who are mothers are left feeling as though we ought to apologize for our lives.

Feeling left out is an unfortunate human condition, isn't it? It starts early on, from the minute children begin to understand socialization and relational structures. It is mind-boggling to most of us adults when we hear a cute little five-year-old in pigtails say, "You're not invited to my birthday party!" to another equally adorable child, without fully comprehending the hurt that her impulsive words could cause. We teach children to share their toys, to take turns, to be kind to everyone, because really, the world would be a better place if we all practiced those lessons each day.

The thing is, at the core of it, I don't think this whole Mother's Day issue is about feeling left out as it is so much our general of lack of contentment in our circumstances.

The grass is always greener, isn't it?

We live in a society that promotes the errant concept that equality means exactly the same, and somehow, combined with the philosophy of independence and individuality, we feel entitled to what everyone else has as well as to what we've already got.

People. This is not reality.

Yes, we are all created equally by the Lord, but we are not made exactly the same. And part of what that means is that we have different roles to play, different jobs to do. None of them are better or worse than another.

They're just different.

One of the most beautiful aspects of more traditional churches is that some of them celebrate missionaries heading overseas through "commissioning services," sending forth those brothers and sisters in Christ covered with prayer and celebration.

I see Mother's Day in sort of the same light. It is a day when we celebrate God's commission to mothers, to raise up our little ones to walk in His ways, to equip them and train them to serve Him.
Because you know what?

For those of us who are in the throes of parenting rambunctious toddlers, this is a day when we feel a little bit extra-appreciated, because honestly, on many days, we walk around feeling like cranky, sleep-deprived zombies on the inside, amazed at the grace of God that we are able to (for the most part) look, sound, and function like normal people from the outside.

For mamas of teenagers, it is a day to be reminded that the Lord has His hand over their often-wayward children, that they are not alone in doing His work.

For my husband's birth mother who courageously chose to give birth to him at fourteen when it would have been "easier" to abort him, this is a day of triumph.

For my friend who just recently lost her baby, this is a day of remembrance and to hold her beautiful little girl closer.

The truth of the matter is, we all have discontentment in our hearts. We all have sorrows and grief of spoken and unspoken expectations that have gone unfulfilled in life.

But instead of condemning Mother's Day because of our own baggage, can we celebrate God's sovereignty together, trusting in His goodness and love? Can we bring our struggles and leave them at the foot of His throne, believing that He knows our innermost desires and dreams?

And can we celebrate life? Because really, we all got here because someone gave birth to us.
And whether or not we were a "mistake" in human eyes, NOT ONE OF US are a mistake in God's eyes.

Ultimately, Mother's Day is a celebration of God's work in this world.

So Happy Mother's Day, friends. May it be one of forgiveness, healing, love, and joy.


  1. so good hannah. thank you! love all the pictures, especially the last one.

  2. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I love the depth of thought behind these words and the call to each of us to choose to celebrate rather than stifle the life and roles God has given us. THANK YOU, HANNAH!

  3. I believe our God is a God of celebration. After all, look at all the feasts and festivals He ordained in the Bible. Celebrating life and encouraging the women who choose to nurture the next generation, in whatever form that appears, has my vote EVERY day of the year, not just on Mother's Day. But if it takes a national holiday to help us slow down long enough to say thank you, give a hug, or pause for a moment of remembrance, then I say celebrate with every fiber of your being. Thank you for your insightful post, Hannah!