By Cindy Koch–
For some of us, the day came and went. Flowers, family, breakfast, phone calls, homemade cards, maybe even a glass of champagne if you were lucky. Mothers all over the country were honored in some little way due to a brilliant campaign on behalf of Hallmark. It was a lovely little day set aside to give thanks for the mother in our lives.
But for some of us, Mother’s Day was a stinging reminder of the women we are not. We may not be smitten with the crooked smile of a baby all our own. We might not live behind a white picket fence with our 2.5 children. Even if that could have described us at one point in our lives, some of us bear a pain of losing a child, and now our motherhood joy only dredges up sadness from what could have been. To make it worse, we might be conflicted about how to feel towards the mothers that have been given children. Jealous? Indifferent? Happy? Guilty? Annoyed?
Not a few childless Christian women have boldly expressed their frustrations to me struggling with the honored estate of motherhood. Especially in the context of church, people expect a woman to eventually become a mother. It is the probable progression for a Christian woman. So, when a woman doesn’t have a husband and baby in a timely orderly fashion, she falls under scrutiny, and something must be wrong with her.
So where does that leave the woman who is not a mom? Is she less because God has not given her a child? Is she being punished or rewarded for her choices in life? Is there room in the Christian walk for a woman without a husband or kids? Questions of her foundational purpose plague our already difficult journey in faith.
But just like any other gift given by our incredible God, the gift of children is not given to everyone. Just as each one of us is only a part of the body of Christ. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body– Jews or Greeks, slaves or free– and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many” (1Co 12:12-14).
St. Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians about the spiritual gifts given to each person, that they are unique and special. Also, our station in life is a gift given by the Heavenly Father from above. It is a good thing that not all are given the same gifts nor the same vocation. God places his people in every place in this world: slave or free, working or at home, married or widowed, mother or not. There are strengths and weaknesses, gifts and challenges among every vocation where you may find yourself. But each circumstance in life does not change the body of which you are a member. That is the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He alone is the author of your worth. He made you a member of his own body. The Gospel doesn’t shift around with your good or wayward or lonely or bountiful path. This is His body.
Because we were made members of one body in Christ, we are able to use amazing distinct gifts for each other. So, a mother serves her God and the body of Christ by caring for children, as God called her to do. So, a woman who is not a mother serves her God and the body of Christ by also caring for the people who surround her, as God also called her to do. Especially in the body of Christ, we love and treasure a woman who is not a mom.