The following article originally appeared on Christian Parenting last year.
I reserve the right to gripe just a bit about Mother’s Day. Woodrow Wilson wasn’t thinking of preachers’ wives when he signed a bill making the second Sunday in May an official celebration of moms.
Sundays were always “work days” at our house. I never went to a Mother’s Day buffet that wasn’t picked over and depleted of the good stuff. I rarely received a Mother’s Day card that didn’t come with a soggy envelope that had been hastily “sealed” right before being handed to me.
I heard wonderful sermons extolling the value of a holiday for moms, but my husband, Jim, raced out the door early every Mother’s Day morning, preached three sermons, and then napped most Mother’s Day afternoons.
A statement of fact: preachers’ wives get the shaft on Mother’s Day.
Another statement of fact: most of us wouldn’t have it any other way.
Except maybe the whole “buffet” thing.
Anna Jarvis and the origins of Mother’s Day
Your preacher will probably talk about Anna Jarvis this Sunday. Mother’s Day was her idea. Anna’s mom had passed away, and Anna wanted to celebrate her mother’s life. So, Anna worked hard to establish a day that would celebrate moms.
But, did you know that Anna Jarvis quickly became disgusted by the way the florists, card companies, and restaurants turned the holiday into a commercial opportunity?
In fact, she eventually spent most of her personal wealth in legal fees trying to lobby the government to remove the Mother’s Day holiday from the American calendar.
Anna Jarvis never married, never had children, and died alone in a sanatorium. (I bet you won’t hear that in your Sunday sermon or read it in your Hallmark card!)
The un-Hallmark joy of Mother’s Day
About now, you’re probably worried about this blogger. Don’t be. I have solidly adjusted my expectations for the holiday. In fact, it happened the first Sunday after Ryan (my oldest) was born.
Jim left the house that Mother’s Day afternoon to get me a card. Picture the drugstore shelf at 2:30–3:00 on Mother’s Day afternoon.
Let’s just say I don’t have that card framed or taped inside a scrapbook somewhere.
This year I will celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom. She and I will drive out to our sweet chapel service at the lake. Jim is out of town this Sunday, so I will be speaking at the service for him. Both my boys will celebrate their wives this Sunday—after they come home from serving at their respective churches. This preacher’s wife will probably just eat leftovers with my mom before we drive back home.
But, I will come home, put my feet up, and know that my un-Hallmark Mother’s Day was exactly what it should be.
Sundays—even Mother’s Day Sundays—are about worshipping God, not moms.
I’m a blessed mom
My favorite Mother’s Day quote is from Jill Churchill: “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”
I’ve often said that parenting is the most difficult job I’ve ever loved. I’ve made some wrong choices as a mom, but I did teach my boys that worshipping and serving the Lord was the most important choice for Sundays.
I doubt I will ever have a Hallmark Mother’s Day. The president would have to change the holiday to every second “Saturday” of May. (I’m thinking that the card companies and florists have more money to lobby the government about that than I do.) I don’t want to be like Anna Jarvis and fight for something that doesn’t really matter anyway.
This Mother’s Day, my joy isn’t the result of anything that could be purchased in a store. My joy is knowing that my day will be quiet because all of my “guys” are busy doing what the Lord has called them to do this Sunday.
It’s always been that way, and I pray it will continue for every Mother’s Day Sunday of my life.
As for me and my house. . .
I grew up with those words, and I still stand on them.
Joshua was instructing the families of Israel to go to their land and establish their homes. One of the last things he said to them was, “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14–15).
My greatest joy and blessing this Mother’s Day isn’t a gift, a card, or a bottle of perfume. (But, for my three guys, in case you are reading this, I like Amazing Grace by Philosophy.)
My great joy and blessing this Mother’s Day is that I have been married to a wonderful husband and father for almost thirty-nine years who loves the Lord and loves me. And I have two amazing sons who love their wives and children—and their mom.
My family knows this Sunday is about serving the Lord’s expectations instead of Hallmark’s.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”—even on Mother’s Day.
I wish all you moms an un-Hallmark Mother’s Day this week.
But, I do hope you will enjoy a good buffet. If you’re not a pastor’s wife, you’ll probably get there early enough for the good stuff!