In churches on Mothers Day, there’s a little ritual that happens right before the sermon where awards are given to mothers, not for anything they have achieved, but for having the most children, grandchildren, and being the oldest and youngest mothers in the congregation.
While that’s nice and all, what did these mother’s do that was worthy of an award? There’s nothing unusual about having children, grandchildren, and growing old. God made them fruitful and they multiplied; they had a lot of children who in turn had a lot of children. The same with giving birthday gifts, why should people get gifts for being born? They didn’t cause their births, Nature simply took its course. Did the oldest mother deserve an award for being blessed with longevity? Even if she somehow earned it by living right, why should she be singled out for special recognition?
What about the ‘single mothers’ in the church, or even better, the ‘single mothers raising disabled children’ whose work load is double, if not triple that of the average mother? Having been there myself, I can assure you that raising a disabled child, is equal to raising two or three normal, healthy children. A single mother has more stress and worries than a wife who has a husband to support her emotionally and financially. She has no one to help her with disciplining her children, and that’s hard, real hard. On top of the sole care of her child, or children, a single mother has no one to share the housework, shopping, taking the car to the garage for repairs, etc. There’s no one to take over for her when she’s ill – sick or not, she has to do what needs doing.
In several churches I have attended, awards were given to the same mothers, year after year, and I used to wonder why no one ever thought to honor the single mothers in their midst. Why wasn’t their extraordinary, heroic, efforts acknowledged? If anyone deserves an award on Mother’s Day, it’s them. I can’t help but think that God was grieved with those churches lack of sensitivity and compassion. Instead of taking the opportunity to show single moms that they understood their plight, they disregarded them. Were these churches merely shortsighted, or were they ashamed of their impoverished, struggling, abandoned single mothers, whom they felt were a blotch on their reputations?
I often got the feeling that married couples in the church were considered more respectable than singles. They were usually given more opportunities to serve than were singles and single mothers, and got appointed the highest positions. If a member exhibits a particular gift, shouldn’t he/she be given opportunity to use and develop that gift, regardless of his/her station in life? Shouldn’t Christ’s Body show equal regard for all its members? In his epistle to the church at Corinth, Apostle Paul wrote –
1Co 12:23 and those parts of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness;
1Co 12:24 whereas our comely parts have no need: but God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to that part which lacked;
1Co 12:25 that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
Single moms, especially those raising disabled children, face many difficult challenges. They deserve to be acknowledged for their extraordinary dedication and hard work. God bless them.