Mother’s day is not a full celebration for every woman. Some grieve that they never had the opportunity to be a mother. Some are having fertility problems and desperately longing to be a mother next year, or wonder if they will ever be a mother. Some mothers mourn the loss of a child and grieve that they won’t celebrate with that child today. Some mothers hope this will be the year that their estranged child will come to dinner. Some men and women are mourning the loss of their mother. Some men and women don’t celebrate Mother’s day because their mother was abusive. And, there are children who have no mother in their life.
Motherhood defines all women who are mothers but motherhood doesn’t define all women. Mother’s day has been a day to recognize women who have become mothers and started as a day for women to remember the sons they lost to war. It has more recently become a day to celebrate women who are mothers and those who are not. The day is complex. Some feel excluded if they don’t have a mother to talk about and those who aren’t mothers feel excluded because they’re not mothers.
I searched for a Scripture for this day to celebrate women both who are mothers and those who are not. All the stories I could think of about women were about mothers. Women were defined by their fertility. Women were great women if they bore sons. Women were shameful if they didn’t have children, even daughters. The stories of women in the Bible center around their being mothers. Women who hadn’t had children were redeemed in their story when God opened their womb after years of prayer.
The scripture I want to share with you today is Proverbs 31. Many women subscribe to emails from Proverbs 31 ministries. Proverbs 31 is the quintessential chapter about being wives and mothers of faith. Women of the Bible were always praised for their children’s service in God’s purpose and the honor and blessing they bring their husband.
Proverbs 31 says a wife of noble character is of far greater worth than precious gems. Her husband has confidence in her ability to manage the household and raise the kids. She is a blessing to her husband because she does good for him. She is a hard worker and shrewd business woman. She stays up all night making sure that her family has food and clothing. She is strong, wise and dignified. She is generous with the poor and needy and cares for her servants. More important than charm or beauty, she fears the Lord. She is a woman to be praised.
Proverbs 31 tells 21st century women, mothers or not, married or not, a woman of faith is a blessing to others, works hard, provides for others and is generous with others. May all of the women of this congregation have those qualities and the opportunity to share those characteristics with the children of the community.